Remember CompuServe?

CompuServeMagazineIt’s another example of how existing technology gets disrupted by new technology and fades away. CompuServe on-line dial-up service was the king of the consumer computer networks in the 80s and into the 90s but got replaced by the Internet. For many the service was the first experience into the online world. According to news reports this week, CompuServe Classic was officially suspended July 1, 2009.

CompuServe was one of the earliest consumer networks. With dial-up modem access it offered person-to-person messages, discussion forums, news and more. Since this was an example of utility computing, the business model was based on subscription fee added to the cost of a phone call for dialing in.

CompuServe got disrupted pretty fast by the Internet when the World Wide Web started to spread with the Mosaic browser. Although the dial-up network provided many services we now take for granted on the Internet, for example news, shopping, travel and so on, the proprietary model did not stand a chance. The Internet was, if you take away the dial-up cost, free. More importantly, the Internet was truly global. In fact, the generative nature of the Internet is so powerful. Anybody can add a service to the Internet. Just install a server somewhere and plug it to the Internet. While CompuServe was great, it was only extended by the private company running it. This is another example of how the generative platform tend to win, if freely allowed to.

Importance of Design Patterns and Frameworks for Software Development

One of the core topics in my Design and Implementation of Software course at Reykjavik University is design patterns.

Design patterns are among the most powerful methods for building large software system. Patterns provide well-know solutions to reoccurring problems that developers are facing. There are several benefits of using patterns if applied correctly. Although design patterns are only over decade old, the science of patterns is becoming established, allowing for consistent communication. By using well-known patterns reusable components can be built in frameworks. Providing frameworks for reusability and separation of concerns is key to software development today.

This article appeared in Icelandic magazine Tölvumál.

Importance of Design Patterns and Frameworks for Software Development

Technology Case Study: WAP

This is an article that I wrote for my New Technology class some years ago. The idea was to explore technologies that go up the Hype Curve and then fail. It’s a nice study of how technology can promise so much and deliver so little.

WAP is a technology that took the world by a storm around 2000. It was destined to be a revolution in the way people used their mobile phones. The Internet in you hands! However, despite the hype and glory, the technology did not live up to expectation and failed. At the same time another comparable technology emerged in Japan and, unlike WAP, became a success.

Today, nobody talks about WAP. Nevertheless, WAP makes a nice case study of how technology can fail in the market place. Some might argue that WAP did not fail and that it still exists today and is widely used. It has huge impact, and has become transparent as most technologies eventually will be. This document is a case study on WAP.

Technology Case Study: WAP