THIS is specifics – Listen up Apple! – Original Post November 13, 2009

Rogue Amoeba (great products BTW) really puts forth the specifics. And gets closer to what is going on in the review process at the app store. Read their pain over here.

All these complaints (they aren’t the only ones that have seen horrid inconsistencies and nonsense) are the sorts of things that happen when scaling breaks, and breaks hard. You hire a bucket of people to get the glut moving on approvals, but many of them really aren’t sure as to the purpose or strategy of it, so they stick to the letter of the law regardless of the sensibility so they don’t lose their jobs, and hammer out procedure blindly.

The idea that it is a public API that they are using to get these images is the crux of it. Even with a knowledgeable employee going to bat, the procedure over-ruled the spirit of the policy, and the denial flew out of Apple’s walls. It should be painfully obvious to anyone with a quarter clue about Apple software development that Rogue Amoeba are doing the exactly right thing, for the right reasons, and giving the best experience with the tools openly provided by Apple.

This should have been approved. If you’re an app dev, retweet this. Blog about it. Make it obvious. Apple has been listening and changing policy and procedure, as well as reversing a number of blatant rejection mistakes when it gets loud enough. This item shows a flaw in the process that is pretty core to the experience, and Apple has actually degraded user experience with this errantly-enforced policy. Anybody that deals with Apple products knows this isn’t the outcome or user experience they want. It’s obvious Rogue Amoeba is doing it right, and the approval process is seriously broken with a very specific case to illustrate it. This can be fixed. All the facts and details are in the article.

C’mon Apple. Fix this nonsense. To the app devs that are feeling these pains, make it this specific. Make it clear the principles at stake and what you did to try to explain it to the reviewers. Then publish it and get people talking about it. We can get them to fix this mess. They want to, at some level, and getting the information put together clearly for them is the first step. Getting a lot of the other devs to crank the volume by engaging the discussion is the next step.

Losing this caliber of developer on the platform hurts the platform Apple. These are the guys that are leads on the Mac, and should be listened to on the iPhone long before the rest of us.

Apple store review… no details? – Original Post November 11, 2009

This seems to be getting a lot of play today: Facebook iPhone app developer hands it off and goes on to other projects: At TechCrunch

The thing that seems to be completely missing is what he finds so objectionable. There’s a quick jab that he’s opposed to the very existence of the review process. So it’s political/philosophical? I suppose his work at Facebook and how it reflects on that company isn’t reviewed by anyone and he’s totally free and unfettered to produce the good, the bad and the ugly as he sees fit?

There’s a lot of things wrong with Apple’s review process, but compared to my experience with Palm and Blackberry, there’s a whole lot less crap coming out on the platform in comparison. I can’t prove that’s credit to the app store, but I suspect there’s a chunk of credit due there. There’s a lot of issues with it as well in rejections from Apple on overlapping or confusing interface and conflict with built-in applications. I think the difference is that Apple is trying, and succeeding to varying degrees, to provide a more consistent level of experience with the platform. That’s bringing a lot of pros and cons to what we can and can’t do as developers on the platform, and there is a big obfuscated review system inbetween the devs and the customers. It’s different, and it’s far from perfect, but I think there’s benefits there worth pursuing and working to improve with Apple.

Now, if you could put together competing app stores, that would be quite interesting as well. I wouldn’t mind some competition on that side. On the opposing view, the worm that’s trashing up iPhones in Australia is on jailbroken iPhones running applications put out by devs that are very competent, but they aren’t reviewed and they aren’t within the confines of Apple’s restrictions and systems. I think that’s an indicator that there is some end-user benefit to the way Apple is doing this. And keep in mind, as developers, that’s who we are here for. The Users. Not ourselves and our own political agendas.

I really like the Facebook iPhone app. Would have shelled a few bucks out for it was it a paid-for app. I’m sorry to see a talented programmer bail on the platform over Apple’s policies, but he has every right to do so and make his opinion heard. I just wish it had a bit more meat on it than being opposed to “the very existence of the review process”.

I’m sure that more platforms will put in review processes actually based on the success of Apple, but others will not. The users will decide with their wallets which one contributes to a more desirable product and platform. I’m pretty sure we’ll have both models for a long time to come.

WordPress hole – number of big blogs hit – original post September 6, 2009

Well, it looks like anything with less than a 2.8.4 version of WordPress got itself busted up if it was a searched target. That’s not overly huge news. The latest version that has been out for a while (August 12, 2009 according to the WP blog over here.

Not news until one of the “big names” on the blogger lists decides to blame WordPress for him being quite careless about his blog. Honestly I think at this point you’ve got to take Robert Scoble’s musings with a larger grain of salt. Perhaps it’s “Do as I say, not as I do.” I don’t read the guy regularly as he gained notoriety as a blogger from within Microsoft, and since he’s left, he seems more like a CNet blowhard, more inflammatory adjectives than substance. Probably why his post is getting so much attention. Yes, even from me. I’m making a bigger point than him needing to blame software for his poor system administration practices.

Scoble is a writer. First and foremost. The guys’ knowledge and experience probably lend him to a lot of advisory and strategic roles at Rackspace, but basically, his core value since he was an evangelist in the Redmond juggernaut is writing. Blogging. It’s his bread and butter.

Not keeping his software even remotely up to date (2.7.x) and having no backup says he really doesn’t value his work or his paycheque. That’s up there with a software developer not backing up his code, and not having version control, or any other historic copy or archive of many thousands of hours of work.

Robert Scoble is building an online social community or some such thing at Rackspace. This is now an evangelist for the cloud, and for online web properties and public participation (Web 2.0 if you still tolerate that moniker) systems. The example he sets is that it’s not important to protect the data. It’s all good. Software is perfect. Happy days and butterflys flitting through the pastures. And now he’s probably done a nice bit of damage to his own properties and to online computing. At least he’s serving as an example.

There’s no shortage of WP advice on securing, backing up and protecting your blog. JCS Hosting (yes, I’m less masochistic than Scoble on this. I’ve done sysadmin many times before, and I know to do it right, you better be adding value. Managing a single or few WordPress blogs is *not* adding value. Leave it to the experts) has it all set up nicely, and you can add WordPress plugins very easily. The system at JCS notifies me via email as soon as any of the software is out of date, letting me know I should update it ASAP.

I was getting the emails on 2.8.4 for a few weeks before I bothered clicking a single link (after backing the content up) to update the software. It’s hard to get easier than that unless you have a sysadmin doing it for you. Seems Robert Scoble had neither, as he’s his own sysadmin, and he wasn’t doing his job.

Software has bugs. Even with the excellent internal practices and courses Microsoft has in their campus classrooms, and even with all the research and people digging in looking for flaws, there’s always a few more it seems. Thinking WordPress was secure was pure naivety on Scoble’s part, and he most definitely should know better.

These blogs of mine are not core properties. But I do care about my time, and if I ever get enough readers to start leaving comments, I will value those all the more (those that Akismet doesn’t kill off first of course 😉 ). Each post, mine or others, equates to time. One of our most precious resources. They are worth of protection, and respect. The more people involved in your blog, the more value is being contributed and accrued, to say nothing of the content’s value to others.

There’s a plugin for WordPress that will email you a backup of either the content (postings and comments) or the whole database regularly from the site. Automatic staged backups. Add in a personal backup for your laptop or desktop (and with all the automated solutions, there’s no excuse not to have one of those either, at least onsite, if not offsite automated) and you have solidly protected your property and the value it represents. You are caring about the readers and posters’ time committed to your site.

Robert Scoble, and many, many others are probably doing a much better job now (RS notes he’s doing backups and locked it down), but the point is you need to consider the value of what you create as you’re creating it, not after somebody takes and puts graffiti all over it. Balance the risk. More value should equal bigger protection. Try and come up with the post you would write explaining how you lost all the posts your users contributed to your site due to negligence on your part and you should have a very clear idea of just how valuable it is and how much protection it requires.