The Cringely boys Kickstart Mineserver™, a $99 Minecraft server

When my three sons, ages 13, 11, and 9 decided to do a summer business together I thought it could be almost anything. After all, they’ve visited three dozen tech startups with me in our RV and they’ve been surrounded by technology entrepreneurs their entire lives. What business would it be?

I just never expected a $99 Minecraft server.

It’s brilliant, really. Minecraft is hugely popular but the Minecraft hardware market is almost nonexistent. It’s not that nobody thought to do such a server but that it’s a business idea most entrepreneurs would see as not having legs. It will scale, sure, but will it endure? In a few months someone — no doubt someone in Asia — will copy the idea, […]

Oh Vern, where art thou?

I’ve been trying to get in touch with Vern Raburn. You remember Vern, who was an early employee at Microsoft, Lotus, and Symantec. Vern was very involved in pen computing, ran Paul Allen’s investments, created the first Very Light Jet — the Eclipse 500 — and most recently sold Titan Aerospace to Google. That’s a busy career. Well I’ve been trying to get in touch with so far no success.

I contacted a couple old mutual friends, but they’d lost touch with Vern, too. I saw he was on LinkedIn so I tried to connect. No luck. Then I upgraded my LinkedIn account so I could send Vern e-mail, to which he didn’t reply.

Oh Vern, where art thou?

The Coming Microsoft Cultural Revolution

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 12.34.41 AMLast week Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella took another step in redefining his company for the post-Gates/Ballmer era, sending a 3100-word positioning memo to every Microsoft employee and to the world in general. I found it a fascinating document for many reasons, some of them even intended by Nadella, who still has quite a ways to go to legitimately turn Microsoft in the right direction.

We’re seeing a lot of this — companies trying to talk their way into continued technology leadership. Well talk is cheap, and sometimes that’s the major point: it can be far easier to temporarily move customers and markets through the art of […]

Some thoughts on the passing of Windows XP

winXPIt may be hard to believe but there was a time when people looked forward to new versions of operating systems. Before Windows XP many PC operating systems were not very good. The developers of applications had to code around problems.  Companies wanted their business applications to be more reliable.  Over the years operating systems improved.

Before Windows XP Microsoft had two PC operating systems.  One was the descendant of Windows 95 the other of Window NT.  In the years that preceded Windows XP Microsoft incrementally improved the user interface on the Windows 95 side and the reliability and performance on the NT side.   Windows XP was the convergence of the best of both.   Before XP […]

Google Earth is now on Mainframe2

Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 11.01.23 AMCisco Systems this week announced their $1 billion Intercloud that will link nine partner companies to offer an OpenStack-based, app-centric cloud system supposedly aimed at the Internet of Things. That’s a lot of buzzwords for one press release and what it means is Cisco doesn’t mean to be left behind or to be left out of the IT services business. But Cisco’s isn’t the big cloud announcement this week: the really big announcement comes today from little Mainframe2.

This morning at the big nVIDIA GPU Technical Conference in Silicon Valley Mainframe2 demonstrated two new PC applications — Google Earth and Microsoft Word — running on its graphical […]