Evil Apple contd.

As a follow-up on this, Nullriver has now officially declared that Apple banned their application from the App store. The disturbing thing is this part:

We are seeing a lot of similar reports from various developers who’s applications were abruptly removed and banned from the AppStore without any violations of the terms of service.

This behaviour (on part of Apple) is incredibly arrogant and unprofessional, and it discredits the platform for developers. Would you invest in the development of an app if you knew that someone else could later pull it off the market on a whim?

The most amazing thing is how they manage to pull this off – obviously the Mac fanboys are willing to go through anything…

Edit: It continues: Apple also refuses applications for no other reason than that they compete with iTunes. It even stirred up some bad press. Apples solution: Make the rejection letters confidential.

And even more: Seems that email clients aren’t allowed either. Oh, and not only do they want to have the last word on the App Store, but they’ll also rescind your ability to distribute your application by other means.

Between Freedom and Coolness

I love my Mac. It’s slick. I’m almost in line to buy an iPhone (here in Italy it almost makes sense).

Still I admit that Apple, as a company, is probably one of the most evil there is.

This post from Coding Horror sums up some of it: People give up control over their devices, trading it in for a good user experience.

But even if people will flock on the side of coolness instead of freedom: Locking down your customers’ devices is an unacceptable practice and ought to be outlawed.

Update: It seems they can even remotely kill applications from your device. In the, it’s much preferable to have a solution like Nokia/Symbian that is based on technical criteria. It also asks for confirmations of sensitive operations. Apple goes the path of “give us full control, we take care” – after you go through their “review” you can do things like accessing the address book without the user ever noticing.

Continue reading “Between Freedom and Coolness”

Law and morality

While I don’t usually bother too much with television, I’ve used an open source software called “TV Browser” for a while. It’s a nice little piece of software, giving you a electronic program guide right on your desktop.

This week, we were checking out the Italian TV (which can be quite odd, but that’s another story). The point is that the TV Browser doesn’t contain any Italian channels. To my astonishment I also discovered that, by design, the software doesn’t support importing the quite common XMLTV format.

The reason (according to the developers) is that some of the “grabber” scripts included in XMLTV may not be legal to use in some jurisdictions. Thus the origin of some xmltv data files might be questionable. Thus the TV Browser people don’t provide any generic support for the XMLTV data format. Because, possibly, maybe, could it be used by some people to view “illegal” data.

It pisses me off to no end, and not only for selfish reasons.

Continue reading “Law and morality”

The Rails Cult from the outside

When I was back for the new year, I (of course) noticed Zed Shaw’s rant about the Rails community. Even the Italian Rails mailing list opened a little thread about it. It seems that the man really had to vent.

Zed is opinionated, and he’s got some balls – which is actually why I contacted him for the Rails to Italy keynote in the first place. After meeting him in person I have to say that he’s a really friendly guy and was fun to have around.

I kind of enjoyed the rant because, hey, it was fun. Maybe that’s me; I also enjoy Gordon Ramsay’s shows because of all the cussing and cursing.

Still, it’s a bit like all this “Emacs vs. Vi” and “Linus vs. Richard” stuff, which is only really interesting to the people involved and some fanboys. If I’d tell my old boss (an excellent coder) that Zed Shaw hates Kevin Clark’s butt, he’d stare at me blankly.

But Zed’s rant addresses some “deeper” points, which get lost a bit.

I’ve been watching the “Rails community” as a newcomer and a kind of an outsider, and as someone who has no big stakes in the whole thing. And other than Zed, I’d not say that Rails is a ghetto. At times it feels more like a cult.

The Google-Wikipedia conspiracy

From a press site I found a link to a quite bizarre paper (actually a collection of papers – you can also check the publication list of those people) about the “dangers and opportunities” of Google. Which wouldn’t be a bad thing – there’s a lot of real dangers to Google’s data-collection mania.

But instead of a scientifically sound study, we get something of a weird conspiracy theory, involving Google, Wikipedia and, eventually, world domination.

Let me say that I didn’t actually read the whole 187-page pamphlet, so I might miss some important point… but let me just quote the introduction:

  • Plagiarism and IPR violation are serious concerns in academia and in the commercial world
  • Current techniques to fight both are rudimentary, yet could be improved by a concentrated initiative
  • One reason why the fight is difficult is the dominance of Google as THE major search engine and that Google is unwilling to cooperate
  • The monopolistic behaviour of Google is also threatening how we see the world, how we as individuals are seen (complete loss of privacy) and is threatening even world economy (!)

OLPC revisited

Just saw a link to a BBC article that deals with the dear old OLPC initiative. Interesting to see how the people involved seem to lash out against “naysayers” and “politicians who don’t think big”. Let’s quote one of those:

Dr Igwe Aja-Nwachuku said: “What is the sense of introducing One Laptop per Child when they don’t have seats to sit down and learn; when they don’t have uniforms to go to school in, where they don’t have facilities?”

“We are more interested in laying a very solid foundation for quality education which will be efficient, effective, accessible and affordable.”

Well, I don’t know the guy’s agenda in this case, but that statement sound very sensible to me. I also wonder why they call it “charity” when you sell somthing for prices that cover your cost…

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