Adria Richards, PyCon and How We All Lost

Amanda Blum, at her blog writes:

Adria didn’t win. I’m not sure she’s employable as a Dev Evangelist, which has been her role. Those who know her in the way I do believe she’ll use this as a platform, but I hope instead she learns from it. This wasn’t about feminism, and she shouldn’t be allowed to sit her perch on the issue. This was about the way humans relate to each other. Either way, the past 24 hours must have been terrifying for her and for that, I’m sad. Having mostly ignored this story for a few days, I just caught up on it today. After reading Amanda Blum's post on the subject, I find myself in 100% agreement with her.

We Need To Talk About Android

Frasier Speirs, an expert on technology used in education, chimed in on a question he gets asked a lot: "What's wrong with Android?":

You're either buying into a platform or you're buying gadgets. The fundamental disconnect between the apparently solid Android engineering that's happening at Google and the actual packaging and deployment that's happening to end-users is turning into a real problem. To my mind, it's a dealbreaker for schools or anyone thinking beyond their next carrier subsidy. I would argue that most, if not all of the points that he lays out in his article, also apply to Enterprise as well.

iOS Developer Woes: Cleaning...

While Apple usually gets everything right, they occasionally drop the ball. Here is an instance of them dropping the ball: Marco Arment writes:

Instapaper has stored its downloaded articles in Caches for years, since I didn’t want to slow down iTunes syncing for my customers or enlarge their backups unnecessarily, and full restores don’t happen often enough for it to be a problem for most people. This new policy now locks me into using Caches: I no longer have a choice. But in iOS 5, there’s an important change: Caches and tmp — the only two directories that aren’t backed up — are “cleaned” out when the device is low on space. … A common scenario: an Instapaper customer is stocking up an iPad for a long flight. She syncs a bunch of movies and podcasts, downloads some magazines, and buys a few new games, leaving very little free space. Right before boarding, she remembers to download the newest issue of The Economist. (I think highly of my customers.) This causes free space to fall below the threshold that triggers the cleaner, which — in the background, unbeknownst to her — deletes everything that was saved in Instapaper. Later in the flight, with no internet connectivity, she goes to launch Instapaper and finds it completely empty. … When customers save an article with Instapaper, get a book in iBooks, or download a podcast with Instacast, they expect it to be there next time they launch the app. Even though it’s technically redownloadable, customers see that as their data — they put it there, and it’s theirs to remove if and when they see fit. When the cleaner wipes it out, it appears that the app has failed and deleted their data. And customers won’t know that it’s an iOS 5 behavior — they’ll understandably blame the app developers. Even though it’s not our fault, it’s certainly going to become our problem. There needs to be a file storage location that behaves the way Caches did before iOS 5: it’s not backed up to iTunes or iCloud, it’s not synced, but it’s also never deleted unless the app is deleted. I posted large excerpts of Marco's article because I want to help get the word out on this issue. This is generally more than I would like to repost from someone else's site, but considering the circumstances, I would think Marco would be fine with it.

Lodsys Responds to Apple, Files Lawsuits Against App Developers Anyway

Eric Slivka, writing at Macrumors:

Patent holding firm Lodsys today published a series of blog posts revealing that the company has filed suit against some App Store developers, accelerating its efforts to extract licensing fees from developers for using in app purchases and upgrade links in their App Store applications. Lodsys had given developers 21 days to negotiate a license before filing suit, but the firm appears to have initiated lawsuits early in order to thwart Apple's efforts to back the developers. More details, directly from the bastards themselves, at the Lodsys blog. Florian Muellre writes on FOSS Patents: For the app developers who have been sued, this is now a very critical situation. As I explained in my Lodsys FAQ, patent litigation in the United States is extremely costly. The most important thing for those app developers is to clarify with Apple — and to the extent that Android apps are involved, with Google — whether they will be held harmless and receive blanket coverage including possible damage awards.

Apple Announces WWDC 2011 Keynote


Apple CEO Steve Jobs and a team of Apple executives will kick off the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) with a keynote address on Monday, June 6 at 10:00 a.m. At the keynote, Apple will unveil its next generation software - Lion, the eighth major release of Mac OS X; iOS 5, the next version of Apple’s advanced mobile operating system which powers the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch; and iCloud, Apple’s upcoming cloud services offering. It is certainly out of the ordinary for Apple to pre-announce exactly what the keynote will be about. As John Gruber says, it is probably due to Apple making sure there are no expectations that there will be any hardware. Gruber is usually correct on these things.

WWDC Sells Out In 10 Hours

As an Apple iOS Developer, I received my email from Apple this morning just like everyone else. Because I happened to be watching Twitter, I saw that WWDC had been announced and conference passes were on sale for about an hour previous. How long did Google I/O take to sell out? How about RIM's Developer conference? Oh right, there isn't one. WebOS? Again, there isn't one I'm aware of. Yes, Apple is doomed because Android is so much of a juggernaut that all of the developers are sure to switch to it, despite the fact that developers are coming to realize that Android users don't want to pay for apps. Come back in 12 months and tell me how that's working out for you.

Twitter Declares War on 3rd Party Clients

Well, it's official. Twitter has declared war on its 3rd party client developers. Ryan Sarver, Platform lead for Twitter posted a message to developers this afternoon outlining Twitter's policy change. Dave Winer reminds us all that he warned us that one day we would wish we had decentralized from Twitter. I thought he was right then, and still do. The problem is it's hard to move the community. MG Siegler, at Techcrunch, writes:

For much of the past year, the Twitter ecosystem has been in a state of flux. Ever since Twitter bought Tweetie and turned it into their own native iPhone app, third-party developers have been wondering where this would leave them. Further moves by Twitter into Android, iPad, Mac, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and other spaces have only compounded some of this fear. So Twitter has taken some time today in their developer forum to talk a bit about the state of the ecosystem and give some guidance. It’s blunt, but necessary. Specifically, Platform lead Ryan Sarver has a fairly lengthy outline of Twitter’s line of thinking with regard to third-party clients and services. And while there’s a little bit of dancing around the topic at first, it quickly gets very clear: third-parties probably shouldn’t be creating straight-up Twitter clients any further. Sarver notes that Twitter views a “consistent user experience” as very important to them. And it’s something they’re going to hold third-party developers to a very high standard to maintain. But they don’t want them to mimic Twitter’s own experience with their native apps in order to do this. They’ve updated the API Terms of Service to reflect all of this. “Developers have told us that they’d like more guidance from us about the best opportunities to build on Twitter. More specifically, developers ask us if they should build client apps that mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience. The answer is no,” Sarver writes very matter-of-factly. “If you are an existing developer of client apps, you can continue to serve your user base, but we will be holding you to high standards to ensure you do not violate users’ privacy, that you provide consistency in the user experience, and that you rigorously adhere to all areas of our Terms of Service. We have spoken with the major client applications in the Twitter ecosystem about these needs on an ongoing basis, and will continue to ensure a high bar is maintained,” he continues. Sarver notes that according to Twitter’s own data, some 90 percent of active Twitter users now use official Twitter apps on a monthly basis to access the service. “We need to move to a less fragmented world, where every user can experience Twitter in a consistent way. This is already happening organically – the number and market share of consumer client apps that are not owned or operated by Twitter has been shrinking,” he writes. The biggest third-party client in the space is TweetDeck, which was in the process of being acquired by UberMedia when Twitter suspended their apps a few weeks ago for TOS violations. I’ve reached out to Twitter to see where TweetDeck and UberMedia stand now with the new rules. So where should third-party developers look towards in terms of developing for the ecosystem? Sarver highlights the following areas: * Publisher tools. Companies such as SocialFlow help publishers optimize how they use Twitter, leading to increased user engagement and the production of the right tweet at the right time. * Curation. Mass Relevance and Sulia provide services for large media brands to select, display, and stream the most interesting and relevant tweets for a breaking news story, topic or event. * Realtime data signals. Hundreds of companies use real-time Twitter data as an input into ranking, ad targeting, or other aspects of enhancing their own core products. Klout is an example of a company which has taken this to the next level by using Twitter data to generate reputation scores for individuals. Similarly, Gnip syndicates Twitter data for licensing by third parties who want to use our real-time corpus for numerous applications (everything from hedge funds to ranking scores). * Social CRM, entreprise clients, and brand insights. Companies such as HootSuite, CoTweet, Radian6, Seesmic, and Crimson Hexagon help brands, enterprises, and media companies tap into the zeitgeist about their brands on Twitter, and manage relationships with their consumers using Twitter as a medium for interaction. * Value-added content and vertical experiences. Emerging services like Formspring, Foursquare, Instagram, and Quora have built into Twitter by allowing users to share unique and valuable content to their followers, while, in exchange, the services get broader reach, user acquisition, and traffic. Sarver highlights Twitter’s “diverse ecosystem” of more than 750,000 registered apps. But that ecosystem definitely just got altered quite a bit today. I think that Justin Williams, iOS developer of the popular Elements app sums it up nicely: (paraphrased) "Anyone building a product around a platform in which they have no control, should be wary of the platform, especially a platform that is VC funded." My theory? It's all about the Dickbar. Twitter to users, "Here, have a Dickbar!" Users to Twitter, "We don't like the Dickbar! It covers up our timelines!" Twitter to users, "Okay, we made the Dickbar less sucky!" Users to Twitter, "But it's still a Dickbar! Fine then, we'll switch to Twitteriffic, Echofon, Tweetdeck, Hibari, etc". Twitter sees a large amount of people quit using their client. In-your-face trends ad bar plot foiled! Devises new plan... Twitter to developers, "You can't make clients anymore that don't have our 'user experience' (1)". (1): 'User Experience' = Dickbar. Brent Simmons chimes in as well:

Did Twitter just tell client-app developers to stop?

I’m seriously disappointed by this. Not as someone with a Twitter client, but as someone who likes the service and wants my fellow developers to do interesting things. One of the cool things about Twitter is that the service sparked a bunch of UI innovation on the part of some very talented client-app developers. I want to see that continue. But it’s as if they said: no more. Stop. We’ll take over now. Craig Hockenberry also makes the good point that the reason third-party Twitter clients are so important to the Twitter ecosystem is that they innovated when Twitter did not. One question though...did Twitter release this bombshell on the community on a Friday afternoon where they thought that their userbase would be distracted? On the 1st day of SXSW? On the iPad 2 launch day? I can't decide whether I think the existing news stories of the day (earthquake/tsunami, iPad 2, SXSW) will drown out the news or if SXSW will help to amplify it. I'm hoping for amplification. C'mon nerds, gather ye pitchforks and torches.