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 Crimea Seizure, Putin and EuroMaidan

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 Ukraine Finding a Path Between Powers

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 Boycott Adobe Software as Service for Creative Suite

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

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 Why Cover Oregon Website Doesn’t Work

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.

Who Said You Could Remove Features?

The iTunes loving world was rocked with the release of iTunes 11 and the removal of several features.  After something similar with iMovie ’08 and Final Cut Pro X and how high profile those removals were, you’d think that this is an Apple thing – but that would be unfair, since other companies, such as Microsoft and Techsmith also have done this. Software upgrades consist of fixes, improvements and new features. There are times when its right to remove – but most often not.

Now Apple has gone and done it again with Garageband’s loss of podcasting features and also left out iWork features in their most recent update (though claim they will be restored). Should vendors feel they get a pass when they remove features? Continue reading Who Said You Could Remove Features?

Congress Looking at Patent Trolls; Should Look at Software Patents Too

It is good that congress is finally looking at the problem of Patent Trolls, who are notorious for shaking down companies for fees that are just under the cost of litigation. Patent trolls are known especially for pursuing the small fish first and building up a legal warchest of money that allows them to pursue larger and larger targets.

But congress shouldn’t just be looking at patent trolls, they should be looking at the food that makes patent trolls, too. That food comes in several flavors:

  • Patents that are “softwared” versions of something else. If the process exists already in the real world, commonly used or not, an implementation into software isn’t something original, especially if the end result is a process that duplicates the steps of a real world process. Europe has already figured this one out – why can’t we?
  • Patents that are modest extensions onto something else.  Patenting a the behavior of a list on a computer display that provides a “bounce” feedback when you reach the bottom, aka List scrolling and document translation, scaling, and rotation on a touch-screen display. The implementation is modestly original, but not really notable – and its effect, is similar to reaching the edge of anything in software.
  • Patents that are incredibly broad. What is a process that is incredibly broad and applicable to just about anything? Not a process, an idea.

Patent abuse happens for several reasons, but it is systematically allowed because the USPTO rubberstamps just about anything. Our legal venues are packed because of poor governmental management.


Free Mac OS X Mavericks Not New But What Apple Should Do

Many are struck with wonder that Apple would release Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks free. Users back from the heady days of the pre-PPC Macs (a very long suffering people!) know this isn’t such a new thing. Back then, if you could download it or get someone to copy floppies, you could get it for free – unless you really wanted the Apple package of floppies and user guides. And many did – the manuals were quite good and useful. Continue reading Free Mac OS X Mavericks Not New But What Apple Should Do