The iBubble?

As a kid who took a somewhat early interest in the Internet I can remember all those rosy over the rainbow forecasts the IT analysts of the day used to make in 2000. These forecasts helped fuel insane valuations for Internet company stocks resulting in the dot com bubble that bust in the first couple of months of the following year.
Then I read of 14 year old CEOs of dot coms,of Venture Capital being offered on the basis of business plans sketched on napkins,of overnight millionaires and billionaires. All these stuff felt surreal to me at that time.
Then came the bust. Anyone remember WebVan or LastMinute.com or the countless other dot coms that went bust around then.
I watched on CNN every morning as dot com after dot com went bust. Shattering my dreams of amassing riches untold in this brave new online world.
In three short weeks, every one sobered up. Due dilligence was back in fashion. Sanity was restored.
Seeing all the recent hype and fanfare surrounding Apple’s iPad a rather mundane technological offering complete with an infograph in our local daily The East African Standard a few weeks back I now realize we might have been living through the iBubble in the past 5 or so years.
The iPad will prove a miss and Apple will be thoroughly humbled. The fan boys and analysts will be then have to rethink Mr. Job’s genius and sanity will finally be restored.
Or so I hope.

No You Don’t Asay: Or The Case of That Other Open Source

Today was a good day until by some impulse I decided to stop by Matt Asay’s blog,the open road on the CNet website.
His first article promptly pissed me off. In it he,while criticising fan boys for seeing genius in every move that Apple makes,admitted to being a member of the said fanboy club.
In the post,he in true Steve Balmer like fashion threw around the word innovation to describe Apple’s forays into the worlds of mobile phones and portable digital music players.
In yet another post he made an ill advised criticism of Glynn Moody,who had in his reactions to IBM’s recent patent infringement talk,called on IBM to identify itself with or against the FLOSS movement.
“Who isn’t an opportunist” St. Matt asked smugly.
But what just thoroughly annoyed me was a blog post in which he practically declared open source a passing fad. We are entering a world where the user interface is everything and the source code does not matter. ‘Open source is just a way of writing software’ Mr. Asay said. He went ahead to point out that most people don’t tinker even when they have the ability to do so. Something that apparently we geeks just don’t get.
And in the same vein,he complained of free software being too geeky.
What really ticked me off was the realization that I had come face to face with ‘that open source’. You know the one that came and stole our words,who are attempting to steal our OS,who complain of ‘restrictive’ Free Software licenses and believe Open Source is okay so far as it gives them the opportunity to profit obscenely from it.
In that regard Mr. Asay resembles Apple and is the personification of all that is wrong with that Open Source.
Well Mr. Asay some of us see only good design in what you call Apple’s ‘innovation’. Some of us still believe that no one should become the richest man in the world by peddling computer operating systems and selling air. Some of us believe that technology is most useful when it is being made cheaper,not dumber and moreso in Africa and other developing parts of the world.
In light of this I believe that Mark the Spaceman made a mistake in appointing Mr. Asay COO and that that single decision marks the departure from Ubuntu’s mission of making a human linux in favour of merely selling air.
It feels rather odd to me that folks like Matt Asay would come to geeks who have over 20 short years developed a world class operating system and made it available freely and tell them that they got it wrong. That they outta dumb it down in the name of ‘simplification’ and close it up and sell it.
And while we are on the subject of Macs and FLOSS,apparently the epidemic is fast spreading. Today’s top favorited notice on Identi.ca was a notice by a user voicing concern about the number of Macs running Mac OS at FOSS events.
Apparently the Mac fan boys are on an all out effort to jack the term Open Source having failed otherwise to make us see the sense of splashing out 2 grand, the equivalent of 6 year wages in Kenya on a PC that should cost less than a third of that.
Come to think of it Mr. Asay, in his recent incarnation as a smug self righteous wanna be Steve Jobs like monopolist reminds me of Kenya tech yuppies.