Utterances of a Zimboe

Programming the Internet.

Archive for August 2007

Nokia opens door to wonderland?

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Ovi (en: door) provided something that I thought was never possible: I was stunned by a fr**ing Nokia production! There doesn’t seem to be much stuff out yet, but the intro looked ‘soulful’ and the promise was interesting—even grand, perhaps. Nokia hasn’t really provided much of either ever before, but especially the attitude has always been visibly missing. Phones have been allright, but all the ‘interestingness’ has been carefully filtered out. Especially their software has been less glamorous.

It almosts seems like Nokia had grown up and might be ready to put themselves ‘in the line of wire’. Of course, getting into content business is a fine business opportunity for them, but still, a street-credible service just might indicate that there’s some genuinely fresh thinking going on in there. (I mean, there’s tons of stuff being explored internally, but they don’t dare publish anything.) Also, the name selection, as it implies that they’re comfortable with their roots, tells something about maturity.

I hope I’m not overreacting. We’ll see how this starts to fold out.

Congrats to Nokia. Nice intro. Be brave! Or—C’mon, speak! Risk it!

Written by Janne Savukoski

August 29, 2007 at 10:31 pm

Posted in Business

Java is done

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Russell Beattie:

I like Jonathan Schwartz a lot, but I think that unless some drastic changes are made to Java, the move to JAVA as Sun’s ticker symbol is going to be as relevant as changing it to COBOL.

Couldn’t agree more. Scala ftw. (for my tasks; feel free to use Ruby/whatever for web UI, etc…) An excellent post, btw.

Written by Janne Savukoski

August 26, 2007 at 10:52 pm

Posted in Programming, Technology

Phonebook as the social network

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Update 09/06: Aka Aki: Mobile Social Networking “Auf die straße”

“First heard” from Om Malik, at the GigaOM Show ep 3:

When you come to think of it, at the end of the day the only […] social network that really matters, is the […] people in our cell phone.

Nokia phonebookLike, hell yeah. Well, probably even I had heard this concept before, but now was the time for it to finally crystallize in full extent and clarity—and, ah, it’s so dead simple. Once again, so funny how the most obvious things are so hard to spot. It’s amazing how this realization took this long.

Ayo, technology! The only technical issue with the concept is to get your phonebook to the web—for which at least just about all Nokia phones already contain an adequate over-the-air synchronization solution. It’s actually scary how trivial this’d be.

Also, Jaiku is definitely in the prime spot for this; they already pwn your contact list so it’d be trivial for them to bring it to the web (although their technology may currently be limited to Nokia phones.) Albeit, for me Jaiku is still merely a microblogging platform and less of a Facebook, but it’s probably just me once again. (Or, perhaps do some minor brand tweaking in the future?) They must have thought about this a lot as Jyri is a social systems heavyweight.

And if Jaiku’s not willing to head this direction, I’m sure it’d be fun and interesting to build such a system—just ask if you need some technology or extra hands. :)

Btw., also the note about “IM chat list” by Joyce was delightful. Although, I’m sure these lists will soon converge into a single contact book. (Like, d’uh.)

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Written by Janne Savukoski

August 26, 2007 at 1:44 pm

Posted in Future, Internet

Dreaming of Control

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Rosenberg’s Law: Software is easy to make, except when you want it to do something new. And then, of course, there is a corollary: The only software that’s worth making is software that does something new.

— Rosenberg, p. 268

I just finished reading “Dreaming in Code” with some mixed feelings. It was really good as a story book, but entertainment was pretty much all it had to offer. I had hoped a little more; new stimuli for improving project management, not just to confirm the average case. The book described a lot of “don’t do this”-stuff, but the “do this instead” was missing.

The bulk of the content was a well-written story about the early history of OSAF, and it’s project Chandler. While it was some easy reading, the project was yet another incident of unclear plans and execution. So it wasn’t that helpful, just (somewhat) entertaining.

The last third of the book was more interesting as there was listed some of the most accurate and interesting observations from the history of computer science and practice. Still, even if the quotes were very interesting reading, it didn’t educate much. Programming methodologies and technologies have advanced a lot in half a century, but, although some later developments are also described in the book, the main focus in the book was just in verifying the unfortunate state of an average software project with less-than-optimal practises.1

However, it was a very fine story book! A must read for managers and relatives, not so for programmers themselves.

Joel Spolsky was quoted several times, and I must include this quote here as it describes one of the most important aspects of my aspiration for being an entrepreneur in software product business:

Craftsmanship is, of course, incredibly expensive. The only way you can afford it is when you are developing software for a mass audience. Sorry, but internal HR applications developed at insurance companies are never going to reach this level of craftsmanship because there simply aren’t enough users to spread the extra cost out. For a shrinkwrapped software company, though, this level of craftsmanship is precisely what delights users and provides longstanding competitive advantage, so I’ll take the time and do it right.

— in ‘Craftsmanship

(Delivery as shrink-wrapped is essentially the same as delivery as a service.)

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PS. a three-page excerpt of the book available here.

1) Perhaps the main message of the book was that software projects are hard to manage; thus the title.

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Written by Janne Savukoski

August 19, 2007 at 2:08 pm

Posted in Diary