Altabel Group's Blog

Archive for November 2010

Nowadays it’s quite popular to complain of the state of Java. What is the right approach for the future of Java? At this point Java is still alive waiting to adapt to its new features – the new edition of Java will be in 2011 followed by “another in 2012.” There are said to be four prospects for Java: “the status quo, forking Java, creation of an independent consortium, and total abandonment.”

In order to conquer the Java place in the market, another technology shall provide a similar, but better coverage. There is no indication for such a technology right now.
The real problem is if the Java extension on the future: if will use future opportunities or will just be complemented with other distinct technologies.

On the other hand it seems like Java is slowly killing itself. Innovation is non-existing, platform independence is slowly disappearing and Oracles behavior is scaring others than just the accused. The question is if Java has fulfilled its role and duty? Perhaps it time for new species to evolve as Darwin would have said.

In the world of software, everything is eventually replaced by the next big idea… It’s just a matter of time… Is it time to consider replacing Java?

BR,
Kristina Kozlova
Altabel Group

Are you on Facebook? I’d like to know the quirks, issues and annoyances you deal with on this social network. Whether you use Facebook to connect with friends or to manage your company’s brands, chances are you’ve found the service lacking. It could be something inherent to the site (like confusing security controls), how your friends use it (to invite you to play FarmVille) or something the site doesn’t do at all but should (such as offer a dislike button). Bellow you may find LI members’ opinions about FaceBook’s lacks.

“Incessant invitations to join it. And these are invitations from people whose names I don’t recognize.”
Martha Retallick

“1. Ads on the right column. I’ve installed a plug-in to hide them in my Safari 5
2. Ads…ops did I say ads twice? :-)”
Artyom Diogtev

“I think Facebook is like any other application. It has its place alongside LinkedIn and Twitter for those wanting to use it. You need to learn the best ways to use it for yourself, be wary of intrusions on your privacy, and then enjoy its positive aspects (like finding people you’ve lost touch with and never expected to connect with again). To answer the question, games are my biggest pet peeve.”
Pat Lovenhart (Tiliakos)

“What annoys me about facebook isn’t really “about facebook.” It’s more about the common situation of people who don’t realize the impact of what they post and talk about. Be smart, be careful.”
Barb Muessig, APR

“The fact that I cannot control everything that I do there, to whom my info is shown (like posts, comments, etc.).”
Sandra B.

“What annoy me are the advertisements & requests to play a game. You can see them on the right hand side of the screen; there are too many of them.”
Daniel L.

“The only thing that gets me really about Facebook is all the applications that you have to be really careful of when it comes to privacy. Some of them can basically relay anything that you post to whoever they wish. I have minimal applications installed and have adapted the ones I do have installed to protect my privacy.”
Simon Barrington

“Everything. It’s too public, too messy, too hard to find out how to use even the smallest feature, too everything!”
Carol Smith

“As a recruiter, one of the things I like about LinkedIn is being able to look at who is looking at me. Facebook doesn’t have that capability. I’ll offer to connect with people here who I might have a mutual interest with. I can’t do that with Facebook.”
Michelle Shemenske

Have something to add? Your opinion is welcome!

BR,
Kristina Kozlova
Altabel Group

Nowadays we have so many means of expressing yourself “visually”. Things that we possess (vestments, gadgets, apartments, etc) can “create” our image – who and what you are – in other people’s minds. As smartphones do, for example.

Below you may find the link for some funny caricatures of typical smartphones users:
http://i.i.com.com/cnwk.1d/i/tim/2010/11/06/ev17d3_610x863.jpg

This creation is the work of C-Section Comics, and it offers a giddily sobering view of the emotions/impressions surrounding each phone.

Well, of the three main smartphone types only the typical iPhone user is well feminine. Typical iPhone users apparently not only see themselves as girls, but are seen by those beholden to other smartphones as girls too.

Apparently, BlackBerry users imagine iPhone users to be very small girls indeed. On the other hand, iPhone users see BlackBerry users as an aging entity not entirely dissimilar to a cross between Cary Grant and John McCain.

The typical Android user apparently thinks he’s Einstein. However, while an iPhone user considers an Android user to be a mere goofy little nerd with all the muscles of mussels, the BlackBerry user isn’t quite so complimentary. BlackBerry users think of Android users as pizza delivery boys.

Enjoy :)

Regards,
Helen Boyarchuk
Altabel Group
http://www.altabel.com

Maybe it’s too early to judge, but I’m curious if Microsoft will be able to do it? ;)

I should admit that the majority of the LI members were skeptical about this point. You can find their opinions bellow.

«Incredibly unlikely.
All indications are that few are interested in developing third party apps, with the consequence that there isn’t a vital and growing “WinApp Portal” akin to the Apple “App Store” or to Android Market.
And both Apple and Android are actively heading down the tablet apps paths, when Microsoft is still on the “interest in our telephony platform is waning” path.
It would take something rather enormous coming rapidly from a company (MSFT) that isn’t terribly rapid anymore to change that trend. Witness how Longhorn, started in 2001, targeted for 2003 release, was gutted of intended features, and was released, as the generally-considered-failed Vista product in 2007, four years late, and a whole lot unpopular.»
Chris Browne
Database Architect at Afilias

«I’d say that it’s late to the party. Late as in showing up at 1:30am with a case of generic beer, and getting annoyed when no one else wants to play Twister.
They’re behind the 8 ball on their competitors, the offering isn’t *that* unique, and they want you play their game and ignore what’s already been happening.»
Fred Brumwell
Community leader

«Windows 7? No. Not a chance. As even Microsoft’s own Ballmer has said, “Developers, developers, developers”
There are so few apps, and iPhone has over 300,000 now. The iPhone owns so much mindshare and market share, that it is too late to try and break without overwhelming appealing reasons. And Windows just offer nothing. Nothing compelling.
Windows 7 mobile is a tired port of a very clunky OS. It does little new and is a bad implementation for mobile. The touch interface is not effective. And each hardware manufacturer offers enough different hardware to make the Mobile OS difficult to customize and work correctly on the device.
Even Android found this past quarter was flat compared to iPhone. And Android is the only other mobile implementation with a chance of competing for development and market share.
Right now, Android and iPhone are where developers want to create apps. And where consumers and businesses want to purchase.»
Greg Poulos
President Bluefin Productions Inc.

«Not at all. Even without taking into consideration the quality of devices themselves, Microsoft simply has bad fame into this segment, especially if compared to Apple.
Microsoft could deliver some Apple-something killer within 10 years, under these conditions:
– They do great with every new product
– They don’t come out with another shameful product anymore
– Apple sleeps in the meanwhile.»
Valerio Muzi
Freelance IT consultant and software architect

Perhaps you have a different opinion on this issue? Please share it with us.

BR,
Kristina Kozlova
Altabel Group
http://www.altabel.com

Google and Apple are well-known rivals for the mobile OS share at the smartphone battlefield. By now the competition has already extended to the other field – the tablet market. The tablet market was pioneered by Apple with its iPad. It has been months that they faced no competition and Apple is currently dominating: the iPad started shipping in April and became an instant hit, and Apple reported selling more than 7 million iPads by the end of September. Research firm Strategy Analytics released data showing Apple with 95% of tablet sales in the quarter ended September 30. Meanwhile, Android’s share of the market slipped to 2.3% from 2.9%.
But it’s evident Android is trying to make headway into this direction. Samsung unveiled its Android-powered Galaxy Tab in early September, while HTC, Dell and Motorola also have Android tablets in the works. In addition, HP, RIM and MS are coming out with tablets, as are Acer and Nokia.

Apple’s dominant market share is already facing a challenge as features such as cameras, Flash support, USB ports, Google Apps integration and portability improvements draw attention to Android tablets. These are some prominent features the iPad lacks. Who knows – maybe Android tablets within a year or year and a half could outsell the iPad. Especially if they still stick to their price advantage. FYI – overall, global tablet sales in the 3rd quarter were 4.4 million, a 26% increase over the 3.5 million units shipped in the 2nd quarter. Analyst firm Gartner has pegged tablet sales worldwide to reach 19.5 million units in 2010, predicting a tripling of tablet sales in 2011 to 54.8 million units. Interesting how will market share shake out in 2011 and couple next years? Clearly Apple won’t retain 95% of the tablet market…

The current market observations show there is sort of customers’ wait-and-see attitude. Many say it’s too early to buy a tablet: devices prices are high, and the tablets variety is too modest.

The army of new tablets with Android and MS OSes is expected to provide users with more choice. At the same time, with dozens or even hundreds of varieties to choose from, ordinary consumers may feel paralyzed about which to buy. And buy iPad :) that is always committed to the form factor and its UI quality. Many iFans anticipate increased possibilities from the next-generation iPad as far as Apple has already shown its willing to cannibalize its own devices lines.

And what do you think: Will the scenario repeat itself (like it has been in the mobile market)? Do you believe Apple will finally dare to take these critical steps or will just remain stuck to its current policy?
You are welcome to leave your comments. Would be happy to hear them.

BR,
Helen Boyarchuk
Altabel Group
http://www.altabel.com

Not so long ago no one was sure if Android would ever be relevant. It made its debut in the fall of 2007, and for the first 2 years of its existence Android had a tough time making first steps. It got its big break last November with the release of the Motorola Droid on the Verizon network.

The real Android explosion has really erupted over the past year. Even in US where iOS popularity and loyalty to it are so high. In the first 6 months of 2010 Android accounted for 30.8% of all smartphone sales in the US – up from just 4.6% in the first half of the year before. Apple’s iOS, on the other hand, slipped from 21.1% in the first half of 2009 to 19.8 % in the first 6 months of 2010. In the 3rd quarter of 2010 in US Android devices accounted for a whopping 44% of smartphones purchased – an increase of 11 percentage points over 2010’s 2nd quarter. Meanwhile, Apple’s iOS was up one point to 23 %. That means Android-powered smartphones outsold iPhones by almost 2 to 1.

Also Gartner research firm has projected that by the end of the year sales of Android devices will exceed those based on the BlackBerry OS and the iPhone OS, meaning that Android will trail only Symbian as the world’s most-used mobile operating system.

Above there are Android numbers compared to iOS’s. Still keep in mind that much of Android’s gains in the market is coming at the BlackBerry manufacturer’s expense rather than Apple, according to industry analysis by NPD. The HTC EVO 4G, Motorola Droid X, and other new high-end Android devices have been gaining momentum at carriers that traditionally have been strong RIM distributors.

And that is how, partially, analysts explained the Android boom. By pointing out the plethora of manufacturers that equip their smartphones with Google’s mobile OS, and highlighting their availability on all the major US carriers.

The interesting thing is that rumors that Apple will soon offer the iPhone to other US carriers besides AT&T pop up on a regular basis. Last month the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple would add Verizon to its US carrier stable early next year.

There is another reason offered for Android’s strong sales – there really hasn’t been any good alternative. For instance, MS’s Windows Mobile faded badly this year, and its Windows Phone 7 has yet to appear on handsets in the US.

And what’s your point of view: Will Android be able to keep its conquering pace same aggressive? What will be its place in future – both in USA and European markets?
Looking forward to see your points of view.

Also it’s interesting if the history [scenario with iOS vs. Android] will repeat itself in the emerging tablet market. If you’d like to look through some thoughts, welcome to read the next discussion called “Tablet market: extension of the Android vs. iOS battlefield”.

BR,
Helen Boyarchuk
Altabel Group
http://www.altabel.com

While studying SharePoint topic, I came across a few very common preconceptions about the technology. There’s no shortage of rumors around SharePoint development, so I thought I’d try to name five of the most common SharePoint myths I’ve heard.

Myth 1: If I learn SharePoint, I’ll be pigeon-holed and never get to work with anything else ever again.
Absolutely, that isn’t true! SharePoint goes hand-in-hand with other Microsoft technologies such as ASP.NET and Silverlight, so you’ll always have opportunities to learn new skills outside of SharePoint itself.

Myth 2: I already know ASP.NET, so picking up SharePoint should be a breeze. After all, it’s just built on top of ASP.NET.
Well, part of this myth is actually true: SharePoint is built on top of ASP.NET, though it relies on a fair number of extensions to ASP.NET to run properly. Learning SharePoint, however, isn’t exactly a weekend activity where watching a few video tutorials and looking at some code samples will get you there. It takes time, patience and resources.

Myth 3: If I work with SharePoint, I won’t get to write much “real code.” Most of the solutions I’ve seen seem to be centered on InfoPath and SharePoint Designer.
Again, this just isn’t true. While you can certainly do a lot with both InfoPath and SharePoint Designer, almost every client would require some sort of custom development (features, web parts, workflows, etc.) that requires writing “real code” in Visual Studio.

Myth 4: I don’t need formal training for SharePoint. If I read some good books and watch all the free videos online, I’ll know enough to get by.
Books and videos are great, but there’s nothing like getting actual hands-on experience in a real training session and listening to the client stories of the folks giving the training. That being said, not all trainers are great trainers. Be judicious in who you choose.

Myth 5: SharePoint is just a fad. If I wait long enough, I won’t need to bother learning it.
SharePoint isn’t a fad, and it isn’t going away. Microsoft has put a ton of money into the research, marketing, and development that went into this product, and you’ve probably noticed by now that they’re re-working a lot of their other products and technologies (which means spending more money) to integrate with it going forward. SharePoint will be around for a while, and SharePoint services won’t be easily commoditized anytime soon.

What myths about SharePoint have you met? Your feedback is welcome!

BR,
Kristina Kozlova
Altabel Group
http://www.altabel.com


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