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January 2011 Archives

January 14, 2011

Predictions for the Rest of 2011

Well, it’s been over a year since I’ve posted a blog entry, and to those who say you should never excuse yourself for long absences, I extend my apologies. And to those who say you should never apologize on your blogs, I must excuse myself for this indescression.

I am writing this blog post in my hotel room after one of the best conferences I have ever been to: CodeMash. Next year do yourself a favor and go. A word of warning though, they increased the conference by 200 seats this year and sold out in under four days. I expect it to not last even a day next year with open ticket sales. I personally intend to avoid that hassle altogether and speak again. Wish me luck.

This year I presented a talk entitled “Pry it from My Cold, Dead Hands: A Survival Guide for Swing Development in the Twenty Teens.” I’ll post the slides on slideshare when I retire the talk. This is, indeed, a prediction for the next year: that I will give this talk again.

Since it is only 15 days into the New Year I will take the liberty of also making a few more predictions. My first 2011 prediction is that Verizon will get the iPhone before apple fixes their problems with the white iPhone. Well, one down four to go.

Next I have a 1 year prediction, related to the content of my talk. Oracle will ship JavaFX 2.0 on time. Or heads will roll. One might give them until Halloween, but since Oracle OpenWorld/JavaOne is earlier that month then it will have to ship before Wal-Mart puts Christmas Trees up for sale. Wait, that’s too aggressive a schedule for anyone to make, so I give them until the JavaOne closing keynote.

Looking out into the 5 year timeframe, I see desktop computing as past its zenith. It is likely there now, but we won’t know because the first little while after the zenith of an arc feels like a steady state. You really cannot call it until things start really crashing down. The prediction to prove it? 2015 is the last year that NetBeans, IntelliJ, or JDeveloper will release an IDE based principally on Swing components. They will either switch to some other toolkit before then (like JavaFX, or HTML) or they will go into the bit bucket and cease being a product as we recognize them today. Swing development will die like COBOL died, living a long and fruitful life in business internal applications. And I’ll probably still be drawing a salary developing Swing UIs long after that.

Next for a 10 year prediction, I look to what is causing the desktop to be at its zenith. For that, it is handheld computing: specifically iPhones, iPads, and their non-apple counterparts. What differentiates desktop computing from handheld computing? The desk or lap, and the keyboard with tactile keys, and the single monitor attached to it and the CPU. Handheld computing does not require a keyboard or a lap/desk. The handheld space looks a lot to be like the desktop space was in the 1990s. Apple is playing the role of, well, Apple and Android is playing the role of the IBM PC Compatible. Apple’s previous incarnation was basically peaking around 1990 with perhaps a little more up to go. But the PC, even though more fragmented, uglier, and full of fighting vendors, wound up eating their lunch. Apple had a total near death experience because even though the walled garden they played in was a true paradise it resulted in inbreeding and stagnation. The PC land was survival of the fittest because of its diversity and was forced to evolve, rather than the sheer force of will that accompanies the birth of successful Apple products. Before 2020 Apple will experience another one of these near death experiences as competitors catch up and change the game. But Apple will survive. Half credit if they actually die.

And I close with a prediction with no timeframe. For this I look to the application market for handheld devices. It truly is a developers dream now. But don’t move into independent apps, it is a fleeting space that will assuredly disappear. The app market will look a lot like the record market of the mid to late 20th century. Publishers will become the pimps, err, I mean professional services managers, of the modern app store. The same techniques, legal and otherwise, that record companies used to get their songs on your radios and in your home stereo systems will be brought to bear on your smart phones and tablets. Individual acts like Rovio will quickly become the pawns that musicians and recording artists are now to the recording industry. While iTunes is helping break those shackles the App Store is starting to make new ones. It will appear to be good at first, but it will eventually suck the life out of the market like manufactured acts have killed CD sales. The good news is that producers and studio musicians still have steady work if they are really good at what they do.

Remember, fame has a price that quiet professionals never have to pay.

January 27, 2011

On Going Dark

One of my favorite songs by Pearl Jam has got to be "In Hiding." It’s a song inspired by a poet/writer who was known for disappearing into his room for days on end, with no contact with the outer world. It's not my favorite because of the lyrics or meaning of the song. The melodics just rock. But the meaning of the song is pretty cool too. Sometimes you just need to check out. And when you are ready to check back in things really haven’t changed, but on the other hand it really has changed a lot because your perspective has changed.

For me, 2010 was a year of checking out of contributing to open source software and participating in 'the scene' so to say. It wasn’t so much that I intended to check out, it just kind of slowly happened and when I realized where I was I just went with the flow for a while. And again, it wasn’t that I conciously checked out, it’s that other things filled the space and time I used to set aside for OSS hacking.

Family was the first to intrude on the space. The beginning of the decline started around November, when the major family focused holidays occur here in the USA. If I was Canadian, the decline may have started in October. And if I was in Europe... I don’t even know what the Christmas season would be like without a precursor holiday like American Thanksgiving. But I had more things I needed to do. More places to be on weekends. There were more weekday evenings that I had tasks to accomplish. And since Groovy and Griffon wasn’t my paying day job I couldn’t exactly work on those on the clock.

And then there was work. Work actually stopped sucking. When I started devoting time on the weekends and evenings to Groovy and Griffon it was mostly as a release for daytime assignments that were absolute crap. I knew it and the powers that be knew it as well, but we both realized that someone had to do it and the most appropriate (available?) person wound up being me. Writing beautiful code and being able to reach into the compiler and make it behave in ways I saw fit was a wonderful salve to the psychic pain that was endured by domesticating the beast I had been bequeathed. It kept my hand to the plow long enough so that someone else could take control. And if I still had that task today, I’m sure I would have tried to quit sometime in the past year.

So in the world of good-fast-cheap (pick two), I chose family and work. You needn’t presume any medical, family, or emotional crisis. There weren’t any dramatic work meetings involving lawyers and contracts. And I sure didn’t win the lottery and buy myself an island off of the Florida Keys. I just needed to go dark because my light only goes so far.

About January 2011

This page contains all entries posted to ... And They Shall Know Me By My Speling Errors in January 2011. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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