I was sad to hear about Steve Jobs death, but not as others have been. Most call him a visionary genius, but to me he was little more than a benevolent dictator leading a technology cult. The awe Apple seems to create is not through revolutionary features but through the stripping out of function in deference to form. Apple reduces every complex problem down to an overly simplified interface, satisfying only the least common denominator crowd, hipster aesthetic purists, and a small few who either break the ties that bind their device or mindfully accept technology on Apple's terms. Apple and Jobs have been adept at making the old new again, at creating the perception that they intended what long had been, albeit inelegantly.
I had more fully featured MP3 players years before there was an iPod. I had smarter phones years before there was an iPhone. I had a more capable tablet years before there was an iPad. I had more powerful multitasking personal computers years before it was possible with a Mac. Apple did not come up with these ideas nor the technology that realized them, all they did was package other people's invention in a form that ensured popularity through the careful crafting of a limiting experience. And in that capacity Apple has excelled; their products have deserved their reputation of being easier for novices to use and better at their limited tasks. Tightly controlling what your users are allowed to do, what your software is allowed to do, and what hardware they are allowed to do it on has a magnificent impact on ease of use and stability, ask any Windows or Linux/FreeBSD user who plays in a less regulated ecosystem. And yet to my perpetual surprise, cultural perception seems to credit Apple with being the father and mother of all these technological wonders: the smart phone, the MP3 player, the tablet. Steve Jobs' legacy seems not about invention or innovation but marketing, selling the people on the idea that less is more, that their way is the way, and ultimately (if unintentionally) that they were there first.
I don't like Apple, and I never liked Steve Jobs, but I, too, mourn his untimely death, for his passing is a horrible reminder that though our understanding and mastery of the universe has grown by leaps and bounds over the last few thousand years, all the money in the world cannot linger us many more days here on this good Earth. Steve Jobs had literal access to billions, literal access to every master of every scientific, technological, and medical arena here on Earth, and yet he was little more protected from the vagaries of fate than the least of us. How so very horrible and frightening that is, that in the end it mattered not the man he had become, but the every man he remained.
I swim like a 12 year old. I try to make every lap a game. Maybe I try to swim all the way across without coming up for air, maybe I swim upside down staring at the wavy reflection of the water's surface, maybe I swim across with my eyes closed, feeling the tiles on the bottom for direction. And I do all this with swim fins, hand paddles, a scuba mask, and my iPhone.
I'm not sure how other people manage to swim their laps without music or fun, but that's how they roll with their beautifully disciplined lives.
If you want to swim with your iPhone I recommend buying the following:
- Aquapac Model 104 (the case is good, the headphones if included are absolutely terrible)
- H2O Audio Surge Bass Amplified Waterproof Headphones
And I put a little piece of absorbent material inside the case with the iPhone, just in case there's a minor leak or some condensation it might protect and/or warn me of impending doom. Ideally I'd like to find some material like they use on diapers which changes color when it comes in contact with water!
And I don't use the included Aquapac armband, since I use my arms swimming, I use the neck cord, tighten it up, and let it rest between my shoulder blades while I swim.
I was shocked to discover that Apple gets 30% of all Apple iPhone app sales. I'm no expert in these matters, but that sure seems steep, and sure seems like something only Apple would attempt and manage to pull off.
Apple doesn't charge your credit card every time you make a $0.99 purchase, instead it waits until certain criteria are met, then charges you. I assume there's some sort of formula which charges your credit card when you've either run up more than so much in charges or when you've owed an amount longer than so long. By doing that they effectively have a micropayment system implemented, in the sense that the average charges they're making on credit cards is probably at least $10. And for that $10 charge the amount they pay to their credit card processing company is relatively small. Perhaps it's $0.25 plus 2.5% of the charge, for a total of approximately $0.50, of 5% of the total charge. So after paying the app software author, after paying the credit card bank, they're effectively getting something like 25% of app sales. I understand that Apple is in it for the money, but that seems greedy to me. I read somewhere a few weeks ago that Apple doesn't expect to make a profit on the store, but I have a really hard time believing that. Operating the iTunes app store certainly shouldn't cost that much, even with the staff they need to hand approve each app. The apps themselves are supported only by the developers and unlike everyone else Apple presumably barely has any charge backs they need to issue. The part that offends me is the usual, that end users and developers are given NO options, it's Apple's way or the highway. Is 30% excessive? If they weren't being monopolistic we might actually be able to know that.