Yesterday’s major news: Mubarak resigned in Egypt, Nokia went with Microsoft. Yes, yes, I’m sort of late to write my thoughts about these, but I think I should start blogging a little bit more often. I spend too much time writing comments about things and putting meager little blurbs about stuff to identi.ca and Twitter. So here’s some verbose commentary.
I don’t follow world politics much, but the Egyptian situation does warrant a few bits of commentary - purely from the scam point of view. I’m not really concerned of pyramid scams (*that dutiful comment done, I’m patiently waiting for folks to stop groaning — go ahead, take your time!*) but the advance fee frauds. These scams definitely seem to follow the shakes in African and Middle-Eastern politics, and the scammers have created an impressive array of fictional characters based on and inspired by real people. It didn’t take too much time until people saw emails from American soldiers having a little bit of problems getting Taliban money out of Afghanistan, or before quite a few people in Iraq said they just might get their hands into Saddam’s bank account if they just got a little bit of monetary boost to grease palms and such.
The countdown to someone claiming to have Mubarak’s money has started. It doesn’t matter if he even had a secret bank account somewhere. That’s the beauty of these scams, remember? Beware of this stuff, and don’t fall for it.
Next up, Nokia and Microsoft. I have to say that over the years, I’ve both been perplexed by and admired Nokia’s software strategy. They seem to have had more than some clue what comes to open source software. I definitely want to thank Nokia for buying Trolltech and liberating Qt, even though I don’t personally use too many Qt apps (uh, of my day-to-day apps, there’s VLC and… little else, I guess.) MeeGo, or whatever it has been called over the years and whatever it’s called tomorrow, seemed like an interesting concept.
Yet, there’s always, always been some strange Not Invented Here syndrome going on in the Nokia systems. Nokia seemed to pick up technologies that worked, not technologies that made sense for future growth.
Until the end of the last year, I used a Nokia 9110 cellphone, which was based on… wait for it… GEOS. You can bet the brand name made an old Commodore 64 user raise eyebrows. You can bet GEOS looked neat 10 years ago: it was an impressive operating system and no other cellphone used it. And no other cellphone used it afterwards either. There’s no bloody compatibility with current software in any shape or form. Now, I have a Nokia 7020, which is based on S60 series, and is considerably more compatible with stuff. You can actually run Java in this thing. But still…
And I’m really, really afraid that Nokia picked the wrong partner this time. The world was rightfully unimpressed by Windows Phone 7, and this is a desperate last-ditch attempt by both Microsoft and Nokia to gain relevance. Apple uses iOS, and they’ve had resources to shape it up into a respectable platform, even if they use it only for their own nefarious world domination purposes. The rest of the industry seems to back Android, and that’s for a good reason — incidentally, the exact same reason Nokia backed MeeGo and Symbian: It’s an open platform based on open technology specifications, open source, and a conspicuous lack of gigantic license fees. So why didn’t Nokia just finally admit that the Not Invented Here syndrome was silly and wrong, and go with Android?
This move had everything to do with politics, and nothing to do with sound, comprehensible technological choices. This stuff is comparable to the PlayStation fiasco where Nintendo and Sony parted ways and Nintendo partnered with Philips instead. You may have heard of this “PlayStation” thing, and wish you had never heard of Nintendo’s CD-i misadventures.
Now, as evidenced by the long time I used my 9110, Nokia fortunately makes phones that last pretty long time. I fully expect to switch to an Android-based Nokia phone around 2018… assuming the company is still afloat at that time.