Seesmic before the iPad

Exactly 2 years ago Seesmic purchased Twhirl and shifted from a video conversation platform to a twitter client, i will continue to make a brief overview of the process as it provides a extremely interesting and relevant case.

I started following Seesmic when it was still a video site, behind it is Loic Lemeur a well known entrepreneur highly involved in social media and the father of the LeWeb conference, when he started Seesmic he even moved to San Francisco getting people like Pierre Omidyar, Reid Hoffman, Stephen Case on board and two series of founding $6M each.

By this time there still was no business model but Loic’s goal was to have a impact and create value and like every investor knows, that eventually blooms into a business, by the end of 2008 however there were already signs of trouble with 1/3 of staff being laid off, early into 2009 a web version of Seesmic’s twitter client was released then silence until early 1010 when Loic used Microsoft’s Professional Developers Conference as a platform to launch Seesmic for Blackberry and Android, which signaled the shift toward Windows, Loic himself switching to Windows after complaining about issues upgrading OSX to Snow Leopard.

The mobile and web versions joined the initial desktop Seesmic twitter client that ran on both Windows and OSX courtesy of Twirl’s Adobe Air codebase, so by now you could say that they had everything covered, except one minor thing, the iPhone, and in two days from now the iPad, which brings me to the reason why i started writing this.

Sure, you could argue that they identified the niche in the lucrative and less competitive Blackberry/Windows space, apparently they quickly hired a bunch of romanian windows developers and eventually even partnered with Microsoft to create a windows only flavor of Seesmic for the masses, Seesmic Look, so they could afford to ignore iPhone and the iPad markets, saturated with independent developers and highly competitive, even if Loic had the founds and the levers to give it a edge over anyone else.

Either way Seesmic makes for a extremely interesting case study, i gave up waiting for a native OSX/iPhone client, but things are not looking good for the days ahead, here is how it will look: people opening seesmic.com from a iPhone and more importantly from the iPad will be thrown into a dead-end with broken image links and suggestions to get the Android and Blackberry clients, even if they know the url to the web based Sesmic client they will be unable to access it from mobile browsers, and there is no native Sesmic in the AppStore either, which brings the options to 0.

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DNS spam defined

If you ever did a whois on say google.commiscrosoft.com or yahoo.com you have been most likely been exposed to some obscenity and there is nothing the owners of the named domains can do about it.

This is to say that they or their providers or the dns servers have not been in any way hacked or exploited , responsible for this is a feature (turned into a flaw in the light of this) in whois clients that returns everything within the namespace of the queried domain name.

It did not take long for malicious or plain disgruntled individuals to turn dns spammers by creating a google.com.my.spam.rant.whatever.text.example.com subdomain on their own example.com to spam google whois for example.

As the whois query searches for any entries containing google.com in this case, the subdomain on example.com would be returned too , it is expected behaviour of the program.

Inexplicably unexpected was the exploitation of this , however funny MICROSOFT.COM.SMELLS.SIMPLECODES.COM might look to you , there could have been ways to prevent this being displayed in the whois for microsoft.com

On MS VC++ 2005 reinventing the wheel

It comes as no surprise too , microsoft’s paradigm for adding new features is reinventing the wheel , and they overengineer it just to the point where it is inevitable to break , and impossible to determine why it did so.

Without further adieu let me present MicroSoft Visual C++ 2005 and it’s brand new ‘wheel’ , i mean deployment model , dll’s now have to come with manifests and policies , and rely on the Side-by-Side service and this is is just a rough sketch , you can seehttp://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms235342.aspx for in depth details , there is a method to this madness you know , as always.

To put it bluntly however what you have are :
2 files in %windir%WinSxSManifests , a .cat file (security catalog , for the policy) and a .manifest file (xml file for describing the libraries)
then you have a directory in %windir%WinSxS where you need to put your actual libraries (directory name and filenames being a mix of the name , version , hash , and architecture so you wind up with something like x86_Microsoft.VC80.CRT_1fc8b3b9a1e18e3b_8.0.50608.0_x-ww_6262d37f
, nice )

Ok , so now to the explanation , all that is microsoft striving to accomplish with all this is so we can have different version of the same library for our programs that were built with and require a specific version of it , when all you had to do to achieve this since windows 3.1 till 2000 was drop the library in the same location with the program , as a windows program will always try to load a library from its parent folder first , then start looking in every path for it , so you had different versions of the same library , each with the program that required that version.

There can be much more to be said but i rest my case for now , what are the platforms that are ‘vulnerable’ , i mean capable of this new deployment model you might ask , why it’s NT 5.2 and it’s older brother NT 5.1 (vulgarly known as Windows 2003 and XP respectively)

European Union is being corrupted

A tyrannical ruler of the medieval lands here once said “If you do not want me , well i do want you” when he was opposed to becoming a king , and he had his ways to enforce his saying and overcome all his opposer’s.

Well for the sake of freedom of the european union and the freedom of software let us hope that the same thing does not happen with Mr. Bill Gates too.

Because that is exactly the case nowadays , but to fully understand the situation i have to make a quick recapitulation of the facts.

With a more liberal environment , and smaller control by corporate will Europe and the countries in the European Union have always been a safe heaven and the cradle of open source software movement initiated by it’s american fathers (Richard Stallman , Eric Raymond)

One of the key facts to protect such freedom was the lack of the american software patent laws within Europe , but now that is on the verge of collapse as corporate interests in the growing European software markets have determined companies like microsoft to do everything in their power and seize the new markets.

That is especially understandable when we look at recent global markets analysis that rate america a mature market in means of software , that means it’s rate of growth is small , the concurrence is acerb and the quality standards are high

On the other hand in europe , the young market has a towering growth rate , little to no concurrence , and a callow sense for quality with few exceptions mostly in mission critical and educational organizations.

However there is good news, the European Commission said Thursday that it was not satisfiedwith Microsoft’s proposed licensing program for dozens of communications protocols , and EUdecided to fine Microsoft for anti-trust violations , furthermore EU sleuths think Microsoft sabotaged Windows

The bad news is that EU Council has approved the Software patent directive while making amockery of European ideals and all this whilst acting in collusion with Microsoft, says high-profile MEP Dr. Maria Berger in a press release , she says that the Commission adopted the position of Microsoft founder Bill Gates on the subject “without further thought”. Gates had visited the Commission and the EP in February.

So please , go back home to USA , Mr. Gates , we do not need your abject meddlings nor your frail patents here in the EU.