Monthly Archives: April 2010

Three to inspire

While the three following stories are not related, each spoke to me this week. From growing up without a father and without decent male role models, to finding a path out of homelessness, to just trying to figure out what it means ‘to be’.. great stuff here:

R.O.O.T. Webzine: @SheIsAnarchy003: “I’m Not Sleeping: Compassion, Respect and Bono”

gapingvoid: @avflox: “”a child would not hesitate to pack up a sleeping bag and sleep on a pier under the stars with you”

YouTube: “Vignette from Project H.O.M.E.’s 20th Anniversary Gala (Employment)”:

“Life shows up, and this time I was there”

iPad, iPhone, App Store rejections – the wrong choice

There are two camps waging a war for hearts and minds across the Web – those that want Apple’s App Store approval rules removed, and those that want more transparency in the approval decision making process. John Gruber outlines these but avoids a third choice that recognizes Apple’s right to maintain their store as they want and recognizes the right of an iPad or iPhone owner to do with their hardware as they please.

This third choice – this third way – is a win-win for everyone. Allow owners to add content and programs to their devices utilizing difference means then the App Store with the proviso that we are voiding our warranties.

Make it easy to do so. Make it obvious to do so. Plaster warnings for those treading into these waters. But make sure to empower the communities of users who are finding work-arounds to upgrade issues and more that will spring up to take root and flower.

In addition only require a developer license for those targeting the App Store.

If I am a tinkerer, or a child learning programming, it shouldn’t require permission from a corporation to do so.

Why is the discussion focusing on the App Store? Because everyone believes they are in a zero-sum game. They are not.

The App Store can remain as Apple’s ‘voice’ in what they consider to be great apps for your mobile device. And for those that want to pursue their own path – yes – to ‘think different’ – they would be able to do so. And have a terrific platform for just that.

Stories like this: “Apple removes Scratch from iPad/iPhone/iTouch” should not be.

I admit to not being an expert, and maybe what I’m suggesting here makes no sense. Feel free to criticize. But I find it interesting that few are considering it.

Please consider it.

Related

Daring Fireball: “Why Apple Changed Section 3.3.1″

Business Insider: Jeff Jarvis: “I’m Really Worried About What Apple Is Trying To Do With The iPad”

Dan Gillmor: “Fiore’s iPad Rejection Harbinger of Bigger Story”

rc3.org: “Is the iPad the harbinger of doom for personal computing?”

Boing Boing: 1984, iPad edition

Boing Boing: Cory Doctorow: Why I won’t buy an iPad (and think you shouldn’t, either)

Doc Sears: “Beyond the iPad”

Tao Effect: “Steve Jobs’ response on Section 3.3.1″

Terry Heaton: “Apple and the iPad: It’s 1968 all over again”

Aprit Mathur: “Alright Adobe, here’s what you do: Cross compile Objective C to run on the Flash Player”

Slate: Jack Shafer: “Apple Wants To Own You: Welcome to our velvet prison, say the boys and girls from Cupertino.”

Dave Winer: “iPad as coral reef”

Freedom to Tinker: “Flash, Scratch, Ajax: Apple’s War on Programming”

Ars Technica: Peter Bright: “Apple takes aim at Adobe… or Android?”: “Hostility towards competitors is, I suppose, all part of the game. But this action is also hugely hostile towards developers themselves.”

In closing

A thought to consider from Fake Steve, which, while not directly applicable to this, does touch on the passion this has roused in programmers and Apple supporters across the Web, and the… falseness of it all (my post a prime example!):

The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs: “An open letter to the people of the world”:

…But let’s get back to you people who are waiting in line. I mean it’s not like you’re in Bolivia and there’s just been an earthquake and you need to line up to get food and clean water. It’s not like you’ve time-traveled back into the Depression and you’re waiting in line at a soup kitchen. And yet, in fact, that’s exactly what you’re doing. Spiritually speaking, we are living in the Great Depression, and you are waiting in line for sustenance. We, all of us, are experiencing the world that Deleuze and Guattari described so presciently in Capitalism and Schizophrenia. If you haven’t read this incredibly important two-volume work, I highly recommend that wait for us to make both volumes available on our iBooks store and then order them right away. The cool thing is that then, as you’re reading, you will have the strange and circular experience of discovering why you bought the iPad in the first place.

The truth is, this is all about spiritual emptiness. That is why you’re standing in line. Except for Scoble, who is an attention whore and just doing it to get attention.

The truth is, all over the world, across every culture, there exists a sense of yearning. A kind of malaise. An emptiness. At the risk of sounding like Dr. Seuss: There is a hole in your soul. That is what we’re addressing at Apple. That is the hole we aim to fill. Sadly, as you may have begun to suspect, that hole can never really be filled. The truth is that modernity, the condition of living in our modern world, has inflicted terrible wounds on your inner self. These wounds can never be healed. They can only be treated. At best we provide palliative care. Not a cure. Because, my dear fellow human beings, there is no cure for what ails you. The products we create provide only temporary relief. Their magic eventually wears off. The sense of childlike wonder they impart will, over time, begin to fade. And then you need a new product. Think back to June 29, 2007. Do you remember the rapture? The wonder of iPhone? The magic? Now that is gone, but here we come with another shot of digital Dilaudid. Sleep well, my friends. Sleep deeply and rest, cradled in the arms of my electronic medicine.

Online heroes – Ushahidi

“Africa’s Gift to Silicon Valley: How to Track a Crisis”: “a small Kenyan-born organization called Ushahidi, which has become a hero of the Haitian and Chilean earthquakes and which may have something larger to tell us about the future of humanitarianism, innovation and the nature of what we label as truth.

More:

Ushahidi: Crowdsourcing Crisis Information (FOSS)

Developer information on their wiki

On “finding truth in the world and about ourselves”

Is Programming more like ‘art’ then ‘science’? A debate that is continuous, but I know where Richard P. Gabriel stands. In 2003 he wrote the forward to “Successful Lisp: How to Understand and Use Common Lisp,” by David B. Lamkins titled “The Art of Lisp and Writing”. Recently it got shared at “Hacker News”.

I admit to knowing enough about Lisp to be intrigued (inspired by it even) but have never used it at work or in a personal project. His essay while touching on some differences between Java and Lisp (and he would know – he worked at Sun), talks more of the act of writing and creation and how programming is akin to that. It was a good read.

Taught that programming–or the worse “developing software”–is like a routine engineering activity, many find difficulty seeing writing as a model or even a metaphor for programming. Writing is creative, it is self-expression, it is art, which is to say it isn’t a science and unlike science and engineering, it isn’t a serious activity. Judgments like this, though, are easiest made by people who don’t seriously engage in making both science and art. Art, engineering, and science are–in that order–part of a continuum of finding truth in the world and about ourselves.

…The difference between Lisp and Java, as Paul Graham has pointed out, is that Lisp is for working with computational ideas and expression, whereas Java is for expressing completed programs. As James says, Java requires you to pin down decisions early on. And once pinned down, the system which is the set of type declarations, the compiler, and the runtime system make it as hard as it can for you to change those assumptions, on the assumption that all such changes are mistakes you’re inadvertently making.

There are, of course, many situations when making change more difficult is the best thing to do: Once a program is perfected, for example, or when it is put into light-maintenance mode. But when we are exploring what to create given a trigger or other impetus–when we are in flow–we need to change things frequently, even while we want the system to be robust in the face of such changes. In fact, most design problems we face in creating software can be resolved only through experimentation with a partially running system. Engineering is and always has been fundamentally such an enterprise, no matter how much we would like it to be more like science than like art. And the reason is that the requirements for a system come not only from the outside in the form of descriptions of behavior useful for the people using it, but also from within the system as it has been constructed, from the interactions of its parts and the interactions of its parts separately with the outside world. That is, requirements emerge from the constructed system which can affect how the system is put together and also what the system does. Furthermore, once a system is working and becomes observable, it becomes a trigger for subsequent improvement.

Read the whole piece.