LowComDom Performances Presents
The Crapolla According to Fek'Lar
You know you're screwed when...
You release a product that is clearly superior to anyone else's, and the public is "disappointed".
You've stumbled onto another issue of The Crapolla, a journal written for software professionals. No not the managers; I mean the people who do the work.
This Crapolla is sponsored by...
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In This Issue...
I'm pulling away from the Mother Ship. Just a bit.
Finally! WTHAIS decided I could upgrade my company phone. I wanted an iPhone but since it only works on the Deathstar Network (actually it doesn't work on the Deathstar Network, that's the problem) I looked around at the alternatives. I ended up with a Droid. It's funny that the Droid isn't associated with the Deathstar, but that's an irony for another issue.
I figured if it's a Droid, and they make a big deal that Droid is a trademark of Uncle George's company, then in Star Wars tradition mine should have a designation. I chose 4Q2. Not original I admit. I ripped it off from Ernie Fosselius' Hardware Wars parody from the late 70's (before you were born).
The best thing about 4Q2 is the phone part of the phone. I'm a little deaf and have had trouble hearing my old phone. 4Q2 is very easy to hear, and the speaker phone is excellent. I'm not sure how they pulled that off, but since my primary need in a phone is a phone, I'm real happy with this.
After the phone function everything else is gingerbread. I love that Google Voice works on this, and when I make a call I am given the option of telephony or VOIP with Voice. It's a company phone so personal calls I run through Voice. Two reasons for this. First, it didn't run up the bill when I called Doctor Niece in Canada. Second, it's none of my company's business who I'm calling on my time. Calling with telephony would have presented all my business on the monthly bill. There are many other uses for Voice, but that would be a great digression. By the way, you can't have Voice on the iPhone. That's because someone on the Mothership says you can't. The Android Marketplace doesn't censor the way Apple does. (OK, now you can, but only because someone invented HTML 5, so Apple can't interfere.)
If there's anything that has bugged the crap out of me, it's the auto-correction. Auto-spelling, auto-capitalization, and auto-punctuation are all crap. Luckily, you can turn all three off. In fact, this phone has a ton of preferences. I've got 4Q2 quiet except when someone calls me. Otherwise, we're silent running.
Speaking of making noise when someone calls, this is the easiest phone I've ever put a ringtone on. Just plug the phone into your computer, make a directory called ringtones, drag over an mp3, and you can select it as a ringer. I had to hack my last two phones to get the theme song to Super Chicken on them. Piece of cake on 4Q2.
If you had your heart set on an iPhone and can't have one because of the Deathstar Network, graphics are what's going to disappoint you. The Droid games look pokey compared to iPhone. Even a simple solitaire game isn't nearly as easy to look at and play. Twitdroid isn't nearly as well rendered as Tweetie on the iPhone. Google isn't known for pretty pictures, Apple is.
If you need an iPod, this isn't your toy. The iPod function of an iPhone blows the doors off the simplistic music player on the Droid. I make extensive use of smart playlists in iTunes, there's no way I'm moving my audio over to 4Q2. My iPod touch isn't in danger.
4Q2 is a keeper. As I said I can hear it. It's not on the Deathstar Network so the calls don't drop. I don't have Dear Leader censoring what applications I can put on it. But at the same time, it's not an iPod killer.
Last time I wrote about the iPad. Whilst writing that piece a thought occurred to me. iTunes is becoming the most important piece of software Apple publishes. Think of it, every computing device, sans the Mac, that Apple sells is now controlled by iTunes. I've got to say, as an Apple customer, this isn't good news.
iTunes started life as a very innocent piece of software. If you bought an iPod, you needed it to manage the library of music you had accumulated. After all, the iPod had only a cool wheelie thing to control what you were listening to. It had no real controls that would allow managing of the library.
Very soon, Apple jumped into the music business, and started selling you music for your iPod via a music store built into iTunes. The trouble was, you could only play what you bought in the iTunes store on five computers running iTunes, and your iPod. You couldn't abandon iTunes and go to another music manager. The iTunes music was infested with DRM. But you could still rip your CDs into iTunes.
The iPhone and the iPod touch came on the scene and you still needed iTunes to manage the music. (Apps weren't available yet.) It looked a little silly that hand-held computers of this power, with interfaces that complex, couldn't manage themselves. But you said, "Ok, whatever. I look very cool with this gadget."
Next the App Store arrived. With it came censorship. Dear Leader talked about what he wasn't going to allow in the App Store. But Apple hasn't stuck to the simple ideas of weeding out software that could destabilize the network, porn, and items that replicated functions built into the iPhone. Today, a developer has no idea if his program will be accepted into the App Store when he starts writing it. Apple's decision making process about what destabilizes the network is very unclear. Their idea of what is porn changes. (At the time of this writing there are reports that Apple just got stricter and purged 5000 programs out of the store.) As Apple acquires companies, they have started telling developers to not code certain features. (At the time of this writing news broke that Apple has told developers they can't use GPS to deliver location-based advertising. Apple has just acquired a company whose business is... wait for it... delivering ads based on location!) Now Apple can carve out a market segment and keep it to themselves, even if their software is the worst. But the biggest example of Apple's abuse is the case where a developer was not allowed to mention how highly recommended his App was in the Android Marketplace. You aren't allowed to say "Android" anywhere in your App description. Wow! It's really beginning to feel like the "Dear Leader" jokes are on the mark!
Given the conflict of interests, why would a developer commit a large amount of money to a software project if they didn't know if they would be allowed to sell it? Apple has set themselves up as God on these platforms (including the iPad). If they don't like what you've written, you can't sell it. Honestly, I think you'd have to be crazy to try to introduce anything radically new. It would be OK to make just another dice simulator, but don't try anything Apple hasn't already seen and passed judgement on.
Apple's store they've built into iTunes is brilliant. By making the store software the manager of the device, you have to walk into the store regularly. In retail we know that the more people walk into your store the more they buy. That's why iTunes is probably the most important software Apple publishes right now. More and more devices require it to make the device useful at all.
As a developer, would you create software for a computer that had only one store that could publish the software, and had arbitrary power to block you from the market? No, you'd have to have a hole in your head to develop under these conditions. As a consumer, having Apple decide what you can run on the device you purchased ultimately means you can't get the best software. On the Mac, the best browser is not Apple's. Imagine if you were required to run only Safari. You wouldn't put up with the maker of your fridge dictating to you that you could only put Pepsi products in the cold machine, would you? I know you. You'd slip a 12 pack of Diet Coke in there when they weren't looking. Screw the warranty! Why are we submitting to this on a hand-held device? It's time to Think Different.
Tornado Destroys Home in Oklahoma
Business as Usual in the Sooner State
Heard in the halls of various software companies.
"I took 6 Tylenols and 6 Motrins. I'm not feeling any pain!"
"All the pens here only write stupid things."
"Make sure you leave one in the chamber for me!"
"You know something's very wrong when it's me coming to the rescue."
"A lot of cars are like a lot of women, once you get inside them, they're disappointing."
Some Evil Over Lord wants to talk to me.
They pay me to think. These are my thoughts. Do you think they are getting their money's worth?
Remember: The Crapolla contains my personal opinions. That's right they're mine, so get your own! And you kids get off my lawn!
Although written with the software professional in mind, my mind tends to wander all over the place, and I sometimes write about politics, mass stoopidity, dumb things I saw, and whatever else comes to mind.
From time to time, I use salty language, thus The Crapolla is not intended for children, or certain people from the Christian Right.
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