Friday, September 28, 2007


So Apple released their iPhone with lots of people gathered around the shop, many of them having sat there for days. Well, what can I say. I certainly would not pay $600, not even $400 for a phone. After destroying my old, poor-GUI, slow-boot, flimsy, but rather sexy Siemens AX72 by forecful throw, I now use a Nokia 1112, which is a phone. I use it to talk to people. Maybe send an SMS, set an alarm or play a Snake, because those are simple, handy things to have on a phone. I'd use a second-hand $100 handheld or even a regular laptop to swim the interwebs over 802.11 and use the phone to talk to someone at the same time. (It's interesting to notice how nobody knows what 802.3 is but in the meantime it's become fashionable to include science-techy-sounding numbers in product marketing and so everybody knows that 802.11b/g is wireless/wifi Internets. Though to be fair, g is better than b so it kind of makes sense to include that.) And I don't use GPRS et al., because I'm too snobbish to admit that it can be useful at times. Oh, by the way. Besides .mobi sounding so ... unnecessarily gay, typing it takes 10 key pressings on a standard 12-key keypad, as opposed to .wap for instance, which only takes 3. .mb also only takes 3, is a better abbreviation and is free at the time of this writing. I also got some rants for the idiot who put pqrs and wxyz together while leaving 1 empty. I've been long thinking of moving the space from 0 to 1 next to the .,! etc. (or the .,! next to the space depending on the phone model), and moving s and z to 0 while also leaving them on 7 an 9 for backward compatibility. Later.
Back to the iPhone. Objectively speaking - nice idea, if it weren't for its inability to host custom software, and its carrier lock-in. It also looks ugly for my taste, but that's just me. Too slim and too metrosexual. I don't like it. But it's OK if others like it.
So they launched it, people rushed to buy it and use its somewhat crippled features, insecure browser and so on, mkay, fine. Then someone hacked it to allow usage on any GSM carrier. The guy put a lot of effort into it and he finally managed to patch the firmware with the help of another guy. Interesting story and great job after all, a little messy but worth it. Great spirit, great guy. So obviously thousands of phones got cracked in the following weeks. So now it seems Apple is launching an update to un-crack the phones and prevent further cracking using this method. Regardless of wether that's true or not (it's certainly plausible and after all, who cares), it's become usual to see people commenting on the comment-forum with mostly nothing interesting to say. There are the 'freedom' guys who scream at Apple for doing such a thing and not letting them do whatever they please with their hardware, and there are the corporate fan-boys who reply that it's a good move and that they want the company to gain lots of ca$h and invest it in better products. Of course both camps are right and wrong at the same time, but right now I'm only going to argue against the crackers and crack users (LOL). Just for the sake of making a point, I run mostly free software on my PC and if I had more time I'd hack a Linux kernel into every device I could get my hands into. But I don't buy iPods and iPhones and proprietary systems while ranting at their makers. If I don't like a product for whatever reason and can't mod it to fit my desires, I shut up and don't buy it. Why the hell would I buy a CPU that doesn't let me run the code I want? But of course, it's sexy to have an iPhone mostly as a social statement AND use it however you please. Have your cake AND eat it. Get real. As Free Culture author Lawrence Lessing put it, in his admirably balanced fashion: company executives are required by law to maximize their companies' profits. So the only correct way to protest against a corporation's products being 'intentionally crippled' or otherwise 'wrong' is to not buy them, thus making it ineffective for the company to continue pursuing their current strategy, at least from the point of view of your dollars. But wait, you can't do that, because in many cases you've got no alternative maker for that product -- 'Am I to refrain from buying the product at all????!' . Well, tough luck! Having strong principles sometimes hurts/costs, and those who have them accept this. But most comment-forum commenters don't [have strong, consistent principles], and are there just to kill time and rant. [Note: I'm not only killing time and ranting but I'm also generating random bits per this blag's definition.] That being said, there's openmoko. Soon it's going to be a full-featured fancyphone with all the freedom in the world. How soon I don't know, but then I could tell you to buy it instead of the iPhone and stop whining. It's cheaper and it's free. Then, by virtue of causal market dynamics, maybe iPhones will become less restrictive too. I couldn't care less anyway. On the other hand I know why a friend's iPod keeps freezing. Because the Apple headquarters is situated on 1 Infinte Loop (,Cupertino, CA). What a badly-chosen name :) But in all fairness, the old Macs were real computers when x86 PCs were what we call coffee grinders.
In closing, I'd like to thank Google for pointing me to the Engadget article in question. Eventhough they supposedly support the .mobi that I despise, their AdSense is great (it delivers the only ads not worth adblocking), and their WebClips are even better.

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