Hypercard for phones?
July 12, 2010 6:36 AM   Subscribe

Could App Inventor, Google's new easy development software for Android, be Hypercard for phones?
posted by Artw (263 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
Awesome. I was looking for something like this when I was in the midst of writing an iPhone web app.
posted by empath at 6:38 AM on July 12, 2010


Meanwhile Apple kills anything remotely resembling hypercard for the Iphone.
posted by mecran01 at 6:46 AM on July 12, 2010


Look a lot like Scratch! This is a good thing.
posted by Scoo at 7:05 AM on July 12, 2010


Meanwhile Apple kills anything remotely resembling hypercard for the Iphone.

I can barely believe that, despite my love for my iPod Touch, Apple has convinced me to go Android. They could have had the dominant cell/pda platform for decades, but it's like they're trying to become obsolete.
posted by callmejay at 7:08 AM on July 12, 2010 [7 favorites]


This is too cool. I can't wait to play around with it.
posted by kryptondog at 7:20 AM on July 12, 2010


but it's like they're trying to become obsolete

Yes it's amazing how unsuccessful the launch of the iPhone 4 was. Goddamnit Apple why are you squandaring this opportunity?
posted by schwa at 7:20 AM on July 12, 2010 [9 favorites]


it's like they're trying to become obsolete.

How utterly short-sighted and geek-centric. The vast majority of smartphone users are looking to build their own apps. The appeal of that feature and, more importantly, the marketability of such a thing is limited at best.

I'm not saying Apple's going to be perfectly successful forever, but they ignore certain segments of the market already and it isn't really hurting them.
posted by grubi at 7:23 AM on July 12, 2010


I think the problem summoning enough public outcry to argue against Apple's decisionhere is that the majority of users do not feel the imact of the policy in the short term. Joe/Jane Random iPhone User is not visibly impacted by 3.3.1 — he/she can still pay 99c for a flashlight, or whatever. The users are still impacted in the long view because developers who want to work on projects like this will flee the iOS ecosystem. Over time this reduces the availability of awesome apps by some as-yet-unknown factor.

I think Apple is betting that the developers that remain will still produce apps that pull in the money, and that they'll retain their income and their walled-garden hegemony. By the time the impact of developers leaving due to 3.3.1 is felt, if it's felt at all, it'll be well downstream of today and hard to sort out if 3.3.1 was a defining factor in the competitive landscape one way or another.

Hypercard for Android? Pretty cool. As sexy as the iOS hardware is, I think I'm steadily being pushed in the direction of Android for my first smartphone purchase, despite some of the rough edges. I played around with a friend's N900 last weekend and, while it is pretty cool to have a bash cell on your phone, the audience of people with N900s is too tiny to really be worth targeting right now.
posted by Alterscape at 7:24 AM on July 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


This sounds pretty cool and it'll be interesting to see what impact, if any, it'll have on Apple and the iOS.
posted by new brand day at 7:26 AM on July 12, 2010


How utterly short-sighted and geek-centric.

Apple is selling a computer and you are saying that wanting to program it is "short-sighted and geek-centric"?

The only thing more incredible than Apple taking the "universal" out of "universal Turing machine" is that their fans actually defend them for doing so.
posted by DU at 7:30 AM on July 12, 2010 [13 favorites]


The vast majority of smartphone users are looking to build their own apps.

Oops. Should be "are not".
posted by grubi at 7:31 AM on July 12, 2010


wanting to program it is "short-sighted and geek-centric"?

No, insisting that a lack of an app-maker app is their road to ruin IS short-sighted and geek-centric.
posted by grubi at 7:32 AM on July 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


How utterly short-sighted and geek-centric. The vast majority of smartphone users are looking to build their own apps.

I assume, from the rest of your comment, that you mean "aren't." But I think yours is the short-sighted view. The ability of end-users to build applications is a holy grail, and many of the attempts over the years have been very successful with users, if not as great sotware — I'm thinking of Access and Excel. One of these days, someone is going to succeed to a degree that useful applications are easily implemented by users with no special training, and a company like Apple that treats programming as something dirty, shameful, and not done in polite company is going to have problems.
posted by enn at 7:32 AM on July 12, 2010


I've been holding off on smart phones for a while (mostly because I'm broke, and getting broker still with grad school on the horizon), but I really like this.

I worked with HyperCard in 2002 (I think because my high school's computer program was sort of outdated) and it's really, really fun. A while back I tried to find a Windows port, but it seems like that's not happening.
posted by codacorolla at 7:32 AM on July 12, 2010


Apple killing off Hypercard, was one of the worst single decisions in their corporate history. The iPhone world desperately needs this type of tool, something for content developers to use that allows them to focus on the filling, not the crust. Because of Hypercard, the Miller brothers were able to create Myst, and speaking for myself, between my Oldsmobile Consumer Computer kiosk project, and Penthouse Interactive (both of which my teams created using Hypercard as the foundation), the development world is sorely lacking for these types of tools on the Mac and iPhone platforms.
posted by dbiedny at 7:36 AM on July 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


Writing android apps wasn't too tricky for me, it just took a while to learn what to put in the required bits of code. It took me about 2 weeks, in bi-weekly hour long sessions, to write a simple Spyhunter clone in android. I don't know if you can use this to write games, since real-time stuff on android requires a few tricks. Turn based stuff, yeah.

And before you guys want to split hairs on smartphones, remember this: All of them can run Quake 2 and also fit in your pocket.

as an aiside: ID got the Unreal engine working on the iphone, it would be nice if they'd release it to the public, but I don't think Apple would like it as most of the game code is the same, and in C++
posted by hellojed at 7:36 AM on July 12, 2010


insisting that a lack of an app-maker app is their road to ruin IS short-sighted and geek-centric.

Lack of such an app is short-sighted. Platforms (computers and otherwise) that encourage user involvement are better in any way you care to measure, from financial to creative.

But that's not the complaint here. The complaint is that Apple is actively opposing any effort to create such an app. That's not just short-sighted but actually morally wrong. Who owns your iPad, you or Apple?
posted by DU at 7:38 AM on July 12, 2010


The ability of end-users to build applications is a holy grail

Really? According to whom? This isn't 1978, where "computer user" means someone who has learned or is learning a programming language.

Can you make apps on the iPhone or the iPad? No. Are they successes? Yes, without question.

MOST USERS do not care about our geeky tinkering. MOST USERS want to be able to use the machines. That's it; that's all. And as long as that's the way things are, then MOST USERS will drive the ultimate success of a device, not the tinkering geek crowd. Christ almighty, people: not being able to program for a device ON THAT DEVICE will lead to obsolescence for the manufacturer? REALLY?

AS a gadget geek myself, I'd *love* to have app-building tools on my iPad. But I'm not going to say APPLE IS DOOMED because my own personal preference is not being met. Which is what all this doom-speak amounts to.
posted by grubi at 7:40 AM on July 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm an Android user. I'm not a programmer. But I emailed to join as soon as I read the headline this morning.

Why? Because I've always been intimidated by programming. And I've not had any project ideas burning hotly enough to make me dig in and start learning.

But program my phone? I've got over 10 little ideas already noted down and I can't wait to get started, because I can see loads of small but really helpful little apps that will work just for me, whenever and wherever I want them.

So this has the potential to convert me from passive user into hands-on geeky user, and so it has the potential to do the same for thousands of other people who are close to but not committed enough to learn python or whatever for the web.

I think this could be transformative.
posted by dowcrag at 7:42 AM on July 12, 2010 [9 favorites]


Google has been impressing me more and more all the time. When Chrome first came out, it was for Windows only. I was one of the many Linux users who gave Google my email address in the hopes that they'd eventually develop Chrome for my OS. The first, unstable version was really shakey, but I also noticed something very impressive - almost every other day, the beta version had updates. There was some dedicated work going on there, to where now Chrome for Linux is stable, fast, powerful and supports all the extensions I used to use for Firefox (AdBlock, user scripts, context search and so on). It's replaced Firefox as my primary browser.

I like the thinking they have going on at Google. They really seem to be thinking of users not in terms of "people don't want that much control over their machines and their browsing experience", but rather the opposite.

Now if they could only get a Downthemall-type extension to run ...
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:44 AM on July 12, 2010


Platforms (computers and otherwise) that encourage user involvement are better in any way you care to measure, from financial to creative.

That is not true. Is my Toyota a better car because I can tinker with it? Or is it a better car because it was made very well and requires almost no maintenance? Will a well-built refrigerator suddenly become oh so better because they give you tools to crack that bad boy open and overclock the compressor?

You're mixing up your personal preference (and geeks' personal preferences) to tinker and build with PLATFORM VIABILITY. And as a result, it sounds like you're bothered on a religious level.

I'll say it plainly one more time: the ability to tinker is not inherent added value. The ability to tinker is just that: the ability to tinker. Good, bad, or otherwise depends on the implementation of that ability, the user, and the platform itself.
posted by grubi at 7:46 AM on July 12, 2010


So this has the potential to convert me from passive user into hands-on geeky user, and so it has the potential to do the same for thousands of other people who are close to but not committed enough to learn python or whatever for the web.

I think this could be transformative.


I agree, and I personally would love to see what inspired geeks like yourself will do. If I had such tools at my disposal, I'd join you. :-)
posted by grubi at 7:47 AM on July 12, 2010


Really? According to whom?

According to all the users who, now, today, do crazy things in spreadsheets in Excel in ways that would make "real programmers" shudder just so they can make the the damned machine do what they want without having to go before IT groveling like some fucking peasant petitioning the king for a favor. I've seen things done in WordPerfect macros that would turn your hair white.

No, they don't care about tinkering. But they certainly care about controlling their damned machine.
posted by enn at 7:48 AM on July 12, 2010 [13 favorites]


I'll say it plainly one more time: the ability to tinker is not inherent added value.

I'll say it plainly one more time: Yes, it is.

When a device is tinkerable, I'm not beholden to the corporation that manufactured it. Even if I personally don't modify anything, I know there is a community out there that can support me if the corporation goes away or doesn't provide the features I need/want.

Failing to add such a feature can be an oversight. Deliberately removing/preventing such a feature means the corporation wants to keep me shackled to them and is the act of a control freak.
posted by DU at 7:49 AM on July 12, 2010 [13 favorites]


That is not true. Is my Toyota a better car because I can tinker with it? Or is it a better car because it was made very well and requires almost no maintenance?

Would it be a good car if the hood were welded shut?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:51 AM on July 12, 2010 [25 favorites]


One other observation: "End-User Programming" has been thrown around as one of the holy grails of UX for the past few years I've been in grad school. There are times when it makes sense (Excel macros sound great in theory...) but my experience as someone around the periphery of projects that're pushing end-user programming is that in the end, the users want us to do the programming.

Programming is awesome, but it takes a fairly serious commitment to wrap your head around the basic concepts. Once you do that, the world's your oyster, but it's kind of a chicken-and-egg thing (to mix some metaphors). Until you know enough, you can't do anything useful, and until you can do something useful, there's no real impetus to learn more. Sufficiently motivated or curious people cross that gap but I don't think it's going to be the whole population until there's a programming environment that can suss out the user's actual intentions from close-to-plain-english statements (and I've got some ocean front property in AZ I can sell you cheap...).

I'm not saying that 3.3.1 doesn't suck, because it does, and it's definitely cost Apple some of my personal business — just that I don't think it will hurt Apple in the short term.
posted by Alterscape at 7:51 AM on July 12, 2010


empath: "1Awesome. I was looking for something like this when I was in the midst of writing an iPhone web app."

Then you might like JQTouch, a JQuery framework for web apps. Wrap it in some Phonegap and you've got a native app!

I have no affiliation with the creators of this software, but I have used it.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:52 AM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


The complaint is that Apple is actively opposing any effort to create such an app. That's not just short-sighted but actually morally wrong. Who owns your iPad, you or Apple?

Apple owns iOS.
posted by new brand day at 7:52 AM on July 12, 2010


Apple owns iOS.

Oh man. I'll just say that they own the source code and a copyright, but I own any binary data on a device they sell me.

My actual point was about installing software, not modifying the OS.
posted by DU at 7:56 AM on July 12, 2010


Would it be a good car if the hood were welded shut?

A lot of people would like it if there was no need to open a car hood or even have one.
posted by new brand day at 7:58 AM on July 12, 2010


No, a lot of people would themselves not want to open the car hood. Very few people want cars to be unfixable.

Now who's imposing a personal preference (or in this case, phobia) on everyone else?
posted by DU at 7:59 AM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


And as long as that's the way things are, then MOST USERS will drive the ultimate success of a device, not the tinkering geek crowd.

I think the same exact people in this thread have had this discussion before in previous threads, but I will point out again that the tinkering geek crowd is not just another random demographic that can be pandered to but is in fact the driving force behind the modern technological landscape. Without tinkering geeks, you wouldn't have any of the apps in the App Store, or firmware on the iPhone itself, or email, or the Internet.

Those tinkerers didn't grow up dreaming about going to college to learn how to program and have access to development tools, they for the most part started writing code on whatever computers they happened to be able to use in their everyday lives. Most people who buy a TI-89 calculator don't care about whether it can be used to write programs, but the kids who sit around for hours writing games on one might end up working for Apple or Google or otherwise devoting their lives to writing the code that the average user benefits from. Putting up barriers between users and developers might be a good way to make money or even create a more user-friendly system, but in the long run it's not going to be good for the overall quality of development.
posted by burnmp3s at 8:03 AM on July 12, 2010 [14 favorites]


This is a great idea and I love it. For what it's worth, Apple has a cool thing which is similar in look-and-feel but does require Javascript skills in DashCode. Short tutorial here. The important thing is that DashCode apps are basically zipped-up websites and can be deployed on the web for public use without approval from Apple. You don't get some hardware-level access, but you can still do a lot of really nifty things, including local database storage.

Why does Apple make this distinction between Obj-C and DashCode? Because a Dashcode app can't fuck up your device or the network or steal your data or be used to create a virus or worm. I don't know what protections are in place with the Android tool, but I hope there are some.

Anyway: "User Servicable Parts Inside" is awesome. Go Goog!
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:04 AM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


as an aside: ID got the Unreal engine working on the iphone, it would be nice if they'd release it to the public, but I don't think Apple would like it as most of the game code is the same, and in C++
posted by hellojed


No that's perfectly acceptable. Lots of iPhone apps are mostly C++ in fact, with Obj C or Obj C++ code mixed in here and there.
posted by w0mbat at 8:05 AM on July 12, 2010


Would it be a good car if the hood were welded shut?

Better question: why would I care?
posted by grubi at 8:05 AM on July 12, 2010


Oh man. I'll just say that they own the source code and a copyright, but I own any binary data on a device they sell me.

Don't automatically assume that's true. I don't think there's a leasehold on the iPhone -- but there *could* be. Anyone who thinks that they own something because they're paying for it and hold it in their hands might be making a bad assumption.

Personally? I like the iPhone, I use it, and having built my own headphone amp, and a bunch of lighting controllers, and running my own mail/webservers, etc. I think I qualify as a hacker.

I just need the phone to work, and mod silly AT&T issues, the iPhone does that very well -- and there isn't a cell phone company out there that doesn't suck.

Apple owns iOS.

Now here, that's stupid. Anybody in the higher levels of IT knows what IOS is -- it's the system that runs on Cisco routers and newer Cisco Switches (replacing CatOS, which is being replaced by NX-OS, as Cisco unifies storage and network switching.)

Apple calling the iPhone/iPad IOS "iOS" is just conflating the namespace. Silly.
posted by eriko at 8:06 AM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


RE: The Apple Vs. Everyone Else discussion that it looks like this thread is headed towards...

It's funny, I recently finished reading this book:
Life on the Screen, by Sherry Turkle

And one of the points that she makes is that Apple opened up computing for the non-programming minded in the early 90s. Before Macintosh you had to know how a computer worked at a machine level, and have general programming skills to work effectively. Mac opened up computers to people who worked in a different way, through bricolage (as she terms it) instead of the machine's stricter logic. Turkle's argument continues that the advent of the mouse/window/file cabinet metaphor changed not only how people interacted with digital worlds, but also how they thought (I agree, fwiw).

She was writing the book in the early nineties, as computers moved from command line logic to digital desktop logic, and she notes the doom-sayers, who said that the shift would lead to the death of computing. It didn't. People still programmed, even with the ability to do everything through the mouse and the desktop that you used to have to type into a computer by hand. Kids who were interested in computers took the time to move beyond the bricolage offered by their Mac, and look at the guts that are obscured by the handy metaphor of the desktop.

The current shift, that we're currently in the middle of (IMO) is one from desktop computing to mobile computing. Mobile computing is even more locked down than desktop - partly because of how programs are being distributed (piracy was less of a concern when you had to physically copy 20 fragile floppy discs compared to spending 3 minutes with a DVD burner or a 20 seconds with a USB cable), and partly because of user security. The fact that you have your whole damn life on a system, and all it takes is one virus or exploit for someone else to get that is scary for many people, and the absolute success of botnets shows that many average people can't secure their system in any appreciable fashion.

Apple correctly predicted that non-computer people (as they were at the time) wanted the power the a computer had to offer without having to know about the machine itself.

I think they're correctly predicting that non-computer people, in a modern sense of the term, want something that works as reliably as a toaster or a television and that they don't have to put any effort into.

There're still the computer people out there, who don't mind the extra work, and want something that goes beyond a toaster or a television that they can mold and bend to whatever they want.

Just like the Mac didn't kill programming, the iPhone won't kill it either. I think the iPhone will open up the power of secure computing to a wide swath of the population for whom computers have always been a finicky, dangerous, and irritating necessity of life. This isn't to say that these people will always be apple users - once they reach the limits of the system I think that you may start to see crossover... just like the people who learned to program in spite of (probably even because) of their Mac in the late 80s.

The dangerous part of this is the idea that Apple's success will lead every other company to adopt the same practices - a locked down device where the mother-company maintains proprietary access to your programs and your information. I don't like that model. A lot of people do because it's easy and it "just works".

This is sort of rambly, so I'll just wrap it up with: the computer world has been here before and open computing ultimately maintained itself while opening up the world of computers to a whole new generation of people. I think we're in the same sort of transition right now, and even though I'm not nessecarily worried about the future of computing, I do think some danger exists.
posted by codacorolla at 8:06 AM on July 12, 2010 [10 favorites]


When a device is tinkerable, I'm not beholden to the corporation that manufactured it.

Which is why you don't own a television, computer monitor, printer, or refrigerator.
posted by grubi at 8:06 AM on July 12, 2010


I will point out again that the tinkering geek crowd is not just another random demographic that can be pandered to but is in fact the driving force behind the modern technological landscape. Without tinkering geeks, you wouldn't have any of the apps in the App Store, or firmware on the iPhone itself, or email, or the Internet.

As a geek myself, I do not question this fact. My assertion is that geek preferences do not drive the SUCCESS of a device or technology. I was countering the notion that Apple's particular moves are dooming them to obsolescence.
posted by grubi at 8:08 AM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Which is why you don't own a television, computer monitor, printer, or refrigerator.

My refrigerator, as an electromechanical device with very little electronics, is already tinkerable and I've done so in the past (using instructions I found online).

If you can point me to a tinkerable version of any of the others, I'll be all over them. I already "converted" my VCR and DVD player to XBMC.

And yes, it's pretty awesome not being forced to dance to the tune of some faceless billionaire CEO. Try it some time.
posted by DU at 8:11 AM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


No, a lot of people would themselves not want to open the car hood. Very few people want cars to be unfixable.

Sorry, I don't seem to be explaining the metaphor correctly. I'm suggesting people would really like not having to have anyone open up a car hood ever again. The ability to have buy a car and never have to have anyone tinker it would be very appealing.

I'm suggesting that people consider that loose metaphor when people think of iDevices. Apple is selling a product where the user doesn't have to worry or even think about having the device opened or tinkered with. I get that isn't appealing for some people (*empties trash for my homey Hypercard*), but Apple seems to think those people are in the minority. They may be right.

Now who's imposing a personal preference (or in this case, phobia) on everyone else?

Not sure what you're accusing me of here.

Anybody in the higher levels of IT knows what IOS is...

The general populace doesn't care.
posted by new brand day at 8:14 AM on July 12, 2010


And yes, it's pretty awesome not being forced to dance to the tune of some faceless billionaire CEO. Try it some time.

It's this thinly veiled implication that anyone who isn't on your side is a idiotic robotic puppet that really converts me to your point of view.
posted by new brand day at 8:16 AM on July 12, 2010 [14 favorites]


This tinkerers-vs-non debate is a red herring. It's not about tinkering; it's about control. If people really had no desire to control the machine, you wouldn't see end-users so routinely going to such lengths to make software using whatever limited macro or scripting facilities are available to them in the software they use everyday.
posted by enn at 8:19 AM on July 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


The ability to have buy a car and never have to have anyone tinker it would be very appealing.

No, I got that. I just rejected that portion of your point as being pure fantasy. 2nd Law of Thermodynamics pretty much guarantees you can't have a never-ever-needs-to-be-fixed anything.

Given that, fixable and disposable are your two options for cars.
posted by DU at 8:19 AM on July 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is a very cool tool. I may have to give it a try. I downloaded and setup the Java development kit for Android last year but never got around to actually writing anything with it. This may be simple enough to overcome my inertia.

As for Apple, their insistence on forcing developers to use Objective-C is sort of baffling. Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that language but as a developer, it's always a risk focusing you're career on a language that's primarily only used by one company. Yea, you can write Objective-C for windows or Linux but (almost) nobody does. So you're spending a lot of time learning skills that lock you into a fairly small ghetto in the development world which usually isn't a very good long term career strategy.
posted by octothorpe at 8:20 AM on July 12, 2010


Let's see, a car analogy, irrational Jobs/Apple hate, and a blind eye towards Google's relentless indexing of every aspect of you... I think we have a trifecta, folks!
posted by entropicamericana at 8:21 AM on July 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


No, I got that. I just rejected that portion of your point as being pure fantasy.

I think we are having two separate conversations in two different languages.

Yes un unfixable anything is pure fantasy. That doesn't mean people don't like the appeal of not having to tinker with a device.
posted by new brand day at 8:24 AM on July 12, 2010


Look a lot like Scratch! This is a good thing.

At the bottom of the first link they mention that App Inventor is based on the Open Blocks Java Library, which is closely related to Scratch, and both were developed at MIT.
posted by Huck500 at 8:30 AM on July 12, 2010


Has no one mentioned Hitler yet?
posted by cavalier at 8:31 AM on July 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm not nessecarily worried about the future of computing, I do think some danger exists.

I understand this sentiment, but I don't think tinkering is in any real danger. People jailbreak their iphones and ipads within hours of their release, and do whatever they want with them.

Yeah, it's breaking the EULA and sure, they don't want you do that... but come on, people. It's not like they're sending in SWAT teams to take out rogue programmers or anything. No one's door has been busted down. People bend this all out of proportion.

and don't refute this by mentioning the Gizmodo mess. They were paying for stolen goods. That's different.
posted by fungible at 8:31 AM on July 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


And yes, it's pretty awesome not being forced to dance to the tune of some faceless billionaire CEO. Try it some time.

Which is why I shake my fist at Panasonic for their horribly closed-minded ways because I can't put new firmware in my television!!! because of their dance!!!

*sigh*

I will point this out so you don't make the mistake again. I. Do. Not. Want. To. Tinker. I. Want. To. Simply. Use. Okay? And my viewpoint isn't in the minority. Most car owners do NOT fix their cars. Most computer owners are NOT programmers. Most iPhone users do NOT care about a lack of app tools on their phone. And most of these people do not WANT to do these things.

Geeks are, for better or for worse, a niche market. Get over it.

As for the original post, I actually LOVE that there are tools like this. I think it's a Very Good Thing to offer app building tools. I think it's a Very Good Thing that they are making it easy as pie to create your own apps. I am all for it. But you're not going to get me to agree that this is a better platform or that APPLE IS DOOMED DOOMED DOOMED because of this dynamic. It's overreaching and self-centered. It's as if I decry a particular movie studio because they make films I would never see. The vast majority of moviegoers would turn to me and say "So the fuck what?"
posted by grubi at 8:34 AM on July 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


Has no one mentioned Hitler yet?

We have engineers working on that. Keep an eye out.
posted by grubi at 8:34 AM on July 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


I don't think tinkering is in any real danger. People jailbreak their iphones and ipads within hours of their release, and do whatever they want with them.

Thank you. Count me in that group. I've jailbroken both my iPhone and iPad. I'm not opposed to tinkering. And I don't think it's dangerous. I just think the advocates (or at least the most vocal so far) tend to be religious rather than reasonable about this.
posted by grubi at 8:37 AM on July 12, 2010


I understand this sentiment, but I don't think tinkering is in any real danger. People jailbreak their iphones and ipads within hours of their release, and do whatever they want with them.

Yeah, it's breaking the EULA and sure, they don't want you do that... but come on, people. It's not like they're sending in SWAT teams to take out rogue programmers or anything. No one's door has been busted down. People bend this all out of proportion.


Well, like I said, I'm not worried.

I think there's a non-zero chance where all platforms move to being locked down as possible because that's where the money is, and then game the laws of the market to crack down on people who jail break. I don't see that happening, but the desktop metaphor DID spread to the entire market in the 90s, and I'm sure there were people back then who could never see command line being entirely replaced.

There're a lot of variables to this discussion too...

Net Neutrallity is a big one

Another large, yet-to-be-determined factor is how safe Apple's lock-down actually ends up being. I don't know a whole lot of technical details about mobile computing, but if someone actually ends up creating a successful 0 day virus that spreads and stays spread for a few weeks, and gains media traction, and loses a lot of data... that could have a huge impact. It hasn't happened yet, but if it does then there goes Apple's main selling point. Suddenly, if the phone stops "just working", and they're still handcuffing you to their App Store, then what's even the point? Maybe it's my ignorance, but I'm surprised that every hacker in the world isn't trying to make the virus I mentioned above.
posted by codacorolla at 8:47 AM on July 12, 2010


My interpretation of the issue here is less "Apple is DOOMED TODAY NOW THIS INSTANT!" as "Apple may be poisoning the well by preventing new talent from learning their platform, and may also be preventing novel ideas from taking root on their platform because they strictly control what gets executed on the vast majority of iOS devices."

I share codacorolla's disquiet re: what happens years from now, if Apple's approach is successful. Will other OS vendors pick up their strategy? What happens to the talent pool when the barrier to development gets that high? Fungible has a point in that we can all jailbreak right now, but I can envision a possible future where there are more mobile devices and fewer computers, so J. Random Wanna-Be Developer has fewer options for non-mobile development (ie, learning Python/Ruby/Unity3D javascript/whatever instead), and jailbreaking isn't really an option because you'd access to a computer to jailbreak with. This is totally pie-in-the-sky, and maybe fearmongering, but I still think it merits consideration.

To be fair, I'm also a bit irate about Google's vacuum-cleaner policy on my personal information. That just isn't the issue here -- I'd love to see someone OTHER than Google and Apple deploy an open mobile platform, but neither the N900 nor the OpenMoko is hitting the right price/availability point right now.
posted by Alterscape at 8:48 AM on July 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


Also, not to post too much, but as mobile computing becomes more of the norm, and people are less psyched about getting a powerful laptop then they are the latest phone, then the price for the average computer starts going way up (I would assume). That's a huge barrier of entry to powerful, open computing, as opposed to locked down, appliance computing.
posted by codacorolla at 8:52 AM on July 12, 2010


I'm surprised that every hacker in the world isn't trying to make the virus I mentioned above.

Given the perceived arrogance of Apple (and its fans), trust me, they are working on this. I'm guessing it's harder than it looks.

if Apple's approach is successful. Will other OS vendors pick up their strategy?

That's fodder for conversation, I agree. While I'm not sure their specific type of success is duplicable, I'm certain there will be several attempts. And whether that's good or bad, I think remains to be seen.

I don't see the Apple "closed" model as some sort of philosophical dogma about shutting users out of the platform, but more like Apple (and specifically Jobs) wants to create an experience, and in Mr jobs' opinion, the best experience they can provide will only come when they have as much control over their platform. But hey, on the other hand, they're not trying to crush the competition (as near as I can tell, they want to hit a specific market: halfway between outright luxury and customer availability), so if you prefer to the open way of doing things, you have options. Which is awesome.
posted by grubi at 8:56 AM on July 12, 2010


That's a huge barrier of entry to powerful, open computing, as opposed to locked down, appliance computing.

That's certainly a consideration, but it assumes that locked down appliance computing devices will occupy the lower end of the computing market by themselves.
posted by grubi at 8:58 AM on July 12, 2010


Great, now we can go back to the days of hypercard where there is a flood of half-functional cookbooks floating around the android app universe while the iOS store is restricted to only functional, polished applications.

Octothorpe: "As for Apple, their insistence on forcing developers to use Objective-C is sort of baffling."

Why? The MVC development model is probably one of the biggest reasons for the success of Cocoa, Mac OS X, and iOS, and the OOP implementation in ObjC is the foundation for MVC.

Being that Objective-C is a superset of the C language, it is easy to learn as a C/C++ programmer, not to mention fast and efficient. Running Java, a half-interpreted VM language, on a mobile device makes even less sense because it is even more different than C/C++ and is slow and inefficient.
posted by hellslinger at 8:59 AM on July 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Great, now we can go back to the days of hypercard where there is a flood of half-functional cookbooks floating around the android app universe while the iOS store is restricted to only functional, polished applications.

And iTunes hijacking malware. But no pr0n!
posted by Artw at 9:03 AM on July 12, 2010


How utterly short-sighted and geek-centric.

I think if they lose the geeks, they ultimately lose the market. Geeks in the form of programmers add so much value to the phone that making it harder (or less appealing) for them to do so means you're always going to be playing catch up.

But it's so much more than that. Most of the reviewers are geeks. The guy in your family or circle of friends that everybody asks for advice on what to buy is a geek. You lose them, you lose.

This isn't Windows vs. Linux, it's Mac vs. PC. And PC dominates despite being way, way less prettysleekshinycool because when it mattered (in the decade when everybody bought a home computer) geeks could mess with their PCs and do whatever they wanted to while Mac users were stuck with proprietary hardware and fewer developers.
posted by callmejay at 9:04 AM on July 12, 2010


I loved my iPhone 3G, but I'm replacing it with a Droid Incredible. It wasn't so much Apple that drove me away (though their walled-garden attitude has been disheartening for years and is getting worse), but rather AT&T's terrible coverage and service in my area. I'm sure I will miss the unified UX and integration with OS X desktop software, but I'll adjust.

The Marketplace has an impressive library of apps and the lack of restrictions means you can simply do more with them. App Inventor is pretty exciting too — my first programming experience was with HyperCard, and though I've moved on to more robust languages it's still nice to see something so user-friendly for a phone. I can't wait to try it, after my month-long backorder delay to get the phone... hope that isn't a harbinger of future issues with poor customer service. Now that I'm migrating to the scary new world of Verizon/HTC/Google I don't really know what to expect.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 9:05 AM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


And PC dominates despite being way, way less prettysleekshinycool because when it mattered (in the decade when everybody bought a home computer) geeks could mess with their PCs and do whatever they wanted to while Mac users were stuck with proprietary hardware and fewer developers.

Bollocks. PCs dominate because of IBM and Microsoft's OS contracts. Great, PCs are modifiable. If modding and tinkering were what drove the market, Radio Shack might still be in business.*







* Yes, i know they're technically still in business. But just barely.
posted by grubi at 9:08 AM on July 12, 2010


I suppose that's one way for the Android App store to get the number of Apps up to iPhone AppStore levels.
posted by seanyboy at 9:11 AM on July 12, 2010


I think if they lose the geeks, they ultimately lose the market.

Question: if the closed, appliance device gained them the market, how would the exact same thing lose them the market?

I honestly think the Open contingent is making predictions based on their preference. I'm not. I just don't think "open" or "closed" matters to most consumers, and therefore is a technical/philosophical debate, not an economical one.
posted by grubi at 9:12 AM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh man. I'll just say that they own the source code and a copyright, but I own any binary data on a device they sell me.

So just don't buy one! Problem solved. Can Metafilter now finally get over its hatred of Apple?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:12 AM on July 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


As an aside, what is up with the pervasive use of the URI as the identifier for different components of an Android app? I developed an app recently as part of a research project, and the "hunt down the URI typo in one of the numerous XML or java sourcefiles" wak-a-mole game was the bane of my existence. Usually if I need to use a string constant, I'll just define a
public static final String MY_CONSTANT = "my_constant";
and get on with my life. If I mistype MY_CONSTANT the compiler throws an error fairly early on, before I'm into stabbing at buttons and wondering why my new screen won't load. There's no way to reference string constants from XML, so you end up with a lot of debugging typos. Was I doing it wrong? Is there some secret to Android URIs that I just didn't get? It was kind of a death-march project, so it's entirely possible that I missed the part of the docs explaining how not to have this happen...
posted by Alterscape at 9:15 AM on July 12, 2010


Alterscape, I don't know anything about Android development, but you write:

There's no way to reference string constants from XML

Can't you use XML entities?
posted by enn at 9:23 AM on July 12, 2010


what is up with the pervasive use of the URI as the identifier for different components of an Android app?

I confess, I have no idea what is up with that.
posted by Mister_A at 9:28 AM on July 12, 2010


but if someone actually ends up creating a successful 0 day virus that spreads and stays spread for a few weeks, and gains media traction, and loses a lot of data... that could have a huge impact

How so? You wipe your phone and plug it into your Mac PC or Windows PC to sync. Problem solved.

If anything, the physical tether to a personal computer is an additional layer of protection for the end user from data loss, as much as that the apps have to use authorized chunks of Apple's SDK.

If you jailbreak and buy Cydia apps, well: Good luck, buddy. But you knew what you were getting into when you jailbreaked, right?

Ironically, the real issue is Android's permissions model allowing malware to have free access to your sensitive and/or cloud-based data. A virus on Android would kill or permanently cripple the platform in the eyes of end users, once they find that their cloud data has evaporated or their private data gets scooped up by identity thieves.

But don't worry, everyday Android users! You'll be able to buy and subscribe to any number of anti-spyware and -malware applications and protection rackets subscriptions that only eat up your battery charge and your wallet just a little bit.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:28 AM on July 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Let me rephrase: It seems like it would be ideal to have the "magic number" (or "magic string" in this case) defined one place and referenced everywhere, to avoid making silly typos when re-typing the string. I don't see a way to do that when the "magic string" needs to appear both in the XML that defines the relationships among components, and in the Java source that defines the components. (This is going rather far afield. I should probably take it over to Stackoverflow, but I figured since we're here anyway, and we need something to talk about other than Apple vs. Google..)
posted by Alterscape at 9:30 AM on July 12, 2010


BP: I'm not sure how the iPhone works at a machine level, but if you can get some sort of rootkit in there that persists despite wiping it at the PC level (or better yet, that also propagates at the PC level so each time you sync you get it back) then that's a problem. Or, more likely, it's not malware or scareware that makes itself known, but lies in the background until it gets enough information and then does whatever it has to do (hijacking accounts, stealing personal indentification information and then making a run on your bank accounts).

Basically if Apple has the same sort of vulnerabilities as a Droid or MS based smartphone, but is more locked down, then that's a serious albatross around its neck. Maybe I'm misinformed, and it's literally impossible to write malicious code for an Apple product on the same level as any other, but I doubt it.
posted by codacorolla at 9:40 AM on July 12, 2010


Can Metafilter now finally get over its hatred of Apple?

BP, was the bat signal slow to warm up today?

Most of the mentions in this thread of Apple indicate sadness more than hate. "I'd love to buy this shiny device but it doesn't let me do X". But do you really think that blocking educational apps like Scratch from the iPhone is good?

If anything, the physical tether to a personal computer is an additional layer of protection for the end user from data loss

And of course, there's no way that could be used as an attack vector, right?

the real issue is Android's permissions model allowing malware to have free access to your sensitive and/or cloud-based data.

Good think that could never happen on the App Store.

You'll be able to buy and subscribe to any number of anti-spyware and -malware applications and protection rackets

Don't worry, there are some for you too.
posted by me & my monkey at 9:42 AM on July 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


grubi: "Question: if the closed, appliance device gained them the market, how would the exact same thing lose them the market?"

You might try reading the rest of callmejay's comment.
posted by mullingitover at 9:47 AM on July 12, 2010


Don't worry, there are some for you too.

"This Trojan was only able to target ‘jailbroken’ phones - ie iPhones which have been modified to allow the installation of third party applications."
posted by new brand day at 9:51 AM on July 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


I did. And I refuted it. And he did not say how the same thing that got them the market would lose them the market.
posted by grubi at 9:52 AM on July 12, 2010


But do you really think that blocking educational apps like Scratch from the iPhone is good?

Yes, and I haven't stopped beating my wife, for the record.

And of course, there's no way that could be used as an attack vector, right?

That's a potential issue for Windows users, definitely. But then I keep hearing about how you shouldn't run applications with admin privileges on a Windows machine, so maybe this isn't as much of an issue anymore, in theory.

Don't worry, there are some for you too.

Please read links before posting:
"For the moment though, given the above, I’m content that there’s currently no need for any AV protection on my iPhone."
Sophos sells no iPhone AV software. Apple sells no AV software through the App Store.

Presumably, the same locked-down design that you decry is the same design that keeps AV software makers from hooking in to users' pockets and phones like parasitic worms.

However, Android users can, today, this very moment, choose from a number of protection subscriptions on the Android Marketplace that cost money, run in the background, and eat battery life.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:55 AM on July 12, 2010


"This Trojan was only able to target ‘jailbroken’ phones - ie iPhones which have been modified to allow the installation of third party applications."

I don't think he read what he linked.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:56 AM on July 12, 2010


This Trojan was only able to target ‘jailbroken’ phones

Clearly then, any future exploits will have to work exactly the same way. Anything else is unpossible!

You might want to look at the App Store link I had two lines up.
posted by me & my monkey at 9:58 AM on July 12, 2010


You might want to look at the App Store link I had two lines up.

I actually downloaded and compiled that app to run on my iPhone when it came out. It doesn't do nearly as much as the press makes it out to do. Seriously, you're parroting bad tech journalism.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:00 AM on July 12, 2010


Anyway, can you please address the Sophos link you posted? You write here:

Don't worry, there are some for you too.

Where are the AV apps on the App Store?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:02 AM on July 12, 2010


Now THIS is what I'm talking about! GUI-based programming that relies on long-established human interface principles, like progressive disclosure and visualization! Something where an average user can just tinker and play, and have an honest-to-gosh application at the end of it!

This is big, this is a killer-app. Kids are going to be writing their own ringtone-swapper apps that looks at caller ID and location (Jay-Z for when I'm at home, a single quiet beep for when I'm at school,) moms will be writing their own pilates routines using the phonecam to take pictures or video of their instructors performing certain moves, chefs will be able to link their recipies to their shopping list and have seasonal favorites show up, and the list will know when they're at the grocery store, and when they're at the farmer's market.

And here's the best part - these kids and moms and chefs will start sharing their apps with each other. And then they'll start tinkering and customizing the apps for their own needs.

They'll do it because it's easy and kind of fun and, unlike the 10-goto-10 basic programs of my youth, they'll be able to have real apps do really useful or fun things right away.

(Apple evangelists were cool and fun back when their platform of choice had 5% of the market share, but the new iOS axe-berserkers tend to be self-defeating. Here's a hint, sports fans, if someone claims the single most important feature of a personal computer isn't relevant or needed or important for the average user to have access to - they're not really an Apple fan. They have no appreciation or respect for the history and progress of the personal computer. I kind of have Steve Jobs on that list, now - there's irony for ya.)
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:03 AM on July 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is big, this is a killer-app.

Hobbyists will play around with it, but if the screenshots are any indication, this is most definitely not a software development kit for Grandma.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:06 AM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, and I haven't stopped beating my wife, for the record.

If you support the policy, it's not a stretch for me to assume you support the outcome of the policy, is it?

Sophos sells no iPhone AV software. Apple sells no AV software through the App Store.

You claimed I didn't read the link, but you missed the key phrase "For the moment" even though you copied it. But if you really think that they won't allow sales for this if they perceive a real market for it, I can only say I think otherwise.

Android users can, today, this very moment, choose from a number of protection subscriptions

Right. I remember just yesterday, when I was forced to choose between one of these.
posted by me & my monkey at 10:07 AM on July 12, 2010


I actually downloaded and compiled that app to run on my iPhone when it came out. It doesn't do nearly as much as the press makes it out to do.

So, let me get this straight: because a sample intended to demonstrate the possibility of malware in the App Store doesn't really do anything seriously bad, real malware is impossible to get into the App Store? I didn't really have you pegged as the eternal optimist!
posted by me & my monkey at 10:09 AM on July 12, 2010


Hobbyists will play around with it, but if the screenshots are any indication, this is most definitely not a software development kit for Grandma.

I think you're right about this. But it could be the SDK for someone who wants to build apps for Grandma.
posted by me & my monkey at 10:10 AM on July 12, 2010


Is this something I would have to have more disposable income to care about?

But seriously folks... I think this is cool, I would get this thing if I could afford a data plan.
posted by Mister_A at 10:13 AM on July 12, 2010


It IS totally cool. It's just a shame that it has be phrased as an Apple store killer or some such.
posted by new brand day at 10:16 AM on July 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


Can Metafilter now finally get over its hatred of Apple?

Dude, come on.
posted by GuyZero at 10:18 AM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bollocks. PCs dominate because of IBM and Microsoft's OS contracts. Great, PCs are modifiable. If modding and tinkering were what drove the market, Radio Shack might still be in business.*

Not only that, but I find that people overstate how "closed" the old Macs were. Getting the case off of even the original form factor macintoshes at least from the Plus onward wasn't that big of a deal on the rare occasions when you needed to, and the ports gave this geek most of the expansion I ever needed. Documentation for the toolbox/APIs was thorough, the community of people hacking on things outside of that was decent, there was even a third-party hardware upgrade industry. Much of the whinging I've been privy to really came down to people who knew how to do things one way and for whatever reason were surprised and dismayed when it was done a different way.

OK, well, RE: Hypercard for smart phones. iPhones, even. It exists. It's called The Web. Seriously. OK, not a complete solution for every app... but then again, neither was Hypercard, and the maps of things they're both suitable for and not suitable for are pretty similar. I'm starting to think the biggest problem with the iOS devices (other than the U.S. carrier lock) is that the App Store concept has taken over, which is particularly funny when you consider that the original blessed dev kit was The Web. And it's still there. And nothing's stopping anyone from targeting it at the moment other than the fact that most people don't seem to notice it over the excitement surrounding Apple's official channel, whether it's enthusiasm or frustration.

I suppose The Web might not be quite easy enough. At least, it isn't for some people, and it's also just short of some capabilities necessary for some applications... which is why Macromedia in many ways made the actual modern heirs to Hypercard with Dreamweaver and Flash -- they're the ones the baton Apple put down right in the middle of the era of desktop multimedia. I was actually thinking as part of Adobe they'd be next there again, or maybe Apple would beat them to it if they were too sleepy. But here we are, and Google's apparently doing it. This looks pretty cool. I think it's particularly interesting that it looks like a page taken from Scratch.

And if were taking a lesson from all this, it'd be different from what the majority of people are saying about the openness/closedness of the devices, because like I said above, there is in fact an open platform at least roughly capable of what Hypercard was for Apple's stuff, and if you're willing to do a little extra stuff, Phonegap will get you even farther. No, I'd bet the lesson in question has a lot more to do with Google's 20% time and culture, one that seems to recognize minds are distributed across an organization on a roughly one-per-person basis, and lets them allocate some of their time to solve problems independently. Now there's a distinctive kind openness to wonder about.
posted by weston at 10:19 AM on July 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


If you support the policy, it's not a stretch for me to assume you support the outcome of the policy, is it?

Yes, I support policies of continued wife beating and loaded questions.

You claimed I didn't read the link

Your exact words were: "Don't worry, there are some for you too."

You are saying there are AV apps for the iPhone.

Can you please provide links to those products on the App Store?

Even just Sophos, since you linked to a blog post from a Sophos employee.

But if you really think that they won't allow sales for this if they perceive a real market for it, I can only say I think otherwise.

No, that's not what you said. This is what you said: "Don't worry, there are some for you too."

Right. I remember just yesterday, when I was forced to choose between one of these.

The point was that these apps have to be made available because Google has an increasingly complex (for everyday end users) permissions model, a device that allows all kinds of background processes, and a data exchange model that makes heavy use of cloud computing resources, for which there are likely few avenues for failure. The trade-off for openness is having to run these parasitic apps.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:19 AM on July 12, 2010


I think just about any tool that inspires and enables creativity is a good thing. I'm eager to see what people make.
posted by grubi at 10:19 AM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


The App Store picture really isn't as idyllic as some here are painting it as, what with the fraudulent apps, buggy apps (sadly including the otherwise excellent 100 Rogues, which would be awesome if it were even vaguely stable) and of course the plethora of fart apps. Basically the reviewer team seems to mostly serve as a morality police, with occasional weird forays into homophobia, but do nothing about all the things they are supposedly saving us from.

Basically where the App store has been a good thing is the encouragement of a wave of indie development and giving those developers a way to earn money from that development. That's where Apple really are to be applauded. Sadly their overbearing role of gatekeeper overseeing what kinds of content are available and their tendency to pull horrible stunts like 3.3.1 detracts from that.
posted by Artw at 10:20 AM on July 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sorry, I don't seem to be explaining the metaphor correctly. I'm suggesting people would really like not having to have anyone open up a car hood ever again. The ability to have buy a car and never have to have anyone tinker it would be very appealing.

Ugh. Yeah, because you want to be shackled to the Toyota dealer forever. Your local mechanic can't open it, and if he does, he voids the warranty and no dealer will ever even talk to you.

That's the future that Apple promises now that they're moving into the business of selling services. The thing about not caring whether these devices appeal to tinkery/hackery geeks is that they built all the best apps on it. So freezing them out will have a chilling effect on the all the good stuff.

Not that I expect it to matter. Apple products seem to generate a huge reality distortion field. Don't get me wrong, I like their products, I just don't get people going insane over them.
posted by lumpenprole at 10:32 AM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


No, that's not what you said. This is what you said: "Don't worry, there are some for you too."

Oh, FFS, you're better than that. The two apps I just linked aren't in the App Store, but they're available for use on non-jailbroken iPhones today. Sure, there may not be any AV apps today in the App Store today, but do you really think there won't be any in the future? Even if they're not needed?

The point was that these apps have to be made available because Google has an increasingly complex (for everyday end users) permissions model

Really? Have you installed an Android app? Because it basically just LISTS WHAT THE APP CAN DO. Can it dial the phone? Can it use your data plan? Now, on iPhone, you don't see that information, but that doesn't mean apps can't do those things.

a device that allows all kinds of background processes

uh, right, because clearly multitasking is the root of all evil. Nothing can possibly happen when you run an iPhone app while you're running it.

and a data exchange model that makes heavy use of cloud computing resources, for which there are likely few avenues for failure.

Really? Clearly this is why you can't view your contacts without a network connection. Seriously, though - to you this is a disadvantage? I can buy any Android phone, and have all my contacts on the phone before I leave the store, without needing a computer - let alone custom software to install on my computer.
posted by me & my monkey at 10:38 AM on July 12, 2010


BP, I've had an Android phone for close to 6 months and I didn't know that anti-virus apps for Android even existed. If it were necessary to install and run one then I would already be doing so. For the longest time I didn't bother with a PC anti-virus program since I was fairly smart on what I clicked on and what programs I ran. I didn't have any issues. This is kind of a red-herring.
posted by hellojed at 10:39 AM on July 12, 2010


Yeah, because you want to be shackled to the Toyota dealer forever.

No offense, but after the experience I've had with local mechanics vs the Toyota dealer... I have no issue with this. The Toyota folks know my car better and have parts onsite.

So, this paranoid fantasy of being tethered to a corporation is just silly. Especially when they ARE advantages of letting the manufacturer deal with it.
posted by grubi at 10:46 AM on July 12, 2010


Apple products seem to generate a huge reality distortion field.

What's that clever programming trick to find and replace words? because, not being a programmer, I'd like to run it and replace "Apple" with, oh, I don't know... "Google" is a good start. Let's try that.
posted by grubi at 10:48 AM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


they're not really an Apple fan
The original Mac wasn't programmable out of the box; you had to pay to get dev tools and (at first) you had to use a Lisa. The only difference between then and now is they have the infrastructure and the internet that allows them to also control the apps.
posted by bonaldi at 10:51 AM on July 12, 2010


Question: if the closed, appliance device gained them the market, how would the exact same thing lose them the market?

They got the market because they were the first to really nail the sweet touchscreen-based model. But now there are competitors that are also sweet and touchscreen-based. So what's going to set some phones apart is the content -- the apps. Creating artificial restrictions on who can develop what software and how (and whether their users can run it) is just handicapping themselves.
posted by callmejay at 10:51 AM on July 12, 2010


So, this paranoid fantasy of being tethered to a corporation is just silly. Especially when they ARE advantages of letting the manufacturer deal with it.

It's my understanding that this is actually the reality of Apple products; not fantasy - you take it to their licensed dealers for repairs, or you void the warranty. And sure, there are advantages of letting the manufacturer deal with it. Just as there are advantages of having the freedom to take the product you bought to whoever you want to take a crack at it and fix it, where it might very well be someone who knows better than the person at the Apple store.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:52 AM on July 12, 2010


I don't know much about Grandma but I think my 12 year-old is going to loooove this. It looks a lot like the LEGO Mindstorms UI except it's multiple event handlers instead one single control flow.
posted by GuyZero at 10:52 AM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


But here's the reason the "oh yeah, if you locked down your car it would make you Toyota's bitch forever!" argument falls flat: if Toyota did make a car that you couldn't open and tinker with, then you'd go with a Honda. Or Nissan. Or Ford. OR ANYTHING ELSE. Most consumers don't want to be mechanics. Or programmers. So a closed system isn't their preference; they just don't care about that aspect.

Here's an idea: electric cars. Anyone here know how tinker on one of those? If you want to, but the system inside makes it difficult to do so, is it an inherently faulty car?
posted by grubi at 10:53 AM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Gaaah now they're talking smack about Toyota, Martha! On the MetaFilter!
posted by Mister_A at 10:53 AM on July 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


This seems poised to capture the Microsoft Access market.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:54 AM on July 12, 2010


They got the market because they were the first to really nail the sweet touchscreen-based model. But now there are competitors that are also sweet and touchscreen-based. So what's going to set some phones apart is the content -- the apps.

Are the apps what got them the market? Or is it the touch-screen? If it's the touch-screen, you've yet to show me how the touch-screen would lose them the market. If it's the apps, you've yet to show how the apps would lose them the market.

You're arguing preference -- not the market.
posted by grubi at 10:54 AM on July 12, 2010


But here's the reason the "oh yeah, if you locked down your car it would make you Toyota's bitch forever!" argument falls flat: if Toyota did make a car that you couldn't open and tinker with, then you'd go with a Honda. Or Nissan. Or Ford. OR ANYTHING ELSE.

Yes, that's freedom of choice. People can choose not to buy Apple products, and very many do. What's wrong with talking about what they could do better, to attract more consumers?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:56 AM on July 12, 2010


Creating artificial restrictions on who can develop what software and how (and whether their users can run it) is just handicapping themselves.

In one aspect sure. But is that the only aspect that matters? A lot of this stuff is seen as black and white, but how many people are going to buy the App that the 12 year old made, particularly when it turns out to be buggy or it's never updated? Having a ton of shitty apps available may not be the boon some think it is.

I suspect Android and iOS will grow to be the dominant mobile platforms and profitable. As to which will be more popular, that's hard to say.
posted by new brand day at 10:59 AM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


What's wrong with talking about what they could do better, to attract more consumers?

I'm sure Apple would thank you for your marketing advice.

You seem to have missed the part where I (and countless others over the years) mentioned that Apple isn't after more consumers. They're targeting a segment of the market. The result? They have fewer customers than similar companies, but make more money.

If you're selling a product or service to gain a significant portion of the market rather than make money, you're doing it wrong.
posted by grubi at 11:00 AM on July 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Creating artificial restrictions on who can develop what software and how (and whether their users can run it) is just handicapping themselves.

One could make the argument that Vogue is handicapping themselves by not accepting ads from anyone who's willing to pay their fees, e.g. you don't see ads for WalMart or McDonalds in Vogue.

Being selective is not a straight handicap - it has pros and cons. The fanboys see only the pros, the "critics" (in so far as they're not critical in the critical theory sense) see only the cons. But like every engineering decision, it's just another trade-off.
posted by GuyZero at 11:01 AM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


how many people are going to buy the App that the 12 year old made, particularly when it turns out to be buggy or it's never updated?

Why is the commercial success of the app even relevant? Nobody ever bought an app written in BASIC either (ok, there were a few) but everyone seems to think BASIC was a big deal.
posted by GuyZero at 11:02 AM on July 12, 2010


everyone seems to think BASIC was a big deal.

Because it helped create new programmers. It didn't help the market success of any particular company. There's a difference.
posted by grubi at 11:04 AM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, my kid and I got bluetooth communication working between my Nexus One and our Mindstorms control brick so I hope this thing lets you use packaged third-party libs because then I can create a Android-Mindstorms bluetooth communication package for it. Sweeeeeet.
posted by GuyZero at 11:04 AM on July 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


Because it helped create new programmers. It didn't help the market success of any particular company. There's a difference.

A rising tide floats all boats.
posted by GuyZero at 11:05 AM on July 12, 2010


Apple has a big advantage because they were first in, and a somewhat smaller competitive advantage coming from their halo effect. The point that callmejay is trying to make, I think, is that Apple may be frittering away their present advantage—they were first with other things, let us not forget; that particular advantage won't last forever.

So, now they have competitors, at least one of whom has a considerable halo effect. Competing units seem to be aesthetically pleasing and highly versatile and functional. Other factors now enter the mind of the prospective buyer. Things like price (unit and service); network (expense is part of the equation too; it costs you something to jettison your existing contract, if you have one); and, as has always been the case with personal computing devices, availability of cool software. If developers start to devote more time and energy to android apps, it could be a serious blow to Apple. I don't currently see a reason that devs would abandon iPhone apps en masse, because it's a pretty lucrative market, but it certainly seems like something Apple should keep an eye on, because they've dropped the ball at critical moments and lost out to more versatile/customizable/affordable competition before.
posted by Mister_A at 11:05 AM on July 12, 2010


everyone seems to think BASIC was a big deal.

You know, I think HyperCard was really something special in it's day in a similar way to BASIC. Something that Apple should rightly be proud of, and like BASIC though it could seem a little toylike itwas actually a good introduction to making things: A lot of the folks who went on to build the web in the early days got their start with it, for instance. Also I think it's pretty sad to see Apple enthusiasts, who back in the day were big supporters of HyperCard, now sneering at what it represents.
posted by Artw at 11:07 AM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm sure Apple would thank you for your marketing advice.

Wow, dude. I was asking a real question there. I see nothing wrong with discussing what a company could do differently, least of all in a thread involving said company. But apparently, anyone with anything but a glowing opinion of Apple just needs to STFU because "they have enough customers"? What the hell?

I get that you're passionate about the company or whatever, but I don't understand continuously telling people in this thread that they're WRONG about Apple while simultaneously saying it doesn't matter what we think. Plenty of people are speculating and wondering out loud in good faith. This dismissive "Apple doesn't need to know what you think, but btw you're wrong" crap, what is it helping?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:08 AM on July 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


This dismissive "Apple doesn't need to know what you think, but btw you're wrong" crap, what is it helping?

Presumably we're being too loud and it would help make things more quiet.
posted by GuyZero at 11:09 AM on July 12, 2010


Wow, there's a lot of threadcrapping in here. Please take it to comp.sys.android and crosspost to comp.sys.ios4 and alt.pave.the.earth.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:09 AM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why is the commercial success of the app even relevant?

Ok, how many people are going to download the free App that the 12 year old made, particularly when it turns out to be buggy or it's never updated?

People being able to create their own apps is totally cool and sounds fun, but lets not pretend there aren't potential downsides, such as rapid growth in crappy apps.
posted by new brand day at 11:09 AM on July 12, 2010


Homemade apps will be the mixtapes of the teens. You heard it here first.
posted by Mister_A at 11:13 AM on July 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


If developers start to devote more time and energy to android apps, it could be a serious blow to Apple

Absolutely, it could. Will it? Time will tell. But my argument was against the idea that Apple was definitely heading to obsolescence because it refuses to allow app-creating apps on its platform. Which is silly.

I'm not so pro-Apple that I'm blind to its faults; this isn't a religion for me. I prefer their products, generally, and part of that is Mr Jobs & Co. are working to provide a pleasant, useable experience for me and other folks. Since my idea of a useful device is one I can do stuff *with* the device while getting a nice experience out of it, I've drifted towards Apple products. If I were more inclined to do stuff *to* the device (and there was a time, believe me), then I would go somewhere else, generally speaking.

I've used Android phones. I feel I have given them a fair shake. They have some neat features. And loads of potential. But I don't want to wait for a phone to reach its potential; I want one that is currently fulfilling it. Agree or disagree with my approach; that's fine. But don't assume that because you like it one way, the market as a whole will, too.

A good rule of thumb is: the consumer, in general, wants something that is easier to use than its predecessors. (There are exceptions, of course.)
posted by grubi at 11:13 AM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why can't Android fans can't just talk about Android based on its own merits instead of ranting about how closed and sucky Apple is?
posted by entropicamericana at 11:15 AM on July 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


lets not pretend there aren't potential downsides, such as rapid growth in crappy apps.

Yes, thank goodness you don't have to deal with crappy spam emails, crappy TV shows, crappy movies or crappy people. I mean, if those things existed life as we know it would grind to a halt as you're forced to watch all those crappy TV shows & crappy movies. And dealing with crappy people? Life would be unbearable.

And imagine if there were restaurants serving crappy food! Beyond the pale.
posted by GuyZero at 11:16 AM on July 12, 2010


People being able to create their own apps is totally cool and sounds fun, but lets not pretend there aren't potential downsides, such as rapid growth in crappy apps.

Again, see the thousands of fart apps and other shovelware crap in the App Store. That people will make crappy apps does not seem to hurt the App Store all that much, and theres no reason it would harm anyone elses platform more. The number of crappy adds out there is pretty irrelevant so long as you have ways of being directed to the good apps.
posted by Artw at 11:16 AM on July 12, 2010


This dismissive "Apple doesn't need to know what you think, but btw you're wrong" crap, what is it helping?

I apologize about that. It isn't how I meant it.

It's not "STFU they know better than you". It's more like this: your suggestion implied that the way to continued success is based on a particular strategy, but I'm just pointing out they seem to be doing just fine with a vastly different strategy. I, personally, don't necessarily think either is superior to the other. But they've pursued a particular strategy that appears to intentionally preclude the idea of merely grabbing market share, and it appears to work for them. If Steve-O and the shareholders are happy with that, no amount of philosophy and wishlisting is going to change it.

Again, I'm sorry if offended. I need to take a more civil tone.
posted by grubi at 11:18 AM on July 12, 2010


My non-sarcastic reply is that a) there are already lots of crappy apps both on Android and the iPhone, b) there are ways to filter out crappy apps as all app stores have feedback & ratings systems and c) no one cares if crappy apps exist given a) and b).
posted by GuyZero at 11:18 AM on July 12, 2010


My non-sarcastic reply is that a) there are already lots of crappy apps both on Android and the iPhone...

Will the App Builder for Google create more crappy apps or not is the question I guess.
posted by new brand day at 11:19 AM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sturgeons law is universal.
posted by Artw at 11:21 AM on July 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


Will the App Builder for Google create more crappy apps or not is the question I guess.

If 1,000 crappy restaurants open in your city, will it affect your dining habits?
posted by GuyZero at 11:24 AM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Brand fealty is a weird thing.

We should hook this post to the one about facts not being convincing and just be done with it.
posted by maxwelton at 11:24 AM on July 12, 2010


your suggestion implied that the way to continued success is based on a particular strategy, but I'm just pointing out they seem to be doing just fine with a vastly different strategy.

I still don't see why that would or should get in the way of a group of people speculating about what Apple could do differently. For the record, I don't foresee Apple meeting its demise any time in the foreseeable future. They've got a rabidly loyal fanbase, clearly, and as huge a fan as I am of open source, I also don't see that tearing down the walls of Castle Proprietary any time soon. I'll accept there are different products for different people with different desires. For me, this entire discussion is pretty much fun-and-games speculation. That's where I'm coming from, anyway.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:24 AM on July 12, 2010


Good idea, maxwelton.
posted by Mister_A at 11:25 AM on July 12, 2010


Brand fealty is a weird thing.

I like the bit where it is assumed that Enemy Brand must have an equal and oposite band of supporters, and anyone who says anything that could be considered the slightest bit negative or off message is assumed to be an agent of Enemy Brand.

PROTECT THE BRAND!
posted by Artw at 11:27 AM on July 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


Also I think it's pretty sad to see Apple enthusiasts, who back in the day were big supporters of HyperCard, now sneering at what it represents.

I loved HyperCard, and I don't think anybody is sneering at what it represents (especially since what it represents -- a sandboxed dev environment -- is a mile away from what the lockdown critics are demanding). If Apple released HyperCard for iOS it'd be greeted with open arms.

This, though? This isn't HyperCard. The interface is horrible, for a start. The hard part of programming is in thinking clearly about your problem and what you need the computer to do about it. This looks like the GUI equivalent of AppleScript: pretending the problem is the syntax or the typing, when actually it's the thinking.

HyperCard's genius was to let you circumvent that whole programming process if desired, and still get great results. You had to work within the card and stack metaphor, but it turned out that was an amazingly flexible way to represent huge amounts of stuff. Later, if you wanted programming, it was there, but still only as an adjunct to the metaphor.

"I need this card to do this when I put a picture on it" is an easier problem to specify and program for than is "I need an app to solve all this, now what blocks will I use?"
posted by bonaldi at 11:31 AM on July 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


If 1,000 crappy restaurants open in your city, will it affect your dining habits?

If 1000 bad restaurants drown out business for the good restaurants, forcing those good restaurants out of business for lack of custom, then it will impact my dining habits, yes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:32 AM on July 12, 2010


PROTECT THE BRAND!

Yesssssss

If 1,000 crappy restaurants open in your city, will it affect your dining habits?

Of course. I wouldn't know they were crappy until I tried them. Trying a bunch of them and realizing that they're all owned by Mega Corp X would have me avoiding that company and its restaurants in the future.
posted by new brand day at 11:32 AM on July 12, 2010


Superman: Android
Spiderman: iPhone
Batman: Some weird thing he built himself (Linux?)
Wolverine: Totally not whippin' out no iPhone
Aquaman: Android (loves some weird obscure feature no one else cares about)
Wonderwoman: iPhone
Catwoman: Feels like iPhone to me, this one's tough though.
The Tick: Pay phone
posted by Mister_A at 11:34 AM on July 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


I wouldn't know they were crappy until I tried them.

Your complete reliance on first-hand research must make life very tedious.

Seriously, you install apps at random? I rarely install an app I haven't read a review of or had recommended to me.
posted by GuyZero at 11:34 AM on July 12, 2010


Also I think it's pretty sad to see Apple enthusiasts, who back in the day were big supporters of HyperCard, now sneering at what it represents.

Who said anything of the sort? I'd love to see Hypercard on the iPhone, for one. Why do Android proponents have to resort to fighting with these crappy strawmen time and time again?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:35 AM on July 12, 2010


If 1000 bad restaurants drown out business for the good restaurants, forcing those good restaurants out of business for lack of custom, then it will impact my dining habits, yes.

This is a pretty big if. Does anyone have trouble finding Evernote because there are hundreds of fart app in the iTunes app store?
posted by GuyZero at 11:36 AM on July 12, 2010


Also I think it's pretty sad to see Apple enthusiasts, who back in the day were big supporters of HyperCard, now sneering at what it represents.

Who did that?
posted by grubi at 11:41 AM on July 12, 2010


Will the App Builder for Google create more crappy apps or not is the question I guess.

The answer is yes! But it will allow you to make your own crappy fart app in less time than it takes to find a fart app with the rich, succulent tone that satisfies.

The glory of this tool isn't that it adds to the selection of apps for consumption. Instead, this is a tool to allow you to make your app that does what you want to your satisfaction.

Even better, it does it without the need to sink a ton of time into learning old-fashioned programming, but with the option of graduating there if you decide this app-making thing is fun and want to go further with it.

My biggest gripe is that it keeps the function naming convention very programmer-ese - I'd like to see more applescript-style plain-language. It's not too terrible in that regard, tho, and the modular plug-together elements help sort out what does what.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:41 AM on July 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


Does anyone have trouble finding Evernote because there are hundreds of fart app in the iTunes app store?

Your stretching your metaphor pretty thin, I think. People who look for Evernote are probably not having to search through the 19 billion fart apps in the App Store, because the App Store is a one-stop shop where things are -- to some reasonable extent, for the purposes of conversation -- organized. The 19 billion fart apps are kept in the Fart Apps / Entertainment section. While the Evernote app is (I presume, I don't have iTunes in front of me) kept in the Utilities section.

Whereas people looking to eat by thumbing through a list of restaurants in the pages of the city weekly might not get much to distinguish one restaurant from another, quality-wise, especially if there are 1000 bad restaurants and one good restaurant that you personally like, within a specific genre of food (i.e. "type of application") being served.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:44 AM on July 12, 2010


s/Your/You are/
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:45 AM on July 12, 2010


this is a tool to allow you to make your app that does what you want to your satisfaction.

Even better, it does it without the need to sink a ton of time into learning old-fashioned programming, but with the option of graduating there if you decide this app-making thing is fun and want to go further with it.


Which is sooo right. The potential is great and if they make it friendly enough, it will empower users.

Brand fealty is a weird thing.

"You like products someone made! You are their SLAAAAVE."

Brand paranoia is weird thing.
posted by grubi at 11:45 AM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


s/Your/You are/

That's what I was thinking of!
posted by grubi at 11:46 AM on July 12, 2010


Seriously, you guys find your apps by surfing the App Store and nothing else? Because it's very rare to never that I've done that and frankly I find it a little weird that you do.
posted by Artw at 11:49 AM on July 12, 2010


"You like products someone made! You are their SLAAAAVE."

Uh, no. It is not liking a brand that makes one a "slave". But when a group of people accepts the dictates of a corporation without questioning that authority or attempting to assert some control over their own possessions, it does come off as a little creepy.

I mean seriously. You bought a computer. That you are not allowed to install software on. Isn't that a little...weird?
posted by DU at 11:50 AM on July 12, 2010


Your complete reliance on first-hand research must make life very tedious.

Seriously, you install apps at random? I rarely install an app I haven't read a review of or had recommended to me.


Interesting, we do things differently.

Most Apps are only a buck or two, why not try them out randomly? For more expensive Apps, I'll look for recommendations.
posted by new brand day at 11:52 AM on July 12, 2010


Seriously, you guys find your apps by surfing the App Store and nothing else?

Not me, personally, but I strongly suspect that Apple puts money into paying staff to maintain Top 100 and New lists in each category because it highlights popular and up-and-coming applications, which makes the company a greater return-on-investment.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:53 AM on July 12, 2010


Seriously, you guys find your apps by surfing the App Store and nothing else?

Sometimes, sure. Why not?

Because it's very rare to never that I've done that and frankly I find it a little weird that you do.

Huh, why? You've never browsed at store?
posted by new brand day at 11:53 AM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Whereas people looking to eat by thumbing through a list of restaurants in the pages of the city weekly might not get much to distinguish one restaurant from another, quality-wise, especially if there are 1000 bad restaurants and one good restaurant that you personally like, within a specific genre of food (i.e. "type of application") being served.

So, living in the Bay Area I have a slightly different-than-normal restaurant selection procedure where even the corner taqueria will have 50 review up on Yelp so it's rare that I truly select a restaurant at random unless I'm traveling and/or under duress and can't check Yelp first. So I tend to have a reasonable expectation of what I'm going to get before I arrive.

(Although I did want to try that drive-through Dim Sum place very, very badly just to see how the hell it worked)

At any rate, my point in non-rhetorical-question-form is that because the app store is organized and rated and reviewed - separately from the app store submission review process - the whole question of "crappy apps" is irrelevant. There are millions of crappy apps on PCs and Macs right now as well as in the Android and iPhone app stores but because people have metadata available they're fairly easy to sort out.

Let's consider the hypothetical that you can't submit App Inventor apps to the Android Marketplace. Even then, this tool will be great. I don't know why I've spent so long talking about this crappy apps issue because it's just so irrelevant.
posted by GuyZero at 11:54 AM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


You bought a computer. That you are not allowed to install software on.

Has anyone been arrested for jailbreaking? Beyond theoretical considerations, has there been any law that has been enforced to not only make you buy software from the App Store, but also buy an Apple device instead of a Google device? Isn't the insistence on the totalitarian rhetoric a bit... weird?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:57 AM on July 12, 2010


Huh, why? You've never browsed at store?

I don't need a review for a polo shirt at Target and even then I tend to try things on before I buy them.

Plus I wear a lot of ad-supported clothes as a NASCAR driver.
posted by GuyZero at 11:57 AM on July 12, 2010


But when a group of people accepts the dictates of a corporation without questioning that authority or attempting to assert some control over their own possessions, it does come off as a little creepy.

Jesus fucking christ on a rubber crutch. Who is "accepting the dictates"? "Without questioning"? Or failing to "assert some control"? I have not merely accepted Apple's dictates without questioning. I fucking jailbroke these devices! just because I *understand* their position doesn't mean I have to *like* it. I'm simply tired of all the Apple haters telling me I AM A MINDLESS DRONE BECAUSE I GAVE APPLE MY MONEY.

You are making this a religious issue. Just because I went into the building where the alcohol is sold doesn't mean I purchased alcohol. There are other approaches and options. You are making value judgments on people's preferences. That's pretty shitty.

I mean seriously. You bought a computer. That you are not allowed to install software on. Isn't that a little...weird?

Not. In. The. Least. I *can* install software on it. Certain software. I cannot, although it would be nice if I could, install Garageband on my PC. But, as a lifelong computer user, I have learned to accept that there will always be some limitations. I can neither overcome all of these nor change the fact they exist in the first place.
posted by grubi at 11:58 AM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


You bought a computer. That you are not allowed to install software on
Yep. In my mind it's the same as my Wii, my iPod, my camera and lots of other appliance devices that I can only install unauthorised software on by jail breaking, in one sense or another.
posted by bonaldi at 12:00 PM on July 12, 2010


So, living in the Bay Area I have a slightly different-than-normal restaurant selection procedure where even the corner taqueria will have 50 review up on Yelp so it's rare that I truly select a restaurant at random unless I'm traveling and/or under duress and can't check Yelp first. So I tend to have a reasonable expectation of what I'm going to get before I arrive.

A better metaphor would be: If there is Evernote and a 1000 crappy Evernote clones, which will succeed in the long run?

It's a bit hard to say. Statistically, 1000 clones could easily make the friend-of-a-friend or word-of-mouth review pool for Evernote a lot noisier, let alone the (broken) App Store review scoring.

A few clones can be highlighted as dreck, but it's harder to fight a tide of 1000 crappy apps in the same category, which pollute the review and filtering process.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:01 PM on July 12, 2010


I mean, how much time and luck do you have to read through a 1000 reviews of taquerias and get to that diamond in the rough?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:03 PM on July 12, 2010


Well, most SF taquerias are pretty great as long as you steer clear of the horrifying bathrooms (baños).
posted by Mister_A at 12:05 PM on July 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Not. In. The. Least. I *can* install software on it. Certain software. I cannot, although it would be nice if I could, install Garageband on my PC. But, as a lifelong computer user, I have learned to accept that there will always be some limitations. I can neither overcome all of these nor change the fact they exist in the first place.

Yes, you cannot install Apple's Garageband on a computer running Microsoft's Windows.

The difference, here, is that it's not Microsoft saying you can't. It's Apple not offering it. If Apple made a Garageband for Windows, and Microsoft said you couldn't install it on Windows - and had infrastructure built into Windows such that that decree would be enforceable - that would be the comparable situation.
posted by kafziel at 12:05 PM on July 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


You bought a computer. That you are not allowed to install software on

Yep. In my mind it's the same as my Wii, my iPod, my camera and lots of other appliance devices that I can only install unauthorised software on by jail breaking, in one sense or another.


Spot on. Technically, the iPhone and iPad are computers. In actual use, they are not. And this is what the thing is: one side wants to use their computing device like a computer and one side wants to use their computing device like a device.
posted by grubi at 12:06 PM on July 12, 2010


The difference, here, is that it's not Microsoft saying you can't. It's Apple not offering it. If Apple made a Garageband for Windows, and Microsoft said you couldn't install it on Windows - and had infrastructure built into Windows such that that decree would be enforceable - that would be the comparable situation.

I understand that. My point is, with any one of these devices, I have learned to accept certain limitations. I don't get to dictate the limitations. The manufacturer does. If I don't like their limitations, I choose something else.
posted by grubi at 12:07 PM on July 12, 2010


Yes, recommendations and positive filtering would be the better way of finding restraints or apps, given a large number of either.
posted by Artw at 12:08 PM on July 12, 2010


A few clones can be highlighted as dreck, but it's harder to fight a tide of 1000 crappy apps in the same category, which pollute the review and filtering process.

You know, like Windows, where the only way to find software is to google "[intended purpose] + .exe" and hope you get lucky. That's why I do all my word processing in DavePad.exe. I've heard that Linux users have it even worse, since their binaries don't have an extension, so they have to search for "[purpose] + .cpp" and compile from source.
posted by Pyry at 12:13 PM on July 12, 2010 [7 favorites]


Yep. In my mind it's the same as my Wii, my iPod, my camera and lots of other appliance devices that I can only install unauthorised software on by jail breaking, in one sense or another.

I gave up on iPod hardware when I stopped being able to load Rockbox on them.

For some reason, Apple didn't want me to play my 24bit/96kHz FLAC rips of vintage vinyl without transcodeing it to some wussy format.

To hell with that...
posted by mikelieman at 12:14 PM on July 12, 2010


I mean, how much time and luck do you have to read through a 1000 reviews of taquerias and get to that diamond in the rough?

Realistically, two ways:

One, at least I can avoid the really crappy ones but avoiding anything with very low ratings. These are guaranteed losers. So wherever I go I can expect at least something acceptable. If I need a note-taking app, similarly, it really only has to cross a minimum threshold. I don't really expect to find the best app (or restaurant) right out of the gate.

Two, trusted professional reviewers. Friends and newspapers help point me to places that I can expect I'm going to like a lot based on in-depth information (newspaper reviews) and a knowledge of my personal preferences (friends).

Finally, I just don't expect to find a diamond in the rough each time. That's simply an unrealistic expectation whether it's food or apps.

Given trusted sources of information and less-trusted-but-statistically-accurate crowdsourced review data the number of truly crappy contenders in a market are easily avoidable. The app store metadata solved the "market for lemons" problem.
posted by GuyZero at 12:14 PM on July 12, 2010


I gave up on iPod hardware when I stopped being able to load Rockbox on them.

Awesome! You exercised the freedom of choice. I have no problem with this.
posted by grubi at 12:28 PM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Awesome! You exercised the freedom of choice. I have no problem with this.

You have completely lost track of what points you used to underline which argument against whom and why, haven't you?

God, I've =missed= the platform wars so much, this is almost as good as the Atari ST and Amiga guys going at it...
posted by Slap*Happy at 1:10 PM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


the Atari ST and Amiga guys going at it

Who?
posted by new brand day at 1:12 PM on July 12, 2010


Atari? Only a complete git would use an Atari.
posted by entropicamericana at 1:13 PM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just so I'm clear on this... Is the problem with the fart apps that they don't work as advertised? Or that people are offended by their existence?
posted by Joe Beese at 1:14 PM on July 12, 2010


HyperCard's genius was to let you circumvent that whole programming process if desired, and still get great results. You had to work within the card and stack metaphor, but it turned out that was an amazingly flexible way to represent huge amounts of stuff. Later, if you wanted programming, it was there, but still only as an adjunct to the metaphor.

From what I can see (shallow examination, admittedly), we are getting a Scratch-ish set of metaphors, casting actors on a stage and scripting their behavior. I can respect an argument that's not as elegant as HyperCard, but it's probably at least as elegant as Flash, which seems to work well enough for people who haven't been initiated into programming yet. There's probably room for something better, but this isn't exactly chopped liver.
posted by weston at 1:19 PM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Atari? Only a complete git would use an Atari.

What other platforms do teenagers riot on?
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:24 PM on July 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


You have completely lost track of what points you used to underline which argument against whom and why, haven't you?

Show me what inconsistencies I've presented. Show me where I've laid judgment on people who prefer another platform. Show me where I've shifted or changed my position.
posted by grubi at 1:48 PM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


That is not true. Is my Toyota a better car because I can tinker with it?-- grubi
This is a somewhat odd sentence. Who says you can't tinker with your Toyota? Toyota has a whole line of cars marketed as being tweakable and customizable: scions. Now, most people probably won't do much with them, but all their ads highlight how customizable they are.

Anyway, I find it pretty amazing, and definetly a testament to how far people are willing to belive ridiculous things in order to make Apple look good that they're arguing that not letting people modify or program their phones is actually a virtue and that wanting to do that is ridiculous.

Think about it. If you told an average iPhone user that you would program for them, any application that they want so long as they were willing to sit down with you for a few hours to go over what it would do, how many would you think take you up on that offer? Users want programs that do what they want. The problem is that they find programming intimidating.

Making programming less intimidating, and easy enough for them to actually do, I think people be interested in trying it. As others said, lots of office drones make Access macros and forms and Excel sheets in their jobs. They probably don't think of it as programming, but it is.
I will point this out so you don't make the mistake again. I. Do. Not. Want. To. Tinker. I. Want. To. Simply. Use. -- grubi


What does that have to do with the rest of us? Just because that's how you feel doesn't mean it's how everyone else does.
Thank you. Count me in that group. I've jailbroken both my iPhone and iPad. I'm not opposed to tinkering.-- grubi


I think you're a little confused here. If you don't want to tinker, then why did you jailbreak your phone?
And of course, there's no way that could be used as an attack vector, right?
That's a potential issue for Windows users, definitely. But then I keep hearing about how you shouldn't run applications with admin privileges on a Windows machine, so maybe this isn't as much of an issue anymore, in theory.
-- Blazecock Pileon
Maaan. Your hatred for anything not-apple is just getting hilarious. Macs aren't actually more secure then windows machines, they're just less targeted. And since most viruses and malware target windows XP it's not even as much of an issue for Vista and Win7 machines. If you were writing a virus targeting the iPhone you would obviously want it to work on OSX.

And the other thing is that people are running around saying that the iPad replaces the computer, bla bla bla, but actually you still need a computer to work with it. Anyway getting into whether iOS or Android is more virus prone is kind of a derail. Neither one is known for having lots of real-world active viruses, unlike windows XP. It's kind of moot point. To claim that one is more likely to get viruses is pure FUD and frankly totally unknowable. Because you think one particular model is more vulnerable then another is kind of irrelevant, especially when you have a history of seeing absolutely everything in the best possible light for Apple. Seriously it's like listening to a religious person dude.

Please try to keep your random anti-anything-not-apple bitch fests on topic, since you can't seem to let them go. VIRUSES ARE NOT A PROBLEM ON EITHER ANDROID OR iOS DEVICES trying to argue about hypothetical possibilities makes no sense. It's almost like Apple fans are recycling arguments they made about PCs 15 and 10 years ago (hard to use + lots of viruses) about android that don't even make sense.
Absolutely, it could. Will it? Time will tell. But my argument was against the idea that Apple was definitely heading to obsolescence because it refuses to allow app-creating apps on its platform. -- grubi
No one said that. The argument is that it sucks. Although it's interesting that Apple started to really gain marketshare when they switched to the geek-friendly OSX, a fully functional version of Unix with a useable command line (a feature they actually advertised at the time)
posted by delmoi at 1:51 PM on July 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


Hi delmoi, was wondering where you were, started to get worried.
posted by new brand day at 1:57 PM on July 12, 2010 [8 favorites]


Apple....which makes the company a greater return-on-investment. posted by Blazecock Pileon

I see.
posted by various at 2:22 PM on July 12, 2010


Seriously it's like listening to a religious person dude.

"It's just the platform that works best for me, personally, because I believe in freedom of choice and I will shout you down if you wouldn't make the same choice."
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:30 PM on July 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


This is a somewhat odd sentence. Who says you can't tinker with your Toyota?

I didn't. I asked if the ability to tinker with it makes it a better car.

What does that have to do with the rest of us? Just because that's how you feel doesn't mean it's how everyone else does.

I pointed out -- repeatedly -- that the general public is not tinkerers, hackers, programmers, and gadget geeks. And that their lack of wanting to tinker means they don't care about open vs closed.

I think you're a little confused here. If you don't want to tinker, then why did you jailbreak your phone?

Because I wanted an informative lockscreen. If I can get that without jailbreaking, I would.

Absolutely, it could. Will it? Time will tell. But my argument was against the idea that Apple was definitely heading to obsolescence because it refuses to allow app-creating apps on its platform. -- grubi

No one said that.


Oh, no?

Meanwhile Apple kills anything remotely resembling hypercard for the Iphone.

I can barely believe that, despite my love for my iPod Touch, Apple has convinced me to go Android. They could have had the dominant cell/pda platform for decades, but it's like they're trying to become obsolete.


Macs aren't actually more secure then windows machines, they're just less targeted.

Bullshit. If that were true, then there would be an appropriate number of viruses for OSX in ratio to the number that there are for Windows.

how far people are willing to belive ridiculous things in order to make Apple look good that they're arguing that not letting people modify or program their phones is actually a virtue and that wanting to do that is ridiculous.

Who did that? Name one person on this thread.

Users want programs that do what they want.

But most users -- the non-geeks, mind you -- don't want to program these apps themselves. Some users want to do this. Most do not.

Again, you are just not getting it, because you have an irrational (and horribly ill-informed) opinion about Apple. I never defended the closed platform as a virtue. I have said a number of times that most people (myself included) just don't care, and that if we are talking about market success, the majority of users are the intended market segment., not the tinkerers. Steve Jobs is implicitly saying "this isn't a device for tinkering". You find that offensive. My response: tough shit. Don't use it. Go use something else that meets your needs.

Your choice of platform does not imply any level of value or morality. You deliberately(?) misinterpret my position and my statements to further push your anti-Apple religion on a guy who's not religious for or against Apple, but who pointed out the fact that APPLE IS NOT GOING TO BECOME OBSOLETE JUST BECAUSE THEY DID NOT CATER TO THE GEEKS.

Did Steve Jobs beat you up when you were a kid or something?
posted by grubi at 2:38 PM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


"It's just the platform that works best for me, personally, because I believe in freedom of choice and I will shout you down if you wouldn't make the same choice."

I know you weren't responding to me, but I would suggest:

Name one time I said choosing anything other than Apple is wrong. And then look at how many folks who threw out how wrong people are for choosing Apple.
posted by grubi at 2:40 PM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ya'll better stop all that arguing back there or so help me, I'm going to start using a pen and paper!
posted by new brand day at 2:41 PM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Name one time I said choosing anything other than Apple is wrong. And then look at how many folks who threw out how wrong people are for choosing Apple.

What I've been seeing is people speculating and criticizing what Apple does - as they're welcome to do - and you trying very hard to convince people that what Apple is doing is totally the right thing, and if we think otherwise, we either don't understand consumers, or the market, or technology, or Apple's secret of success. It honestly gives the impression that you believe the company is beyond reproach, and that anyone who thinks they could do something differently "just doesn't get it". I mean, really, telling someone they're "turning this into a religious debate"? That critics are "paranoid"? That's a tad hyperbolic. But whatever, maybe it's just a thing with you and Apple. I'll make a note of that for the future.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:47 PM on July 12, 2010


as they're welcome to do

In a thread about Android's Hypercard clone.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:49 PM on July 12, 2010


you trying very hard to convince people that what Apple is doing is totally the right thing

Show me.
posted by grubi at 2:50 PM on July 12, 2010


It honestly gives the impression that you believe the company is beyond reproach

Show me.
posted by grubi at 2:50 PM on July 12, 2010


So, it's not at all related to the subject at hand?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:50 PM on July 12, 2010


So, it's not at all related to the subject at hand?

I don't think trashing Apple and users of Apple devices is relevant to this Hypercard clone, or even interesting, no. A more interesting and relevant discussion is what can be done with the software and the implications it has for Google users. Not everything has to be about your (royal you) dislike of Apple and users of its devices.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:53 PM on July 12, 2010


Honestly Marisa, grubi is and has been arguing that those who say Apple is doomed for not having an app building App are mistaken. That's the core of it, IMO. A bunch of other stuff sprung from that.
posted by new brand day at 2:56 PM on July 12, 2010


Not everything has to be about your (royal you) dislike of Apple and users of its devices.

Where on earth do you get this from?

Show me.

Christ, really? We're going to play the "pull-quote me and I'll quibble over semantics with you"? No thanks, man. I was just trying to offer a little constructive criticism that you could maybe dial it down a notch in the hyperbole department. Far be it from me to rain on your parade.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:58 PM on July 12, 2010


Honestly Marisa, grubi is and has been arguing that those who say Apple is doomed for not having an app building App are mistaken.


Thanks, nbd. That literally is my entire argument.

As for my (somehow) perceived Apple blindness, I looked to see what in the world I could have said in here that would be construed as such.

"While I'm not sure their specific type of success is duplicable, I'm certain there will be several attempts. And whether that's good or bad, I think remains to be seen."

"I don't see the Apple 'closed' model as some sort of philosophical dogma about shutting users out of the platform... so if you prefer to the open way of doing things, you have options. Which is awesome."

"I just don't think 'open' or 'closed' matters to most consumers, and therefore is a technical/philosophical debate, not an economical one."

"I prefer their products, generally, and part of that is Mr Jobs & Co. are working to provide a pleasant, useable experience for me and other folks. Since my idea of a useful device is one I can do stuff *with* the device while getting a nice experience out of it, I've drifted towards Apple products. If I were more inclined to do stuff *to* the device (and there was a time, believe me), then I would go somewhere else, generally speaking."

That is teh simgle most pro-Apple thing I've said in this thread. Nowhere do I "try very hard to convince people that what Apple is doing is totally the right thing" or "give the impression that [I] believe the company is beyond reproach".

"your suggestion implied that the way to continued success is based on a particular strategy, but I'm just pointing out they seem to be doing just fine with a vastly different strategy. I, personally, don't necessarily think either is superior to the other."
posted by grubi at 3:01 PM on July 12, 2010


In a thread about Android's Hypercard clone.

this Hypercard clone

That's like calling Excel a VisiCalc clone. Just because it's doing something similar doesn't make it a clone, as it's an examplar of how dishonest you are in these threads that everything has to be framed as though Apple were the font of all that is good in computing.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:02 PM on July 12, 2010


I was just trying to offer a little constructive criticism that you could maybe dial it down a notch in the hyperbole department.

No, you are repeatedly misrepresenting what I said, or maybe you don't actually know what i said. Either way, you're accusing me of something untrue.
posted by grubi at 3:03 PM on July 12, 2010


Well, it's a hypercard clone is like saying humans descended from monkeys. It's both wrong and a very common comparison. Anything that allows programming without writing code is compared lazily to Hypercard since it's the ur-tool in that category.
posted by GuyZero at 3:05 PM on July 12, 2010


I looked to see what in the world I could have said in here that would be construed as such etc.

I think it's curious that you'd omit some of the shoutier remarks you made, e.g., that Apple critics are paranoid and making this a religious debate, but if you say your intent was otherwise, I'll take your word for it. I don't want to pretend I can sit inside your head and tell you what your motivations were.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:08 PM on July 12, 2010


It's both wrong and a very common comparison.

What is the title of this post?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:09 PM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Take it up with ArtW, PG; he's the one who mentioned Hypercard in THE OP.
posted by entropicamericana at 3:09 PM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Could App Inventor, Google's new easy development software for Android, be Hypercard for phones?"
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:16 PM on July 12, 2010


Artw is hardly the only person to make the comparison and with respect to him, it's equally lazy whether he does it, Tim O'Reilly does it on Twitter or whether the TechCrunch dudes do it. But "Hypercard" has taken on a level of meaning beyond what Hypercard on the Mac actually ever did.
posted by GuyZero at 3:24 PM on July 12, 2010


I wonder what would have happened if I wrote a FPP about "Numbers, Excel for the Mac" and a bunch of Mac users proceeded to derail the thread by posting about how crappy Microsoft is OVER AND OVER again instead of talking about Numbers (ostensibly the subject of my post).

I, for one, would be pissed.

Unless, of course, I was trying to provoke that particular discussion by framing my FPP in such a way.
posted by entropicamericana at 3:25 PM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just dug out my System 7 emulator and fired up HyperCard. Finding: Damn that thing was great.
posted by bonaldi at 3:30 PM on July 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


What does that have to do with the rest of us? Just because that's how you feel doesn't mean it's how everyone else does.

Despite some wandering, it seems pretty clear to me that grubi's point is actually precisely that.

No one said that [apple was definitely heading to obsolescence because it refuses to allow app-creating apps on its platform.]

That doesn't seem to be true. Four comments into this very thread, callmejay said something that quite readily reads that way. This claim is also not particularly rare in internet discussion of Apple's products.

people are running around saying that the iPad replaces the computer, bla bla bla, but actually you still need a computer to work with it.

You need a computer to manage it, which is a big negative in my book, but in a world where multi-computer households are becoming a norm, it can replace the (or a) personal computer for many without eliminating desktop household computers. But I think it's more accurate to say that some people are claiming it replaces laptops for many buyers than they are claiming it entirely supercedes any kind of personal machine.

I do admit I see some punditry circulating out there that seems to be saying "the age of the conventional PC is over!" To the extent that they're saying nobody will use anything but tablets this is obviously foolishness, just like the pundits/PR/marketers "everything will be in the cloud! No more local storage! Thin clients! The network is the computer! Social Media changes EVARYTHING! SEO! PAY ATTENTION TO ME!"

The problem with a lot of the discussion is that it's sometimes difficult to keep degrees of claims straight. For example, it's not beyond reason to speculate that tablets may someday outsell desktop and laptop form factors, even if it probably is to say that they relegate everything else to a museum.
posted by weston at 3:45 PM on July 12, 2010


No one said that. The argument is that it sucks. Although it's interesting that Apple started to really gain marketshare when they switched to the geek-friendly OSX, a fully functional version of Unix with a useable command line (a feature they actually advertised at the time)

OS X and iOS are intended to be different platforms for different uses. OS X isn't going to become a closed model, FWIW. The interesting part to me is that iOS apps will work on the phone or the iPad without porting, which does make it easier on developers. The worst thing they could do is to try to make iOS all things to all people, the kitchen sink approach, which is often MS' approach (as well as Google's). Instead, they do what they do well and are very good at marketing. I'm surprised that, this far into the game, people are still claiming Apple's approach is going to cost them. Hasn't happened yet. The computing world is not very exciting to outsiders - except what Apple is doing.

BTW, the period before OS X was also the period where Steve Jobs was no longer with the company. After he came back, all this started, and things got much better.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:54 PM on July 12, 2010


It's funny how that evolution took place in my home over the years. I went from having one "word processor", to having a PC, to having a PC (that I used for heavy tasks) and a laptop (for doing things on the fly) to having two laptops (both doing the work the PC used to) and a cheap Nokia I use for doing basic stuff when I'm away from home. Overall, it does seem like phones are going to be taking on more and more of the things laptops used to be used for, with laptops replacing desktop PCs.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:57 PM on July 12, 2010


I think it's curious that you'd omit some of the shoutier remarks you made, e.g., that Apple critics are paranoid and making this a religious debate, but if you say your intent was otherwise, I'll take your word for it. I don't want to pretend I can sit inside your head and tell you what your motivations were.

I left out the shouty comments because the contention was that I was so pro- Apple that somehow I was also telling people how wrong they were for choosing otherwise. The reason I chose to say "religious" was that they seemed to be making the discussion about choosing a platform into a moral issue. Which is just odd. My choice of words and style may have been a bit rough (okay, a lot rough), but it was mostly due to me losing my cool over a repeated canard: "Apple users are blind followers. And you're all doomed to a product that nobody wants because it doesn't meet my particular needs and wants." I'm really really tired of reading/hearing that.

I'd like to think I gave a reasoned explanation why I chose these Apple products, a notion that boils down to "what they're trying to do seems to work for me." I never advocated Apple being the One True Way, nor did I criticize anyone's choice to use something else.

I've cooled off a bit, and I'm sorry I was so short with earlier, but, like I said, it bothered me because it was untrue and wasn't based on what I actually said. That's really all *that* part was about.
posted by grubi at 4:03 PM on July 12, 2010


Overall, it does seem like phones are going to be taking on more and more of the things laptops used to be used for, with laptops replacing desktop PCs.

I don't think the laptop will completely replace the desktop. Most people prefer to work with a full-sized keyboard and screen, if they have to work on it all day. In the business world I think we'll still see desktop machines for workstations, and for home use we'll still have the main "family" computer, most likely a desktop, with a number of additional computers in the network, like laptops and mobile devices. However, the tower design came about largely due to inefficiencies in design, particularly with cooling. Newer computers are much more efficient, and I think we will see the actual "box" gradually recede into the background, much like the newer iMacs and Mac minis - Apple went down this road years ago. Mac still sells a tower, but it's geared towards professionals who need a lot of power and modification options.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:04 PM on July 12, 2010


I don't think the laptop will completely replace the desktop. Most people prefer to work with a full-sized keyboard and screen, if they have to work on it all day.

I'm not disputing this, but I'm curious where this comes from. I know anecdotes are not data, but what I'm seeing in more and more offices are desktop PCs replaced with people using laptops - even if in that somewhat comical-looking form of putting the laptop in a stand that raises the screen, and plugging a keyboard into it. This has become especially the case in government offices over here, where IBM laptops are handed out to staff the way Blackberries are given to ministers. The trend, as I'm seeing it, is towards more and more laptops replacing desktop PCs as they get more powerful and have greater storage. Again, this could be pure wishful thinking/speculation on my part.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:14 PM on July 12, 2010


I've found, for me, that the iPad is a comfortable auxiliary computer. I can do most things with it I want to (and in some work cases, need to) do. But the desktop, so far, it has it's place in my life that no mobile device or mobile computer can replace.

So far.
posted by grubi at 4:17 PM on July 12, 2010


That will change. Tablets will assume a larger and larger role.
posted by new brand day at 4:19 PM on July 12, 2010


My desktop PC has a place in my life, too. For letting my torrent client run all night, and for housing our family photos. That's really it. Everything else I do on the laptop, unless I'm out, in which case I use the Nokia for email, MSN, Facebook and so forth. I'll admit though, that I walk part computer stores and see those giant monitors and start drooling.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:21 PM on July 12, 2010


part/past
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:21 PM on July 12, 2010


I'm not disputing this, but I'm curious where this comes from. I know anecdotes are not data, but what I'm seeing in more and more offices are desktop PCs replaced with people using laptops - even if in that somewhat comical-looking form of putting the laptop in a stand that raises the screen, and plugging a keyboard into it.

I've been seeing that for over a decade. The issue is often one of cost, not just up-front but over the lifetime of the product. A desktop is still cheaper, and probably will remain that way for the foreseeable future. The other issue is that many offices will not allow employees to take home their computers. I do IT for small business, and while I'm seeing more purchases of laptops, I'm not seeing them replace workstations for employees who don't need laptops, e.g., who don't need to take it with them.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:26 PM on July 12, 2010


Ah. I don't use a laptop, and part of that is I record music, and desktop suits that better, especially since I have two very large external drives hooked up to it. Any laptop I used would have to be powerful and essentially sit on my desk all day connected to the drives, keyboard, and monitor, so it might as well be a desktop.

But aside from that, Office, and graphic design work, everything else well served on the iPad and the phone. Which surprised me at first. I didn't think the iPad would fill any real niche, but there it is. It's not for everyone, but is a nifty thing to have.
posted by grubi at 4:28 PM on July 12, 2010


Oh, right, that. The price issue. And for the gamer, a desktop seems to be prefered as well. I do all my gaming on a laptop without any problems, but I know hardcore gamers who get all excited about processors and new cooling systems. I can put a larger HD in my laptop, but that's pretty much it. Well, technically I could put in a new processor - but the one YouTube tutorial I saw showing how to do this with flooded with comments from people basically saying OMG WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU?! In their defense, dude was putting a new processor in his laptop while eating corn chips.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:29 PM on July 12, 2010


I don't think the laptop will completely replace the desktop.

Probably more than 1/2 of the offices that I've seen in the last two years have been desktop computer free. It's all laptops and docks with external keyboards, monitors and mice.
posted by octothorpe at 4:30 PM on July 12, 2010


I'm not disputing this, but I'm curious where this comes from.

By the way, do support for the retired set sometime. This is a major complaint. They all want full-size keyboards and screens, at the least. Very few really want a mobile computer, unless they're traveling. Admittedly, this is a generational difference which will likely not be as prominent in the future, but I already don't like reading off a laptop screen all day, and I'm only 40.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:30 PM on July 12, 2010


A lot of "enterprise" users have laptops just so they can carry them around the office to meetings. It used to be that you only got one if you were a road warrior (i.e. field sales). It's as much a cultural shift as a technological one.
posted by GuyZero at 4:31 PM on July 12, 2010


A lot of "enterprise" users have laptops just so they can carry them around the office to meetings. It used to be that you only got one if you were a road warrior (i.e. field sales). It's as much a cultural shift as a technological one.

You might think this is the case, but these shifts don't take place so much in smaller towns. Around here, most businesses are still putting off their IT spending, and we're hurting but not in dire straits. People buy according to need and don't follow such trends, particularly if they're more costly at negligible benefit. Of course, I'm the person who is always trying to balance cost with practicality and find a good answer, and usually I push to the better solution, but I can't push people towards a more expensive solution unless I think there is a real benefit to it.

However, nearly every tourist has a laptop or some sort of mobile device now, and we're a tourist town. It's no longer good enough to have lodging without internet access, wi-fi in particular, although some hotels and B&Bs put it off for a long time.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:38 PM on July 12, 2010


What does that have to do with the rest of us? Just because that's how you feel doesn't mean it's how everyone else does.
I pointed out -- repeatedly -- that the general public is not tinkerers, hackers, programmers, and gadget geeks. And that their lack of wanting to tinker means they don't care about open vs closed.--grubi
Right. That's your opinion. But there's actually a difference between creating useful software and 'tinkering'. If a user needs "Particular thing X" done, and there's an easy way for them to do it, why wouldn't they want too, especially if there was a development environment that was actually easy to use? Because, you know, that's what this thread is about: The ability for people to write easy-to-code programs on their phone. Which they can't do because Apple has it locked down.

And it's not locked down to benefit the user, it's locked down so that apple makes more money: being the sole distribution channel for new functionality, and taking a cut.

The only evidence that you had that users didn't want to tinker was your own personal opinion that you didn't want to do it. Except:
Because I wanted an informative lockscreen. If I can get that without jailbreaking, I would. -- grubi
Which, of course is tinkering.
Bullshit. If that were true, then there would be an appropriate number of viruses for OSX in ratio to the number that there are for Windows. -- grubi
Again, most viruses are for Windows XP and may not work on Vista or Win7, especially given the default setup. And more importantly virus writers target XP because there are tons and tons of poorly secured XP boxes all around the world and connected to the internet. If it's working for them, why would they switch? And anyway, completely beside the point of the thread.
But most users -- the non-geeks, mind you -- don't want to program these apps themselves. Some users want to do this. Most do not.

Again, you are just not getting it, because you have an irrational (and horribly ill-informed) opinion about Apple. I never defended the closed platform as a virtue. I have said a number of times that most people (myself included) just don't care
-- grubi
Again, you only have your opinion, not any factual basis that "users don't care"? But even if they didn't, so what? It still sucks for the users who might be interested in, you know solving their own problems or those who are interested in tinkering with the device. And more impotently, there's no actual benefit to the user in locking it down
you trying very hard to convince people that what Apple is doing is totally the right thing
Show me.
-- grubi
If you don't think that what apple is doing is good and in fact you think what they're doing is bad or just neutral then what is the point of all this posting? What are you trying to prove here? Because it certainly seems like you're trying to defend Apple here. Why would you write all these posts if you don't care?

Maybe one person said Apple would go obsolete, but I don't think that's very likely. Once a company gets to a certain size, it's not going to go away no matter how badly it fucks up. Just look at Sony, which meandered around for years, trashed their brand, etc. They're still around.
posted by delmoi at 5:14 PM on July 12, 2010


Right. That's your opinion. But there's actually a difference between creating useful software and 'tinkering'.

Right in the very paragraph above that, you quote grubi's statement in full: "I pointed out -- repeatedly -- that the general public is not tinkerers, hackers, programmers, and gadget geeks. And that their lack of wanting to tinker means they don't care about open vs closed.--grubi"

That's hackers, programmers and gadget geeks in addition to tinkeres. Yet you only replied about the tinkerers aspect, dismissing it as his opinion, then you go on to argue that there's a difference between tinkering and and creating useful software, which grubi obviously knows based on the comment you quoted and then proceeded to mostly ignore.

That's just one sentence. If a person responded to all of the clumsy reasoning in your comments, they'd never, well, do anything else, it would be like a full time job. A healthy debate can fun and enlightening, but Jesus when you're twisting shit around to fit what you already believe, what's the point? Are you seriously going to sit there and argue that the general public are not tinkerers, hackers, programmers and gadget geeks? Really?
posted by new brand day at 5:54 PM on July 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


And more impotently, there's no actual benefit to the user in locking it down
Excellent typo! But rubbish point. The whole it's-all-about-the-money-via-control-of-channel meme doesn't stand up to a moment's scrutiny. The range and breadth of App Store controls extend far, far beyond what would be required just for that. Hell, if that was the point they would just have done it for big companies only, as they did with the iPod SDK.

In fact, as most developers will tell you, the submission process genuinely does create better software. Apps get rejected for flaky networking, nonexistent error messages, not following ui guidelines, privacy violations, startup crashes, synchronous networking on the main thread, memory leaks ...

There's a gold rush on, and devs would fill the store with shite if they could. The benefit of the lock down is evident just from five minutes reading the dev forums and seeing the horrors that would be inflicted on users without that. That's a benefit users are willing to pay for. (and yes, an "unlock" switch *would* have an impact on users who didn't set it: you can't put a small hole in a dam and still have a dam worth a damn)

There are two sides to quality, and yes the store is full of farting shite. But at least they're high quality farts that don't leak.
posted by bonaldi at 6:03 PM on July 12, 2010


Typo correction:

"...that the general public ARE not tinkerers, hackers and gadget geeks?"
posted by new brand day at 6:10 PM on July 12, 2010


I was so happy when I saw this announcement today. I've been teaching my 6 year old nephew to program using Scratch -- something he gets easily and really enjoys.

And then here comes scratch for a super-capable, pocketable computer -- one that his parents will probably buy. I only wish I'd grown up at a time when a child could program a machine with a 5mpix camera, 600mhz processor, and an always-on internet connection.

This kind of power, made this easy, is what computing is all about.

Kudos to Google for this effort. I hope we see more of it from all parties.
posted by fake at 6:16 PM on July 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


What's the record for highest percentage of posts from a single user in a thread with over 200 comments?
posted by markr at 6:23 PM on July 12, 2010


I have the 3GS and the Droid Incredible. (The latter provided to me through work.) Know what? They're both good phones. Yes, the iOS software ecosystem doesn't work the way I'd like it to. Yes, although I like its model better, the Android Market doesn't have as high a signal to noise ratio as I'd like.

It would be nice to see an app-builder suite of some kind for the Mac, maybe something similar to Automator, which (when it works) is a pretty cool stepping stone for power users. My sense is that if these kind of construction kits are especially effective in diverting attention to the Android platform, Apple will find a way to respond. It would just take a little while, as they'd more or less have to make it an internal project (and maybe release it as an iLife app?)

I'm not sure why anyone still wants to be religious about OS platforms in these days of network centrism and virtualization. At my house, at least three OSes (five if you count mobile) are in use every single day. Many days there are more--and I'm not doing anything terribly exotic.
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:27 PM on July 12, 2010


Thinking about it some more I think the biggest problem with Google's App Inventor is one they won't recognize.

Not many people will know about it.

Think of video calling on the iPhone 4. They named it Facetime and made a big, touching commercial about it to showcase the emotional power of it. Click and button and boom, you'll be able to see your loved ones, it's so simple. But it's just video chat, nothing new or special! But Apple is, IMO, correctly marketing this old feature to in a way that connects with the general public.

Google should do the same with App Inventor, make a commercial that focuses on the human aspects of this cool software. But they won't or rather they can't. It's not in their DNA to focus on those aspects. They won't make a commercial with a little girl (YES A GIRL) helping her Grandparents build an App to help them remember to take their meds all the time. It could be a sweet spot, showing the girl bonding with her parents and giving older senior citizens a way of controlling these mysterious devices, i.e. phones, that they own. But that's not how Google thinks. They'll do a spot with a robot or computer arm and it'll be all techno looking and futuristic, and that's fine, I guess. But it could be so much more.

Guess as it stand now, telling people they'll be able to create their own apps probably isn't going to be huge seller. Because as soon as you say it, people are going to think that they have to programmers and their eyes are going to glaze over. Most people aren't going to want to set up their computer and phone to be ready to make Apps. If Goggle can get it to the point where they can make Apps right on their phone (i.e. iMovie on the iPhone 4), they'll have a much better chance of taking off. Part of the allure of making macros in Excel and Word is that everything is right there, you don't have to setup your computer in a special way and the macro recorder allows a person to get started pretty easily. Does the App Inventor have a "watch me and record" function? If not, then it really can't be compared to Excel macros.

The App inventor is totally and completely cool. But I'm not sure it's going to take off quite the way people in this thread think, i.e. the general populace will use it in large numbers.
posted by new brand day at 7:03 PM on July 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


The App inventor is totally and completely cool. But I'm not sure it's going to take off quite the way people in this thread think, i.e. the general populace will use it in large numbers.
I don't think we think that, we just think it's cool.
posted by delmoi at 7:07 PM on July 12, 2010


The funny thing for me about Android apps is that 90% of the time, I just use the built in applications that Google provided. The Browser, Music app, Maps, Navigation, Facebook, Phone, Contacts, Gmail, Talk, Listen, Gallery, and the news widget. The only third party apps that I use with any regularity are PRO Zoom Camera, Swype, WeatherBug and a Klondike game. It's nice to have the marketplace but mostly I ignore it since I don't really need much else than what came with the OS.
posted by octothorpe at 7:11 PM on July 12, 2010


This kind of power, made this easy, is what computing is all about.

Kudos to Google for this effort. I hope we see more of it from all parties.


Oh, I agree. Too bad it'll take some heck of an education to get these kids to understand the perspective on just how powerful their TOYS will be compared to personal computers when I was six, seven years old back three decades ago. :-)

But, oh, what those imaginations can do when given the right tools... It's an exciting time in the tech world right now, and it kinda makes me wish I was one of those kids, watching this all unfold.
posted by grubi at 8:20 PM on July 12, 2010



Oh, I agree. Too bad it'll take some heck of an education to get these kids to understand the perspective on just how powerful their TOYS will be compared to personal computers when I was six, seven years old back three decades ago. :-)


It doesn't matter if they understand how long your walk to school in the snow uphill with a shovel was, gramps! ;) They can and will feel empowered and in control at some abstraction layer above the hardware, provided what they write will run.

All that matters is that the landscape is open enough for them to play in, that the world (& the law) afford them enough handholds to make this kind of complicated, extended engagement and involvement worth their time and attention. That they can play with the data they create by moving through the world.

You and I both know, from experience with earlier computing platforms, that computers are so much more than slick, sexy strip malls -- but these kids are growing up in a world where that may never be obvious -- where most computing is yoked to consumption and entertainment. Toasters, televisions, and credit card readers more powerful than any 8086, Atari, or Apple II. I want my nephew to grow up in a world where computers serve and empower him, not just sell him stuff -- and this kind openness and availability is a pivotal part of it.
posted by fake at 8:44 PM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you don't think that what apple is doing is good and in fact you think what they're doing is bad or just neutral then what is the point of all this posting? What are you trying to prove here? Because it certainly seems like you're trying to defend Apple here. Why would you write all these posts if you don't care?

Never said I don't care. I said what they're doing works for them and to so e extent, the customers simply don't care about the same things the geeks (I am one, after all) would. Hence my original phrase "geek-centric." geeks tend to get so caughtnup in their own preferences and news stories and worldview that we simply don't get that grandma and cousin pearl and the cop down the block and our high school principals simply DO NOT GIVE TWO SHITS about open vs closed, appbuilding apps, or Gizmodo vs Apple. You care, I care, and the loads of geeks on MeFi care, and that's just fine. But when someone makes the claim that Apple will be doomed because of something that almost 100% appeals to geeks alone... Well, I spoke up.

The reason I've been fighting this battle against you and other folks who are claiming ridiculous things about Apple isn't because I think Apple is the Holy Mother Church but because your assertions are FALSE. It's not my Apple preference that drives them as much as my dislike of falsehoods, misrepresentations, and downright lies. You can't point to one thing I've said that makes Apple out to be superawesomepants and all others are compete rubbishstinkyfaces.

Christ almighty, is that the dichotomy you see? Because this issue isn't as simple as that.
posted by grubi at 8:44 PM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


- and this kind openness and availability is a pivotal part of it.

No doubt. And personally I want kids like him who are interested in this sort of thing to have loads of options.

But for the ones who just wanna play Farmville (ugh), there will be options for them, too.

(And get off my lawn!)
posted by grubi at 8:47 PM on July 12, 2010


Oh boy I'm late to this!

"I just don't think 'open' or 'closed' matters to most consumers, and therefore is a technical/philosophical debate, not an economical one."

I've got an iPhone, and I love it to bits. Amazing device. Lots of cool apps. My sister has one too. (Funny story, when we were kids I offered to teach her how to program in BASIC if she would give me a piano lesson. The programming lesson lasted about 10 minutes before she quit the deal.) Anyway, we often talk, on our iPhones, and she often asks me "Why can't I find an app that does this? Why aren't there any apps that do that? Why does Skype only work when I'm at home on my wifi?" and I have to explain about Apple's rules and how they control things.

She is acutely aware that what she has in her pocket is a computer, but she's also increasingly aware that the people she paid lots of money to to have that computer are screwing her over and making life difficult. Maybe she doesn't want to program, or even tinker, but the restrictions Apple have placed on developing for the device reduce the functionality for the end user, and she can see the effects of that.

But, hey, it's still impressive technology.

*goes and plays PvZ*
posted by Jimbob at 8:48 PM on July 12, 2010


Apple isn't because I think Apple is the Holy Mother Church but because your assertions are FALSE. It's not my Apple preference that drives them as much as my dislike of falsehoods, misrepresentations, and downright lies.
Uh... assertions have I made that are false? Let alone "Downright lies!!!!!!!"?
Christ almighty, is that the dichotomy you see? Because this issue isn't as simple as that.
What dichotomy are you even talking about? I honestly have no idea what you're talking about here.
posted by delmoi at 10:00 PM on July 12, 2010


assertions have I made that are false?
The assertion that the lock-in is all about money and control of the channel, which you have twice thrown out and twice failed to defend in any way.
posted by bonaldi at 2:35 AM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm curious about App Inventor, but I'm worried that it's just going to end up making the Android Marketplace even more unusable than it already is. I recently replaced my non-3G phone with an HTC Droid (pre-Incredible) because I couldn't justify jumping ship from Verizon to AT&T for an iPhone 4. There are a lot of things I like about my new phone, but it just makes me wish my iPod touch had a 3G antenna in it.
posted by emelenjr at 4:22 AM on July 13, 2010


What dichotomy are you even talking about? I honestly have no idea what you're talking about here.

With you it's either you love Apple and it can do no wrong or you hate Apple and it can do right. That's the false dichotomy.
posted by grubi at 5:08 AM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Why can't I find an app that does this? Why aren't there any apps that do that? Why does Skype only work when I'm at home on my wifi?" and I have to explain about Apple's rules and how they control things.

From what I understand, the Skype issue is more about AT&T than Apple. I don't know Apple would give a crap about using 3G vs Wi-Fi.

As for the other thing: I'm curious. What does she want to do that it doesn't? (Genuinely curious, not a smart ass question)
posted by grubi at 5:12 AM on July 13, 2010


From what I understand, the Skype issue is more about AT&T than Apple.

And this is the crazy thing. I'm in Australia. We don't have AT&T. Before I got my iPhone, I had a Skype app on my Nokia that was quite happy to let me call over 3G. But on an Apple iPhone, no dice. I'm not blaming AT&T. I'm blaming Apple for making AT&T's rules apply to the whole planet.

As for the other thing: I'm curious. What does she want to do that it doesn't?

Well two things I can remember are syncing to iTunes over wifi, and playing her iTunes library over wifi on the phone, like she can play it from her other computers in the house through standard iTunes library sharing. Admittedly these aren't 3rd-party developer issues, they're straight Apple issues. I remember she's annoyed at the lack of apps that stream live TV, when this is something her old Nokia could do. Beyond that, to be honest, I can't remember, because she last had a bitch about this a few months ago.
posted by Jimbob at 5:26 AM on July 13, 2010


What's the record for highest percentage of posts from a single user in a thread with over 200 comments?

Previously: http://metatalk.metafilter.com/18085/Infodump-20#673680. Nobody beats sgt. serenity!
posted by new brand day at 5:27 AM on July 13, 2010


And this is the crazy thing. I'm in Australia. We don't have AT&T.

Well, hell. That is ridiculous. According to this, however, shows that they've recently released a version that does Skype on the iPhone over the 3G network. Is it that your provider is being a butthead?

syncing to iTunes over wifi

Oh, I'm with you on that!

playing her iTunes library over wifi on the phone

A truly great idea, but I coulda sworn there was a 3rd party app that did this. (looks) Yep. AirVideo is supposed to have music support soon and another app called Stream to Me already does this. Check 'em out; see if they're what she's looking for.

the lack of apps that stream live TV

MobiTV does. I got it and it works nicely; I watched about nine or ten different World Cup matches live, and the delay was only 40 seconds behind the regular broadcast.

I'm not saying she's got no beef here, but these particular items look like they can be taken care of. Others, I have no doubt there are features/apps that probably don't exist at all on the iPhone.
posted by grubi at 6:20 AM on July 13, 2010


Well, on the whole "users don't want this" angle, my dad, who is fairly technical but nopt generally a programmer, just IMed me all excited about App Inventor, and he's wanting to make a note taking application for himself. So anyway, there's that.
posted by Artw at 12:37 PM on July 13, 2010


To be fair, ArtW, it's not like their aren't exceptions to the general trend (or that I've implied there aren't). Quite frankly, i wish *more* of the larger population would be curious to build their own apps.

And that your dad's into this is very, very cool. My dad is already an unrepentant geek himself, and apparently rather excited about having just purchased a Droid X. :-)
posted by grubi at 1:07 PM on July 13, 2010


App Inventor excites me precisely because I am not programmer.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:25 PM on July 13, 2010


App Inventor excites me precisely because I am not programmer.

Cool.
posted by grubi at 1:27 PM on July 13, 2010


Yeah, I'm aware that Skype now supports calls over 3G, but the fact that it didn't for so long because of some deal involving AT&T in the US really gave me the shits. As for the other apps, I'll give them a look.
posted by Jimbob at 3:35 PM on July 13, 2010


Aah, looking at AirVideo and Stream to Me, I've tried those sort of apps before (Orb was another one). They all rely on special server software on your computer, rather than just connecting to iTunes, and in my experience they do a pretty terrible job, especially when it comes to converting and streaming video on the fly. It's been about a year since I've tried doing this, though, so maybe they've improved.
posted by Jimbob at 3:38 PM on July 13, 2010


AirVideo is top-class now. (that said my Mac is a beast so ymmv)
posted by bonaldi at 3:50 PM on July 13, 2010


With you it's either you love Apple and it can do no wrong or you hate Apple and it can do right. That's the false dichotomy.
Okay, well I certainly never said I thought that was the case. But certainly there are people who love apple and think it can do no wrong.
To be fair, ArtW, it's not like their aren't exceptions to the general trend (or that I've implied there aren't). Quite frankly, i wish *more* of the larger population would be curious to build their own apps.
Exceptions? All you said was that people who don't like to tweak and hack their devices, which is entirely different from writing their own (useful) apps. It's not all that clear that the majority of people wouldn't be interested in writing their own apps if they were capable of doing it. You certainly haven't presented any evidence at all that it's the case.
posted by delmoi at 6:58 PM on July 13, 2010


Delmoi, I don't think you get to demand evidence from anyone, any more.
posted by bonaldi at 1:19 AM on July 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


It’s Alive! Taking Android’s App Inventor For A Spin
posted by Artw at 11:25 AM on July 14, 2010


Yeah, I tried it out yesterday and it was fun but basic, like early VB. It needs more components.

It's definitely aimed at students, k-12 students even and in that context it will be fantastic. For building real apps I'm less sure, but this is the first release.
posted by GuyZero at 11:30 AM on July 14, 2010


It’s Alive! Taking Android’s App Inventor For A Spin
"I spent around 90 minutes this morning cranking away on a few test applications in App Inventor, and while I’m very excited about it, this is not going to be a walk in the park for “ordinary people”. Unless you’re looking to make an extremely basic application — think “Hello World” — you’re going to have to read through the documentation, and in some cases even the existing tutorials won’t be enough."
Bummer, but still neat. Puts a bit of a break on the whole "everyone will be doing it" idea that some have suggested.
posted by new brand day at 1:39 PM on July 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Puts a bit of a break on the whole "everyone will be doing it" idea that some have suggested.

Agreed. It's nice that more people will be programming, but the hyperbole is a bit... optimistic.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:11 PM on July 14, 2010


I have an older machine with 10.4 on it, the last version that can run Hypercard in Classic. Am tempted to fire it up, but well, it's in Classic, you know?
posted by new brand day at 6:39 PM on July 14, 2010


Well, unlike Scratch, but like Starlogo TNG AppInventor has procedures and functions!. And if things haven't changed, it's frigging Scheme macros under the hood, which shouldn't be such a surprise, given that Hal Abelson is part of the AppInventor team.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 7:05 PM on July 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, and someone already wrote a textbook on AppEngine. It seems it's not too hard to add blocks, if you know Python.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 7:46 PM on July 14, 2010


I meant AppInventor, of course.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 7:46 PM on July 14, 2010


App Inventor and the culture wars
posted by Artw at 1:36 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Android Development 101 – A tutorial Series (Eclipse rather than App Inventor)
posted by Artw at 10:33 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Graphic Designers Who Program as Informal Computer Science Learners [pdf]
posted by weston at 12:33 PM on July 21, 2010


Tilestack appears to generate Hypercard-compatible web apps that will run on anything with a browser:

Ultimately though, TileStack is much more than just a HyperCard clone or replacement. HyperCard concepts anchor what we do, but we are evolving those ideas for the future in unique ways. Since TileStack is built on web technologies, the stacks you create can run on any computing device with a modern web browser. And when you choose to publish one of your creations, it can be reached by millions of people around the world. They can enjoy your creation and even learn from it.

And that's just the beginning. We recently announced that we support publishing your stacks to the iPhone, and soon we'll be offering similar abilities for other platforms. Before TileStack, these were things that would have been unimaginable for everyday computer users to accomplish. We're building the creative playground so you can explore a whole new world. Join us!

posted by mecran01 at 9:33 PM on July 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Other Android Languages
posted by Artw at 10:28 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


« Older Tasmanian Devils rebranded after Warner Bros carto...  |  Couples from Western countries... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments