|Volume 1: No. 28|
John Walker, retired founding president of Autodesk, has been commenting on the Autodesk culture. Among his points: "A literal search for 'The Next AutoCAD' always ends up with dorky stuff like overpriced high-end project management software. What a concept: ... slugging it out with a company five times our size, ... at more than twice the price, through a distribution channel a fraction as large. ... When we find 'The Next AutoCAD' it will look just like the last AutoCAD did in 1982 -- a non-obvious product in a market waiting to be created, with a large body of potential users who haven't ever really thought about how useful such a product might be." [Soft.letter, 8/25.]
One of the big software hits this year is likely to be the Far Side Computer Calendar from Amaze Inc. (Kirkland, WA), with illustrations (some animated) by Gary Larson. It's a rather mundane $69.95 calendar program, but may top 300,000 copies in six months. [Jeffrey Tarter, Soft.letter, 9/24.] The two founders left their proposal on Larson's porch, with a strange bouquet loaded with labeled insect specimens.
When you sit down at your terminal, does it stare back at you with an impersonal Login: prompt? Robert Elton Maas (firstname.lastname@example.org) suggests that it could draw a caterpillar sitting on a mushroom smoking a hookah, blowing smoke-ring letters as it asks WHO ARE YOU?
Your Mac may not say "Good Morning" when you sit down, but for $19.95 you can buy a screen personality to give you reminders and announce your mail. Bright Star Technologies (Bellevue, WA) has six personalities in its At Your Service catalog, and will be introducing additional "human interfaces" later on. Laura is warm and friendly, Gabrielle is French, Jeeves is British, Mack has an attitude, Madeline is a star. You can also get The Boss -- great for the home worker who misses the office. (206) 451-3697. [Naor Wallach, Newsbytes. CC, 8/13.]