Sunday, 14 November 2010

NO! Not the gumdrop buttons…


Who can’t recall the scene in the first Shrek movie when Lord Farquaad mocks the Gingerbread man?

"Run run run as fast as you can, you can't catch me, I'm the ginger bread man!"

Probably this is what the Google guys had in mind when they decided to name Gingerbread their new version of  Android OS to be launched pretty soon: Running and speeding, like Apple does.

After cupcakes, ├ęclair, donuts and frozen yogurts, they really want to add some speed to the market, and catch up with the IOS4.2 as well, scheduled as well soon by the guys from Apple.

The issue here is not that much how fast Gingerbreads can run, but how speedy the handset vendors implement it in their devices. Dell’s Streak, for example is still to get latest updates on Froyo, and many others are still in earlier versions of Android.

Again, one of the apparent disadvantages of Android: Too many versions, too much fragmentation, and handset vendors who will have to squeeze their brains like crazy to avoid squeezing their margins too much when differentiating themselves…

 One of the big opponents and rivals to Android, as we have said before, seems to be the Blackberries and the MeeGos who like Farquaad, seem for the moment much more powerful, bigger and stronger than little Gingerbread Androids, though the latter is biting market share away from them like crazy.

Just having a look to a typical Blackberry or Nokia device, we are not surprised to note how obsessed these two Farquaads can be with buttons, too many of them they have. Maybe they don’t want anybody else with any button at all…

Memento mori


One of the most important celebrations and rites in ancient Rome were the Triumphs. These were ceremonies granted to victorious generals after a successful campaign against an enemy of equal status to theirs. Triumphs, therefore, had no sense when a military campaign was against a slave revolt, for example.

These celebrations were structured around a big military parade which included the victorious general leading his actual troops, treasures and spoils form battle captured to enemy, and enemy leaders too, who were later to be executed in different ways. Celebrations as well included public games and shows, big banquets paid for by the triumphant general, and could eventually last several days.

It was the glory day for the general, who got all the privileges and attention form the whole city of Rome. He was the man of the day, certainly, and not even the Consuls could defy the general’s authority during the triumph.

Military was important for the Romans at that time, and several important Consuls got the job precisely after having succeeded in battle: Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, Julius Caesar, Gaius Marius, Lucius Sulla are good examples, representatives of the top class in the most glorious times of the Roman Republic.

It is said that human beings can live about 40 days without eating, and may survive about 10 days without water, but not more than 10 minutes without some sort of flattering. Aware of this, and with the intention to limit the triumphant general’s self ambitions, custom set that the triumphant general carried behind him in his very chariot a slave who was instructed to whisper regularly in the general’s ear “Remember, sir, that you are still a mortal”…

For more than fifteen years the Microsoft Legions have mastered the IT world like old Romans did in the known world of the time. For fifteen years they have rallied the world with all types of celebrations and triumphal parades. For fifteen years the “Pax Microsoftiana” has set the foundations of the industry.

But it seems the beginning of the end f the world as Microsoft conceived it might not be far from now, and it looks like Gates, Ballmer and their General Staffs have missed the words from the slaves they should have carried in their war chariots in their triumphs, if they ever thought of carrying them.

With their empire seriously threatened, as the Roman one was by the barbarian hordes coming from the North, now they begin to realize that they should have reacted years ago. “We missed the whole cycle”, Big Ape states. Well, more than one big cycle, we’d say. Too comfortable in its own complacency, Microsoft failed to understand there was life beyond their company, and clearly intelligent one.

Still a heavy tanker, though, relying more in the cost of change that their installed base may not be able to afford than in real innovation, it won’t clearly sink fast and easy. Like the Roman Empire, it will fall at one  point in time, though still its heritage might influence their conquerors latently, as Roman culture did since its fall up to this day.

But certainly more in the road to past

History than in the way to the future.