Apple Does Not have an Open Platform and No, He Doesn’t Have it Backwards

There’s been a fresh outbreak of Adobe bashing regarding an announcement by one of their engineers on Adobe’s decision to stop putting resources behind tools to cross-compile Flash into native iphone applications.

He says “open platform” which means, there aren’t any fashion police dictating what can or cannot be made available. I hate Flash as much as the next guy, when it comes to all the pain involved on the mac platform, but taking the side of Apple lobbing hand grenades from their gated community takes some serious double think.

Interesting. Apple has responded publicly to Adobe’s Mike Chambers’s claim that Flash is an open platform:

“Someone has it backwards — it is HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, and H.264 (all supported by the iPhone and iPad) that are open and standard, while Adobe’s Flash is closed and proprietary,” said spokeswoman Trudy Miller in a statement.


[From Daring Fireball Linked List: ‘Someone Has It Backwards’]

There is nothing wrong with protecting standards of taste or setting out rules as long as they are fair and consistently applied. In the case of Apple’s app store approval process, that’s rarely the case. Applications that were once approved can be pulled at a moment’s notice or retroactively pulled (meaning once approved apps may be rejected pending a policy change).

What’s even crazier is that pushing the boundaries of taste isn’t the only taboo for applications targeted for the Apple app store. Interface elements or innovative apps that push the boundaries can also be at risk simply because they fall afoul of some Apple design aesthetic while of course being exempt from such restrictions themselves.

I don’t like towing the line that friends of Apple are enemies of Adobe Flash and vice versa. The fact is after decades of bashing Microsoft for all the liberties they’ve taken with their monopolistic advantages, we are faced with much scarier personal concerns about privacy, ownership and freedom with which companies such as Apple and Facebook seem less concerned about than their own commercial interests.

WordPress for iPhone is Finally Out

This release was long in the making. Now you can type entries in landscape mode and moderate comments from anywhere. Although there’s nothing like a full-sized keyboard, this will do good for emergencies and those occasions when you really need to write something on the go.

TimeCapsule to the Rescue, Kinda

The first thing law about backups is that you’ll need it when you least expect it.  Me being the idiot optimist ordered the exact same Hitachi 2.5 inch SATA hard drive that failed on me last time.  What do you know, this time the hard drive failed last time.  I woke up in the morning to dreadful hard drive needle sounds and finally eerie silence.  I new the drill so I didn’t waste time ordering a new hard drive (this time a 320GB Western Digital) from amazon via iphone (they had a really good interface).

Unfortunately, I tried a TimeCapsule restore via wifi which was mass hysteria as my mac went into sleep while restoring 20% after a full day and a half running.  As a result, my TimeCapsule permissions got borked. 

I went out and bought a LAN cable (you don’t need a cross cable, just so you now) to connect the mac to TimeCapsule directly.  I tried a bunch of dirty tricks mounting the drive from terminal and repairing permissions both with fsck_hfs and Disk Utility.  After a couple tries, the TimeCapsule backup became mountable and showed up.  Next I ran migration assistant from a vanilla install which was all spectrums of FAIL.  So I reinstalled Leopard via DVD and ran the TimeMachine restore as part of the new install.  Aside from reinstalling developer tools all is well.  So yeah, I wish I had the TC last time but now I do, but if I had a choice I’d just back up to a USB external and save some money.  I also wish I had a spare mac or even one of those cheap unix PCs I could use.  The iPhone did suffice for most purposes though.

GREE Headed for IPO

Yeah, this is old news.  Gree, one of Japan’s largest social networks (at least in the mobile arena, No. 2 or 3 depending on who you ask) is headed for an IPO.  The timing couldn’t be worse with the sub-prime global meltdown, especially considering all the paperwork and red tape involved and all the restrictions following the IPO, but there you have it.


GREE was actually the first social networking service in Japan but were surpassed by Mixi relatively quickly and haven’t regained momentum until recently (by bolstering their mobile offerings).  They currently have 7 million users (as of October 19, 2008) with gross revenues of around $29 million.  Another interesting note is that the founder Tanaka Yoshikazu still holds a 62.4% stake in the company.  I wonder what their market cap will be after the dust settles.  I think speculators are going to jump on this due to a lack of any clearly exciting IPOs with the meltdown and their astounding growth of recent years.



Wanted (the film)

Wanted is about an anxiety-ridden failure of an accountant, the every man Wesley Gibson played by James McAvoy, with his life completely out of control stuck in a dead end job and an unfulfilling relationship.  McAvoy does a great job portraying a highly wound up flunky.  His life suddenly takes a turn for the dramatic when he is initiated into a secret society of assassins carrying out pre-emptive hits to rid the world of evil.  It is a society his father was once a part of and the anxiety attacks are actually the side effects of high adrenaline which allows him to see fast moving objects in slow motion.

It has all the elements of a formula movie but McAvoy puts in quite an edgy and convincing performance and Angelina does a great job playing Angelina.  The thing that shocked me is how aged Angelina Jolie looked with her sunken cheeks and hallowed eyes.  Maybe it’s post-birth malnutrition or something but she needs to do something about that.  I think Brad Pitt and Angelina look a lot older since they’ve gotten together.  I tend to think of Mr. and Mrs. Smith as their prime (at least looking good as a couple).

The action sequences are nothing innovative, the typical slow motion close ups of bullets flying through the air and cars dancing in the sky as the usual mayhem unfolds.  The plot twist near the end was interesting.  All in all an entertainment flick.

Tropic Thunder

Tropic Thunder is Ben Stiller comedy written and directed by the man about a bunch of hot shot Hollywood stars shooting a Vietnam War.  Everything that can go wrong does and the demanding financier of the movie (played by Tom Cruise) forces the actors to shoot the film in the live with handheld cameras and hidden cameras placed in the jungle.  What the actors think is an elaborate staging goes awry when they mistakenly end up in drug lord territory, realizing the stakes are real after it’s almost too late.

It was a typical comedy of the sort, a mix of a war film satire and a buddy film.  The actors really shine in unexpected places, especially their ability to act like they’re acting badly as third-rate actors.  I was also more than amused by Tom Cruise’s amazing portrayal as a scum-bag billionaire film financier.  The crunk dance he does at the end is priceless.

The Obama Campaign Significance

Barack Obama ’s successful bid for president is probably just as significant as having our first (at least openly) multi-racial president (remember his mother is white and he only met his father once or twice). He changed the nature of campaigning for good and finally delivered on the promise of information technology driven movements. Just look at the Barack Obama web site and you not only get links to Obama information on the web but links into virtually all the popular social networks and services, each with an official Barack Obama account (including an updated CV on linkedin). On top of that the site also hosts its own little social network where you can connect with others and promote the campaign. If the Kennedy’s debate against Nixon for the Presidency on live national TV was the defining moment ushering the age of television in American politics this election was the defining moment for the role the internet and social networks are to play in elections of the future. If network television brought everything to the masses, in this election, the internet brought back grass roots to the masses.

An interesting twist in this election is not only how Obama successfully leveraged the internet for a distributed grass roots campaign but how Sarah Palin unwittingly leveraged the popularity of internet memes by offering endless material for parody and innuendo from those seeking to exploit her image.

Barack Obama’s time as a community organizer in Chicago and his standing as a virtual newcomer and outsider served him well. While Obama’s campaign proved to be a demonstration of the power of social networks in spreading the message and building momentum in disparate pockets of social connections, we will have to see how and if Obama is able to maintain a meaningful dialogue with those that put him in power through the technology he leveraged so well.

iPhone Sanyo Eneloop KBC-L3 Battery Longevity Roadtest

One of the biggest shortcomings of the iPhone is the dismal battery life. This is big problem if you’re on the go a lot and don’t have ready access to chargers or go partying. This leaves iPhone owners making hard choices like, should I find the restaurant I’m going to on the iPhone or accept one more phone call? Kind of ridiculous when you think about it.

I’ve been looking for a good solution (as in a spare battery) so I decided to check out Eneloops. These batteries are amazing. They have low self-discharge (hanging on to 85% of their charge sitting on a shelf for a year) and high output. So I bought the most compact Eneloop KBC-L3.

I fully charged the iPhone yesterday morning and set off about my day to see how long it would last on an Eneloop alone without plugging it into a computer at my desk or any other power source. The iPhone lasted 24 full hours after installing 5 apps, browsing the web, checking Facebook, going through Flickr through an iPhone app, and downloading emails. The Eneloop gave me roughly 1.5 full charges. Not bad. Definitely, enough power to last for a heavy night out or an extended amount of time on the road.

The only “issue” I had is, that I would have to press the Eneloop’s charge button 2-3 times to re-initiate charging when the iPhone ran really low. This is not an issue with the larger Eneloop KBC-L2. Has something to do with the heat/current setting off the safety switch. If you need something for the road, I highly recommend it.


Hancock is one of the more unconventional super hero movies among the slew of “unconventional” super hero movies of the year and we certainly had many.  One thing that distinguishes it from others is the focus on individual psychology and the unique cinematography.  It’s also a rare movie in that it’s not based on a comic book hero with a rich mythology spanning decades like most other movies.  This is both an asset and liability.

The movie’s hero is Hancock, a virtually homeless and alcoholic super hero, with an attitude and anger management problem hated no matter what heroic deed he does.  Will Smith’s acting shows all kinds of dimensions of hurt, insolence, vulnerability, and finally courage.  Just as public outrage at Hancock’s antics reaches its peak he happens to save a struggling PR man, pitching an unrealistic “All Heart” donation program to big corporations, from getting hit by a train.

Jason Bateman really shines as a smooth-talking PR guy who can pitch trash to the homeless.  He does such a convincing job you have a hard time believing he is really an actor.

Hancock is drawn to Bateman’s family, both his hot wife played by Charlize Theron and their guileless son (the only kid who takes a genuine liking to Hancock).

Then the plot takes a really weird turn and the movie never quite comes back but the ending redeems the entire movie and I found it quite touching.  When you have the kind of talent shown by Smith, Theron, and Bateman you can carry any film as long as the script is decent or leaves good room for interpretation by the actors.

Ghost Rider

The only ghost in the Ghost Rider film is the ghost of the comic it was based upon.  I actually like the story leading in from Matt Long playing the young Johnny Blaze and Brett Cullen as the father.  Raquel Alessi made it work since she actually did look like a younger version of Eva Mendes.  Young Johnn Blaze is a small-time stuntman working the carnival circus with his father.  He sells his soul to the devil to save his father from terminal cancer only to lose him to a stunt accident.  As part of the deal he must collect on the devil’s deeds as the ghost rider.


I really liked the story setup and had some high expectations.  It was priceless.  A young, handsome, and headstrong stuntman dreaming of bigger things.  A girl he loved but disapproved by her father.  She tells him that she’s moving out of town because her father doesn’t want her near Johnny Blaze.  “We’ll leave tomorrow.  Meet me by the tree.  We’ll just keep riding.”  When the devil’s deal is sealed and the father gets his health back Johnny bids farewell.  In the final moment, the father throws him the keys to his prized chopper, “take grace”.

That sums up the precise point where I should have stopped watching this film.  Nicholas Cage is one of those great actors who are good at playing themselves.  You pretty much have to write a good screenplay around the dude to get a decent movie.  He always plays a clumsy, hapless goof or some dude just a bit off kilter.  It worked in Next because his oddball tendencies fit in with premise of a guy who can only see 60 seconds into the future for endless simulations.  With Ghost Rider he decided to go for the “goofball who morphs into a demonic rider at night”.

The film would have been a lot more better for me if Johnny Blaze was played a bit darker, a haunted man.  Instead of the usual hard-drinking, chain-smoking bad ass in the original comics they opted for a jelly bean-eating, cartoon-watching goof who’s trying to constantly escape reality.

Yeah, so faced with the grim reality of having sold his soul, he ditches the girl who’s waiting for him under the tree only to be reunited with her as a daredevil superstar and star reporter.  Amazingly, even after decades, they still have the hots for each other like when they were teens.  Right.