Many people have declared email to be dead in the past, and they’ve all been wrong. The typical play has been from instant messenger advocates, and most recently from Facebook. But, while these options have been a valid all-encompassing solution for teenagers and students, I haven’t met a single serious modern IT user whose life isn’t still driven primarily by email. There’s a reason that Outlook and Exchange are such consistent cash cows for Microsoft, and so many business people own Blackberrys.
I, like many people, viewed the Bing marketing video last week, which promised not to create a search engine, but to create a ‘decision engine’ - if you winced at this blatant attempt at the ‘game changing switcheroo’, congratulations, you can join me on the ‘jaded technology observer’ bench. Despite my distaste at having to swim through the murky waters of marketing blurb in this video, the demonstration looked pretty nice - showing how the ‘decision engine’ picks out flight details, product reviews and other things out of your search terms and provides context-sensitive recategorisations such as price and specifications of digital cameras if that’s what you were searching for etc.
I’m still waiting to get my 360 back after it fell on its own sword, but luckily late last week I got confirmation that it’s making its way back to me (or at least, a doppleganger with a service label on it is). It’s now languishing somewhere in Belgium as it meanders through UPS’s various relay stations like some signal trying to evade detection. All in all it will have taken about a month for the repair to go through, with a week of that just being lost by nothing happening with the initial web-registered fault report, and the rest just being dreadfully slow UPS shuttling of boxes (a courier that takes a week to go from Germany to here isn’t really ‘express’ if you ask me - I made it in a day, and FedEx is always much faster than this).
I reported a few months ago on how pleased I was that Qt was changing license to the LGPL, something I saw as a watershed for Qt adoption. I already had an awful lot of respect for Qt, but the previous GPL/commercial license did mean that adoption was in two quite widely separated camps - those who were already making GPL software, and those that could afford to license it for other cases.
It seems that symbolic release dates are all the rage right now. Beatles: Rock Band is due to be released on 09/09/09, which besides being easy to remember and aesthetically pleasing, I’ve since learned refers to one of their freakier experimental tracks (I hadn’t heard this before being tipped off to it, and afterwards concluded that I hadn’t been missing anything). Modern Warfare 2 has tried to get in on the act too, releasing on 10th November 2009, which in US date format translates to 11/10/09 - so almost a nice countdown idiom, although who starts counting down from 11?
Not being the kind of person who would buy a netbook, I hadn’t really paid much attention to Moblin, Intel & Novell’s new netbook-targetted, Linux based operating system. However, Matt Asay posted about it today and that got me looking at it, and I have to say I’m very impressed. I love that they’ve tried to rethink the operating system interface from the ground up rather than just follow in the footsteps of previous efforts.
I’ve been pretty busy lately, so there hasn’t been much time for blogging - I’ve tagged a few subjects for future expansion in my drafts, being very much a reentrant blogger, but so far meat has only been added very sporadically to those particular bones. By the time I get around to filling in the detail, the subject matter will no doubt be considered ‘stale’, but maybe my particular brand of commentary might lend a modicum of life to them anyway.
In recent years, I’ve been pretty disappointed with Nintendo (barring the excellent Super Mario Galaxy) and their machines for seeming to totally miss the opportunities that their devices offered for new types of games, lamenting that they just seem content to regurgitate every game from their previous consoles and couple it with a lazy waggle / touch control scheme, and go for the super-casual brigade with things that can only be loosely described as games (Wii Fit, Wii Music), and leave it at that.
We went to see the new Star Trek movie last night, and as per request I’ll post my thoughts about it here (spoiler alert!). It started a little dubiously, with an action sequence that while impressive, was so saturated with excessive horizontal lens flare, shaky cam and fast pans that my first thought was “Oh no, it’s going to be another Transformers headache-a-thon”. Luckily the director apparantly laid off the amphetemines shortly afterwards and it became more manageable.
It’s always fun to watch Apple and Microsoft slug it out in the advertising space - here in the UK we mostly have to do this via YouTube, since apart from a short stint of amusing Mitchell and Webb Apple ads and those pretty bland “I’m A PC” ripostes, we don’t really see the front-line assaults which take place on US TV screens. So I hear that MS have a new set of ads out, where “regular” people go and look for a laptop, whereby they look at the Mac and say “whoah, far too expensive!