Saturday, August 17, 2019

Sorrow for the Long Tail - the memory machine I will never see

There are several software products I want nobody will build.

For example, I want a “screen saver” that will randomly select from a collection of video and still images and display them across multiple screens.

Pretty much like Apple’s annoying [1] screen saver, but for video it would randomly select a xx second file segment and play that without sound.

I don’t think anyone will ever build this. It’s too hard to do [2] and there’s no money in it. Only a small number of people would pay, say, $20 for this. Maybe 1 in a 1000. After expenses and marketing it would be hard to earn even a few thousand dollars.

Which reminds us of the false promise of The Long Tail. Those were the days that Netflix had a huge catalogue of barely viewed movies [3] that were often very fine. We thought there would be business for the interests of the 0.1%. That didn’t happen.

This is why I’ve given up on trying to predict the future ...


[1] Whenever macOS cannot connect to the folder hosted on my NAS it reverts to the default collection. I need to restore my share and I’ve never been able to find an automated way to do that. On iOS things are much worse. Speaking of products I want, I’d pay $20 for a macOS utility that that simply reset my screen saver to my preferred share.

[2] We never thought software development would keep getting harder. We used to think there would be a set of composable tools we could all use (OpenDoc, AppleScript, etc). We expected a much more advanced version of what we had on DOS or Unix in the 80s or the early 90s web. Instead we got AngularJS.

[3] In the mailer days our kids movies were unplayable due to disc damage about half the time. Finally gave up on that.

No comments: