Wednesday, 16 November 2011

How to win attention and annoy people

Search Engine Optimisation is big business in IT. It’s just a pity it’s become so intrusive.

It used to be this simple
(Photo from

Can I have your attention please? I apologise in advance, but I am about to abuse my position as a software tester. No, I’m not going to sell confidential client information to Russian spies or anything like that, but I am nonetheless going to misuse this blog to further my personal interests outside of my job. All right. Are you ready? Let’s do a countdown and get this over with. 5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1 …

Actually, you needn’t click there if you don’t want to. I’m not too fussed either way. For those who didn’t bother clicking, that was a link to my web site on play writing, which is what I do in my alternate life. I don’t care too much whether you view it – seriously, there can’t be that many people with interests in both software testing and theatre in the vicinity of Durham – but that’s not the purpose of the link. The purpose of the link is for Google and other search engines to know it’s there. Because the more links Google finds to your page, the higher it gets up the page rankings.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

The Ghost of Vistas Past

Damage to consumer confidence can haunt you for a very long time. Windows Vista is the classic case.

In case you’ve been locked up in a wardrobe for the last two months, Windows 8 is on the way. At the launch a few weeks ago, they demonstrated how the next version of their operating system is designed to work in tablets. The fact that Microsoft is focusing on tablets is interesting, because it shows how high the stakes are. For over a decade, bar a few niche markets (Macs for high-end users and graphic designers, Linux for the tech-savvy), Microsoft has been the undisputed king of Desktop PCs, and none of Microsoft’s competitors are anywhere near taking their crown.

The problem is: they don’t have to. The computing market is moving on. Many things that used to be done on a Windows XP machine can now be done on a smartphone or a tablet, and consequently, many Desktop PC users are switching to these devices. And so far, both tablet and smartphones are dominated by Apple and Android. The nightmare scenario is that Android makes the leap from tablet PCs to the desktop and undercuts Microsoft’s safest market. Little wonder Microsoft wants Windows 8 established on touchscreen computers so badly.