The App Store on the iPhone is bordering on useless for discovering content. I mostly discover new apps outside of the App Store—friends show me apps on their phones, or I read about them on the web. Almost every time I’ve tried to find new apps by browsing the App Store, I have failed. For example, try searching for apps that help you keep track of your running. How many useless apps do you have to wade through until you find, say, the excellent Kinetic? Try searching for a Wikipedia client. Where’s Articles?
It is an unfortunate fact that even «Pirate App Stores» for jailbroken iPhones provide a better user experience than the official iPhone App Store, simply because people don’t want to pirate crappy apps, and thus don’t clutter up their stores with them.1 Apple is doing such a poor job keeping the bad apps out of their store that even software pirates are doing it better. That’s not good. You fight piracy by providing a better experience, not by providing a worse experience and asking people to pay for it.
Why are there so many bad apps in the iPhone App Store? (more…)
I received a letter from a reader the other day. It was handwritten in crabbed penmanship so that it was very difficult to read. Nevertheless, I tried to make it out just in case it might prove to be important.
In the first sentence, he told me he was majoring in English Literature, but felt he needed to teach me science. (I sighed a bit, for I knew very few English Lit majors who are equipped to teach me science, but I am very aware of the vast state of my ignorance and I am prepared to learn as much as I can from anyone, however low on the social scale, so I read on.)
It seemed that in one of my innumerable essays, here and elsewhere, I had expressed a certain gladness at living in a century in which we finally got the basis of the Universe straight.
I didn’t go into detail in the matter, but what I meant was that we now know the basic rules governing the Universe, together with the gravitational interrelationships of its gross components, as shown in the theory of relativity worked out between 1905 and 1916. We also know the basic rules governing the subatomic particles and their interrelationships, since these are very neatly described by the quantum theory worked out between 1900 and 1930. What’s more, we have found that the galaxies and clusters of galaxies are the basic units of the physical Universe, as discovered between 1920 and 1930.
These are all twentieth-century discoveries, you see.
The young specialist in English Lit, having quoted me, went on to lecture me severely on the fact that in every century people have thought they understood the Universe at last, and in every century they were proven to be wrong. It follows that the one thing we can say about out modern “knowledge” is that it is wrong.
The young man then quoted with approval what Socrates had said on learning that the Delphic oracle had proclaimed him the wisest man in Greece. “If I am the wisest man,” said Socrates, “it is because I alone know that I know nothing.” The implication was that I was very foolish because I knew a great deal.
Alas, none of this was new to me. (There is very little that is new to me; I wish my corresponders would realize this.) This particular thesis was addressed to me a quarter of a century ago by John Campbell, who specialized in irritating me. He also told me that all theories are proven wrong in time.
My answer to him was, “John, when people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together.”
The basic trouble, you see, is that people think that “right” and “wrong” are absolute; that everything that isn’t perfectly and completely right is totally and equally wrong.
However, I don’t think that’s so. It seems to me that right and wrong are fuzzy concepts, and I will devote this essay to an explanation of why I think so. (more…)
iPhone transition animations are cooler than meets the eye.Take page transitions, for example. It’s common to navigate from one page to another by tapping an item from a list to see more detail: new pages slide in from the right, while tapping Back slides the old page back in from the left.
You might think that animating in a new page to replace the old would simply slide the two in lock-step, like two cafeteria trays on a serving rail, but it’s more subtle than that. To see that subtlety, let’s slow things down for a closer look. (more…)
note: based in USA so some logos might not be recognisable…