Tuesday, January 24, 2006

RIAA lawsuits hit close to home.

This past weekend, my wife gets a phone call from a former co-worker and friend... She proceeds to tell my wife that she got a notice that several top record companys (like Motown) are suing her for song sharing.  1500 counts at $750 each... ouch.  My wife, having discussed this very thing a couple of years ago and how the RIAA is actively suing, even 80 year grandmothers for peer-to-peer sharing, proceeded to tell her friend to “get and lawyer and settle as quickly and and for as little as you possibly can.”  This turned out to be the best advice... It looks like she is settling for only $4800 total, plus lawyer fees.  Also, after a few Google searchs, my wife's freind quickly found out that all the previously filed suits either settled or lost in court.  This bostered her resolve to settle as quickly as possible and not try and fight it.

Apparently, this all started when my wife's freind's daughter signed up for Limewire and proceeded to download like crazy.  It's sad, actually.  That is why as soon as I found my kids had signed up for BearShare (a similar peer-to-peer service), I proceeded to clamp down the firewall at the home network to totally block all peer-to-peer technologies, Gnutella, Napster, Limewire, BearShare, etc...  The last thing I need is to be served with a lawsuit because my children were downloading massive amounts of songs, movies, etc...  Keep a very close eye on what and where your children are surfing.  I've also setup a web proxy that all the children use that blocks adds, popups, and looks for sexually explicit material and blocks it.  The good thing is that it is, at times a little over zealous.  That's good because, the kids will now come to me and say, “Dad, I can't get to site 'abc.com.'“  That allows me to screen the site and if I approve of it, I can simply add it to the exception list.

I feel really bad for this freind since it totally blindsided her and her family.  The good side is that for this family, $4800 isn't going to sink them, but it will hurt.  Imagine if this happened to a far less financially capable family or person... like those 80 year-old grandmothers living on a fixed income.

Monday, January 23, 2006

New cell phone ring-tones...

Hitachi has been kind enough to put out this knowledge-base article that has links to several wave files that are recordings of various hard drives at the moment of their death.  Not for the sqeamish or if you hate the sound of fingernails scraped on a chalkboard.  I think I'll have to make that “slow spindle motor” file the ring tone on my cell phone.  That way I can walk into a data center (or computer store) and if someone calls me, watch all the techs freak out ;-)...

Thursday, January 19, 2006

BDS2006 reviews.

Huw Collingbourne of Bitwise magazine has written a very good review of BDS 2006.  Bitwise has also published a review of BDS2006 written by a Visual Studio guy, Dermont Hogan.  While he wasn't conviced to switch tools, I found this thoughtful review to be well considered and balanced.  Thanks, Huw and Dermot!

Update:  Speaking of reviews...  This one is a little confusing.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Hehe... I love it when..

Ideas forged many months ago finally come to fruition.  Case in point... Check out this post by Mr. Live Templates, Adam, himself...  When designing the live templates, we knew that we wanted something open and extensible.  I think we got pretty close.

What about Personal and Trial editions of Delphi 2006?

Marco brought up a sometimes hot topic on his blog about Delphi Trial and Personal editions.  His first line “Delphi has been out from some time,” is a little interesting to me... Hmmm... Delphi/BDS 2006 was RTM'd (that's Released To Manufacturing) only about two months ago, and it has only been GA (Generally Available... another sales/marketing term) for only about a month.  Update 1 for the C++Builder portions has been around for only a month as well.  In my mind it is a little too soon to be clamouring for these editions.  If you've watched this pattern in past releases it should be quite clear as to our normal time-line for releasing additional product editions in different types of packaging.  There are very good reasons why it is done this way.

Let's examine the trial edition first.  What is its purpose?  I think we'd all agree that it is a sales and marketing tool designed to allow prospective customers to “kick the tires” and to evaluate the product in order to decide whether or not they want to actually purchase it.  It is not there so that some group of nefarious individuals can hack at it to try and bypass all the “trial-ness” in order to get a non-time-limited version of the product.  Then there is the obvious next question, “If that is the case, why not have the trial available as early as possible?”  Now this is both a mix of my opinion and actual facts... first of all, for my Capitalistic/free market side it is simply a matter of economics.  If we released a trial edition too soon after a product release, we stand a very good chance that many of the undecided early adopters would delay their purchasing descisions under the guise of “evaluating the product.”  So instead of building up product demand in anticipation of the product release to the point that there are a lot of early orders ready to go on the RTM date, we risk a very soft start to the product release.  Nothing generates excitement and attention to a product quite like pent-up demand.

Another more pragmatic reason to delaying the release of a trial is to simply allow the real product to “bake“ out in customer's hands in order to guage its response.  This is also so that we can get a very wide range of product feedback which would drive our descisions about whether or not a product update is critically needed.  So from a sales/marketing perspective you always want to “put your best foot forward.“  One way to do that is to base your trial edition on some post-RTM product update.

Now what about the “Personal“ or sometimes referred to as “Standard“ editions?  These are the so-called economy/hobbiest editions.  Again, these are typically at a lower price-point or even sometimes free as part of book or magazine bundles.  So in a real sense they are treated very similar to a trial edition.  From a purely economic standpoint, it makes sense to delay or limit the availablility of such editions, at least early in a product release cycle.

Now I want to be perfectly crystal clear here.  We (Borland) do not deny nor ignore the benefits gained by giving our customers and potential customers more choices to purchase the product or for them to evaluate it.  Both of the above editions are extremely important to the overall success of Delphi/BDS during the product release cycle.  Of course I cannot make any kind of announcements as to when and if a trial or personal edition will be available.  These editions are not only products but are also sales/marketing tools that need to be carefully and methodically deployed at a time we feel they'll provide the most benefit and the least amount of detriment to the market.  I will say, however, that when and if we release trial and/or personal editions, most of you will be pleased with how things played out.  Just as BDS2006 is a very different product from previous releases, so too will be the marketing.  So keep watching during the coming months for some interesting things.

So if you've been waiting for us to release a trial edition and are “on the fence“ about purchasing or upgrading, I encourage to you go ahead buy today.  Borland has a 30-day return policy (this depends upon the region so please check with your local Borland rep for details), so you'd still be able to evaluate the product for up to 30-days.  Product reviews are beginning to come out and early results are extremely positive.  If you're a VCL Win32 Delphi or C++Builder developer and are still using Delphi 5,6, or 7 or C++Builder 5 or 6, this is definately the edition to buy.  For the C# and Delphi/.NET developers, you too will find many of the new features available to be well worth the upgrade as well.

Finally, on behalf of the BDS team I'd like to thank Marco for his long running support of Delphi and the Delphi community.  I can, without a doubt, say that he is highly admired and respected by the team. His feedback, ideas, and thoughts carry a lot of weight.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Some performance hints...

I'd been meaning to write up some information about the new “-p” switch in BDS 4.0 (Delphi/C++Builder/C#Builder 2006), but it seems that Mark Edington beat me to it.   So I'll just post a link instead:  Startup Times and the Kitchen Sink

Friday, January 6, 2006

And now for something...

Completely different...  I usually spend a few moments and check out the latest in gadget-tech and auto-tech each day.  Today, I came across this video of a cool little car.  This little two-seater electric car does 0-60mph in 3 seconds!  Now I understand all the eco-friendly reasons one would have an electric vehicle (or even a hybrid), but frankly they've all been a little too much eco and not enough fun.  Until they can come close to the performance and fun-to-drive factor of a good ole' all American V8, I'll pass.  The video of this electric car is amazing to watch as it catches up with the other cars on the road at an incredible rate.  Of course I'd still miss the gut wrenching, deep throaty growl of a well tuned exhaust.

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

New Year, and a meeting with the CEO

Happy New Year!  I hope your holidays went well.  I'm still recovering from family overload ;-)...  Just prior to the holidays, I'd gotten an invitation to meet one-on-one with Tod Nielsen, Borland's new CEO.  Tod had a stated goal to have 100 one-on-one meetings with individuals throughout the company within the first 100 days of becoming CEO.  I immediately asked to be one of those 100.  Yesterday, Jan 3rd, 2006, was my meeting with Tod.

First off, it was a relatively short meeting, only about 50 minutes.  This was a “getting to know you” kind of meeting, which is much more than I can say about past CEO's and their interest in broad aspects of the company.  I was impressed with his promptness and his clear respect for my time as I respected his.  He's already moved into his office and has put his personal touch on it in the form photos on the walls and other personal items.  One photo was of him and Bill Gates on stage at some launch or presentation event.  That's cool.  Of course there are the obligatory family photos.  Didn't take him long to establish a presence.

I can really only relate my impressions of Tod since the content of the meeting was largely just some personal chit-chat along with other Borland internal issues, ideas, and concerns.  None of which need to, nor should, be divulged.  I tried to keep my answers to his questions long enough to convey what I wanted to say, but short enough to not be rambling on... I think I may have rambled once or twice, but not to an extreme.  Tod listened intently and was not distracted or rushed which really made the whole thing much more comfortable.  This was a chance for both of us to size each other up.  I think I made a good impression... we'll see.

The one thing that really stood out about this meeting and about Tod was that he seemed to know and understand the dynamics of the Delphi market.  He understood the challenges we face and that we have a very loyal and committed customer base.  He's keenly interested in looking at what it would take to grow the Delphi market.  He's also not here with all the answers but is willing to work with us to find the answers.  The arrogance meter barely wiggled!  The confidence meter, however, was pegged.

Again, time will certainly tell, but my initial impressions are very favorable and positive... now comes the hard part; doing the work and getting Highlander out the door over the next release cycle.  Growing the Delphi market is going to be a difficult challenge in and of itself, but I hope to take a good solid crack at it.  One thing that can go a long way to ensure Delphi's continued growth and success is to tell all your friends about all the good stuff you like in Delphi 2006, and tell us (Borland) about all the stuff we need to make better.  I still firmly believe that Delphi/C++Builder market is exactly as I said in this posting from last year.  I'm encouraged to find that our CEO seems to think the same thing.