Pretentious App Stores

We are now involved with multiple app stores due to Android and iOS versions of the app. Most of them perform some kind of review process. I understand the desire to do a review as it, to some extent, helps eliminate some of the app abuse *

Of all the ones who do app review, Apple does it the best. Yes, it takes them awhile but they have very specific guidelines and they test specifically for those guidelines. While Apple will report back if they discover a crashing issue or something that doesn’t work at all, short of making sure it adheres to the guidelines, Apple doesn’t tell us about “broken features.” Apple is looking primarily for things that could be bad for the customers.

We distribute through some other companies that like to “test the functionality” of our apps. They pretend they are a customer and report back “bugs” and opinions about how the app should function, rejecting the app and telling us to fix these issues before submitting again. Except these companies are not our customers and they have spent little time understanding how the product should work. What they think is a bug without really spending time with it is exactly how it is supposed to work.

I don’t need an app store to tell me how to design my products. That’s my job and my customer’s job to tell me when I’ve succeeded and failed.

But rather than pass it through testing and report that they found something they weren’t certain about and wanted to bring it to my attention, I get an email proclaiming that our app failed, resubmit if you want to try getting it through again. Even more insulting is that we have six versions of powerOne, all of which function off the exact same code base. A failure in one has to be a failure in all of them. Except they only ever reject one, and if they reject more than one it is for completely different reasons.

Frankly, reviews this way are insulting and their email rejections are pretentious. I wish they would all stick to what they are good at: making sure the apps adhere to security and safety concerns. Particularly on Android, this is a big enough problem as it is.

* Don’t kid yourself. Most of the review processes are security theater. A nasty developer could easily thwart any of these review processes and not even break a sweat trying.

Portrait of a Serial Winner

I don’t often share sports stories but this one goes far beyond sports. Luis Suarez is a national hero in Uruguay. He’s also a divisive figure in professional soccer, having bit two opposing players. When he was 15 it was believed he was suspended for head butting an official. From Wright Thompson at ESPN:

No soccer player in the world provokes such a strong emotional response as Liverpool’s striker, with less of an understanding of what lurks beneath the surface. His recent injury, which puts his World Cup fitness into doubt, makes him more intriguing. Yet knowing Suarez is difficult, since he seems to not know himself, and, regardless, he wouldn’t talk to me. The best path to that knowledge would have to be a journey through his past, looking for clues. That was the plan: talk to people who knew him and let their memories paint a picture. Those who met him during his early years, especially the first person he ever assaulted, might offer slivers of insight. So in addition to visiting Suarez’s mother, friends and neighbors, I wanted to sit down with the referee.

Only I couldn’t find him.

It’s a mystery story wrapped in a sports story wrapped up in a psychological drama. Go read it.

By the way, I heard about this story from Slugball, a daily email that sends me the best in sports stories. If you are interested in sports and haven’t signed up for the free newsletter yet, you should. Matt Hughes is a great guy and I look forward to helping him expand Slugball’s web presence and capabilities in the near future.

Confidence

The array of new features announced yesterday at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference keynote was, frankly, dizzying. Even more stuff was shown at private events later. I did intend to write on this today but haven’t figured out what to say. So I will link to Craig Hockenberry instead, who I think nailed it:

But all [the announcements] pales in comparison to the undercurrent for all these changes: Apple has a newfound confidence in itself. It’s at the top of its game, and it knows it.

Before yesterday I was worried about Apple keeping up with all the things we wanted as developers and all the things we wanted as users. Now, I’m worried whether I can keep up with Apple. Wow.

Paving The World With Solar Panels

This may be the most annoying video I have ever seen, but then again I apparently suck at marketing because the guy who remixed the original into this got millions of views.

Thank goodness it did though as the technology could be a major breakthrough and it has helped the inventors blow through their fundraising goal at Indiegogo. (Go pitch in.)

With an apparently working prototype, the idea of paving roads, driveways and parking lots with solar panels opens up all kinds of possibilities. Think about the end of polluting power plants, lights in the roads that can change on the fly and can warn us when there are road issues, not to mention they are heated so no more unplowed winter roads. It’s almost too good to be true. For once I hope I’m wrong. I’d love for this to be true!

Observations From Outside The Classroom

Yesterday I discussed Apple’s squeeze, where Chromebooks at a couple hundred dollars each are becoming “good enough” devices for our classrooms and will crowd out the significantly more expensive Macbooks. Today I wanted to share the teacher perspective.

The demand among teachers at my daughter’s school is extremely high. They are literally jockeying for position to get their hands on laptops and tablets.

What a change from 10 years ago when I was working on handhelds in schools. Back then very few wanted them. The teachers in place were mostly scared of technology and the fact that the students knew more than they did. Not now. The teachers are dieing for them.

In fact the only ones who are still scared of all this seem to be the parents. A few can’t understand how students could possibly be using these devices to deeper their understanding and further their educations. I get the impression too many parents think the kids are using them to play games and give the teachers slack time. My guess is that’s how these parents use the devices with their kids at home, which is a real shame.

Nothing could be further from the truth. I couldn’t be more impressed with the teachers and their desire to utilize technology as an educational device. I think next year I might have to put together a video of what these kids are doing to help the parents.

In the upper elementary grades the students keep blogs on what they are reading, sharing them with other kids who comment and have discussions online. They are all learning to be good online citizens. They produce presentations and even use video to help them practice. They research what they are studying, watch videos of lessons and examples that further their knowledge and understanding of topics.

I’m barely scratching the surface of what they are up to.

In the meantime in ten short years we’ve gone from “why in the world would students use a computer to study” to “of course they need to learn with computers,” at least from our school and educators.

For me, all I can utter is, “finally!” I’m so excited to be so intricately involved in making this happen, and so thankful that the school, educators and parent’s organization are all motivated.