iPhone app store rejections backlash September 25th, 2008
The game is afoot:
Killing our enthusiasm by Craig Hockenberry, developer on Twitterrific
Don't drive iPhone developers away, Apple on Macworld
iPhone App Store: Let the market decide by Wil Shipley of Delicious Monster
A Bridge Too Far on Inside iPhone from Oreilly
A late WWDC08 impression September 25th, 2008
A very late post since WWDC08 was in June of this year, but better late than never applies. Going to San Francisco solo was quite the experience as you can imagine, but you've got no chance to sit still when you're there. The city is full of life, and the sights are unbelievable. Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge are absolute musts for your tourist itinerary and San Francisco is simply an amazing place to be.
WWDC08 proved to be very enjoyable and interesting from day one, and never disappointed. I missed access to the keynote because I succumbed to my caffeine addiction at a Starbucks, and had to see it in an overflow room on a video-screen. Apparently you need to get up at 5 o'clock if you want any guarantees that you're gonna see Steve Jobs in person. Too bad, but it was fun nonetheless.
The Mac OS X State Of The Union address by Bertrand Serlet, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, was really cool, showing you all the upcoming technologies and new features in the upcoming version of Mac OS X called Snow Leopard. Regarding features it was revealed that Snow Leopard would be a maintenance release and wouldn't contain a single new feature. Instead Snow Leopard is going to be fully 64-bit and it's focus is going to be stability and performance. Wil Shipley is going to be glad, because I heard him state to an Apple employee he found Leopard to be riddled with bugs on its release last year and he had never seen an OS release from Apple with so many bugs.
The sessions were plentiful,very interesting and a joy to follow. There weren't as much hands-on sessions as other years because of the emphasis on the young iPhone SDK. The sessions would tackle a certain topic at a intro-level at the beginning of the week and more advanced sessions on each topics would be held on thursday and friday. A lunchtime speaker event Small Teams, Complex Pipelines: Writing Software at Pixar was a very interesting look behind the scenes of in-house software development at Pixar Animation Studios. All in all, you couldn't get bored at WWDC even if you tried to!
Each conference room had excellent video-screens and presentation staff on hand to smooth out any problems including large mixing desks in the back of the room to provide crystal clear audio to the masses. People who whine about the entry price for conferences like this should try to organise one and pick up a renting bill for 20+ large Mackie Mixing desks and accessories. And I'm not even considering building and maintaining the conference network infrastructure. Excellent wireless connectivity and ultra-quick wired connections throughout the entire Moscone building, and specially designed websites for your iPhone to keep you up to date with the schedule and events of WWDC08.
A WWDC08 ticket isn't exactly cheap at 829 Euro, but for that price you get a nice breakfast buffet each morning featuring bagels and donuts and all the coffee and juice you can drink, excellent lunch salads and chilled sodas, unlimited coffee and juice all throughout the day, and all the excellent track, labs and sessions of course. If that's not enough, buffets are provided on evenings where there are late tracks or events like the Apple Design Awards which to my surprise featured applications built by Dutch and Belgian companies: Macnification and Checkout!
Speaking of Belgians, I literally bumped into some Belgians at WWDC08 at breakfast. I was minding my business and dressing my warm bagel with some cream cheese and suddenly found out all the people on my table were Belgian.
I also met up with Werner Ramaekers who I had contacted just before I stepped onto a plane to San Francisco and seemed to be attending WWDC08 also. I discovered his Belgian sounding name on the Yahoo Upcoming page for WWDC08. Turned out he not only was an ex-resident of my hometown Tessenderlo but a nephew of my best friend and a basketball fan like myself. No problems finding conversation topics during dinner with the hometown-connection and the 2008 NBA playoffs in full effect during our stay in San Francisco. We attended the Beer Bash at Yerba Buena Gardens and enjoyed beers and food while Phil Schiller introduced the Barenaked Ladies to the stage.
Another example of a stroke of luck: walking into a Borders at Union Square with a shopping list called 'books to buy' containing an entry of Neuromancer by William Gibson to find him signing books on the top floor. At that point I was hoping to walk into Francis Ford Coppola while (finally) buying my copy of Apocalypse Now: The Complete Dossier ;-)
I'm already looking forward to WWDC 2009 and can't wait to be in San Francisco again.
Check out all my WWDC08 photos on Flickr
App Store censoring: Murderdrome iPhone comic August 27th, 2008
It's sad to see Apple using double-standards for the App Store and iTunes store: they banned the Murderdrome digital-comic application while in iTunes they just tag content as explicit. I hope they'll wise-up and start some kind of rating system to solve this.
I'm curious to see how digital-comics will evolve in devices like the iPhone since we're not there yet
iPhone prices point in Belgium August 27th, 2008
People often mention the sale price in Belgium as a stumble block compared to the subsidised prices abroad, but if you look at the prices of other unlocked smartphones the point isn't that bad. The new Palm Treo Pro for instance also costs a lot more than other subsidised phones.
I wouldn't mind a law change that legalised subsidised phones in Belgium, but I think the law should enforce the sale of the same phone in an unlocked version. The current situation isn't optimal at all because almost all mobile providers require you to sign up for at least a year if you want to take advantage of the best plan they offer. I currently have a BASE contract I can cancel at any moment, but if I want to change to a better and cheaper plan (e.g. add SMS bundles or more minutes) I need to change to a new contract with BASE and sign up for at least 2 years.
So I'm better of if I switch to Mobistar: same contract length but a lot more minutes, SMS and data included for a competitive price. And that's without the added advantage of 3G versus EDGE-only.
I'm just glad my contract with BASE ran out and I can switch providers AND simcard in my beloved, unlocked iPhone
Security flaw and fix for passcode-locked iPhones August 27th, 2008
a Wired blogpost details a security flaw in iPhone OS 2.0.2 where you can access the address book, Safari and Mail through the double-tap shortcut on the home button of passcode-locked iPhones.
Of course, the question remains how many people actually passcode-lock their iPhones. I can't even remember if I've ever enabled automatic passcode-locking on any phone I owned ;-)
Apple Worldwide Developers Conference June 5th, 2008
I'll be leaving for San Francisco tomorrow, and am looking forward to do some hacking at WWDC 08. I'm running solo, so if you're attending the sold-out and landmark event event and want to have a chat drop me an email at nicky AT speakermouth D0_T com. There does not seem to be a lot of Belgian Cocoa developers out there, so I'm eager to see how many I can spot over there.
I've been pining to go to San Francisco and WWDC for quite some years now, but a pricey five-day conference is not something my non-geek friends would attend 'just for the heck of it'. It's also easier for me since this will be a business expense, something I guess almost all attendees will have in common. Going solo is going to be quite the adventure, but with the strong Euro and the arrival of the iPhone SDK I felt this would be the one not to miss.
I've been enamored with my iPod touch and the beta SDK's for some months now and I feel that Apple is going to push the boundaries of mobile development and at the same time jumpstart Mac OS X development. Building iPhone tailored web application is a hoot using Dashcode and the native iPhone API is looking great. Let's hope they won't go all evil on our ass with the iPhone App Store.
If I look back at how NeXT was ahead of its time with its UNIX workstations and the NeXTSTEP operating system and their developer applications such as Interface Builder, I'm hoping the same people and vision are pushing the iPhone and mobile development in a similar direction. If you've ever handled a Apple Newton you know how being ahead of your time doesn't always mean being successful, but looking at the success of the iPhone this won't be a problem for Apple this time.
I'll be posting posts (alliteration, yeah baby!) and photos during my stay, since Apple is providing network-access all across the conference center and I'm not leaving my Macbook in Belgium this time. They really know how to speak to the inner-geek: Apple provides a special conference website with full schedule for iCal, Moscone West floor plans, and even provide reading material and source-code beforehand for each session so I'll be coming prepared.
My inner-geek is getting excited already ;-)