One of the bigger VIP clients I regularly deliver English lessons at is working on a really exciting project. Over the last decade they've seen a remarkable amount of growth overseas and have built factories in China, Vietnam, Poland, and Brazil. They're also currently considering opening a new plant in Mexico, and another in South Africa. Fifteen years ago this company was just a twinkle in the eyes of its investors, and now it's a global name in auto manufacturing components. So, as a global organisation, they need a versatile IT backend to support their business needs in real time. Their current system is not capable of keeping up with the needs of a fast-moving company, so it's being redesigned from the ground up. I had a chance to sit down and discuss the project with the lead architect, and some of the decisions they made early on in the design stage have shed a great deal of insight on the fundamental beliefs of the corporation.
Over the last fifteen years I have made several thousand hours of my work available for free online to people who might want to use the tools. This includes everything from simple little WordPress plugins to more complicated offerings like the stand-alone version of Noteworthy1. While much of the work I've put online has been free right from the start there are a few things that I will not do for free, such as providing a complete end-to-end solution. For complete products I typically ask for a small amount of money to make up for the hundreds of hours that have gone into making something. So when I see people offering complete applications that can completely replace existing applications with something that is potentially superior while asking for nothing in return, I start asking questions.
A new release of Evernote is available for download through the Mac AppStore today and, despite all of the promotional videos showing off the new interface, I must admit that I'm quite surprised with some of the changes. The release notes tout over 100 new features that touch the left sidebar, browsing and creating notes, search, collaboration, and a bunch of other improvements, but this doesn't really give the update due justice. It's different. Very different. A good different1.
Software updates at one time were a reason for excitement. What new features would come with the update? Which bugs were squashed? Now, though, updates come with the question of whether or not I can afford the system resource consumption. As developers are asked to do more and more with their products1, we are constantly pushing up against the upper boundaries of what relatively new technology is capable of handling. This is seen all over the software industry but the one piece of software that I have started to rely on the most has also progressed to such an extent that their native applications are just too resource-heavy for me. I speak, of course, about Evernote.
For the better part of five years I've been using an Acer AspireOne netbook for the majority of my development work. Five years ago the original intent of this system was to act as a portable unit to write blog posts while killing time between lessons at the office. That said, I couldn't resist the urge to write software and installed Visual Studio, phpDesigner, and a number of other applications that help me be a productive guy. Unfortunately, there are some problems with this sort of setup.