Thursday 22nd March 2012

I've come to realise more than ever recently that a number of things have Jumped The Shark.  

 

  • Facebook
    No more a social network, than a targeted advertising and gaming platform.  Not even well targeted ads.  Or well targeted games.  Not a day goes by when I don't have to block a person for spam, or block a game for trying to take over my wall.

  • Google+
    Well, I'm afraid it just never really was, was it?

  • eBay
    Full of trolls and shysters. If you're buying Buy It Now, you might as well use Amazon.  If you're bidding on an Auction, forget it.  You'll get sniped by a snipebot.  The common man stands no ground.  It's like eBay has become the High Frequency Algorithmic Trading world of the stock market.

  • PayPal
    You don't have to look far afield anywhere to find a story of someone who's been had by PayPal.  They change their terms and conditions with the wind.  There's conflicting precedents set regarding whether you can use PayPal for charities, for personal collections, and so on.  Used to be good, now... not.

  • Apple
    One of the big two on this list.  Apple used to be the bitch of the Artist.  The hardware was excellent, the software just worked.  Worked in a roundabout way, often, but did, just work.  
    I have spent long days trying to persuade Apple to do things it used to do, but the Powers That Be decided that they would no-longer support a small feature that hardly anyone uses.  That feature, like Frame-packed HDMI 1.4a has such a niche market they decided to abandon it, but thereby destroying the hopes and productivity of anyone from that niche.  

    Apple used to be the Professional's Friend.  Now they're just pandering to the wants and needs of the cunts with the iPads and the iPhones and the iPods.  

  • Ubuntu
    Ah, Ubuntu.  The only linux distribution I've ever really liked.  Decent up-to-date packages, sensible FHS layout (ish). In the days of 10.04, Ubuntu was pretty near perfect. 
    But then, Mark, You introduced Unity. You broke the desktop.  You destroyed my productivity, and you buggered my favourite OS.
    It's just like Apple.  You made a decision to play up to the Desktop Users who want everything shiny, and nice.. Fuck the Enterprise, Fuck the people who just want it to be stable, and familiar.  Fuck the people who want the User Experience to be like they've seen it for the last 5+ years.  Nooo, it's gotta be shiny, and borderless, and that fucking top-level menu.  What the hell?

    Sorry, but Ubuntu jumped the shark too.

  • The internet for developers
    This is a bit of a tenuous title, because I'm not really sure what it's called.
    That thing where you've got an idea, but you lack the agility and funds to do anything about it.  
    What invariably happens is that you shelve the idea for a bit, go off, find people to help you, and when you come back, someone else has beaten you to it.  When you're up against the likes of Zynga, Facebook, Twitter, and the other Giants Of The Internet, it's a bugger to keep up.
    There's also no sensible way to protect your idea.  Software patents in the EU are impossibly worthless.  Not that they're much better anywhere else.  For that matter, even if you did patent something, all it would take would be a different implementation, and you'd still be screwed.

    And another thing... Digital Sharecropping is becoming rife again. Primarily, people are building entire companies to feed off the data that is provided by Twitter and Facebook and Every Other Social Site.  There's a constant struggle between the data providers (who can, and will change their APIs at a moment's notice), and the data consumers (who are at risk of simply being borged by their providers!).  Worse still, there's a very real possibility that you'll spend many hundreds of man-hours, and possibly thousands of dollars (or pounds, or euro) working on "The Next Big Thing", only to find that one of the Giants have been doing the same, and they have a bigger marketing budget than you.  So they effectively pull the rug out from under you.

    Just look at Twitter and t.co for a prime example.  Then count the number of short url providers that they de-rugged.

    Been there.  Done that.

I think the conclusion to draw here, especially in regard to the last point, is that I'm seeing less and less reason to maintain a presence in the application developer community.  

Working with computers had always been fun, but I'm getting the impression that if I'm not fighting the hardware (which I am), then I'm fighting the software.  And when it's neither of those, then I might as well not bother for the fear of being de-rugged by a larger organisation.

So, what's next?

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