Mocked And Misunderstood

Mocked And Misunderstood:
I woke up thinking about this because before I went to bed last night I watched last night’s episode of Rock Center with Brian Williams. They had a piece on our portfolio company Kickstarter. The piece itself was pretty good. But at the end, Brian Williams discussed it with the Kate Snow (who did the piece), and he said something like “so this is like the guy on the street asking for a handout?”.

[I saw this Rock Center piece as well, and I thought the conclusion was worse because Kate agreed or said that there are nothing to enforce that someone who raised money to do “x” has to do it. I disagree. First of all, it seems like some of the most successful projects are “I can’t make this unless you want it” projects. When people support those projects they’re saying two things. 1) I would like one or more of these items. (A sale!) 2) I’m willing to take the low risk that enough other people will like this that I’m in early. (the risk is low because if it doesn’t fund you don’t get charged). And since you’ve been “promised” a reward in most cases, they have to make the item in order to at least fulfill the rewards. So there is some “insurance” in the social contract. I’m not sure if there is any within the kickstarter agreement.]
Source: A VC

Evaluating alternative Decorator implementations in Ruby

Evaluating alternative Decorator implementations in Ruby:
Recently, decorators have become a big part of my Ruby on Rails life.

We used them heavily in a recent client project, Harold Giménez wrote a great post about them, Avdi Grimm is writing about them in Objects on Rails, and Jeff Casimir has a great presentation about them.

Until recently, I still had some questions, however, such as:

Should I roll my own decorators?
If I roll my own, what are the tradeoffs of different implementations?
Do I care about the “transparent interface” requirements of the Gang of Four’s decorator definition?
Is it good or bad that the decorated object’s class is the decorator instead of the component?

[Good explanations.]

GoDaddy accused of thwarting domain transfers

GoDaddy accused of thwarting domain transfers:
after losing more than 72,000 in five days, things may have changed.

[Is it that ethics is the first thing to go, or where they not there to begin with? (For those of you who don’t know, GoDaddy was supporting SOPA until word got out and people reacted by moving domains away from GoDaddy’s services. Now it would seem that they’re trying to frustrate people into giving up.)]
Source: The Loop

Google and Facebook… they’re never free.

Pusher 2.0:
This also puts the “new business model” mantra in a new light. Remember that the classic business model is a simple monetary trade: the customer gets something of value and they pay money for it. It is fair and easy to understand. The further we go from it, the closer we come to a point where we are forced to choose between going out of business or throwing business ethics out of the window. In order to maintain the illusion that the customer can get something valuable for free, we may have to introduce the illusion that they are getting it for free (while in reality, we collect stuff from them that they may not be inclined to give away). Once you cross that moral event horizon, it becomes much easier to do other objectionable things. I mean, that’s how the new economy works, right?

I’m just thinking out loud and I have no ready-made conclusions to offer, but perhaps we should be a little more hesitant to sing praise of “revolutionary” new ways of doing business. Unless there’s a clear element of trade evident and the terms are set out, chances are that somebody’s getting cheated. Continue reading

[This piece continues my theme that the more convoluted transactions become the more problems they create for our society—Stay close to the source. If I drive to a store and purchase something made by the individual selling it (or at least the person in the shop in the back) that has tremendous social value. And it doesn’t matter if that’s a kitchen knife or software or a bicycle. The longer the chain gets from “I did it” to “you bought it” the chances for negative social effects increases, and happily the positive social effects increase the closer you get to the source. In the case of Google most of us were happy users because of their great search results. That was a long time ago, and they started tracking me long before I paid any attention to them. Facebook’s “sale” takes place when you sign up, with no explanation of the game whatsoever. I recently saw a news program where individuals were asked about the GOP candidates by name. And while I realize it was a produced segment (edited for results) they had no problem finding people who didn’t even know the names of the candidates, never mind anything about them. Considering the barrage of coverage and the endless debates… imagine what people don’t know when it’s actively being hidden from them? ]
Source: The Cynical Musician

Samsung’s Lack of ICS Updates is an Android Problem

Samsung’s Lack of ICS Updates is an Android Problem:
Nobody in the Android ecosystem — not Google, not manufacturers of Android devices, and certainly not the gadget blogs that review and promote them — seems to care about long-term user satisfaction, even when “long-term” is as short as a two-year smartphone contract.

Rich people and gadget bloggers can upgrade their smartphones every 6 months, but what about everyone else? Will most of Android’s userbase feel much loyalty to the platform at their next contract renewal?

[How wasteful is this environmentally? Are these devices being built with recycling or up cycling in mind? They clearly aren’t being built to be useful in the long term (even for computers). I like to think about things that I build in centuries. Preferably 3 centuries. If it lasts 300 years, it’s probably worth investing resources. (For example, if it takes 100 years to produce the tree whose wood I’m using, isn’t 3 times that long feel like it balances out the time it’ll take to regrow that tree?) ]