I'm not at WWDC this year. By the time they announced it late, and with an increased price, I had to stop and think hard about that money… and then it was sold out 8 days later, making my lack of decision easier. I'll get the videos later, I guess.
But for now, I'm watching the video from the Apple Keynote podcast.
The tone of this piece is pretty angry. There's some serious problems in Apple Land, videogames, and tech "journalism", and all three were showcased heavily in the keynote. I'm not anti-Apple, and I'm not quitting iOS dev to eat nuts and berries and code on Android and hope someone puts a few pennies in my begging cup. Let's not be stupid here. But there are problems, and I'm angry at them. Apple have changed their minds in response to anger before, so maybe it'll happen again. OH, GREAT SPIRITS, HEAR MY ANGRY BLOGGING. Should I sacrifice a goat, too? I dunno where to get a goat around here.
Steve Jobs Lies About Rejections.
I also have no problem with a "curated" store for software that works as advertised. However. 95% approval in the App Store? That's 750 rejections per week. Many are NOT for crashing, private APIs, or misrepresentation. Those may be the "top 3", I'm going to assume Steve isn't lying blatantly here, just by omission, but he is lying. The big additional reasons for rejection are:
- Interpreters, the infamous 3.3.1 clause
There are limited justifications for this. Interpreters can be done wrong and expose a security hole. Allowing interpreters allows Flash or C# users to publish on the App Store, and nobody wants that. Explicitly banning specific bad tools would work better than napalming an entire jungle to get two bad guys.
But by and large, this is a giant imposition on one of the most basic and favorite tools programmers have: Domain-Specific Languages. We love making little languages that express domain concepts concisely. This is important stuff, and it does hurt developers. I wish Apple would pull their head out of their ass on this, but I expect another year or two of rectal-cranial inversion.
- Things That Look Like Other Things
You apparently can't make a desktop-like app with floating widgets, like MyFrame; nor a plain analog clock (though my ridiculous UnixTime clock is okay); nor a phone, as Google Voice was kept in limbo ("not denied", just never approved) forever. Making anything that looks like something Apple is doing or wants to do will get you rejected. Maybe they're trying to avoid "Watsoning" any future apps, but if so they're doing it in the most ham-fisted way possible. This I can attribute more to incompetence than malice, but it still makes Apple look petty and stupid.
Apparently children can be breastfed until they're 2, but then cannot EVER see boobies again until they're 18, or they will turn into ravening sexual predators. Or at least their parents will feel very uncomfortable, and we wouldn't want that, would we?
The iPhone and App Store already have age restrictions in place. They classify unrestricted Internet access as 17+. In Settings, General, Restrictions, you can set age limits on music, movies, TV shows, and apps, and disable many "adult" apps like YouTube. If you have kids, and you don't use some kind of parental controls, you are almost certainly a bad parent and should have your kids taken away.
But restricting what adults buy and look at is worse, it's bad citizenship. Wanting to censor other adults is a vile, evil mental sickness. It is not benevolent, it is not helpful. The Nazis liked censorship, book-burning, puritanical behavior, and Godliness because those encouraged obedience to the state and "approved" procreation to make more soldiers. Why a bunch of supposed free-lovin' hippies from California are emulating Nazi morality is baffling.
Perhaps in third-world countries like China and Alabama, setting parental controls on by default is appropriate. In civilization, it is not.
You Are Cattle. You Are Being Farmed.
The Farmville app demo looks like shit. They have an art budget, right? It sure doesn't look like it. It scrolls like crap; I like turn & grid games, but this is not even doing that right. People pay money for this? People pay money to keep playing this?
Mark Pincus of Zynga is an unapologetic drug pusher, he even acts like some hopped-up midwestern meth-head pimp with a junkie wife, nothing more. I wasn't anti-Zynga before, but seeing this prick praising junkies for waking at 2am or neglecting their jobs to "farm"… Fuck that guy.
If you're playing Farmville, you are being farmed by this shithead. He is using you, and taking your money for NOTHING. It's not even a good game. Animal Crossing is one of the greatest games ever made, or Harvest Moon for the slightly more hardcore, and are the same idea done pleasantly, fairly to the players, with beautiful art and music and cool surprises, and you only pay once.
Air Guitar Is Not An Instrument.
The Activision pretend-you're-playing-music demo is fine, except it's still a game where you pretend you're playing music instead of actually playing music. How about you make a game where you play music on a real instrument, and the game judges your quality and trains you? Wouldn't that be awesome? You could actually learn something WHILE having fun! Yeah, I know, it's Activision, where fun has gone to die for over 20 years, but still. I remember and miss Pitfall.
The Tragedy Of The Common WiFi User.
So, the wifi problem in the demo. 570 people were broadcasting wifi access points. WWDC has wifi, last year they had 3 networks: One secured for Apple, one public for MacBooks, one public for iPhones. This worked quite well. There are 11 standard "channels" in wifi. If you have more than about 11 broadcasting in a close area, nobody can connect to any of them reliably, and all of them slow down to uselessness.
This is an example of the Tragedy of the Commons. Each blogger/"journalist" wanted their own access, JUST IN CASE Apple shut the public one down or it overloaded. Each blogger operating their own access point is polluting the public space just a bit. If only a few of them did it, there would be no problem. When all of them do, the entire area is poisoned, and Apple can't give the demo which is the purpose of their keynote.
Now obviously, nobody can expect journalists to be rational creatures; even the ones I like are at best remoras, and the worst are parasitic ticks. Still, the entire day after that keynote, all the journalists were bragging about how they hid their "MyFis" under their fat asses, or just blatantly ignored Steve's request. The arrogance and ignorance on display is stunning. They didn't comprehend at all that they were at fault, or that they should do anything except more of what they were doing.
I expect that next year Apple will have security search the aisles and evict violators. You can't reason with a "journalist" who thinks his story justifies any offense, you can only drag him into a back alley and beat him into a coma.
Bing Goes The Internet.
This is so stupid. Because of Google's little lover's tiff with Apple, Apple's now making out with ugly, hairy Bing, and putting it "as an option" in the search fields of Safari on desktop and iOS.
The problem is, Bing search results are naïve, they have no "similar" suggestions. They spend a lot of effort adding wizards for travel, etc., but it's not a viable alternative to Google.
Read Us "Winnie The Pooh" Again, Papa Steve!
Great Eeyore, does Steve read any other book than Winnie the Pooh?
iBooks on iPhone is nice. And it has left justified text now, instead of the harder-to-read fully-justified previously! Syncing notes, place, bookmarks between devices, all very nice stuff copied from Kindle. Not that I like Kindle, I'll happily switch to iBooks when the store has more content, but these are not new features, just Apple playing catch-up with their prettier but less functional app.
PDFs included in iBooks is a small but much-appreciated improvement. Yes, I already have GoodReader. But they belong in iBooks.
Dick Tracy, Or Tracy's Dick.
Videophones, AKA "FaceTime". Okay, first, Star Trek communicators were voice only. Kirk would flip it open, turn the little knob to tune in, and bark out "MORE POWER OR WE'RE ALL DEAD, MISTER SCOTT!" Both Star Trek and Jetsons showed video chat on large fixed screens, and we already have that, iChat AV. It works fine, it was a nice demo on Mac OS X some years ago, including those silly background replacements.
Turns out most people don't want videophones, because you can't lie as easily, you have to put on pants, etc. Text is best, voice is second, video is a distant third.
Worse, it doesn't work over 3G networking. It only works over wifi. Which you would probably have at home, where your desktop computer with iChat is. If you're out, where you might want to facial, er, "FaceTime" someone, that would likely be on 3G, and you can't use it.
The people who will get some benefit from this are parents calling kids, if the spoiled brats have an iPhone 4G. And sexting now becomes live porn chat with your S.O., or with a sexy phone line operator. THAT is pretty cool.
Of course, I did think of a good use for it. If you've been bad, I mean really bad, so bad you earn a spot in one of my diatribes, you may receive a FaceTime call. It will be a pale, hairy blob, with a pit of eternal darkness in the middle. This will be my most profound way of calling you an asshole.
TOTALLY not related to that, does anyone have Steve's phone number? ;)