Stropp's World

Games And Gamery

I Love My iPhone

Posted by Stropp on June 9, 2010

Okay, I’m not really that much of an Apple fan. I honestly don’t see much of a difference between Apple and Microsoft, Jobs and Gates, but if there is one thing Apple is good at, it’s coming up with some coolish tech. The iPhone is no exception.

I’ve been thinking about getting one for a while now, kinda umming and ahhing between buying one and saving my money for a bit longer.

But what clinched it, was that I was talking to someone at a networking event, that I was at for my business, who strongly hinted that if I were to look into iPhone App development that I might find myself with some work. Well, with that kind of encouragement to a techead teetering on the edge of a buying decision, there’s not much arm-twisting necessary. That, and the fact that I needed to upgrade my phone plan to an unlimited (calls not data) plan anyway which had the additional benefit of a free iPhone. Sold!

The thing that impressed me was the ease-of-use factor. All the apps are pretty much intuitive to use, although I did do some to-and-froing trying to work a couple of things out, but not much.

There are a couple of things that don’t work all that well. I was able to initially connect the eMail client to my eMail server and download my eMail, but that’s now stopped working. It also appears that the iPhone will shut down and require a hard reset if I use the eMail client. That’s not all the time, but it hasn’t happened if I haven’t used eMail beforehand.

The App Store is cool. I’m not a big spender though, I’ve downloaded Seesmic, a Twitter client that is free, and Bejeweled 2 which cost a couple of dollars.

I know, I probably should hand in my MMO card for admitting to playing Bejeweled, but hey I like it. It seems to have that just-one-more-go quality that makes the hours fly. On the first night I bought it I actually got to Level 17, my highest ever score. I’ve never got over 9 in the past.

One thing that I’ll be looking into, other than the boring business apps you don’t want to hear about here, is the apps that are being put out for MMORPGs. The Fallen Earth guys have announced their App recently; there are a couple for WoW, as well as an App for Eve if I’m not mistaken. I’m wondering if anyone (SOE perhaps) are going to do an App for Everquest 2, or EQ1 for that matter.

I think one of the biggest things that I love about the iPhone in particular, and smartphones in general, is that they are taking human interaction to a whole new level. I recently finished reading Halting State by Charles Stross, which depicted a near future technological society and what could be one of the directions that phone technology could go. I’ll do a quick review soon since it’s not only SciFi, but also hands down depicts massive online gaming more accurately than I’ve seen in a story before.

I’m still not an Apple fanboi, I won’t be getting the iPad anytime soon unless there’s a business reason to do so; I’ll be waiting a few generations I think; but I do so love my new iPhone.

The iPad Is A Step Backwards In Computing

Posted by Stropp on February 16, 2010

I keep reading how the recently announced Apple iPad is a step forward in computing.

Sorry. It’s not. It’s a step backwards.

What it does push forwards is the ubiqiuity of computing devices as consumer electronics. It provides a propriety platform for users to access what was once solely the domain of computing devices.

Smartphones, the iPhone is just one of this class, have been doing this for some time. Ordinary people have been able to access the web, email, entertainment and productivity applications for some time. The iPad does take this a little further along. This is a good thing.

But as for computing. The iPad is a giant step backwards.

Computing has taken some giant leaps since the 1970′s mostly due to hardware coming down sharply in prices along with the advent of open platform computing. (I’m not talking open source although that has had a major impact.) What that means is that for the most part, if I see an application I want to use I can download it or buy it and run it on my computer without any one elses permission. If I cannot find an application I need, I can write it or have someone else write it for me. Also without anyone elses permission.

That changes with Apple.

The iPad will use the same application store as the iPhone does, and everything there is controlled by a gatekeeper. Apple. If Apple doesn’t want me to run Firefox on the iPad I won’t be able to. And this will happen because they don’t like flash which means I’ll be prevented from playing a million browser based flash games by Apple. If the app I’ve bought gets unapproved by Apple, there’s a good chance I’ll lose access to it, no matter how much I depend on it. The gatekeeper is a nightclub bouncer.

Apple have always zealously prevented competitors from emulating their products. And they’ve managed to control their hardware. But there’s always been the software that they haven’t been able to control. Until now.

It doesn’t matter who it is, Apple or otherwise. Gatekeepers are bad for consumers. And that’s why the iPad is a giant step backwards in computing.