“Material design” and Google’s strategy

 

Android

Before 2008, smartphones OS market was fragmented.
There were a few big names like Palm and Symbian, but most phone manufacturers were doing their custom operating systems. For example, Motorola alone had five operating systems.
In 2008, Google came out with an open-source smartphone OS.
Mobile phone manufacturers like Samsung, Motorola, and HTC, embraced it and made short-term profits till they got commoditized by a standardized OS controlled by Google.
On the other hand, Nokia and Blackberry decided to ignore and badly lost market share.
Eventually, they embraced it as well, albeit, in different forms but it seems its a bit late.
The only winner (till now) is Apple, who was simultaneously working on iPhone and has held its ground well primarily, due to superior UI design and user experience on iOS.

Material Design

Till 2014, web design has been fragmented, flat design is popular, but no one controls it.
There are a few big names in web UI development like BootstrapFoundation but most companies are either using homegrown or open source jQuery libraries/CSS libraries for design.
In 2014, Google came out with Material Design, and just like Android, it’s being given out for free.
Even Android 5.0 is using the same material design.
While app developers are almost bound to replicate material design for Android apps, the choice of offering the design to web developers is an interesting one.
If a sizable chunk of web developers decide to embrace material design, Google will control look and feel of the web.
If the android apps and websites look similar, then it will only persuade more and more iOS developers to use material design in iOS apps.

The end game is to corner Apple in user experience by producing a design which Apple will be either forced to adopt or create something different and superior.
As far as others big players are concerned, both embracing and ignoring material design will be an equally lousy proposition.

Disclaimer: Thoughts are solely mine. 
Disclosure: I used to work at Google.

Internet activists, the advent of snap judgement and Internet’s permanence

In 2013, we saw how internet activists’ snap judgements about interpretation (or misinterpretation?) of jokes at pycon destroyed the  professional career of two individuals (Source: A Dongle Joke That Spiraled Way Out Of Control).
The internet activism first sympathised with Adria Richards and then decided to side with the developer, eventually both of them (and SendGrid customers temporarily) took a major hit which could probably have been resolved offline and would have never become a part of permanent history.

As if this was not enough, this year the same story has been repeated with Gurubaksh Chahal and his girlfriend Juliet Kakish.
The claim goes that he allegedly hit his girlfriend 117 times and she allegedly suffered bruises and injuries, there is an alleged video of that proving the same (I haven’t been able to find one yet that does not imply it does not exist though) (Source: A Letter To The Board Members Of RadiumOne).

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Thoughts on fixing tech recruiting

Enough articles have been written about engineering crunch in the valley while some solutions like increasing equity grants to engineers have been suggested, the bigger issue of the broken recruiting pipeline has not gained the attention it deserves. Its a job of recruiters to source potential candidates and most recruiters are compensated in form of a percentage (usually 20-30%) of the annual base salary of the hired individual.

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Why Nokia’s (rumored) Android phone is doomed

In Feb 2014, WSJ is reporting that Nokia is working on an Android phone.
In Sept 2010,

Anssi Vanjoki, outgoing head of Nokia’s smartphone division, likens mobile phone makers that adopt Google’s software to Finnish boys who “pee in their pants” for warmth in the winter. Temporary relief is followed by an even worse predicament.  [source]

As someone who has advocated Android for Nokia in the past, I think its just too late now to do that.

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Three reasons why Intel might lose server market even faster than consumer

One of the biggest challenges to Intel’s x86 hegemony in the consumer market has been the emergence of smartphones where ARM-based processors have 90% market share. The PC market where Intel has a stronghold is declining at (estimated) 10% annual rate.

While a lot of coverage has been to given to Intel’s decline in the consumer market, I believe Intel has a tough road ahead in server market too. One major advantage Intel has is the amount of (legacy) code which has been written for x86 (the same thing which keeps Cobol on life support), this advantage is diminishing rapidly due to following trends.

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Thoughts on Bitcoin

A short summary of bitcoin

Electronic money is all about ledger (transactions) which tells who sent money to whom, in standard financial system, central/federal/reserve bank (different nations have different names for these) and by extension, financial institutions are “trusted” to maintain that ledger. Any work which requires a “trusted” party can in principle, be done using cryptography without requiring a “trusted” party and bitcoin is manifestation of that applied to ledger. For more thorough treatment have a look at original paper or this blog post.

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Thoughts on Snapchat’s snafu

Background

A security company reverse engineered Snapchat’s android client and found all the api endpoints (source).
Bigger issue: The published proof of concept of using “find friends” feature to find whether a phone number is registered on Snapchat or not, and if it is, then its associated username and location of the user.
Their claim was that despite informing Snapchat about the hole, Snapchat did nothing about it.
As expected, someone published data of 4.6M registered users (source) using the proof of concept provided. Snapchat responded saying that soon users will be able to opt-out of find friends feature.

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FOSS (Free and Open Source Code) Licensing FAQ

There are two choices while writing on this topic. One is to write a detailed and accurate port. The other is to write a short post. I preferred the second approach and had added appropriate links to dig further.

  1. Target Audience?
    • Someone who is planning to use FOSS, free and open-source code, as a building block for their software development.
    • Someone who wants to contribute to FOSS
    • Someone who wants to release source code of their project in public

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