software: finishing it. starting it

Kyle Wilson wrote an interesting essay about finishing software back in August.

I am wondering why so much great software does not even get started: Since a long time I am using an EVDO modem to connect to the internet. The upside is, that I have Internet wherever I go. If there is the slightest hint of civilisation I can connect to the internet. Which is great. The hardware is smart enough not only to move bits around it also knows where it is. GPS is a rather elaborate system with satelites floating around the planet and all. It is a big commotion, and it works. Just, that the software to connect to that part of the device does not exist on a Mac. With the right amount of documentation a programmer that has done something similar before would only need a few days to program this. And they sold thousands and thousands of these the device. The benefit for my computer to know where exactly I am would be huge. Since I am also connected to the internet a website could replace a 300 US$ GPS device. Still nobody has done it.

The other day I learned that Los Angeles is not storing the traffic data it automatically collects. It is allot of work, and certainly was not cheap, to put all those sensors in place. The data flows to the right places. And then gets simply not archived.

In both cases the effort to add the extra functionality would be ridicolously small compared to the potential gain. In both cases it might never happen: There is no driving force behind it. Nobody is making a living from something similar enough to jump on these opportunities. Even though ideas might be clear and simple, they might never happen, no matter how good they are, as long there is not a similar enterprise already happening. This theory has a sad other side as well: If there is already some kind of business going in certain way, then all sorts of similar activities will be spawned. No matter if they make any sense (Sony’s Mp3 players) or if they are valid for society ( Arms dealer, Mafia, Spam).

One Response to “software: finishing it. starting it”

  1. Alan Latteri Says:

    have you seen Navizon for iPhone. It uses cell phone tower and wifi hotspot triangular to figure out your position ala faux GPS.

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