How Subscription Based Software is Bad for Customers

Software companies are working hard to convince you that a pure subscription model is good for you.  Sometimes it actually is. But mostly its not, because its implemented in ways that is bad for customers and their businesses. Nowhere is this more apparent than the direction of Adobe Creative Cloud.

Lets start with the painful lesson one user of Creative Suite 6 learned that caused him to invalidate his license and get locked into the subscription model. Continue reading

Tagged ,

Unheard Voices in Ukraine

As many world powers weigh in mostly against the actions Russia (with a mostly silent and non-committal China trying to remain out of the conflict), inevitably the conflict gets reframed to make it easier to understand.  I think that is a disservice to the people of Ukraine.

I have long relations with ethnic Ukrainians and resident Russians in Ukraine (those who also carry a Russian passport), and first and foremost – among all of them – there is an agreement that a Ukraine that is independent of both undue European and Russian influences is the best thing for all Ukrainians.  That may be a dream that died with the fires of the EuroMaidan fueled coup. Continue reading

Will Crimeans Vote to Become Russian on March 16?

A public referendum is coming in Crimea with a simple question: do we continue with Ukraine or with Russia? Of course the EuroMaidan backed Ukraine government rejects the legality of such a vote. Before rushing to accept that this is the appropriate right of determination weighed by a majority of a popular vote – consider if your country would or should allow its states, provinces and districts to, on a popular vote, secede?

If its not okay in your country, why is it okay in Ukraine?

Only those who support breaking away from Ukraine benefit from this vote. It does nothing to change the status quo if it fails, and provides justification of the will of the people if it succeeds. The perhaps subtle and missed message for many in the West is that this  isn’t just a vote by those who have strong ties to Russia, but its also a vote by those who feel the EuroMaidan supported coup in Ukraine is illegal.  You can be certain that only those who vote will be those who have strong feelings either way.

Crimea Seizure, Putin and EuroMaidan

When the Soviet Union came to an end, so did a vast cooperative network of military bases. Ukraine, along with its autonomously ruled Crimea region, provided vast ring of key sea and air bases.  Russia assumed the crown of world recognition (and more importantly, the permanent seat on the UN Security Council), but a separate Ukraine presented reach problems, much as regime changes have wrought problems for US bases found throughout the world.  Russia and Ukraine entered into a treaty to solve just that problem, which included paid for leases and rents. Continue reading

Tagged , , ,

Ukraine Finding a Path Between Powers

I spend a lot of time working with technology companies to form their international strategies, and often the country of Ukraine is a part of that.  Id like to share my insight into what is currently in the news in the West about the country and its people. Let me tell you a bit about my relationship with the country. Most people associate me with Japan because I have established so many successful technology ventures there – but my investment in Ukraine is significant. Continue reading

Tagged , ,

Boycott Adobe Software as Service for Creative Suite

An anonymous reader over on Macintouch wrote this post that clarifies exactly why the software-as-service methodology is completely wrong for its user base. Having Adobe update creative suite automatically, along with any license changes and additions threatens the business model of much of its customer base.

Continue reading

Tagged , ,

Final Steve Ballmer Interview and Yes, It is About the Money

Steve Ballmer is leaving under a cloud, and we all know it. The #Monkeyboy has never been an easy character to like, but I take exception to BusinessInsider’s pot shot over his quote about money, even though the original quoted Mary Jo Foley interview touched on many great decisions he made early on. This is to young master Jay Yarow and others that get lost in the forest of the philosophy of design. It is always about the money. What differs is how you get there.

Continue reading

NORAD Tracks Santa 2013 Returns; Meshbox Design & Mirye Software Back for Year 7

NORAD Tracks Santa is now live again, allowing children throughout the world to learn about Santa and also to track his path on Christmas Eve. This program began in the mid 1950s with radio and telephone, now in its 58th year. Proactive International divisions Meshbox Design and Mirye Software have been corporate contributors since 2006. We are one of very few corporate supporters that have supported the program over consecutive years, though I admit we are probably the smallest contributor.

What do we contribute?  Meshbox Design makes the ultimate 3D Santa Claus for Poser & DAZ Studio, Toon Santa(tm). Each year this model is improved, updated and given a new theme; now in its eighth incarnation. NORAD has used Toon Santa as its official Santa since 2006. The Meshbox team created a special derivation of Toon Santa just for NORAD.

This year, Toon Santa isn’t quite as visible on the main NORAD Tracks Santa site after a major redesign (this happens every year), but you can find him on the NORADHQ page, along with Toon Reindeer. Meshbox Sleigh from Toon Santa’s Sleigh and Sled Garage is also featured on the About Santa’s Sleigh page on the NORAD Tracks Santa site. If you like these characters and models, they are available for licensing through the links above. But this year, you  can also see Toon Santa on the Official NORAD Tracks Santa gear site. Toon Santa may appear elsewhere – keep your eyes peeled.

We used Shade 3D and Smith Micro Poser for Toon Santa and the other models. There isn’t a better combination of tools for creating and animating 3D characters and creating visually stunning scenes. Plus, there’s a free version of Shade to try out – Shade 3D for Unity.



Why Cover Oregon Website Doesn’t Work

The Oregonian and Oregon citizens are up in arms over the Cover Oregon website, the Oregon health exchange site that’s supposed to be the local solution to the also non-working federal site. The problem here aren’t the terms of the agreement or even Oracle, who normally I have no problem bashing because they compete directly with my own Paradigma Software. Continue reading

Could there be an iWork Pro Coming?

Hand in hand with the availability of the free iWorks applications for Mac OS X and iOS, there’s been a stronger message of disappointment from how Apple has modified its applications – dumbing down its components, Keynote, Pages, Numbers. Apple product customers appear to be more forgiving of feature loss between versions, so I can see how Apple would come to the conclusion that wholesale dumbing down is acceptable. But this leads to speculate that the dumbing down could be a forerunner of something new – a cloud enabled iWork Pro.

Following Adobe’s model with Creative Suite, it makes sense. You can cut down on piracy by putting many features on a server. Also, you can make changes to features and licensing whenever you want.

In addition, by giving away a low end version of the software for free, you can very effectively cut into your competitors business. We’ve been very effectively doing this with the free Valentina Studio  and free Valentina Database & Reports Server versions. This strategy isn’t about just increasing awareness – its about shutting down the competition.

You get the free upgrade to Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks, new users get free versions of iWork applications, then its a simple (or not so simple) in-app purchase of iWork Pro. Any of the smaller competitors out there don’t stand much of a chance, so if you are selling competing apps on iTunes or Mac App Store – kiss your slim earnings goodbye.

Tagged ,