Monthly Archives: February 2011

How do programmers in the west see programmers in the east?

Another potential issue is the culturally ingrained resistance of Indians to say no to any request, as I believe it is considered rude by them. If you go to an Indian grocery shop and ask for blankets / jewelry / shark fins / whatever, the owner will say “yes sir, in a moment”, then sends out his boy to some other shop in the neighbourhood to fetch the product and proudly presents it to you. Which is good business practice indeed. However, if the same is applied to subcontracting a SW development project with a fixed impossible schedule, the results may be disastrous. This is just speculation from my part though, I have no concrete evidence on whether or not this is really a factor in outsourcing SW development to India.

Observation on cooperation with Indian subcontractors, pretty much matching my past experiences.

Barbara Stauffacher Solomon: a cautionary tale?

In part, women today are facing a storm of conflicting expectations. Women feel that they have to achieve in the workplace, they have to look fabulous, preferably thin as a model, and probably go under the knife for their first nip and tuck before they’re 30. Oh, and besides this they’re supposed to be perfect mothers and wives. They’re obliged to pull all this off simul­taneously. What craziness is that?

Female designer discovers with shock that there’s a price to pay for emancipation.

RIP Pandora, Kindle on the iPhone (and many other content services)

But Apple is not stupid, so they have certainly run the numbers. And so it seems that they have decided that they now have a platform that is so popular, that the services that can’t afford to pay them 30% are not needed anymore. In fact, perhaps it might be more accurate to say, these services aren’t *wanted* any more.

Another take on Apple’s bite of 30% of revenues from App Store subscriptions.

Nokia: Culture will out

Designers are also, by training and predilection, inclined to design for the usual, where engineers are taught a kind of rigor that compels them to account for, and overweight, low-probability events.

Lots of interesting observations on Nokia culture from a former employee.

But my favourite is quoted above: it perfectly explains most of the conflicts between designers and developers I’ve witnessed (or participated in), ever.

Solving The Hacker News Problem

Diversity can be asset in a community. It can also cause friction. In HN’s case, you need only look at a weekly recap of the top submissions to see all the different directions the site is being pulled in. Listed in (totally subjective) order of frequency, you’ll find:

  • General tech industry news of the sort that’s much better surfaced by Techmeme.
  • VC and funding news of the sort that’s much better surfaced by sites like peHUB.
  • Startup launch announcements.
  • Promotions for products and services, usually to the chagrin of HN community members.
  • Pop science.
  • Pop sociology.
  • Pop economics.
  • Pop psychology and relationship advice.
  • Windbag pundit-type blog posts like this one.
  • Business advice and war stories.
  • Technical HOWTOs, comparative evaluations, etc.
more on

Detailed statistics of coming soon.

Why Nobody Can Match the iPad’s Price

At the end of the day, the iPad might be worth well above $500 for all we know. (Part estimates made by component analysts such as iSuppli aren’t very useful because they fail to measure costs of R&D and other factors.) It’s most likely that Apple can afford to absorb the costs of producing and selling the iPad because of the tenacious ecosystem backing it, and also because it has such tight oversight over every aspect of the company to control price.
more on

One of the reasons all “iPad killers” will have such a tough time is the price. What they’re going to do in a week, when iPad 2 will be announced?

At St. Paul ‘wet house,’ liquor can be their life — and death

Hagerman has been drinking for 39 years. He drinks despite decades of lectures, prayers and punishment. He drinks despite two years of homelessness, six DWI convictions, six treatments for alcoholism and 13 months in jail.

What’s ahead for Hagerman? The 54-year-old can see only one thing in his future — more drinking.

That’s why he feels lucky to live in a hospice for alcoholics — St. Anthony Residence in St. Paul. There, 60 men can — and often do — drink until they die.

A report from a hospice for alcoholics, where drinking is allowed.

North Korea’s cinema of dreams

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il’s love of film is well-documented, but few outsiders know that he is revered as a genius of cinema by his own people.

Now, this groundbreaking film opens a window inside the world’s most secretive country and an elite academy, where young actors are hand-picked to serve a massive propaganda machine.

Filmmakers Lynn Lee and James Leong spent more than two years on this project, becoming the first foreigners to film inside Pyongyang’s University of Cinematic and Dramatic Arts.

Carefully peak at members of North Korea’s “high-society”.

‘Apple just f***** over online music subs for the iPhone’ — co-founder on Apple’s 30% cut

If big-hitters like Spotify and Rdio can’t produce the 30% that High Lord Jobs demands, how can they possibly continue to provide their services to iOS apps without increasing their price? The crazy thing is, because of Apple’s price-matching ultimatum, everyone — including users of other smartphone platforms — will have to pay the higher price.

It may one of the few situations when Apple went one step too far. I wonder how it will untangle.