September 13th, 2012
Ads are an ugly business. You barter away functionality, aesthetics, privacy, and performance for a marginal money maker predicated on using manipulation to get people to spend money they don’t have on things they don’t want. If you’ve ever experienced an old favorite website slowly descending into monetization (my canonical example is Alta Vista), you’ve experienced this viscerally, an old favorite slow selling off bits of itself for a few more hits of cash.
Then Google came along, and they went deep, they created a narrative of transcendental advertising. Advertising so good you wanted to see it. Advertising that was net positive. Advertising that would cause you turn off your ad blocker. And if you’re in an advertising supported business you probably even believe the narrative at some level. Ignore the data about who clicks on ads and why, or the insane degradation of most revolutionary communication medium since the printed word into SEO/SEM spam farms. Transcendental advertising, advertising as liberator, advertising for advertising’s sake, advertising as a higher calling. This is what I call “business transcendental”. A philosophy that is tied to your paycheck.
Watching folks responses to the iPhone 5 “Lightning” connector got me thinking about this. Apple has beautiful, breath taking reasons for launching a new connector. It’s innovative, it opens up previously unexplored options that most of us can’t even imagine yet. It’s the product of R&D by some of the best and brightest in the business, like the touch sensing pixel screen or the new thinking aluminum case. But it’s also planned obsolescence. Planned obsolescence is an ugly business. Uglier then advertising. I think, unlike advertising, most of us still recoil in disgust at gratuitous examples of planned obsolescence. Which is why transcendental planned obsolescence is so gut wrenching. Planned obsolescence as innovation, planned obsolescence as the pursuit of perfection, planned obsolescence as identity politics. Google is in the business of biz-transcendental advertising, Apple is in the business of biz-transcendental planned obsolescence. But the underlying business is as optional, and ugly as it ever was, and the transcendence is an illusion.
August 11th, 2008
I haven’t poured hours into it, but I have looked around a bit trying to find good iPhone apps, and I find the conversation frustrating and fractured — echoing and empty. And I think Apple’s its-a-webiste-but-not-really iTunes store is the problem. It is definitely a 2nd class web citizen, and one that has rather aggressively not learned the lessons of Web 2.0.
I’d love to see someone do a full on iPhone-apps-as-social-objects site as a translation layer on top of the iTunes store. It would be easy, and it would be awesome. And if Apple weren’t Apple (say if they were Amazon) you could earn a nice affiliate income stream. As it is you’d probably wake up every morning and check your inbox for a C&D, but still it would be great. You should build it.
Photo from Paul Hammond
August 8th, 2006
I missed it, I’d even seen the inimitable Wilfredo on the lists and it went right by me, but I ran into Nat last night at Buzz’s WWDC party, and he rather riveted my attention (as I think he knew he would), that iCalServer announced yesterday? Turns out its an open source CalDav server, written in Python (Twisted), Apache 2.0 license, with great unit test coverage. (which bodes well for the trial by fire known as interop)
Btw. Collaboration’s homepage seems to be a Trac install which is sputtering, and crying. Under load?
update: Um, and how long as Cyrus Daboo been signing his emails “Apple Software Engineer”? Yup, I was asleep.
update 2: wsz confirms trac unhappiness (and my Twisted inside observation), I guess I just got in in time, if you email me, I’ll send you a tarball of the src.
January 11th, 2006
James Holderness (check the comments)
Do you ever think maybe the Apple guys are just winding you up? Nobody could possibly be that stupid.
Maybe, though I tend to share Phil’s skepticism. Lets start the with the name, “photocasting”. Worst name I’ve heard since “MacBook”. I’d speculate that Apple’s marketing department recently started outsourcing to Engineering, except I’d be slandering my own profession. That’s a minor thing, aesthetic really, but dear god, how could they screw up the RSS? Again? (especially as I know people at Apple who are not only smart and clueful, but get XML)
I mean the iTunes name space was a train wreck. (though truth be told podcasting for some reason produces the scariest, wackiest feeds on the planet, at one point roughly 1/3 of the feeds Odeo was crawling had serious errors)
User agent detection? Of RSS? In 2006?!? Come again?
Embedded CSS? Misformatted dates? Random, namespace-less new elements (PhotoDate?) A new standard for including comments within an item.
See Phil’s comment, Sam, Dave Winer
Hey Apple, consider hiring someone who knows something about syndication, it’s worth it.
Take a look (unless of course you’re using Firefox).
update: [2005/01/18] MarkP on “photocasting”. It’s not just bad, it’s spectaculary bad. (via)
June 18th, 2005
I realized recently that I had given up on Fink months ago, and have been building everything from source for a while now. I’m comfortable with apt-pinning and regularly scare my sysadmin friends by running frankenstein Debian systems, but I’ve never figured out Fink, and it never seems to have the package I want in the release I’m using.
Woke up this morning and realized that I had a long todo list for the weekend, and so of course I decided to switch over to using DarwinPorts.
So far, so good.