Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Why should I develop for your platform?

So the iPhone seems like a pretty cool platform. As a programmer who may have some spare freelance cycles in the near future, the possibility of developing applications for such a cool, cutting edge platform certainly seems enticing. The problem, though, is Apple seems to want to hold all of the cards in terms of distribution. Not only do they decide whether or not your app can be distributed via their store, but the decision making process is completely opaque. There are no published standards, so developers can't do their homework and make sure Apple will distribute their application before they invest time and money to develop it. And as near as anyone can tell, especially without a clear message from Apple to the contrary, a number of the decisions not to distribute an app seem to be an effort to squash competition. Articles like this are all too common these days.

Certainly, users can jailbreak their iPhone and run any application they want to, including those not sanctioned by Apple, but who really wants to invest time and effort to develop a product that your users can't buy unless they illegally hack their own phone?

Now, certainly, the more hot applications there are out there for Apple's undeniably hot, new platform, the more attractive that platform is going to be for Apple's customers. So my question is, if this is how Apple is going to treat developers, why the hell should I spend any time at all developing for their platform? Unless Apple makes some moves to seriously welcome developers, develop some straight forward and transparent processes, and generally open up the distribution channels, I don't see that it makes any sense for any developer to spend time and money developing for the iPhone, regardless of how sexy it is. I guess I'm just not into being bent over by giant corporations. How about you?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


More or less what I was thinking, albeit in a far more developed way. It's interesting to me how both the American and British press rarely mentions that this round of hostilities was initiated by Georgia in a pretty brutal attack, killing 1400 people. While Russia is overreacting, we're not really in a position to tell them they shouldn't have reacted. Assuming we're not willing to confront the Russian army in a direct military confrontation, there's not really much we can do. And if Saakashvili thinks he can so easily manipulate the US into an armed confrontation with Russia, I would hope, at least, that he is sadly mistaken. It in no way serves our interests to try to bail Saakashvili out of this horribly misguided blunder. If he thought there could have been any result other than that which has played out so far, then he is, to put it bluntly, a moron. We can't come running to his rescue just because he had the bad judgement to poke a mean, giant bear with a stick.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


If you you've stopped reading this blog because nobody's been posting anything to it, well, then I guess you just missed this.

Friday, July 11, 2008


The server version of Mac OSX 10.6, codenamed Snow Leopard and due out "in about a year", includes support for ZFS, a filesystem developed in the last few years by Sun that they have included in their Solaris operating system and made open source. ZFS was intentionally designed to have theoretical limits that far outstrip what we can actually do with hardware, meaning, essentially, that we will never run out of room. ZFS uses 128 bit addressing, which in layman's terms means the amount of data you can store in a single ZFS is friggin' huge. How huge? Well, apparently boil the oceans huge. This quote from Jeff Bonwick, the team lead for the ZFS project, sums it up thusly:
"Although we'd all like Moore's Law to continue forever, quantum mechanics imposes some fundamental limits on the computation rate and information capacity of any physical device. In particular, it has been shown that 1 kilogram of matter confined to 1 litre of space can perform at most 1051 operations per second on at most 1031 bits of information.[10] A fully populated 128-bit storage pool would contain 2128 blocks = 2137 bytes = 2140 bits; therefore the minimum mass required to hold the bits would be (2140 bits) / (1031 bits/kg) = 136 billion kg. To operate at the 1031 bits/kg limit, however, the entire mass of the computer must be in the form of pure energy. By E=mc², the rest energy of 136 billion kg is 1.2x1028 J. The mass of the oceans is about 1.4x1021 kg. It takes about 4,000 J to raise the temperature of 1 kg of water by 1 degree Celsius, and thus about 400,000 J to heat 1 kg of water from freezing to boiling. The latent heat of vaporization adds another 2 million J/kg. Thus the energy required to boil the oceans is about 2.4x106 J/kg * 1.4x1021 kg = 3.4x1027 J. Thus, fully populating a 128-bit storage pool would, literally, require more energy than boiling the oceans."