March 20, 2013
So, a couple days ago, the announcement came out that Kevin Lynch, (now) former Adobe CTO is moving to Apple to be the "VP of Technology".
This should have been a non-story, but of course, because Kevin Lynch supported Flash and Flash on mobile in a public way, John Gruber, in a moment of stunning unawareness of How Things Work In A Company When It Is More Than Just You starts up the "This is bad for Apple because Lynch was a Bozo meme. Not just once mind you:
"Exhibit A in the Case That Newly-Hired Apple VP of Technology Kevin Lynch Is a Bozo, a Bad Hire"
"Exhibit B: Defending/Denying Flash Player’s Adverse Effect on Battery Life, a Mere Two Years Ago"
"What I Mean by Bozo"
"New Apple VP of Technology Kevin Lynch Runs Over an iPhone With a Steamroller"
Yes, I am in fact using Comic Sans for those article titles. I think Gruber is being astoundingly stupid here and letting his need to rub Adobe's face in the failure of Flash on mobile override his knowledge of how shit works. Let me be clear, Gruber is not some wide-eyed indie naif with no idea of how companies work. He's been reporting on large companies in the computing arena for over a decade. He knows how shit works in a large company, and he knows that in public, even when it is obvious, obvious that a product is a stinker, the people who speak for the company in public will, in public, support the product. At least they will unless they want to get canned, or are just the worst kind of asshole. In private, who knows what Lynch said about Flash. From my experience with people across Adobe, they are a remarkably self-aware lot. There are some exceptions, but overall, they know what's really up.
In private, they are quite realistic about things. But in public, when Adobe signs your paycheck, you support them. This is not a bozo, this is not someone who is fundamentally stupid or whatever the fuck Gruber's schadenfreude-driven narrative is pushing. This is how things work, and it's not just Adobe by any means. Other examples:
Microsoft on Longhorn. Up until the minute of the famous "Longhorn Reset", in public, Microsoft execs sang the company song on this. Longhorn was real, and it was GOING TO BE IN YOUR HANDS
That nasty-assed Moto iTunes Phone (Hell, Steve Jobs practically used the thing as a taint-tickler and we know that almost no one really thought it was a great product)
Copland (pre-jobs, but hey, dude, that was never happening.)
This is how it works. You take someone's money, especially for a job at Lynch's level, and you sing the company song, because when it doesn't happen, when you have an exec that is shitting on a team's work in public, then the people on that team leave. I think it is fair to say that Flash, at least the plugin, is fixing to go into that long night. Feet first, it's the only way out.
But the people on that team are pretty fucking smart. Even if you don't need them for Flash, you want to keep them, so they can apply that smartness to other projects. As well, the Flash toolset is still being used, as are the servers, and you can see how Adobe has been evolving them for use in a post-Flash world.
Yes, it is frustrating when you see execs defending something that everyone knows is a stinker. If you don't think Phil Schiller hasn't had to do a lot of last-second meditation before going out and trying to convince us that a stinker is really awesome, you're delusional. But he does it, because that's his job. I've had brief conversations with Schiller, mostly about things like Ferraris. (it was part of a group at a WWDC beer bash.) He's not stupid. He's a pretty funny guy as well. But he's really good at what he does, and he knows what his job is.
If Gruber's going to call Lynch a bozo, if you're going to double and treble down on it, then where's the articles calling Schiller and the rest of the Apple executive team, including Jobs, "bozos" for supporting shitty products like the Moto iTunes Phone? Right.
It's not just Gruber. Jim Dalrymple, someone else who knows how shit works in a corporation should start checking his kegerator hoses for mold for agreeing with Gruber on this in his piece, "Bozo":
John Gruber giving his thoughts on Apple’s newest VP Kevin Lynch. There is also an Exhibit B. Like Gruber, it concerns me that Lynch kept beating the Flash drum for so long, even when it was clear it was dead.
Oh come on Jim, it most certainly does not. You've been a part of a largeish corporation before, you know how shit works. The both of them do. Kevin Lynch wasn't doing anything that anyone else in his position, including Gruber wouldn't have done. He was supporting a major company initiative in public. That's not the sign of a bozo, and Gruber needs to stop pretending otherwise.| Comments ()
March 12, 2013
On dedicated disk utilities
Joe Kissell recently wrote a solid article on third-party disk utilities at Macworld.com. In "Do you need a third-party disk utility", he does, I think, a great job of laying out the pros and cons of that line of software, and he has some good points. You don't need them as much as you used to. I always keep a current copy of Disk Warrior, but then, I'm an IT person, and I see things the average person won't in terms of disk problems. That's not because of some weird work my users are doing, but scale. The average person only deals with a few hard drives at most. I deal with a few hundred, and my compatriots deal with a few thousand. That kind of scale introduces you to edge cases more often than most people.
However, he glosses over one of the things that I think make the need for disk utilities, at least in the home, much less than it used to be: backups. Joe does mention it, but I think the change in backing up over the last decade or so, especially in the home/SOHO arena is astounding.
Look at the state of backup a decade ago. Time Machine was still four years away, and backing up, to be honest, sucked. Cloud backup wasn't a real option for most, and the other options sucked just as much if not more. The applications for doing backups were either misapplied business applications, or "scaled down" business applications that made the mistake of assuming a poorly-done UI was okay, because backups are important. People backed up to CDs and DVDs, or worse for the home market, tape. Ugh. Don't get me wrong, tape is awesome, but it can be slow, it's not cheap, and the software to use it is not easy.
But then a few things changed. Like Time Machine, and things like Crash Plan, Dropbox, Google Docs, and a host of other services that made keeping important data in multiple places really easy. I don't exactly live in HIGH BANDWIDTH CENTRAL, (Tallahassee is not Silicon Valley by any means), and yet, i realized the other day that were my laptop to be say, dropped in a pool, it would suck for exactly one reason: Apple doesn't make 17" MacBook Pros anymore. That's it. In terms of data, between Time Machine, CrashPlan Pro, and a host of other things, I'm probably backed up better than when I was sending boxes of DLTs to iron mountain every month, and the software is sure as hell easy to use.
So I think a huge reason why people don't worry about dedicated disk utilities anymore is that backing up has become such a literally thoughtless process, a hard drive crash is no longer the horrifying event it used to be.| Comments ()
March 6, 2013
How I will know when the tech press is post-pubescent
When any and all suggestions for "Why I'm leaving <platform> for <other platform>" articles are laughed out of the building.
There is nothing wrong with articles comparing platforms in and of themselves. A well-written article doing that is useful, and sadly, rare. But the idea that anyone cares what platform any one person is using other than the individual making that decision is just ego. I don't care what Steven Fry nor Neil Gaiman are using at the moment in terms of tech, notebooks, pencils or toilet paper. Because it only matters to them, and as long as they is happy with their choice, awesome for them, regardless of what they choose to use. Fuck, I don't care what Jimmy Page or Prince are using in terms of well, anything. Because I'm not them. I don't have their needs, and I sure as fuck hope they don't have mine.*
All of these kinds of articles, every. single. one. could be better written sans the HAY GUIZE, LOOK AT WHAT I IZ UZIN parts and be just as, if not more useful.
(Although if they need personal IT support, call me, we'll talk!)