Monday, January 4, 2010

Worst Top 10 list of 2010 I Have Seen

I am used to hyperbole. I am used to the idea that people run out of ideas, but just keep talking. Or that writers get assignments and their heart is just not in it. Or the people with a point of view write as if their POV was delivered wisdom.

I don't like it when such things are presented in absolutes and in places of influence such that people might think there is something to it. The eWeek article titled "IT Infrastructure: 10 Products That Must Be Killed in 2010" is the worst example of this I have seen this year. I have not seen them all: admittedly I peruse technical forums. There may be worse out there. Yes. Sadly, there may be worse depths to plumb. But this one goes deep enough for me. At best it is about 20% accurate.

First of all, it is not an article per-se, but a slide show, and there is no comment section so this is unopposed blather rather than just blather. Sure, comment forums can become pure snark fests, but this post is just flame bait, pure and simple. eWeek, and the articles author, Don Reisinger are either gleefully running because they love the commotion, or hanging their heads in shame, but I have no way to tell which.

Here are some of the gems from this bottom 10 list:

Palm Pre: "... Today, it's an also-ran on a network that no one cares about. It has to go."

You know: It may just go, and it may just take Palm down with it, but the absolutes here are amazing. The phone is not hurting anyone by staying. It is a great phone, and it is the only chance Palm has of coming back, even if the headwinds it faces are fierce. It is head and shoulders better than a WinMo based unit IMHO: Why must it die? Why must it go? Where is the urgency? If someone wants one, why should they not have it? Who is it hurting?

The statement about the network is absurd as well: Clearly *someone* cares about the network. The people the own the company. the people that work for the company. The people that use it, which can not be zero, or there would be no network in the first place, The people that make the phones that the network sells. Maybe Don does not care, but Don is not everyone, even if Don is unaware of that.

I have an iPhone, and I admit that one reason I would not want the Pre is that it does not run on AT&T (a network I like, unlike many). That is just me, and I know it. If Pre ran on AT&T, I would look at it. The unit itself is beautiful, even if it does have those chiclet keys rather than a real full function touchscreen.

Blackberry Storm 2: "... when the company released the BlackBerry Storm2 this year, it promised bigger and better things. It didn't happen. Get rid of the Storm, RIM."

World class dumb advice. I have an iPhone. I have a Storm. The iPhone beats the pants off the Storm as far as I am concerned. But I had another Blackberry before the Storm, and it was *worse*. Far worse. In essence, Don is saying to get rid of the only touch screen offering RIM has *before* they have something better! Completely cede the touchscreen phone market and hope that there are enough chiclet-key fans out there. Replace the Storm with something better? You bet. But don't drop it till you actually *have* something better.

Premise restated: RIM's touchscreen device is third rate relative to the competition, so no one stuck using a BlackBerry (say, for work) should have a one, but instead should use the more prehistoric units. Oh. yeah. That'll help RIM.

The Storm is, for a touch screen person like me, nearly as much better than an 8830 or an 9700 than the iPhone, Pre, or Droid is than the Storm. It. Is. Better. Than. Nothing.

Further: maybe the Storm is actually a profitable unit? Who knows? Don does not say. If it is, then why drop it? If it isn't, then it is a finger in the dam till something better arrives. Either way, terrible advice.

The iPod Classic: "... finds itself decidedly in the middle with a limited amount of value."

Just when you think the advice can't get any worse... So, again, not mentioned whether or not the Classic is profitable, or fills a useful niche still. Don would have Apple drop the Classic, I guess because he does not want one. Following that line of thought,: I do not want a touch because I have an iPhone. I guess the Touch should be killed too. I have a shuffle for working out, so I guess the Nano should also be killed. Because, well, as you know, if one person does not like the category, or must be invalid for all other people.

By the way, Blue is the best color, so all other colors should be removed. Not of iPods, but from everything.

The Classic unit that holds more music and video than any other in the line. The unit that has all its R&D fully paid for and it probably the most profitable per unit. Don says it must die. Doh.

I have a Classic. I love it. I had a wall full of CD's (now a box full of CD's), and they are all on the Classic, but they won't fit on *any* other iPod. If I ever lose or break the Classic, I want to be able to replace it! Don would deny that option because it does not match some preconceived notion he has about where music players are used. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

Windows Vista

Sigh. I use Linux and Macs mostly, but I have used Vista and Windows 7, and I have to say that Vista with all its service on is not that much worse that Windows 7, and is actually more compatible with some software. Win7 is just Vista evolved a bit, and not much more than Vista Service pack W7.

Vista has a bad rap out there, and it is undeserved. It was no worse than XP was when it was first released, and is less prone to infections... the reason I dropped XP all those years ago! But eWeek appears to be on the "Bash Vista" bandwagon, and they are hardly alone there. Other popular causes they might want to join are the AT&T is worse than Verizon bandwagon, since it is irrelevant that Verizon uses the archaic CDMA protocol, and a Verizon world phone has to have both a CDMA and a GSM radio in it if you want to travel with it. Or that AT&T may have less 3G coverage, but where they have coverage they are faster.

None of that matters because the cause celebs do not require much in the way of actual facts, and just need bandwagons. "Vista Bad" is a nice safe bandwagon to be on, even if you thought that maybe a technical publication would be fact based (or at least label their puff pieces correctly)

The really funny part here is that they think they have to tell Microsoft to try and get people to migrate. What a hoot. By any measure, MS is its own worst enemy when it comes to new releases of things, trying to get people who are happy where they are to move. Or at least comfortably miserable. Look at how hard they are trying to get people of XP and how slowly that is going....

Google Wave: ".. It still has a modicum of promise, but Google should focus on Chrome OS and forget about Wave."

Contradicts itself inside the sentence even! If it has promise, why drop it? Is Google in danger of going out of business because they are experimenting with something new? Can they not afford to fund the Wave?

I have a Wave account, and I'll admit that it is not ready for prime time, and it may never be... but it just got started! Look how many years MS funded the Xbox at a total loss before it even broke even!

Windows 7 Starter Edition: "... it doesn't even make sense for users to want it."

I agree, except that if users do want it, and it is the only product MS has that will run on a Netbook, why would MS cede that market to Linux? Is this advice that MS should just forget Netbooks, or is it that MS should drop the price of a more fully featured version of Win7, and also slim it down enough to run on a Netbook?

Ain't gonna happen. MS made some really bad choices in how they went about doing the video compositing: they are utterly dependent on higher end graphic hardware than what the current Netbooks have. The choice here is leave the half-ass Win7 in place, extend XP's life even more (and this clown wants to advise them to work hard to get people off Vista), or just let Linux have Netbooks. I think I know what MS will do. It won't start with taking this advice, but it might start with removing some of the restrictions on RAM and hard drive size that Starter Edition has, as those are utterly arbitrary.

Google Nexus One

Kill the Nexus because other Android using phone manufacturers might be unhappy about the competition. Yep. They might be. Seems like Google's problem to me.

The smart phone market is changing so quickly that however it is stacked up now will not be how it is one year from now. Right now, Motorola, a company that was on the brink of exiting the phone market has used Android as a lifeline to return from 1% market share to 13%. they are supposed to just get all huffy because Google is entering the market? They may not like it, but they are not likely to drop Android they they have something better. Ditto all the other Android using Manufacturers. It is not like they would suddenly all switch to WinMo, and it is not like Apple is going to license OS.X Mobile.

From Google's point of view, they may want a pure Android version out there. One that no one has messed with because it was open source and they could! Either way, I think Google is a big kid now, and history says they might even know what they are doing. History of this top 10 list also says Don doesn't.

JooJoo: " .. If you ask me, it should be killed before it's even released. Let's wait for the lawsuits to be hashed out before either company moves forward."

I have watched the Crunchpad / JooJoo thing with interest, and I think that it is probably true that the JooJoo is going to implode. It feels a lot like one of those stores that opens in a "location of doom": you just know it is not going to make it.

But it might, and that was the palace intrigue around the device that led to the people that at least co-created the JooJoo-when-it-was-CrunchPad getting screwed.

The thing is that the Apple device is coming, and not getting out there now means letting Apple define the category for years to come. That will probably happen anyway.

This is the least bad of the "Must be Killed's" though, to be sure. The moral issues here are strong enough that I would be comfortable saying it should not be released. Just because Apple is going to crush the market segment does not mean you get to crush the people you were working with, which is what we are being told happened with the JooJoo.

The Ultraportable Notebook

Coming strong off the JooJoo win, the list is dropped right back into the ditch from whence it came.

Just because the category is sandwiched between two other categories, it must die? Again, nothing about profit is alleged: We are told to assume that the people making these things don't apparently know that they are losing money making them.

What about Tablets? what happens when there is a market switch again, and say tablets eat a category, like say Netbooks. What if there are left people that want small computers with real keyboards? Seems like the Don-ster does not look around at trends much, and is not comfortable with others placing bets that he has no skin in.

Here is mine: Acer. Eee PC, and the other Ultra-Portable manufacturers are trying to be sure that if this market takes off, they are the one that is there first, with the name recognition. No one wants to be the last to enter the market segment again, and be left out in the cold when the shipments are counted. See Netbooks for details.

Blackberry OS (In its current form)

OK: 2 for 10. As long as it is stipulated that they actually have to have something better before they just go kill BBOS. BBOS (or whatever it is called under the covers) is a mess. It really does need to be tossed for something like Android with the email bits that make the MS Exchange and remote management stuff work ported / rewritten / modernized.

The funny thing is that Don appears to think this will be his least popular recommendation. Weird.


Anamen said...

I tryed to install with a dual boot linux mint 8 y windows 7 in a acer inspire one without cd unit, but the sound in mint does not work... any idea?

thanks in advance

Steve Carl said...

My Acer is not immediately available to look at, so I can't do anything specific to help at the moment. It is 1000 km from here.

I have Mint / XP dual booting in it without issue though, so I am inclined to think that you will have to do some problem determination. Windows 7 should not alter how Mint see's hardware in terms of detection, so the fact that mine is XP and yours in Windows 7 should not be a difference that causes a problem.

I would start with dmesg, and see if there are messages in there about the sound hardware being detected at all. Also I would look just to be sure that both the hardware volume *and* the software volumes are both turned up. Several times I have had a quiet system when I had the volume all the way up in the hardware only to see that I had the software slider in the application turned all the way down.

Steve Carl said...

The Acer returned today, and I looked at it, and verified that sound was working. I had forgotten however that I had Ubuntu 9.10 on there at the moment. That is the basis for Mint 8, but not exactly the same.

I am updating to totally current service (it had not been updated in months) to see if that makes a difference, but I am betting it does nor.