Опубликован: 08.09.2012 | Доступ: свободный | Студентов: 8908 / 2050 | Длительность: 48:33:00
Специальности: Программист
Лекция 18:

Programming

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3.1. Read the text

RETURN OF THE HOMEBREW CODER

Most modern software is written by huge teams of programmers. But there is still room for homebrew1Homebrew – доморощенный coders, at least in some unusual niches.

As digital gizmos2Gizmo – электронное приспособление, устройство proliferate, consumers are running into some niggling3Niggling - незначительный problems. How can you synchronize a Sony Ericsson smartphone with a Macintosh computer running Microsoft's Entourage software? How do you send instant messages from your PocketPC or Palm handheld? How do you maintain a weblog quickly and easily? Such difficulties are typically faced by just a few thousand people with specific and unusual requirements--too few to merit the attention of the big computer firms, but enough to provide opportunities for a growing band of homebrew coders who set out to develop niche products.

In many cases these programmers are making a decent living in the process, thanks to the availability of high-speed internet connections, cheap web-hosting services and online-payment systems, all of which make it quick and easy to distribute software and collect money from customers. The trend is also a response to the sorry state of the technology industry, following the bursting of the dotcom bubble4Dotcom bubble – пузырь доткомов, экономический пузырь, образовавшийся в результате взлёта акций интернет-компаний, а также появления большого количества новых интернет-компаний и переориентировки старых компаний на интернет-бизнес.. Where they could once command salaries of $100,000, programmers now worry about their jobs disappearing to India. So instead of waiting for things to improve, some have decided to strike out on their own.

Brent Simmons is one such programmer. With the help of his wife, he runs a software company from his garage in Seattle. They make a clever piece of software, which runs on the Mac OS X operating system and makes it easy to read news and then post comments on to a weblog. "I like being able to design and implement software and have the final say," says Mr Simmons. "It's a higher level of creativity than working on someone else's software. I get to refine and market my own ideas." At $40 each, Mr Simmons needs to sell 2,000 copies of his program each year to earn what he would be paid as an employee elsewhere.

Jonas Salling from Stockholm, meanwhile, has attracted a loyal following for his handy software utilities. One allows data from Microsoft's Entourage personal-information manager for Macintosh computers to be transferred to Sony Ericsson smartphones. The other allows such phones, and certain Palm handhelds, to be used as wireless remote-controls via a Bluetooth link. So you can, for example, advance slides in a presentation by clicking on your phone's keypad. The number of people who actually want to do this is quite small, but they want to do it enough to pay Mr Salling $10 for his software, which has won several awards.

Even more successful are Gaurav Banga and Saurabh Aggarwbi, based in Sunnyvale, California. They sell VeriChat, a nifty piece of software that allows people to send and receive instant messages on smartphones, or on PocketPC and Palm handheld computers. VeriChat is sold on a subscription basis, and brings in $20 per user per year, collected via PayPal.

Another homebrew coder is Nick Bradbury, who lives in Franklin, Tennessee. He wrote one of the first web-publishing tools. Then he started Bradbury Software, which sells a web-page editor and a news-reading program. Self-employment, he notes, has more than just financial benefits. "I put in more hours, but those hours are very flexible, which in my case means I can spend a great deal of time with my two kids," he says. And he finds it very rewarding to know that his software is making people's lives a little easier--"something I rarely, if ever, experienced while working in the corporate world."

The phenomenon of the homebrew coder is not new, of course. For two decades, programmers have distributed their wares as "shareware"5Shareware - условно-бесплатное ПО (предоставляется бесплатно на короткий срок, по истечении которого пользование необходимо оплачивать, или с другими оговорками), initially through dial-up bulletin boards or via disks given away with computer magazines, and later via the internet. People can try a piece of software free of charge, and then send a cheque to its creator if they want to continue using it. This often entitles them to a registration code that unlocks extra features. But online payment services such as PayPal and Kagi have simplified and sped up the payment process, making the shareware model far more attractive for programmers. Software developers are essentially cutting out the traditional distribution channels, which are not efficient.

Mr Bradbury also points to improvements in development tools, which make it easier for independent programmers to build complex software, and to a growing number of niche markets, as programmable devices such as smartphones proliferate. While new opportunities abound, however, this world of independents is an unforgiving meritocracy. For homebrew coders, the fact that their fortunes depend directly on the quality of their products is both the risk and the reward.

Adapted from the Economist 3/13/2004

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Наталия Маркелова
Наталия Маркелова
Добрый день, хочу перевестись по этому курсу на обучение с тьютором.будет ли он проверять переводы с русского на английский в части заданий, например, . Translate from Russian into English
Мария Андреева
Мария Андреева

Кстати, да. В лекции 37 курса "Английский язык для ИТ-специалистов" Vocabulary нет совсем!

Дарья Казанцева
Дарья Казанцева
Россия
Андрей Киселев
Андрей Киселев
Украина, Харьков, Харьковский национальный университет им. Г. Сковороды