Skip to main content

Yes, Steve, I do want my phone to be an open platform

I was captivated by the iPhone announcement.  It's a great looking design; I suspect that Apple, being Apple, has probably nailed the actual interaction too, including keyboard.  I was ready to buy one immediately (darn that pesky FCC!).  But then:

"You don't want your phone to be an open platform," says Steve Jobs. 

What?  Yes, I do.  I want to carrry just one personal device that serves me the way I want.  I do not want to be locked in to a "garden of pure ideology" (warning: ironic link) defined by any one company.  I want a free market.

And: "Cingular doesn't want to see their West Coast network go down because some application messed up."

That's simply laughable.  If Cingular's network is so fragile that a single poorly coded application can destroy it, they have much bigger problems than needing to lock down the iPhone.  You deal with those issues at the protocol and network levels, not at the clients.

I won't even try to predict whether this is a fatal flaw for the iPhone -- it has a lot of other things going for it, and of course it is a decision which can easily be changed.  But it will determine whether the iPhone is a game-changer or just a cool looking phone.

Doc Searls' take: "Well, it's good either way. Because a closed iPhone is a market opening for Nokia, Motorola and the rest of them."



Popular posts from this blog

The problem with creation date metadata in PDF documents

Last night Rachel Maddow talked about an apparently fake NSA document "leaked" to her organization.  There's a lot of info there, I suggest you listen to the whole thing:

There's a lot to unpack there but it looks like somebody tried to fool MSNBC into running with a fake accusation based on faked NSA documents, apparently based on cloning the document the Intercept published back on 6/5/2017, which to all appearances was itself a real NSA document in PDF form.

I think the main thrust of this story is chilling and really important to get straight -- some person or persons unknown is sending forged PDFs to news organization(s), apparently trying to get them to run stories based on forged documents.  And I completely agree with Maddow that she was right to send up a "signal flare" to all the news organizations to look out for forgeries.  Really, really, really import…

Why I'm No Longer On The Facebook

I've had a Facebook account for a few years, largely because other people were on it and were organizing useful communities there.  I stuck with it (not using it for private information) even while I grew increasingly concerned about Facebook's inability to be trustworthy guardians of private information.  The recent slap on the wrist from the FTC for Facebook violating the terms of its prior consent agreement made it clear that there wasn't going to be any penalty for Facebook for continuing to violate court orders.
Mark Zuckerberg claimed he had made a mistake in 2016 by ridiculing the idea of election interference on his platform, apologized, and claimed he was turning over a new leaf:
“After the election, I made a comment that I thought the idea misinformation on Facebook changed the outcome of the election was a crazy idea. Calling that crazy was dismissive and I regret it.  This is too important an issue to be dismissive.” It turns out, though, that was just Zuck ly…

Personal Web Discovery (aka Webfinger)

There's a particular discovery problem for open and distributed protocols such as OpenID, OAuth, Portable Contacts, Activity Streams, and OpenSocial.  It seems like a trivial problem, but it's one of the stumbling blocks that slows mass adoption.  We need to fix it.  So first, I'm going to name it:

The Personal Web Discovery Problem:  Given a person, how do I find out what services that person uses?
This does sound trivial, doesn't it?  And it is easy as long as you're service-centric; if you're building on top of social network X, there is no discovery problem, or at least only a trivial one that can be solved with proprietary APIs.  But what if you want to build on top of X,Y, and Z?  Well, you write code to make the user log in to each one so you can call those proprietary APIs... which means the user has to tell you their identity (and probably password) on each one... and the user has already clicked the Back button because this is complicated and annoying.