Archive for July 2009

iPhone Whine #3 — How to *really* fix the App Store

July 31, 2009

If you follow technology at all and haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve noticed that widespread hatred of the Apple’s iPhone App Store is spreading. There are concerns over the pricing, over the opaque approval process, and the simple fact that on the iPhone itself, you just can’t discover new apps through the App Store Application with any ease. Now developers are leaving iPhone development, often citing Apple as having an unfriendly attitude towards iPhone developers.

This week two messes landed on Apple and the App Store. First, Apple rejected the official Google Voice application and nuked all other existing Google Voice applications already approved from the App Store. Then Apple claimed that Jail-breaking the iPhone is a threat to national security.

An Analog Solution in a Digital Age

July 30, 2009

Here a Casa Design-By-Gravity we have a fair number of computers that are part of, or make use of, the network; seven off the top of my head, not counting the TiVo, the Wii, and the soon-to-be-acquired computer for Number Two Daughter. The computers are a hard-bitten crew, from nice late-model Dell and HP laptops to continually upgraded desktops whose cases date back fifteen years (my desktop tower is enormous; it barely fits under my desk).

About three years ago I got my wife an iPod for Christmas; she was skeptical, then hooked (a pattern repeated from the previous summer with her first GPS). Quickly, however, she wanted to get access to all of the CD’s we owned. What’s a geek to do? Build a computer for that, of course.

Amazon vs. Barnes & Noble, with Irony

July 29, 2009

Sitting in my local Barnes & Noble (my favorite third place) I had a very odd experience. I was working away using B&N’s new free wifi, when I stumbled across some glowing reviews for the new anti-DaVinci-Code novel Tetraktys.

I was intrigued, and so (without looking at the release date or anything) I grabbed my iPhone. Up came the B&N iPhone app, search for Tetraktys. Nothing. Zip. Zilch.

Hmm. Whipped over to my Amazon app on the iPhone, search Tetraktys. Here it is, available for pre-order (the limited release copies had sold out I assume). Bang, I pre-order it (I luuuuve Amazon Prime).

As I sit there, drinking my Chai (6-pump, no water, 2%), I ponder how I did not use either Amazon’s or B&N’s actual websites; my first instinct was to grab my iPhone.

When I was sitting in front of my very nice laptop!

Bizarre. I guess I don’t own my iPhone; my iPhone owns me. Like in Soviet Russia!

What’s in a name?

July 28, 2009

Design By Gravity is both the name of the blog, and a software development methodology. More on that later.

My iPhone #2; Multitasking … or not.

July 28, 2009

On the excellent if a little Apple-cheery blog Roughly Drafted, a recent post knocked the hype of the Palm Pre multitasking while illuminating how well the iPhone OS works. The points made are very valid, and as a former Motorola Q user on Verizon’s network I can attest to how annoying the EVDO voice/data management is.



July 27, 2009

Originally I had intended to post book titles as I read them. I am a voracious reader and thought it would be interesting. But instead of posting them here I’ll post them on Twitter with the #lastbookread hashtag. Join the fun.

(I have been keeping a list since the new year of what I have read this year, and will post at the end of the year with commentary. Thanks Evernote. It will be interesting to me if no one else.)

This was inspired by Sharon Lee, of Lee & Miller, and the excellent Liaden science fiction series. On her blog, she often lists the books she has read so far in a year. I commend the authors and the series to anyone.

I love my iPhone, I hate my iPhone #1

July 26, 2009

I have an iPhone. I bought a 3G about a year ago when my Verizon contract was up; I stood in line to get a 3GS on day one even thought I paid a hefty price to upgrade. (And I don’t begrudge AT&T and Apple not re-subsidizing my purchase.) It is a fabulous piece of technology, and it is hard to imagine another phone weaning me away from Apple’s occasionally irksome dominion. But there are some things …

Amazon addendum; apologies matter!

July 24, 2009

So, Jeff Bezos apologies for the great “unselling”; read about it here.

Judging by the feedback, and general commentary around the blogosphere, people are buying it. And they should. Because Amazon will not make that mistake (or others in that vein) again.

Amazon is slow and steady. They make mistakes, they grind away at problems, but man! They. Get. Things. Done.

Last Book Read – Brothers in Arms

July 22, 2009

Last book read was Bujold’s “Brothers in Arms”. A quick read off the back of my nightstand, when I needed something quick for bedtime. Second favorite Miles book.

Why Amazon’s Orwellian book “unselling” is a good thing

July 22, 2009

There has been lots of hand-wringing about Amazon’s “unselling” of some of George Orwell’s books. (Read about it here).

My view is that Amazon did us a great favor, and I suspect Jeff Bezos planned for this possibility. I mean, it is well-known that Steve Jobs didn’t want DRM in the iTunes store, but it was the deal he had to make with the devil to get iTunes off the ground. In the same way, I am sure Amazon had to build DRM into the Kindle at the genetic level, just to get publishers to even consider it. (This deal with the devil is repeated at Hulu as well; content providers are resistant to you watching Hulu on a TV as opposed to a laptop. But I digress.)

So Amazon surrendered to DRM. Fine. They also built a really nice reader, and Whispernet works really well. They got a lot of people to use is, and made a free iPhone Kindle app available, which I kinda love.

Then, we hit a case that had no easy analogue in paper books; Amazon found themselves having sold the books in question without the rights. So the actually rights-holders’ contact Amazon and demand they pull the books, which Amazon does to keep all the other rights-holders happy. It has another really nice side-effect as well …