Micropayments, writing, and independent software crafting…

…as the drunks say, you can’t fall off the floor. Anyone offering content free gains an advantage that can’t be beaten, only matched, because the competitive answer to free — “I’ll pay you to read my weblog!” — is unsupportable over the long haul….In a world of free content, even the moderate hassle of micropayments greatly damages user preference, and increases their willingness to accept free material as a substitute.” via [The Start of Fee]

I’m afraid he’s right. I do two things to make my living: craft words and craft software. Both careers are severely threatened. Ironically, one of the reasons I dropped out of college was because I could make money crafting software. What did I leave behind? Dual majors in Marine Biology and English. I apparently have a poverty-seeking gene.

One thing that few people have mentioned is that offshoring is a great threat to independent software developers. In the past, I’ve always subsidized my writing by contract work, but the short engagements that I’ve specialized in are flowing offshore at an amazing rate; in the past year, every single small contract negotiation ($5-$20K projects) has revealed that I’m competing against offshore resources. All the offshoring press discusses big IT resources and high-quality teams, but there’s another story, which is the lower-quality teams that are threatening the independent software crafter. Open Source may be a challenge to ISVs, but independent software consulting is almost certainly doomed as a way to make a living wage, at least in urban areas.  

I just visited Text America’s PDC Photoblog and saw Don Box’s face smiling out…

I just visited Text America’s PDC Photoblog and saw Don Box’s face smiling out at me. I wonder how to make photo blogs more useful. Thanks to those of you who posted photos. via [The Scobleizer Weblog]

This is why I ended up generating FOAF from Outlook the other day. My thought is that photoblogs become much, much more useful when tied to an easy annotation system that asserts XML-based metadata, perhaps FOAF and RDF, perhaps something else (one of the gajillion WinFS schemas discussed at the PDC?). Equally, once you’ve licked this problem, you don’t just have a photoblog tool, you have a foundation for a generally-useful tool:

Lonestar, the number 1.7, and an SDK – what they are (not)

The 1.7 refers to a new version of the Tablet PC SDK. … Lonestar is the codename for a Tablet PC project that should be released in the first half of 2004….and Lonestar is not supposed to be “version 2.0” anyway….don’t put users and buyers into the middle of a fray they don’t care about. If people want to be excited about a next “version” of the Tablet PC OS, just quietly correct them, and fuel their joy. Don’t make it look like the Tablet PC division spends more arguing and being needlessly paranoid than developing features that users want. via [Tabula PC]

Very good post; read the whole thing.