First verdict.

Apple to Samsung: “Try doing your own design work.”

Apple to the consumer electronics industry: “We’re not your unbudgeted R&D department, and we never were. Try figuring this shit out on your own.”

Samsung to Apple: “Consumers have the right to cheap knockoffs.”

Samsung to the consumer electronics industry: “Pebbles in a stream! Stereotypical Asian poetry metaphors!”

* * *

Yeah, patents are fucked up. But original design work deserves protection. Even from companies like Zynga.

spew, technology


The most vocal defenders of a certain smartphone platform that accommodates carrier restrictions before the user experience are making lots of the same excuses for it that they made about their choice of desktop, way back while that very choice — with cavalier neglect — was helping midwife the current malware industry that now inflicts itself upon everyone.

Those same new defenders take justifiable pride in having learned how to jailbreak, apply workarounds, fiddle with task managers, run anti-malware utilities, and carry around a bandolier full of spare battery packs. After having chosen from a selection of devices, each of which boast UI variations mandated by the OS licensee. Just what the consumer market needed.

Yes, you finally made it all work. You are formidable and fearsome. And you’re missing the point.

I sincerely hope you enjoy your latter-day-steampunk hobby keeping all of this functional. I want you to enjoy needing to find a new phone sooner because your current one won’t update with the new features you’ll want when you see the preview. Enjoy wasting your valuable energy, time, and intellect solving problems which have already been solved elsewhere. Enjoy being An IT Department of One.™

Knock yourselves out. You’re a minority that often sounds as though you believe you speak for everyone. You don’t. Lots of consumers are tired of all this. Very tired. Especially after having learned it’s no longer necessary.

I know some of you stalwart rebels personally, and I marvel at your great reserves of patience, even as I try to answer your dogmatic criticism of my own, simpler choices. I wish you well, and I hope your platform has a long and distinguished presence in the marketplace. Truly. Just don’t act resentful or surprised when someone in your family switches as soon as possible from the gear you recommended… once they realize how much effort it costs them to enjoy.


design, technology

Thank you, Mr. Jobs.

I’m fairly upset tonight, having first heard the news, as usual, via Twitter.

The cause of Steve Jobs’ death is of particular interest to me. I’m fairly certain that had he not existed to advance the state of personal computing, I’d have been exposed to a lot more toxic chemicals while employed in print production (and later, design) than I actually was. I’d have been smack in the middle of workplace environmental hazards that would have significantly increased my chances of dying from some form of cancer.

Sure, something like Windows might have come along eventually. But nobody in Redmond would ever have released any product that could excite me as much as the prospect of doing my work on something like the Mac.

At best, I believe I’d be slumming somewhere composing company newsletters in Wordperfect on a proprietary microcomputer while odd news of a peculiar military project called “Arpanet” was percolating into a few oddball computer magazines that I’d never read.

Back in 1980, people who knew me seemed surprised that I wasn’t studying what was then charitably called “computer graphics,” because they didn’t understand that, back then, it was all just math. Didn’t interest me.

I wanted tools that would help me do the stuff I was already doing with type and art supplies. I didn’t want to learn programming to draw wireframe shapes on a green screen and pretend it was artistic.

I was waiting for what Jobs would eventually be working on without knowing it.

I’m very upset tonight that we’ve lost this man. We need a thousand more like him in positions of authority and influence if we’re to survive the problems we’ve allowed far less imaginative individuals to create.

I wish he’d had more time with his family. And I wish we’d had more time to benefit from his good taste.


Nuggets of Contrition

Leo Laporte apologizes for having whined. Reason and fact largely prevail in an excellent MacBreak Weekly, wherein actual information is assessed, and the manifold opinions of the mobile phone user community are placed in context within a far-ranging meta-conversation between Leo and his guests Alex Lindsay, Andy Ihnatko, Chris Breen, and Merlin Mann.

Seems that the available evidence of recent post-update iPhone dysfunction includes non-hacked phones as well as those which were tinkered upon. And had Apple truly meant to punish heretics, they probably would’ve done a more precise job of it.

Whew. Now if only George Ou would go back to dancing.


There must be something in the water. Has the Joker escaped from Arkham?

Two of the last places I look for rationalism and accuracy in the Mac tech community have succumbed to what I can only interpret as some form of viral Britneyism, conveyed in the form of creeping self-entitlement, and expressed as godawful, presumptuous whining. Someone has tainted the water supply. Activate the Bat-signal!

Both Leo Laporte and the editors of Macworld/Playlist magazines, individuals I’d normally rely upon for sober and factual discourse, have recently posted podcasts full of anger and churlish pouting over the results of Apple’s recent software update to the iPhone.

All of these gentlemen, individuals I’ve normally associated with factual analysis of—and dispassionate objectivity to—Apple products, seem to have suddenly turned into representatives of the whiner population. You know those folks… the ones who sue a fast-food restaurant chain after spilling coffee on themselves. The people who paid full retail for a new consumer electronics gizmo, and then bleated like sheared sheep when its price dropped, even though they’d very likely already gotten their early-adopter bragging time.

Now some of these odd ducks are squealing because, after having tinkered with this device, they’ve found it no longer works properly, because one in a series of promised software updates has disabled it.

Whether it turns out that Apple could have been less aggressive with their update’s “reset,” I have a few questions for the most vocal of these people… specifically Rob Griffiths and Leo Laporte… because I’m baffled by their anger over this issue.

Where in the feature list or tech specs for the iPhone did it ever say you were at liberty to modify the functionality of the device to add unsanctioned applications?

Did your overview of the consumer technology space somehow empower you to presume that anything with a chip in it is infinitely subject to hobbyist tinkering, without consequence?

Did you find it impossible to wait until Apple had acquired more than a few months’ experience in a new consumer category, maintaining their side of iPhone functionality, before taking matters into your own hands?

Is the practice of conflating separate issues (lack of “third-party” apps, limitations on ringtone licensing, single-provider availability, read-only Notes, etc.) too tempting to overlook as you echo-chamber the “Apple is the new MS” slogan?

Does calling the iPhone a “platform” make it one, despite the fact that it’s not yet available to you as such?

It’s alarming to narrow my sources of sane information on this topic down to John Welch, John Gruber, and the Macalope. Late-adopters like me need more primary sources than that.

Disclosure: I’m an Apple shareholder.