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2009 Prediction Round-Up

In an effort to follow-up on my predictions from 2009, I’ll look at what I said and whether or not it came about last year.

Tech Predictions for 2009

MICROSOFT
1. Microsoft Sells 125+ Million Copies of Windows 7
Specific numbers don’t seem to have been released yet. We have just heard vague statements like it’s the “best-selling” or “fastest-selling” windows ever”.
2. Live Search Finally Reaches a 15% Market Share
Now finally rebranded to Bing, though it continued to see month over month growth, its growth has been steady, but slower than I predicted or had hoped. It now sits around 10% market share according to ComScore.
3. Yahoo Swaps Their Search Engine For MSN + Cash
Interesting. Yahoo, sort of, swapped their search engine for cash and instead of requesting our MSN portal, they asked for our premium advertiser relationships. This makes the partnership deeper but more complex.
4. Microsoft Zune Will Reach 10% Market Share and Be Released On Windows Mobile Devices
Nope and nope. Zune, like Media Center, continues to outshine competing products and services in a 1:1 comparison. But the overall awareness and most importantly, the surrounding ecosystems, lag significantly behind.
5. Xbox Partners With Hulu and YouTube For Video and PS3 Still Remains Unprofitable.
So far I am zero for five. Xbox has added random services that I have never been interested in using like facebook, last.fm, and twitter – but has not added support, oddly, for more interesting and relevant services like Hulu and YouTube.

APPLE
1. Steve Jobs Steps Down As CEO While In Turn Being Promoted to Chairman of the Board
Nope.
2. iPhone Monthly Sales Top All Other Cell Phones Including RIM
Nope. Though they are getting close. Fourth quarter 2009 showed iPhone sales of 8.7MM vs RIM of 10.1MM.
3. Apple Announces a Windows Home Server Competitor
Nope. Not even a whisper of interest.
4. Release Netbook Product Running Snow Leopard
Nope. Though they finally released a tablet in 2010, which is their answer to this segment.
5. MobileMe Seamlessly Integrates With iWork
Haven’t heard anything around this ability.

GOOGLE
1. Loses 5% Market Share In Search From Dec 2008 Numbers
Nope.
2. Android Ships 10 Million Devices Worldwide
Not sure, but they did go from 1 phone to more than 30 in one year, which is impressive.
3. A Free Version of Android Is Released to PC Manufacturers
Yeap, but not yet for resale. And not android, but Chrome OS – which was the spirit of my intentions with this prediction.
4. Chrome Reaches 10% Market share, at the Primary Expense of Firefox
Nope. Though it did surpass Safari in browser share, which is a big deal given Apple annoyingly installs Safari by default on every iTunes update. Ugggh.
5. Release Cloud-Based Media Player (Think: Picasa or YouTube For Music)
Yes/No. It partnered with Lala to have integrated music within its search results.

+1
1. Netflix Finally Suggests A Movie That I Am Interested In Watching
Still waiting on this one to come true :)

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Feature Request: Windows File Management

In which folder would I save a photo of my wife, during a vacation to Hawaii, that I use as a computer background? I have a folder called family, another one called vacations, and another one called backgrounds. You see people don’t see or think in linear ways or folder systems do. Folders are not built to handle one-to-many relationships where a digital file could qualify for two or more folders.

File management needs to embrace one-to-many relationships, sometimes called tags or labels. Virtual folders where all content is stored in a single area but can be slice any number of ways. This is very effective not just with photos, but with documents as well. Music software already does this incredibly well. Every song has multiple tags including the artist, album, song, length, genre and type. Users can view this single instance of data any number of ways.

Why this works with music is because these tags are pre-populated and for it to works for photos and documents the same needs to be true. A user should not have to tell the file system that an excel sheet is a “document” or that a jpeg is a “photo”. These tags should be automatic. The file system should also look into the file to identify weighted words like ‘agenda’ ‘family’ ‘July 15th’ ‘comcast’ and create tags for these as well. Files and folders should be self-aware, creating suggestions for the user to confirm if needed – rather than create from scratch.

It is the difference between managed files and manual files. Like a good netflix movie recommendation, or a Zune music recommendation, or a digg news story recommendation – file names and folders should also be recommended verse making a users do everything from scratch.

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Digital Life Principles

As many people are spending more time on their computers for work time and personal life – there becomes a relationship of expectations.

Here are a few principles I can come to expect from the many touch points of my digital life:

Interruption: There is too much noise going on while using a computer. Interruptive messages are many times indicative of bad software. Confirmation messages happen when the software doesn’t understand their own user and needs to verify an action. Smart software should more fully understand the user, their actions, and most importantly, their destination. Message prompts should understand the most common scenarios and not treat everything equally. Deleting a recently saved excel document might deserve a confirmation where deleting a desktop shortcut might not. Interruptive messages should be contextually aware.

An example of this would be deleting a shortcut. Since a shortcut is by nature, a redundant copy of something – getting rid of it is never permanent as you will always have a backup. Confirming the deletion of a shortcut at the point of deletion and then again while emptying the trash is not necessary.

Locking Up: Notifications should not be hostile. The window I am using should not lock up nor should any application. Messages should be conveyed in a similar manner that I converse with people. Specifically, nothing should be held hostage until I confirm or cancel a message. Only the feature that needs confirm to use should be held back. Nothing more, software should not overstep and interrupt my entire experience. Software messages, errors, and prompts should always be considerate and not lock up anything more than completely necessary.

An example of this would be while in Internet Explorer, if I want to save a webpage to one of my favorite folders – it will lock up the whole window. Why is the application preventing a users from viewing other tabs, menus, or clicking links when saving a webpage? A user should not have an application lock up entirely during the simple act of saving a favorite.

Premeditation: Great solutions should never require premeditation. In this day and age, I should not have to remember to print out driving directions, sync a latest podcast, or copy a document to a thumb drive, before leaving my house. People cannot be expected to adjust their lives and behavior when software can do it instead. Anywhere access to relevant information and media is inevitable. Software makers are either on that bus or they are getting pass by it.

An example of this would be podcasts on my phone or mp3 player. There are many times I want to download and listen to the latest podcast without having the option to plug it into my computer. I might be in a car, away from my desk, or just out and about. Yet the current workflow requires me to sync back into my computer in order get the content I want while out and about. People should not go through the moment of frustration “I forgot to…”. We should allow access to solutions when the users want them rather than only during a specific window of time.

Single Instances: With the file size of our digital content going from megabits to gigabits to terabits and my personal devices going from a desktop to desktop plus laptop to desktop plus laptop plus netbook – people cannot keep track of all the stuff. Software needs to help minimize the clutter of our digital lives by having only a single instance of every file. That is right, just one. Everything else should be in sync to a single file instance. Changes made to one are applied to all the versions syncing to that one.

An example of this would be with photos. I have dozens of gigabits of photos. Every time they get copied over to another one of my computers, a relationship should form that keeps them in sync. If I backup my hard drive and copy it back to my primary computer – all duplicate files should be understood as duplicates and removed. Regardless if they mirror the same folder tree. The best bet is to reside one copy of everything in the cloud and have everything sync back to that single instance.

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Apple sees Windows 7 as an opportunity to sell Macs | Apple – CNET News

 

This is FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) at its best. Look on any Apple-centric website today and all the buzz is about a few quotes from various Apple ranks. Seems they are waving the right hand to distract while they take something with their left hand – only it is not magic.

Much of the quotes have been centered around Microsoft’s clean-install only option for XP users going to Windows 7. Though this is not ideal for many customers, it is typical when users leap a release cycle. Note that Windows Vista to Seven does not have these extra steps. Who the extra steps apply to our primarily XP users, which operating system was sold between 2001-2006 to consumers.

You might ask what is the comparable upgrade cycle for Mac users who bought their computers during this same time frame??

Zero. Nothing. A big fat dead-end. You CANNOT upgrade to Snow Leopard if you bought a Mac before the Intel switch in 2006. Apple is cutting them out of upgrade options completely. A roommate of mine from college bought a high-end iMac computer in October 2005, right after Apple did a product line refresh. He cannot upgrade to Snow Leopard – as he missed the cut off by 3 months.

Writing articles that say skipping an release of Windows will make the upgrade process have extra steps – is not news.
Apple cutting off millions of Mac customers from upgrading their systems unless they buy brand new computer – is actually news worthy.

Aaron

Additional coverage about Apple poor marketing strategy:
http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/09/10/15/windows_7_to_be_met_with_apples_mac_marketing_blitz.html

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Microsoft Windows Ads – they make me laugh

Lately I have been seeing a lot more Microsoft banner ads on tech sites. And I have to say the results keep making me laugh. They are highly enjoyable to play:

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Aaron

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