Archive for Apple

The Future of the Internet…. and the Black Pearl of Freedom

// April 18th, 2012 // Comments Off on The Future of the Internet…. and the Black Pearl of Freedom // Apple, iknode, microsoft, open source

Back when I was in college I was a Linux buff. I had 3 machines and all of them had different Linux distros. I contributed to Gnome and gave free copies of debian and redhat to everybody I knew. As I grew up, I noticed how Microsoft started to become more open, and started paying more attention to its products. Microsoft started softening to open source. I was actually relieved, because everything was not so Black and white, like I thought. Now, Microsoft is loosing grounds, and Apple is taking over. Apple is and has been a lot more closed than anybody in the industry’s history, not only on source code, but also on tactics.

I feel like we are going back in time. Instead of Microsoft and Google taking Open Source to the top, Apple, is taking everything back 20 years. It feels like all the advancement in the industry is lost. Microsoft is definitely loosing relevance, but Google might still be able to pull it off.

I am a big fan of Larry Page, but mostly of Sergey Brin. Their vision makes sense. It is a strategy of business with freedom. They might not be as ‘not-evil’ as they used to be, but the ideals are still there.

Sergey Brin did an interview where he spoke about the open web. How the current ecosystem is becoming too closed. Companies like Google, Yahoo, eBay, and Amazon would not be able to survive in this environment. Even thought Sergey mentions governments as part of the problem, I believe the problem is concentrated on the companies inside the industry. It has become a monopoly-friendly ecosystem. The industry and the government have not been able to set protections for another Microsoft to rise. And the problem is, it already has, and this time is going to be worse. It is Apple.

Nobody notices what is going on in the industry right now. How can a closed ecosystem exist in this era, where open source, freedom and open apis coexist ? It makes me think that maybe freedom is not that important. Comments like this one, make me think that even people I respect are blind to the situation.

The comment is missing the whole point. It is open because NOT ONLY Google can search through it and sell ads against it, in fact is not the only one. It is not about how Google dominates the search market. Because the biggest difference is that Google can be beaten any time by a worthy competitor, Apple can’t. Apple created its own ecosystem, effectively locking out competition. Only Apple can decide what happens in the App Store and in their devices. Google, actually provides a service, which works in the open. Google hasn’t been beaten, not because is the only one that can search through content and sell ads against it, it is because Google does it better.

I believe it is stupid how many people think Apple products are perfect, and lack the understanding that even thought they are quality products, they are on par with the industry. We have been hearing about how Macs are invulnerable to viruses. That idea is not only wrong, is naive. Macs are more vulnerable than Windows. Microsoft has been really good lately at securing the operating system. It is still not perfect but it is way better than Macs.

It seems Apple solution to security is lockdown. They seem to be taking MacOS to a model just like iOS, where only apps from the App store can be installed. They believe that the way to security is removal of freedom.

Segey Brin added more comments this morning through his Google+ account. He focuses more on governments, and leaves Apple and Facebook out of the picture. And even thought I agree with Sergey that governments have too much power now over the internet, I still think the main threat comes from companies like Apple and Facebook.

The whole idea of Freedom is what brought me to create iKnode. I call it my Black Pearl. When we started we saw all these companies like Parse, Kinvey and Stackmob focusing on mobile, specially iOS. And after the market analysis, it does makes sense. But we strongly believe in the Web and the future of it for organizations and software developers; so we put all of our efforts in the Web. We still consider mobile as part of our business model, but the Web is our primary focus.

I believe in the power of freedom, and I believe it is in the web. It is not about opening your source code, it is about allowing innovation to happen freely, and to be able to create an ecosystem where my daughter can be able  to create the next Google.

iKnode: What is in a name?

// November 18th, 2011 // Comments Off on iKnode: What is in a name? // .net, Algorithms, Apple, Architecture, asp.net, cloud computing, iknode

I was recently talking to a friend, and he asked me why I named our project iKnode. He said: “I know you are a fan of Steve Jobs but this is too much”. To be honest, it has nothing to do with Apple or Steve Jobs.

The story begins in 2003 when I was doing my dissertation for my master. I was working for a model to mine data from Data-warehouses to create a knowledge base using Frames and Protegé. I created an engine to do the transformation and mining, at the time I called it IKnow. It was a single engine that only analyzed, and extracted the data to create Ontology classes.

After a couple of years I got interested in distributed systems, and I made the engine run in a distributed fashion and interact with other engines. They could learn to do things, teach others and perform tasks. I figured that code is knowledge. If I wanted the engines to be able to learn and talk to each other they would have to have a common language. I decided to use C# for that. Now I had multiple nodes running on different machines, and I decided to call each node an IKnode. The product as a whole was still called IKnow.

After talking to a friend back in 2006, he mentioned that the name IKnode sounded more interesting than IKnow.  After some consideration I changed the name and the name space of the code. I even bought the  domain. In this same talk, it also came out that for IKnode to be useful you needed a whole team of nodes to perform tasks. And I mentioned to him, jokingly, “There is no I in IKnode”. And then I thought: “But there is an I in IKnode”. And that struck a chord. I thought: “the I is not important, so let’s make it a lower case I”. And that is how the name came to be iKnode. The only letter that is upper case in the name is the K. Which is the whole purpose of the project: Knowledge.

It is interesting to remember how far iKnode has traveled, and how it has grown. I feel like a proud father right now. :D

What tribes are really good for.

// June 23rd, 2011 // Comments Off on What tribes are really good for. // Apple, Windows Vista

The impact of tribes in the tech industry, specifically, is huge, and can be seen easily with the latest release of Apple’s Final Cut Pro X. If you aren’t aware of what the fuzz is about this, you can find about it here, here or here.

It seems the problem is that users are not happy with the release of Final Cut Pro X, an application usedby professional to edit videos and movies. The biggest problem seems to be the lack of features but also the changes in the UI. I am not a user of the application so I can’t really judge. What tihs post is about is Tribes, and how Apple’s tribe makes every single difference in how users perceive changes.

If you read through the news about the topic, there are a lot of bad comments, and the reviews of the application in the App Store are in cases extremely rude. This happened before though, to another company named Microsoft. When Microsoft came out with Windows Vista, their flagship operating system, it was a real backlash, the biggest that anybody has seen in the industry. Even today, Windows Vista is synonymous with Inestability and Failure.

Windows Vista was not a bad product at all, it was actually a great “improvement” in everything, from security to Graphic Design. Innovating in so many things. The problem with Vista was that it forced users to change. The operating system required user to change the way the do things, specially with security. Vista was the right step towards a better operating system, but it wasn’t there yet. Vista was “a true ground-up rewrite with the intention of laying a solid foundation for the long-term future”.

If you read the post by John Grubber, that is exactly what he says about Final Pro X. He mentioned making an analogy of initial Mac OS X with Final Cut Pro X:

“..a true ground-up rewrite with the intention of laying a solid foundation for the long-term future, but, in the short term, lots of missing features and frustrating changes compared to what current users were accustomed..”

This seems a lot like the situation with Vista. The biuggest difference is the tribe. Gruber’s article makes it sound like it is ok for Apple to do this kind of thing, because in the end it may be a better fundamental concept. He also adds:

“This ground-up rewrite may well have been the right thing to do.”

Other comments include:

“Great design, like great music, is almost always foreign at first, if not disturbingly strange. You have to spend time with it. But if it is great, and if you invest your attention, it will change the way you look at the world.” (link).

Robert Scoble mentioned:

“I don’t care what the pros say, I love Apple’s new Final Cut Pro. Agree with @gruber on the topic. Great companies piss off users sometimes.” (link).

I guess Microsoft is a great company, but what is the difference between Microsoft and Apple? This is a big difference in attitute from the Vista backlash. The difference is the tribe. Apple’s tribe accept what the tribe leader does, and even supports it. I don’t really have anything against the Apple tribe, I just think this is really interesting. All critics agreed back then that Vista was the best thing that Microsoft could do, and it was also a step in the right direction. I don’t doubt Final Cut Pro X is also a step in the right direction.

The reaction is very different from waht Microsoft experienced. I guess Microsoft should start listening more to Seth Gooding. Success is not only about making great products, it is about creating a trust with its users. This is really what tribes are good for.