Don’t Burn Down Cupertino!

iphone1.jpgJust my luck. No sooner do I jump on the Apple bandwagon and most everyone already sitting on the wagon goes absolutely bonkers. Apple (or a combination of Apple and AT&T) has rejected the Google Voice app in the iTunes App Store. They’ve also rejected other third-party applications and removed some which were already approved. Now, it seems, people are forming a lynch mob and carrying torches. It also appears that the FCC is leading the charge.

Apparently, the FCC has sent letters to Apple, AT&T, and Google regarding the matter and they are demanding answers. Answers like “Why did Apple reject Google’s App?”, “Did Apple act alone?”, and “Does AT&T have any role in the approval of iPhone applications?”.

Apple issued a statement that they pulled the Google Voice Mobile app “due to it duplicating features that the iPhone comes with“. Now the FCC is stepping in attempting to dictate what Apple can and cannot do with their own product. For those of you who don’t know, if you get an iPhone you have to use AT&T as your carrier (in the U.S.), and you have to get your applications for it from the iTunes App Store. The only way around this is to “jailbreak” your iPhone, which, if you did, makes this entire post irrelevant to you, since you can do what you want with a jailbroken iPhone.

It appears to me that the FCC will attempt to make Apple “open the store” so to speak, which is wrong. Since when do we support the government stepping in and telling an independent business what they are allowed to manufacture and sell in the marketplace?

We do not need government influence, regulation, and interference in the free market. If people don’t like Apple’s policies, then they shouldn’t use Apple’s products.

For example, when I had my first Blackberry, I couldn’t add anything to it. It sucked. Where was the FCC when I needed a good terminal program back then?

When I got my second Blackberry, I could only load certain software on it at the time. Sure, I could get the software from different vendors, but there were some very useful applications that I could not get for the Blackberry. Hello? FCC? Why weren’t you forcing RIM to open their software so I could develop my own terminal program?

The last time I checked, I still couldn’t obtain one-fifth of the apps for the Blackberry that I can for the iPhone.

After I got rid of the Blackberry, I had the T-Mobile Wing which ran Windows Mobile software. It sucked. Sure, there were lots of applications to choose from, but they either ran clunky, or didn’t perform as I expected them too. I liked the Wing, I didn’t like the fact that I felt so limited when trying to use it. Maybe the FCC could have forced HTC to make the Wing less clunky. I hate clunky.

The decision to deny the Google Voice Mobile application was ridiculous, but the fact that people are demanding that the government step in and begin regulating what Apple can and cannot do with their products and store is even more ridiculous.

What’s next?

Are people going to demand that Subway carry smoked turkey, barbecued turkey, and other variations of turkey just because they feel limited by the choice of “turkey” on the menu? What about ham? There should be no less than five types of ham available for the menu choices, right?

While I’m thinking of it, I really should be able to load different software on my camera(s). You know, I should have that choice. Lord knows my Canon Rebel XTi shouldn’t be limited by the choices presented by Canon.

Maybe it’s time we stand behind the government while they force Starbucks to start carrying Dunkin’ Donuts. Not their coffee, because that’s just gross, but their donuts. Why not? Shouldn’t I have that choice while I am waiting for my daily fix? We may as well get everything we want while we’re there. We wouldn’t want to restrict the free market in anyway.

Wait. Now that I pause for a moment to reflect on that last paragraph, I can’t help but wonder, “Why can’t I buy a cup of Starbucks while I’m at Waffle House?”

Hello! Mr. Obama!!! We need to get the ball rolling here.

Shouldn’t McDonald’s offer a dozen different cheeses for their burgers because you know, we shouldn’t feel limited by the choices on the menu when we have our precious government which can step in at any time and alter the free market?

And what about Google? Shouldn’t they change their logo on all holidays and special days, not just the ones they choose to honor? Since we’re going to ask the government to step in and regulate what can be done with a company’s store and products, we might as well cover all our bases while we’re at it, and those logos have been driving me crazy for a long time.

Apple makes the iPhone. Apple runs iTunes. Apple has a right to decide what they will and won’t sell in their own store. If you don’t like it, don’t buy their product, or jailbreak it like thousands of other people around the world.

Application developers are not happy and, as a developer, I can see why. I think Apple needs to be more upfront with developers about their policies regarding application development, and set the rules for what will be accepted and what won’t be accepted. Government intervention, however, is not going to make things better for developers or consumers. When has government intervention ever been good when it comes to the free market and making money?

As a developer you have a choice whether or not to continue developing for the iPhone. As a consumer, you have a choice whether or not to purchase Apple’s product in the first place. Your choices in the marketplace carry more weight than the government ever could.

People are passionate on both sides of this argument, and it will only get hotter over the next few days, but that doesn’t mean we need to run down the street with torches and burn down Cupertino in the process. Now pardon me, while I use my terminal application to check my servers and relax with some games and a movie, on my iPhone.

A Feeding Frenzy

Today started out to be a very good day, then I woke up. From the point that my eyes focused for the first time today, until well after 9pm, everything that could go wrong, seemed to go wrong.

The “client” that I have lined up was supposed to send me something via FedEx today. It was supposed to arrive before noon. Or so I thought. It turns out, the package was sent via regular mail and will be here… well, when it gets here I suppose. I don’t know about you, but when you tell someone you need something by a certain date, doesn’t that mean you need it by a certain date? It’s all good though. It’s going to be a good gig, and the client is easy to work with, so even if it takes four days for their stuff to get here, it’s still a win. It’s just a delayed win.

I had several errands to run when that package arrived and since it didn’t arrive, I had to put off all my errands until tomorrow (if the package arrives), so that screwed up my whole schedule for today. Instead I made phone calls, started working on a new ad for the business, and spent time cleaning up my work environment. I downloaded the iPhone 3.0 SDK, just in case I ever feel inspired to change the world with a 99 cent application. You never know what’s around that next corner, right?

As crazy as things were all morning, the biggest shock today ended coming in the form of an email. It seems NewsGator is discontinuing their online RSS service…

As part of this transition, NewsGator Online users will need to migrate to Google Reader by August 31, 2009. In addition, NewsGator will no longer support the free versions of NewsGator Inbox, NewsGator Go!, and NewsGator’s RSS features (Shared Clipping Feed, Blogroll, Ratings, Headlines, Browser Toolbar, and Desktop Notifier). NewsGator will also continue to support FeedDemon (for Windows) and NetNewsWire (for Mac and iPhone) for all customers – free or paid.

As many of my longtime readers know, I am a huge fan of FeedDemon. Since I started using the MacBook, I have also been comfortable using NetNewsWire too. It’s been nice, syncing my feeds with NewsGator and using both applications. Whether I am sitting at the desk on the PC or on the couch with the MacBook, my feeds have been synchronized. According to their email, that didn’t have to change either. All I had to do was use my Google Reader account to synchronize the feeds instead. No problem right?

I downloaded the new beta version of NetNewsWire and installed it. It added all my feeds to Google Reader, and it was ready to roll. But I wasn’t. Right there on my screen was an application that was now missing about 20% of the bottom of the sidebar where the feed list usually sits. In that place was a giant ad. Wow. I never expected Adware from NewsGator. Not for a minute.

I closed NetNewsWire. Since the Google Reader interface for the iPhone is pretty snappy, I figured I will just use Google Reader on the MacBook as well as the iPhone. Then I turned to the PC. Since FeedDemon would synch with Google Reader, I could still use it when I was sitting at the desk.

I have been using Nick Bradbury’s software for years now. Nick is an excellent programmer, and it was his work with a few applications way back in the day that inspired me to pursue some of the projects I have worked on. I downloaded the new beta of FeedDemon and installed it on the PC. Things didn’t look too different from the last time I opened it, but right there in the lower left corner, exactly like NetNewsWire, was that Adware box.

(sigh)

I just don’t know what to say. Sure, according to their website, I will soon have the option to pay for a copy that doesn’t contain the affiliate ad section. The truth is, however, that I shouldn’t have to wait.

It is also worth noting that users who want to pay for a copy of NetNewsWire that contains no affiliate ad section can look for such an option soon.

The ad section was not there before, in either application, and according to their email, they encouraged me to download the new versions as soon as possible, so I did. Had I known that they both contained the ad boxes, I would have waited or just passed on the upgrades. Now I have Adware. Sure, I could roll back to the previous version, but why? Neither of the previous versions supported synching with Google Reader and they are discontinuing their NewsGator Online service at the end of August. I would have to change the way I read feeds before that deadline either way, so why wait?

In conjunction with this announcement, NewsGator is making changes to several of its consumer RSS Readers. NewsGator will continue to support all its individual end-user applications for enterprise customers. However, NewsGator will continue to develop and support only a sub-set of these applications for free consumer use. FeedDemon and NetNewsWire have new versions for consumers that we encourage you to download as soon as possible.

Would it have been too difficult for them to send a notice out to people beforehand, or make it clear in today’s email, that the new applications were going to be using 20% of the subscription list window to run ads which in turn will support the free software? They should have warned their long-term customers, especially those of us who willingly paid for the software before it was made free in January of 2008. As one of those customers, I am deeply offended by the Adware box.

I guess the problem I have with this whole ‘Adware’ thing, is they (NewsGator) made such a huge deal in January of 2008, about FeedDemon and NetNewsWire becoming free, without Adware.

That’s right, FeedDemon is now free. As in, you don’t have to pay for it anymore. Just download it and use it free of charge.

And we’re also making NetNewsWire, NewsGator Inbox and NewsGator Go free. In other words, all of NewsGator’s consumer RSS readers are free.

If you don’t care about the details, you can stop reading now and simply download the new FeedDemon 2.6 (for free, of course). If you’re using a previous version of FeedDemon, you should install v2.6 directly on top of it.

Before the free version (2.6) I had paid to use FeedDemon. Back then, I would willingly have paid double to use it. When they made it free, without ads, I thought it was too good to be true. I guess, in the long run, it was. They were slick applications that allowed me to read my feeds the way I wanted to, without a giant ad window distracting me while I did so. I did wonder from time to time how NewsGator was making money with all the free software and service. If they were good with it, I was good with it. I guess they changed their minds.

And now I’m changing mine. Since I am using Google Reader anyway, I might as well stick with it. It’s fast, it’s free, it loads on any machine or device I am using, and I don’t have an ad taking up 20% of the real estate in the subscription list.

I know NewsGator, as a business, has to make money, but Adware? Are you kidding me?

Endless Possibilities

You’re going to have to bear with me here. As you may know I have been using the iPhone for a little while now, and I absolutely love it. The one issue I am having is keeping track of applications that I use, so I am going to list some of them here so I don’t forget what I am/was using if something happens in the future.

I use Twittelator Pro for Twitter, of course. It’s an awesome app and does everything I want a Twitter app to do, except one thing. I want to be able to block Tweets based on the content. For example, if there is a huge discussion going on about ladybugs, I may want to block all tweets that contain the text ladybugs for a couple hours. When I was adding Twitter to the Stuffr application, I added that feature and it was awesome, especially during certain conventions and get togethers when I really didn’t want to read what they all had to say.

For instant Messaging I use BeejiveIM. Awesome app. I don’t usually Instant Message much when I am out and about, but it’s nice to have in case I do. I have the WordPress app so I can blog no matter where I am. It was easy adding all my blogs to the app too.

Over the past week I have been able to do everything I do online (except my website development, of course) on the iPhone. In fact, with the exception of using LogMeIn, I have even been able to do server support and monitoring from the iPhone too.

I have the Facebook, PayPal, Pandora, Slacker, Amazon, B&N, Ebay, Yowza!!, Yelp and Google Earth apps installed, as well as Peggle, Bejeweled2, AWSolitaire, AWSudoku, Labyrinth 3D, Toki Tori, Paper Toss, Bubble Pop, Mahjonng, Pong, and DropSum game apps in case I get bored.

I’ve fond that reading books on the iPhone isn’t so bad either, so I have Classics, and the Kindle app. The Kindle app is awesome. Of course, I have four books in there now, and I am currently reading “Common Sense” by Glenn Beck.

I have a few photo apps as well, including ColorSplash, Camera Bag, PhotoGene, Photo Effects, iRetouch, Pano, and FAILmaker. I love FAILmaker.

I even have stupid apps like Lightsaber, Zippo, Dog Whistle (which hurts our ears too), and Flashlight.

The iTunes App store has an endless supply of apps for my varied tastes, and I have added reference apps like iSpeak Spanish, US History, Carpenter, Pocket CPR, iBird Explorer Pro, and Epocrates.

I know, this post is getting redundant with the list of apps, but bear with me, I am almost done.

I have AcroBible, in case I want to read a few Scriptures, and Geocaching, in case we are out and about and feel like hiking for lost treasure. There are many other useful apps too, like MyBattery Life, Aspects, Emergency Radio, Shazam, Evernote, Trapster, ESPN Score Center, and the AT&T MyWireless app.

These are all the apps I downloaded in the first 72 hours of getting the iPhone. No wonder the iTunes App Store has sold over a billion apps. It’s addicting. Like crack. I am sure I won’t keep all of these apps, but as I tweak my use of the iPhone each day, I realize there’s really not much I can’t do when I have it in my hand.

I never felt that way when I had the Blackberry or the T-Mobile Wing. I always felt limited by the phone and wished I had a small computer to carry with me at the time. So far, I have not felt limited by the iPhone, in fact, I feel the possibilities are endless.

The Turning Point

Feeding The BabiesIt appears I am at a turning point, and as scary as they can be, turning points can actually be very good things.

It seems I have exhausted all of my normal “state” unemployment benefits. This past week was my final week and the “federal” extension is about to kick in. It won’t matter too much longer anyway though because I am finally closing deals and getting ready to start making a normal income again, working for myself.

It will be nice to know that I have the money in the bank to pay the essential bills and start catching up on the others. Who knows, I might even have enough soon to take the kids to the bookstore again (our family’s favorite thing to do).

The birds were out in force today. I missed a photo of 12 baby cardinals on the deck, but I did get a few good ones of the bluebirds and the hummingbird. With things getting ready to ramp up I think a weekend photo-walk is in order. Maybe we will hit one of the state parks, if the weather cooperates with us.

Tomorrow is hump day, and I have several calls to make. I have two small conference calls scheduled, and I hope to finish up a couple maintenance issues with the server. So, yes, tomorrow will be a busy day, but it’s all downhill after that until Friday, right?

To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to.
Kahlil Gibran

Losing Your Right To Choose

I didn’t do much of anything today. I have to make the house payment by Friday, the truck payment by next Wednesday, and my stomach is churning like crazy. The money will be here to make both payments, but I can’t help but stress about it with it being as tight around here as it has been. If it wasn’t for all the great people in my life, I probably would have given up the fight a long time ago. Well, if there was a fight anyway.

I woke up with a belly ache, which led to a headache, which for some reason made me feel sick to my stomach again as the day progressed. Now it’s almost midnight, I’m ready for bed and I feel better now than I have felt all day. I wonder if I have a touch of something…

I could be sick from reading articles like this one that remind me just how bad the Obama administration and Congress are hell bent on destroying our country.

The idea of allowing our government to manage health care is not very appealing. All you have to do is look at government housing, social security, and medicare to know that it’s not a very good idea to let the government manage anything. If you think government run health care is the “bet option” just remember what they’re really trying to do.

You will no longer have the freedom to choose what’s in your plan. You will no longer have the freedom to be rewarded for healthy living, or pay your real costs. You will no longer have the freedom to choose high-deductible coverage. You will no longer have the freedom to keep your existing plan. You will no longer have the freedom to choose your doctors.

On top of all that, you won’t receive healthcare at all, no matter which plan, which deductibles, or which doctors you end up with. You will have no choice. You will pay a small fortune in new taxes for the right to be told your medical procedure is not acceptable under the new gov’t health plan. You will pay for the right to be told you will have to wait for emergency surgery because there are 13,432 people in front of you. You will pay for the right to die before kidneys, hearts and other organs are available because the system is so overwhelmed no one really cares what happens to you.

Don’t get me wrong, our health system needs an overhaul. Doctors should be free to offer the treatment they feel is best for their patient, rather than what’s the most cost effective for the insurance company. Government run health care (and/or insurance) is NOT the best option.

When I read articles like this it makes my head hurt. I guess it could be worse.

You Better Stock Up

I haven’t blogged about politics for a while, for a couple of reasons. I’ve been very busy with the new business, lining things up, planning a course of action, and establishing myself in the local industry. I’ve also been completely disgusted with the Obama administration and I figured I would wait a while after the election to see if things started to get any better.

As you can tell, things are not better. For years now I have had no doubt that Jimmy Carter was the worst president in American history. I don’t think that way any longer.

I disagree with President Obama’s policies, I disagree with his ideas. Thanks to the Democratic control in Congress, I have no hope that anything is going to change, until 2010 anyway.

If you need an example of how bad things could get, take a look at a video by PoliticalMath.

Remember, the figures used in this video are based on the numbers that Barack Obama and his administration have come up with. Not only is President Obama increasing the debt that much quicker but he’s increasing it more than the previous four presidents combined. You wanted change. It seems you got it. We all got it. We’re all going to get it, whether we like it or not. You better stock up on Vaseline®.