FPS games and motion sickness

It used to happen to me in the past. After playing for about 4 or 5 hours, and slightly. After almost 10 years of not playing fps games, I bought myself a copy of Half Life 2, and it hit me like a truck!

I can’t believe the strength of the nausea I experience after only 10 minutes of play. I wonder if it is specific to Half Life 2, or to my XPS’s monitor etc. The problem is trying to figure this out is expensive both in money and health terms. I guess I am really getting older.  I have to lie down now, before I decorate the keyboard in a very unpleasant way!

Aiming for the market share? Think again.

Being the market leader is the dream of almost all companies, unless they have an unusual dislike for success, or that is what we mostly think.We dream of having products or services which dominate the market, but it appears it is possible to make a lot of profit without having a huge market share. There you go: Apple and RIM. How about selling just 3% of the phones and getting 35% of profits in the market? It gets even better according to estimations: they will sell 5% this year, and scoop 58% of market profits. Wall Street Journal says so.I’ve previously written about the absolute control of manufacturers on devices and applications, and these figures prove that it works quite well for them.

You want mobile applications? Then please let us develop them!

I’ve had my eyes on the mobile market for years. I’ve started with j2me apps on a motorola phone, and I’ve developed c# based applications for both that phone and ipaq. In general I loved it. I thought the devices and their future held enourmout potential, and today’s mobile application market is getting close to what I had in mind, especially with IPhone.

The trouble is; developing mobile applications is expensive. Yes, you heard me. Capable devices which also has a market are expensive to buy, since you usually need a developer edition of the device. For Iphone, things are even harder, since you have to have a Mac to develop for it. Combine Mac mini (cheapest you can buy and use for the purpose) and a developer iPhone, and you’re looking at something above 1000$ already. For the slightly interested developer this a really high entry cost. Then there is the issue of distribution, where you have to go through a bunch of processes and get approval from someone (Appple, Google etc) to distribute your application.

If we had a platform like the common PC, for which you can simply develop with some open source tools (or free as in beer ones) the mobile market would be in a much better position. The cheapest combination at the moment seems to be to get an Android phone, somehow crack it (I wonder if that’s legal anyway), and develop for it. Still, I’m not sure if Android’s app store would simply let you publish your application if it was developed on a reguler phone, rather than a registered developer device.

Introducing such a barrier to mobile development may be working for the big names for the moment, but I am certainly not happy about it.

Small cloud vs big clouds

I’ve been thinking about a particular future business and its infrastructure for almost 3 years now. Cloud technologies are quite relevant to what I have in mind, and recently I’ve started to think about working on a set of open source cloud implementaitons.

However, there is a problem. It is not a technical problem, it is an economic one. Amazon, Google and probably MS will be in cloud business in a quite strong way in a couple of years. Amazon and Google do it already, and the cost efficiency of hiring their infrastructure vs creating mine is very, very relevant. Cloud loves hardware, in fact its advantage is at joining rather simpler models of storage and processing with very efficient scaling. So the advantage is about scalibility, and that is dependent on hardware. Now, knowing how to design and build a particular solution to a processing intentsive problem is a valuable asset, but what if your customers do not have the money to buy the hardware that can give the performance you’d like to provide? In these kind of situations hiring cloud capacity from these giants and putting your know how on top of if is more efficient in terms of cost, and many cases will make your services more affordable.

I can see a rough segmentation of market, where in some segments clients prefer rented cloud infrastructure simply for cost benefits, and in others they choose to buy their own farm, either because their data is very sensitive or simply because they have the money.

The other problem is, serious open source cloud technology comes from the giants, like Google who has given us the bigtable, and Yahoo who has improved and tested Hadoop. These companies have the ability to develop these kind of solutions since they need it, and they have to infrastructure and use cases to test it. Without these real life connections, how can a disconnected open source initiative develop alternatives to commercial offerings?

In short, cloud belongs to big names for the moment, and it is alive as open source because they want to keep it alive.  What if this changes in the future? I guess anyone in the field will have to know about these services quite well, just to make sure they can offer it as a lower cost alternative, at least for some cases.