Tech in the 603, The Granite State Hacker

v.Next Enterprise (You & Kroger)

krogerI ran across this article from Forbes on LinkedIn.  It’s an interesting bit about how Kroger is reacting to the threat that Amazon/Whole Foods suddenly represents in its market segment.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/andyswan/2018/08/14/kroger-fighting-back-amazon-whole-foods/#543edd285ce6

The Amazon/Whole Foods merger represents a heavily modernized re-make of a traditional business, and it is expected to put grave pressure on the rest of the grocery segment.

If your market segment isn’t feeling this kind of pressure already, you likely will be soon.

Your business has only a couple of choices when it comes to modernization.

  1. React to the pressure that your market segment is under already.
  2. Begin preemptively, and be the pressure the rest of your market segment feels going forward.

I remember the days of building “nextgen” software.  That model has scoped up a few times, to vNext services, to next gen infrastructure / cloud, to vNext IT division.

Either way, it’s time to start developing your company’s “nextgen enterprise” strategy.

 

 

Tech in the 603, The Granite State Hacker

Cloud or Windows 8 Killing the PC Market?

Everyone’s busy scratching their heads as of late, and then pointing.  Who’s killing the PC market?  

Slashdotters are loving the idea that it’s Windows 8 ( http://tech.slashdot.org/story/13/04/11/002200/windows-8-killing-pc-sales ).

…but I fully call BS on that.  (Thankfully, Slashdot corrected itself to some extent.)

Then I came across this article by ZD Net blaming the cloud:
http://www.zdnet.com/whos-killing-the-pc-blame-the-cloud-7000013954/#postComment

The CLOUD?

That’s kind of like saying the Boeing 787 is killing the auto industry.

The cloud may be killing the server market, but that’s not the PC market…  the server market is busy supporting the cloud providers, though, so I don’t think they’re too bad off. 

If Windows 8 is holding the PC market back, it’s this:   I have upgraded every PC I touch (and then some) to the latest Windows 8 Pro, with no need for additional hardware, (because you were ill advised (or unadvised) if you’re a Windows user who didn’t take advantage of the $40 PRO edition upgrade offer from MS while you could.)

What’s killing the PC market is rooted in applications… especially games, on a couple levels:

1)  the fact that there’s only ever been one reason to have heavy iron at home:  games.  Games have gotten to the point that spending a few thousand dollars on a new machine won’t significantly improve your desktop gaming experience… so… unless you have that kind of scratch to waste, why bother?

2)  The games people want to play are on mobile devices.  As much as I love my desktop games, there actually have been a few mobile titles that have been engaging enough that I have taken time off from raiding to play them.

There is also the fact that the economy in general sucks, and while older PCs can continue to function, newer PCs are discretionary purchases that can (or must) wait.  

I can say from example, I’m aware of someone who has a laptop that, through what appears to be planned obsolescence, has broken in a couple of “expensive” ways… the display and keyboard are both dead.   Rather than pay a grand or more for repairs that would cost more than a new machine, or even pay the money for the new machine, the solution was to pick up a USB keyboard, and a cheap monitor… it now serves quite adequately as a desktop…  (and it was also upgraded to Windows 8).  (In any case, I’ll never waste money on that brand of laptop again.  🙂  )

If the hardware market wants me to spend, they’ve got to do something that will get me to feel like I’m not burning bucks for 10 additional frames per second, or… change their model… radically. 

Or… show me my favorite desktop title with an improved experience through touch screen…  but even this can be overcome with something like a LEAP Motion sensor for less than $100.

Bottom line… I think what we’re seeing is, for the first time, honest to goodness inflation hitting the PC market, and it’s choking on it.

Tech in the 603, The Granite State Hacker

No Kid Hungry, Resolution To Renew My Commitment

It’s New Years Day, 2013. 

My kids made a comment, this morning, about how commercials on the TV were the same today as they were yesterday.  Without thinking about it, I flatly told them that it doesn’t really work that way; that today isn’t really much different from yesterday. 

I realized right away, even without my wife’s reproving look, that I’d blundered a bit as a dad just then.  I remember being disappointed when I was a kid by how things failed to change over night between New Years Eve & New Years Day.  I had to explain to my kids that the real difference between 2012 and 2013 was not the messages in TV commercials, but what they, themselves, resolved to change…. and the work they put into making that happen.

That, of course, got me thinking about my resolutions for 2013..  I’d tweeted a couple cute ones last night, on New Years Eve…  but there’s one that I’ve been thinking about for a while now that I’ve only hinted at otherwise.

In 2012, I saw how much deeper problems seem to be running, economically….  how even some of my extended family would consider my immediate family’s lackluster financial situation to be a blessing compared to what they’re facing. 

Media news reports that the economy is improving.  That may be true on Wall Street, but it seems hollow on Main Street.  Indeed, the so-called improvements of 2012 feel like they’ve come at the expense of folks who have been on the brink of needing help.  Clearly trickle down economics have failed.  News of improvement only means that people are slower to give… because we’re not in such financial distress, anymore…  right?  Well… worse, with fiscal cliffs and inflation factors threatening to take hold in 2013, who can give?   Sadly, trickle up poverty seems to be in full effect.  

In the meantime, one thing that didn’t work out the way I’d hoped in 2012, was the results from my charity project. 

As a product, I’m very pleased with what I was able to publish in my spare time.  It’s an honest to goodness Sudoku puzzle game for Windows Phone…  no spyware, no malware, no ads, no personal information used or transmitted…   just the kind of game I wanted to play, and something I wanted to share.   I built it using tools that I wanted to work with.  I published it globally for free, and also for the U.S. for $5 with my own personal commitment to donate all proceeds to charity.  (Folks in the U.S. have a choice…  there’s no difference between the free and the paid editions of the app… it’s just if you want to donate to charity or not.)

As a tool for charity to raise funds and/or awareness…  well…  I’m hoping to change it’s past performance.  I understand that it looks bad that I can’t market the app with official cause logos & such from the charity I’ve committed to support…  I asked for permission for that, and for legitimate reasons, I couldn’t.  My hope was that the app would earn the privilege by the contributions it generated.  It’s been tempting to shoot first and apologize later, but in a world of “no good deed goes unpunished”, I didn’t want to take risks I couldn’t back up.

After an experimental social media campaign that mostly just annoyed friends & family on Facebook, I gave up.  There was too much real work that needed my attention.  I couldn’t let an effort that was getting nowhere cause me to fail at stuff like my job.  

I’ve decided to renew my efforts with the hope that it gains some traction at some point… I’m not fighting for the product; I have nothing to prove there. 

It’s the cause.  Helping hungry kids. 

I have yet to figure out exactly what this means… I don’t want to annoy friends & family… but the cause needs hands.

Even if you have no interest in my charity project as a fundraiser, please seriously consider contributing to the cause. Even if you can’t do that…  please help spread the word. 

This is their website:
No Kid Hungry

Tech in the 603, The Granite State Hacker

Time to Remodel the Kitchen?

A few good reasons to consider keeping your IT infrastructure up to snuff…

http://edgewatertech.wordpress.com/2012/08/21/time-to-remodel-the-kitchen/

(I’m honored to have the post accepted & published on Edgewater’s blog.)  🙂 

Tech in the 603, The Granite State Hacker

Facebook’s People Hub Problem

I’ve had this thought cross my mind, too… some time ago, actually.   My smartphone, a Windows Phone, is a natural social network browser; a mature response to “how to make social networking easy, practical, and physically portable”. 

I would roughly guestimate that a good 50% of the OS, fresh out of the box, is dedicated to it (particularly the part known as the “People Hub”).   Interestingly, the People Hub isn’t a Facebook app.   It’s exactly what it sounds like…  a contacts hub, a leads hub, management hub, a communications hub, a social hub…   your people hub.   Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, multiple Exchange domains, even Windows Live.

Some time ago I actually deleted the Facebook app from my phone, because I couldn’t think of a good reason to let it take up space on my phone.  That was when it hit me.  Aside from the basic description in settings here & there, the Facebook brand did not really exist on my phone.  Nor did any of its advertisements.   My phone became the better part of the Facebook experience… without Facebook.

It doesn’t surprise me in the least that this has come to light in the recent IPO.  I gather that Facebook intends to start adding ads to news feeds.  I wonder how long it will be before Facebook starts offering subscriptions to remove them.   Or how long it will be before someone figures out how to filter them out again.
http://www.insidermonkey.com/blog/the-problem-of-mobility-and-facebook%E2%80%99s-battle-for-revenue-10985/

I have to say, though, the Facebook 2.5 update (relatively new) for Windows Phone does offer a couple features that make it worth keeping on the device.

The latest Facebook app can be found here:
http://www.windowsphone.com/en-US/apps/82a23635-5bd9-df11-a844-00237de2db9e

Tech in the 603, The Granite State Hacker

Champions of Disruption

I’ve been noticing lately that truely interesting things only happen on the “edge”. Everything is energy, and everything happens at the point where energy flows are disrupted.

If you don’t believe me, just ask Mother Nature. Take solar energy. Powerful energy flows from our sun and saturates our solar system… but all the amazing things happen where that energy flow is disrupted. The Earth disrupts it, and the result, in this case, is merely life as we know it.

It’s so primal that we’ve abstracted the concept of energy flows, and call it (among other things) currency. When we sell a resource (a form of energy, in a sense), we even call that change “liquidation”.

Sure, potential energy has value, but there are no edges in a region of potential energy. Potential energy is usually static, consistent, and only really exciting for what it could do or become, rather than what it currently is.

Likewise, it’s where disruptions occur that there’s business to be done.

According to this article on Information Week, CIO/CTO’s appear to have generally become change-averse order takers. Surveys cited indicate that many shops are not actively engaged in strategy or business process innovation.

Perhaps they’re still feeling whipped by the whole “IT / Business Alignment” malignment. Maybe they’re afraid of having business process innovation through technology innovation come off as an attempt to drive the business. Ultimately, it seems many are going into survival mode, setting opportunity for change asside in favor of simply maintaining the business.

Maybe the real challenge for IT is to help business figure out that innovation is change, and change is where the action is.

In any case, it seems there’s a lot of potential energy building up out there.

The disruptions must come. Will you be a witness, a victim, or a champion of them?