Archive for September, 2006

The next bubble

Friday, September 15th, 2006

I started reading TechCrunch a while back and what struck me today is that Web 2.0 (or whatever you call it) looks like a bubble.

Let me explain. At the start of the first bubble everybody had his own business idea and a new way to improve the world with IT. It’s true that the first time around people thought that throwing money at the problem was the way to go. Somehow they didn’t get that not every web app has a market to cover a few millions of expenses and earn the investors the few hundred percent they were hoping for. The bubble burst. Many companies died and the web looked like a forest after a fire.

After a few years of almost zero development some smaller companies started doing great things. A few old technologies were discovered[1], a few buzzwords coined[2] and the web was in a new cycle. From day one people were skeptic about it and a lot of articles were written about why this time it’s not going to leave hundreds of web developers jobless.

Maybe they were right. But it doesn’t mean there is no bubble and that it won’t burst. In the last few days and weeks I’ve seen too much ‘startups’ go into public beta or announcing what new and amazing problem they’re going to solve. Well I don’t really have any of those problems. And those I do are already being solved by a few Web1.0 and a few Web2.0 applications. Why would any of the new apps be any better? Because they use glows, fades, XHTML, CSS and AJAX?

This time around fewer jobs and less investor money will be lost. What will be lost though are the hopes and dreams of many developers that believed that del.icio.us, flickr and other success stories of the Web2.0 era were just really smart ideas. Naive we all were…

  1. XMLHttpRequest is one of the trademarks of Web2.0 that was available at the time of the Web1.0 but was rediscovered later and is used by most project managers to sell stuff. back
  2. AJAX is short for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML and was coined by JJG @ Adaptive Path to sell the idea of ‘asynchronous’ updates of the page. back

Apple strikes again

Friday, September 15th, 2006

I really like watching Steve talk. What I don’t understand about this last speech is why is the Disney guy talking about why they chose Apple for a partner…

Isn’t it interesting how Apple went back to the original iPod mini design? Are they admitting a mistake?

Technology changing sports

Sunday, September 10th, 2006

A few races back I was debating going to a Formula 1 race to see Michael Schumacher racing. While we were talking about it we figured that you’d probably feel pretty uninformed while watching since there’s no way to know what’s going on in the race – all you see is cars swooshing by. If you’re lucky you can see a big screen with the results or you’re listening to a radio that you can understand (which is hard in Italy). You’d be getting all the excitement of watching it live but you might not even know where or when or why your favorite driver finished the race.

What we finally agreed upon was that Formula 1 organizers should provide a wireless media player that could access video and other data about the race. It would act like a small computer with video capabilites and would make watching a race live a much greater experience. It would have to be cheap to rent and easy to use and the batteries would have to last at least a race and a half.

Well today they anounced such a device. I couldn’t find it on the internet yet but it’s supposed to have access to all cameras (you can switch between them yourself) and a lot of data about the race. I think this is a sign that times are changing and that technology is finally getting into every nook and cranny of our lives.

This is good and bad at the same time. It’s good for a volleyball team when their technologist can tell them where the serves are landing and where the most spikes land. The players are the ones that have to use this data and change their plays accordingly. What I don’t like is traction control, automatic transmission and almost everything else in the racing cars of today. This means that drivers have to do and know much less then they had to in the past. It’s not only more information – it’s less work. Now I’m not saying that racing is easy today, what I am saying is that it’s easier than it used to be.

In any case – Michael Schumacher decided to retire today which means I will never see him race a Formula 1 racing car live. I wasn’t really a big fan of him personally but as a big fan of Ferrari I respected what he and the people he brought (Ross, Jean) did to the red team. Hopefully others will be able to continue…

Slovenia, who represents you?

Saturday, September 9th, 2006

Something this week made me think who the most well known Slovenian is worldwide. For some reason I focused on sports and popular music. In popular music I’d guess it has to be Magnifico:

Original video here.

Siddharta probably isn’t far though:

Original video here.

I don’t want to focus on sports here but I think Janez Brajkovi─Ź is probably going up on the list…

Long time no see – unknown IE bug

Saturday, September 9th, 2006

It’s really been quite a long time since I discovered a bug in IE’s CSS parsing that I didn’t know. I’m not saying that I don’t encounter bugs on a daily basis, but I know what they are and I avoid them accordingly as per Andy’s 4th3rd law of bug hunting. As I didn’t know it existed I didn’t know if they corrected the problem in IE7 but it seems they have – it’d be nice if someone checked the case and report it.

The bug is in parsing CSS files with #id.class formed selectors. It seems that when you have only one in the CSS file it works ok. You can see this in the before section of the case. After you add an additional #id.class rule before it the second one fails.

It’s pretty annoying since I had an element with an id that was one of the rare color coded elements on a site. When I wanted to change the colors with #element.color it didn’t work in IE (yes, I know that .color might not the best idea but believe me, in this case it is). When I wanted to change this to .element.color I found out that this is also broken so under pressure of time I solved it with YAWE (Yet Another Wrapper Element). It works but is a bit uglier.

In about 4 years time I won’t need to think about this anymore…

We’re all the same on the net

Friday, September 1st, 2006

Before going to London this year to @media 2006 I was quite sure that the local web scene is as bad as it gets and that in other “more developed” countries clients know more about the web and developers are more skilled. I was utterly disappointed when I was told by other attendees from various European countries that I was wrong. It seems that this ignorance towards new web technologies and to the real power of the web is widespread.

I was reminded today when I read Rogers post (you can see him here not drinking). The fact that this is true all over the place makes me think about the future of the web.

In a possible future I see the extinction of competent web developers because everybody will presume that all web developers are phoneys. The sort of destiny that probably happened to psychics, magicians and others now known as “charlatans”. Maybe some actually do see the future and can make an elephant disappear – who knows…

Hopefully this won’t happen before the global cooling. If it does I hope I’ll be laughing about it.