Thursday, December 03, 2009
Paul Graham asks some interesting questions about the development process for iPhone applications, and offers answers that Apple or the software developers it is alienating could use.
Apparently Apple's attitude is that developers should be more careful when they submit a new version to the App Store. They would say that. But powerful as they are, they're not powerful enough to turn back the evolution of technology. Programmers don't use launch-fast-and-iterate out of laziness. They use it because it yields the best results. By obstructing that process, Apple is making them do bad work, and programmers hate that as much as Apple would.I don't work in software, but I always enjoy reading Paul Graham. He makes what he's thinking about accessible to anyone, and I think anyone can use what he learns as he writes his essays. Here, his immediate subject is software development, but he is really talking about are the importance of goodwill and of checking one's assumptions against reality -- as he urges Apple to with respect to the software development process.
How would Apple like it if when they discovered a serious bug in OS X, instead of releasing a software update immediately, they had to submit their code to an intermediary who sat on it for a month and then rejected it because it contained an icon they didn't like?
By breaking software development, Apple gets the opposite of what they intended: the version of an app currently available in the App Store tends to be an old and buggy one.
Via LifeHacker, I learned that National Geographic has made available for download a large number of stunning images suitable for computer wallpaper.
Don't Trust that Cloud
I already am too leery about entrusting important information to the cloud, but I was still surprised to read the following (HT: Linux Today).
[A]t the Google Docs Help Forum, some perplexed cloud computing users spent the month of November unsuccessfully trying to figure out why they've been zinged for inappropriate content. Among the items deemed inappropriate and unshareable include notes on Henry David Thoreau ('the published version of this item cannot be shared until a Google review finds that the content is appropriate'), homework assignments, high school yearbook plans, wishlists, documents containing botanical names for plants, a list of websites for an ecommerce class, and a list of companies that rent motorcycles in Canada.If it absolutely has to be there, I make my own local backups.
A story out of Africa shows that no arbitrary notion is too ridiculous not to have adherents who take it seriously enough to commit murder:
The surge in the use of albino body parts as good luck charms is a result of "a kind of marketing exercise by witch doctors," the International Federation for the Red Cross and Crescent societies said.Thousands of albinos have gone into hiding as a result of this nonsense.
The report says the market for albino parts exists mainly in Tanzania, where a complete set of body parts -- including all limbs, genitals, ears, tongue and nose -- can sell for $75,000. Wealthy buyers use the parts as talismans to bring them wealth and good fortune.