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Posts Tagged ‘google

Chicken Little and 3.3.1’s Great Big Loophole

with 10 comments

I thought someone else would say this, but either they haven’t or they didn’t say it loud enough and now I can’t take the waiting any more, so here goes:

Chicken Little

Oh noes, my pythons iz banned!

On April 8th, Apple added some onerous conditions to section 3.3.1 of their iPhone Developer Agreement, explicitly prohibiting interpreters, translation layers and cross-platform toolkits from the Apple Store. It set off a wave of discussion that still echoes around to this day, and it pretty much killed Flash dead.

Much as I hate Flash, that’s not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about the reaction from most of the programming community:

The sky is falling, the sky is falling!
— Pretty much everyone

Some bloggers even complained that kids wouldn’t be able to grow up learning how to program in Apple’s Brave New World. What?

You can write in any language you want so long as it compiles to Javascript and runs in the browser, or runs on a server somewhere online
— The oddly-overlooked truth

Local applications are already dead. Whether they’re on the desktop or on the phone, their days are numbered. The resurgence in phone apps for the iPhone / iPad is a temporary blip. The future is in the cloud, in the browser and on servers.

Where will kids learn to program in Apple’s new world? On programming sites, interpreting their code in the browser, pulling in web services they way you and I learned to pull in local APIs. You don’t like Javascript? Don’t worry – You have options and they’re only going to keep getting better. Suddenly Bespin doesn’t look so dumb any more, does it? Mix in Github and free online hosting services like Google App Engine and you can see the parts are already assembling.

In fact, with 3.3.1 Apple has shot itself in the foot by ensuring that all the best developers are going to work extra hard to get their applications running in the browser; a bit of a home goal for iAd and a gift to Google – and the rest of us. After all, web apps are fundamentally easier to develop and support.

So here’s to Apple’s 3.3.1 clause and all its consequences: Thanks, Steve!

Written by coderoom

May 7, 2010 at 7:45 am

Posted in Business, Programming

Tagged with , , ,

Why Google had to make this about China

with 4 comments

There’s a lot of disucssion rattling around about Google’s new anti-censorship stance in China. Are they right? Should other companies be doing the same? Several commentators have asked why Google chooses to do this now; it seems a somewhat odd reaction to being hacked. There are widely-held suspicions that the ‘very sophisticated’ hack was sponsored by the Chinese government.

All of this plays right into Google’s hands. Their real purpose in refusing to play the censorship game any more? To make this about censorship and about China, every pundit’s favourite topics, and to disguise the truth they’re most afraid of gaining column inches: Google was hacked. Google lost data. Google is not 100% secure. Our data is not safe with Google.

As a company whose stated mission is ‘to look after the world’s data’, their greatest weakness is that this requires us to trust them with our data. They know as well as you or I that the more data they control, the more valuable a target they are to hackers, that the best way to data security is never to put all your eggs in one basket. But the information they can extract from our data is so valuable that they’re desperate to hide this for as long as possible.

Whatever the ultimate cost they may have to pay for their heroesque stand in China it pales into insignificance compared to the potential cost of a world of internet users starting to question whether they really can trust Google to look after all their data, or whether it wouldn’t be smarter to look after it themselves, or split it amongst several parties.

Besides, public opinion has already been turning against Google, with their “Do No Evil” looking more tarnished and cynical with every month, their once-proud war cry reduced to a “mumble mumble Evil”. Be sure they’ll milk their great ‘sacrifice’ for all the PR they can get, and while they do so take note: nobody’s asking whether giving all your data to Google is a good idea.

But if these hackers can steal data from Google’s servers, so can others. Maybe next time it’ll be my data that gets sold on the criminal markets to the highest bidders. Maybe it’ll be yours.

They’ll still have to pry my Gmail account out of my cold, dead fingers. Curse you and your seductively useful and innovative free services, Google!

Written by coderoom

January 19, 2010 at 9:32 pm

Posted in Business

Tagged with , ,