Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Hardware vendors should NOT make software

Hardware and software manufacturing are two different professions. Really. Believe me. Trust me. And if your good at one of these stay away from the other (unless you are Apple.)
The best example is a piece of software that is made by one of the largest and most successful manufacturer of everyday hardware: The 'Nokia PC Suite'.
It is definitely the worst piece of software I have used in years. First it's the only Windows program I've ever seen that somehow tries to render it's own fonts. Look at the image on the right, showing the barely readable menu. And believe me: this image is not compressed or manipulated...
Nice detail is that the Settings menu first item is 'Settings..' which almost sounds like there is way to change Settings like font or fontsize. Well, it's not. You can select where you want your popup when your phone is ringing or if you want to send 'Diagnostic information'. Exactly the two things I could care less. I want to switch off automatic updates ! Thes updates come on regular basis and you get this annoying balloontip warning every time you switch your PC on, so in the end you just have to agree.
Upgrading however has a totally different meaning to Nokia then for example Microsoft. A Nokia 'Upgrade' means downloading a complete 35 MB installation file which leads you through the complete installation every time like it was the first time. It decompresses itself to a giant 290 Megabytes and you cannot leave it in the background since you have to agree to the license, answer the standard installation questions and click to finish. Finally it even wants you to RESTART your computer ! The only funny thing about this is that this is the only window in the suite that uses a clearly readable font.
So the question that really bothers me is 'Why ?' Why can't a company like Nokia, known for it's high level of engineering produce a decent piece of software to support over a billion phones ?
I suppose they just have it developed by trainees that dropped out of the hardware engineering course...

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

I'm not alone in .NET Cross Platform land

So I'm not the only one to work on cross platform .NET applocations (how come I'm not really surprised..?) The Banshee Project is a cross-platform multi media player based on .NET and Mono. Though my only experience with the Banshee player is not positive ( It could not play MP3 without hickups on my EEEPC ) it is a great project to show the power of cross platform development. And I'm sure one of these 95 developeres working on it will eventually solve the EEEPC problem.
Banshee creator Aaron Bockover talks about it in a recent Hanselminutes Podcast. Both the show and the shownotes mention that it will run on Windows, but I actually could not find it on the Banshee homepage. On his Blog he mentions working on it, (despite of his aversion to Windows programming) but the status of it is not really obvious.