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Archive for September, 2009

Too Much Pressure!

September 29th, 2009, 3:09am by Jake

The longer we sit without a new topic, the more pressure there is! I know there will be big news ANY DAY NOW, but I need new stuff. So to celebrate the completion of my 2009 Family Camp book, I’ll make a shameless plug. And show some pics.
The Camp Portrait:
Camp Lawrence Family Camp 2009 Portrait
Three tall photos:
Camp Lawrence Buddy Board Chris Double dribble
Check out the other photos that merited their own page in the 80-page, 298 page book with the full bleed tag. View all 529 photos in the Collection. Buy the official t-shirt from Zazzle.com!
In all seriousness, I’m pleased with the photos this year, caught lots of action and took more than a dozen great photos, which is something I normally don’t do in a whole season. I’ll link up the Jake’s Adventures post once it’s up with more of a breakdown. Night all!

Mobile Platforms and Apps

September 11th, 2009, 1:40pm by Mike

Every once in a while we have a discussion on Twitter (or in person, even!) about Apple and Palm and the different ways they’re handling their mobile app stores. It’s interesting.
Basically, Apple’s model and Palm’s models are the same: centralized distribution with Apple/Palm deciding who’s in and who’s out. Apps can theoretically be rejected for any reason, as I understand it. Apple has famously rejected apps for legitimate, illegitimate, and unknown reasons, and yesterday, Palm demonstrated that they will also be rejecting apps from their store. Since Palm is new to the game, it’s not clear where they’ll draw their line, but it’s already apparent that they’ll be much more lenient in their approval process than Apple has been (as well as much more communicative as to why rejections happen).
Where it gets interesting to me is in the sideloading of apps — that is, loading apps through means other than the officially sanctioned methods. On the iPhone, this requires jailbreaking — modifying the OS, violating Apple’s license agreement. Apple tries as hard as they can to keep this from happening, from specific modifications during software updates to overt scare tactics.
On webOS, it’s a little different. Though section 4 of the webOS SDK terms of service specifically disallows distribution of apps through non-Palm app catalogs, Palm seems to have decided not to enforce this, and is allowing distribution of non-Palm signed apps through homebrew sites. (As a side note, the developer of the webOS Quick Install program acknowledges that this distribution method is only for apps being tested by their developers, as stated in the ToS, not as a wide distribution method, to cover his butt). Point is, Palm isn’t enforcing this provision, and has said as much publicly in their explanation of their recent app rejection (in which they acknowledged that they’re happy to have an app using undocumented APIs present in the homebrew community — no way that can be construed as a “test environment.”). Nonetheless, it seems clear to me that Palm did not initially intend for apps to be sideloaded onto the phone (i.e., they didn’t create a loophole specifically for this purpose), but they didn’t make it hard to do, and they have done nothing to prevent it in subsequent webOS updates. Taking all this together, Palm has definitely implicitly endorsed the whole homebrew community.
So, what’s interesting to me is that it seems that both companies started at the same place, but along the way, made different decisions as to how they wanted to treat their developers. Apple has decided to be hostile and obfuscate their decision-making process, while Palm has remained officially closed while allowing development of non-endorsed apps to continue unhindered. Their more liberal attitude is likely to attract developers, particularly those who feel shunned by Apple. More developers = more apps, which is great for Palm.
Are there any risks, or unknowns, for Palm doing this? Sure, but I don’t know that they’re that big a deal in the long run:

  • It’ll suck for Palm if some homebrew app ends up erasing (or transmitting) user information, or worse — I suppose Palm will have plausible deniability, but they’ll still have to manage the inevitable “webOS virus” story. But this is the world we all live in on our computers, and most of us do OK. In an extreme case, it’s not beyond conception that Palm could close the homebrew opening, since they appear to have never officially stated that they are committed to it.

  • They’re in a bit of a Catch-22, in which they need developers to make awesome apps to sell the phone, but they can’t market the phone based on non-official, unendorsed apps. This may not be an issue as soon as the doors to the Palm app store are wide open, and these homebrew apps become official.

My feeling is that Palm has landed on what, right now, is the optimal “2-state” solution. If you want code-checked, non-objectionable content, head over to the official webOS app catalog. If you’re comfortable taking responsibility yourself, there’s an avenue for you to put on unofficial software. I really don’t think they initially intended to be here, but because of their quick reasoning and aggressive marketing they took the opportunity to capitalize on Apple’s clear missteps in this area.
I’m hopeful that Palm will be successful, because I’d love for the market to push Apple in this direction.

Baby’s Clock Radio

September 10th, 2009, 4:46pm by Mike

Super-psyched to have gone to Bed Bath and Beyond and picked up a clock radio for the baby’s room. Check out these specs:

  • iPod dock (for an old 1 GB nano, see below)

  • additional aux input jack, for the Airport Express (thanks, Uncle Jake!) — so we can play anything from our iTunes library through it

  • nature noises (we’ve heard from some friends about white noise machines helping some babies sleep. Wouldn’t have paid extra for it, but I guess it’s nice to have)

  • … and of course, the usual clock/alarm features.

Another nice thing is that it’s an LCD display, and you can turn the backlight off, so there’s no light from it.
The iPod should be fun. This is going to be “the baby’s iPod,” so we can load it up with whatever music we think is baby-appropriate (suggestions?). There are now iPod docks in the baby’s room, the bouncy chair, and the car — so the music can follow the baby around. Seems kinda fun.

Palm Pixi

September 9th, 2009, 5:53pm by Jake

Is this the Palm phone that will finally break through with the masses? Engadget has a nice preview, but they completely miss the most important spec. The weight. Only 3.5 ounces compared to 4.7 ounces for the Pre and iPhone, this might be the lightest smartphone and the smartest lightphone ever. By comparison, even the Centro is 4.2 ounces. Rumored price is $99, but Sprint might push the pricing to $49 to really grab people & require the $70/month plan.

Well I’ll be a monkey’s uncle!

September 6th, 2009, 1:17am by Jake

Well I’ll be a monkey’s uncle!

From the I-have-no-idea-how-he-did-that department! Even more improbable after you see the first pic. I’ll blog about Family Camp eventually, for now you can rely on the dozens (and eventually hundreds) of photos uploaded to Flickr.

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September 3rd, 2009, 2:16am by Kelvin

Posting from our Wii, using the free Opera browser. Might be the 5th time I’ve turned the Wii on in the 5 months we’ve had it. The browser is actually pretty cool– flash is supported and the navigation is pretty creative. You press the trigger and swipe to scroll. Also, USB keyboards are thankfully supported (including the wireless one I’m using). Anyway, I thought I’d put up a test post. Not much else to see here.

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