Thursday, April 15, 2010

Apple’s SDK brouhaha explained for non-developers

So what’s up with Apple this week? In short, they are now the dominant platform in a space, and they intend to maintain that dominant position for as long as possible by preventing the ability to write an application once and run it anywhere. Apple’s tactics for maintaining their dominance are: bullying and complexity. They’re the same tactics use by every computer platform dominator (e.g., IBM, AT&T, and Microsoft)
before them. All of this has happened before, and it will happen again. Click here for Brent Noorda's take on Apple’s SDK brouhaha.

An update (5/4/2010):

The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice are exploring whether to open an antitrust inquiry into Apple over its recent actions restricting developers writing apps for its iPhone operating system.

The basis for a potential antitrust probe stems from Apple’s recent changes to its iPhone software developer kit. The changes, which were quietly rolled out during the announcement of the company’s new iPhone 4.0 operating system, made it clear that Apple would no longer allow apps into the iTunes iPhone and iPad store that are built using third-party programs.

The sudden changes to Apple’s rules came just days before Adobe was set to showcase its newest software update to its Flash authoring tools. The feature, called Packager for iPhone, would make it easy for developers to produce iPhone applications using Adobe’s software.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Decision Makers Are Not Always "Insiders"

Over the past year or so, this blog has bandied about terms like interoperability, open-source, disambiguation, security and databases. All of this has been from the points of view shared by most "insiders" concerned with the introduction of electronic health records (EHR) systems into their local, regional or even national computer networks. I'm talking about individuals (including me) who typically follow other blogs like and

However, there are many more individuals who follow (and whose thinking is influenced by) publications like The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. What they read is reports like "In a paper published last year, Alessandro Acquisti and Ralph Gross (two researchers from Carnegie Mellon University) reported that they could accurately predict the full, nine-digit Social Security numbers for 8.5 percent of the people born in the United States between 1989 and 2003 — nearly five million individuals." that I believe are sometimes more likely to influence their thinking than are the reports that you and I read in the blogs (and other publications) written by "insiders." So, with this last thought in mind, I place the following links to a few recent articles read by many of the decision makers out there.

This is not meant to be a representative sample. Just a reminder that you and I may or may not be speaking the same language as the general public, which counts among its numbers many high-ranking decision makers. So, what else is new?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

How Green Is My iPad? & Who Were The Luddites?

How Green Is My iPad?

Click here for a discussion which ends with the assertion "All in all, the most ecologically virtuous way to read a book starts by walking to your local library."

Who Were The Luddites?

Machine smashers of the 19th century or members of a fascinating social movement with visionary insights into the unfolding drama of industrialization?

The impact of today's technologies on social relations and the planet itself is becoming an intriguing field of inquiry. However so far the discussion of nuclear power, biotechnology, deforestation, automobiles or computers is pretty much dominated by industry and government who want us to take all this for granted.

In this context it is inspiring to remember the Luddites who questioned industrial civilization at its very beginning in England during the introduction of mechanized textile mills. They knew that the power-looms that they selectively destroyed were not just a technology but would create a whole new set of relations: Factory work, child labor, and the demise of artisan and skilled labor. They anticipated that the new machines, that they themselves had helped build, were not the promised tool to help them in their work but would eventually become part of a machine culture with power over human life and even human consciousness.

Click on the links below for a two part talk given by Iain Boal, an independent scholar and historian of technology. He taught a course on the Luddites at Stanford University.

Note: During the introduction, you'll hear the term Time of Useful Consciousness. This is an aeronautical term. It's the time between the onset of oxygen deficiency and the loss of consciousness, the brief moments in which a pilot may save the plane.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Note: The download of these audio files could take several minutes, depending on the speed of your connection and other resources.