Jun 02

About one-third of all software installed on personal computers globally in 2006 was pirated, according to a study from IDC.  This resulted in a worldwide software revenue loss of $40 billion, an increase of more than $5 billion or 15% over 2005.  The software piracy rate exceeded 60% in more than half of the 102 countries studied, and exceeded 75% in about one-third of the countries.

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May 24

Microsoft offers a generous program to help new independent software vendors (ISVs) develop and launch their products faster and cheaper. 

The Microsoft “Empower for ISVs” program offers software, support, and additional resources designed to help ISVs reduce development costs, test their software on multiple Windows platforms, and improve time-to-market.  Empower is a one-year membership for $375, with an opportunity to renew for a second year, and it’s available only once per company.

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May 08

I started my professional programming career over 20 years ago on the Commodore Amiga.  The Amiga was a state-of-the-art personal computer, with a proprietary operating system, windowed GUI, and dedicated sound and graphics chips when the IBM PC was still saying, “C:DOS RUN.”

The Amiga computer was fast for its time, but maddeningly slow in hindsight: 5-10 minutes to compile a typical development project.  Hard drives were still external, bulky and expensive at $500 for 30MB.  The Amiga system APIs were plentiful, massive and complex, like the Win32 APIs that followed.  I wrote software in C, using a programmable text editor and the “Make” tool to build projects.

A lot has changed in two decades.  As with most things in this business, software development tools and systems are now better, faster, and sometimes cheaper.  But what are the most important changes?

In the spirit of David Letterman, following are my “Top 10 Advances in Software Development.”  These are the things–from my perspective, in increasing order of importance–that have most improved software development and entrepreneurship over the past 20 years.  I encourage you to reply with your own Top 10 list.

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May 03

During my 25 years as a software entrepreneur, I’ve had the pleasure and challenge of selling PC software to three major markets: large enterprises, general consumers, and software developers. 

Of course, each target market has its own advantages and disadvantages, which I summarize below.  Note this list is from the perspective of a small software company (2-50 employees) with limited funds.  Microsoft and Google may hold a different view.

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Apr 24

The default WordPress blog title “Hello, World” seems appropriate for the debut article of a software development blog, so I’ve decided to keep it.

I never thought I would write a blog.  Adding to the 175,000 new blogs on the Web each day didn’t seem like a worthwhile endeavor.  What could I possibly say that hasn’t already been said?  But then I realized that at least once a day I learn a new tip or trick that could possibly benefit someone else.  Many times I’ve found the answer to a tough problem from some generous soul on the Web, so I wish to repay the favor.  Plus I suppose I have a story to tell that software developers and entrepreneurs may find educational, if not entertaining.

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