Technology

Hi Tim: I’ve got an idea for you. I think it would be a big win for independent developers targeting Apple platforms, and by extension a big win for Apple, if the App Store revenue split used a tiered rate. (Hopefully you agree that a thriving ecosystem of independent developers is an important competitive advantage for Apple.) It would cost Apple some money, but the cost should be relatively low, especially when considering the impact it could have on the vibrancy of Apple’s developer community. A bit of background: I am the co-founder of AnyList. Our sole product is a highly rated shopping list and recipe organization app for iOS. Formerly, I was a software developer at Apple from 2005 - 2010. Over the past year, several independent developers have written about the revenue...
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Dear Apple: It’s your friends from Readability. Remember us? You put our technology into your Safari browser last year. We’re writing this open letter because – well – we’re a little upset right now. Last Friday, you notified us that our Readability iOS application was rejected. In explaining the rejection, you pointed us to 11.2 in the App Store Review Guidelines: 11.2 Apps utilizing a system other than the In App Purchase API (IAP) to purchase content, functionality, or services in an app will be rejected. We’re obviously disappointed by this decision, and surprised by the broad language. By including “functionality, or services,” it’s clear that you intend to pursue any subscription-based apps, not merely those of services serving up content. Readability’s model is...
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Dear Mark: You have lost focus. Please get it back. As a longtime Facebook user, advertiser and publisher, I think your company is losing the plot, and is in danger of repeating the mistakes made by companies like Kodak, Polaroid, Sony, Myspace, BlackBerry and others. Namely, at some point you stopped focusing on delivering things that people really wanted. You have lost focus on the people using this platform, and that’s the first step toward losing touch and becoming obsolete. So many things that so many people want, and which would make Facebook so much better, go either seemingly unattended or unfixed. You’ve got around 7,000 people working at the company, and I just don’t get it. Need an example? Try this: Why is it that no one can get the News Feed to remember that we...
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Dear Sony Vaio PCG-V505DX, I thought I was buying a compact, highly portable machine to tote here and there in my wanderings, but you’ve turned out to be so much more. You sit in my lap and warm my goods like an accomplished lover. We sleep together and first thing I do is roll over to you and turn you on like you do me, stroke your touchpad, finger your keys. Your wireless convenience allows me to take you everywhere, and where you go, I shall follow. Has Sony pulled a Philip Morris, Slipped something in your mix? To make me need you, crave you Like a junkie’s morning fix? You are the sleek and silver monkey on my back. Your hard drive makes me whimper, your gigabytes make me swoon. No three-and-one-half-inch floppy you, babe. You’re all DVD—Divine Virile Dog, making me leap...
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Dear Lighting in the Victoria’s Secret Dressing Room, I’m not sure if you remember me, but we met last weekend, when you made my stomach and inner thighs look like the surface of the moon, pale and lumpy and riddled with craters. I thought we were on the road to becoming good friends—that you were going to convince me to buy that unnecessarily complicated bra that wouldn’t look good under any of my clothes. Boy, was I wrong. Until last weekend, I thought I’d been making real progress in my bi-weekly Pilates class. I think I’ve finally mastered the Teaser. I know. Exciting, right? But then we met, and you gave me at least five new ways to hate my body. Like, for example, that area right below my boobs, along the ribcage? I didn’t even know I could have cellulite there. So thanks for...
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Dear Philip Malmberg and Adam Lowry, RE: Ecover and Method’s decision to use ingredients derived from Synthetically Modified Organisms (SMOs) in its products We are writing as representatives of several international environmental, consumer and social justice organisations to formally ask Ecover and Method to reconsider its decision to use ingredients derived from synthetic biology in its products. On April 2nd 2014, Ecover announced that it would replace some of the palm oil used in its laundry detergent with algal oil produced by Solazyme Inc. of California (USA), which is derived from the fermentation of Brazilian sugarcane. As you are aware, Solazyme’s proprietary product is ‘genetically tailored oil’ fermented in vats of bioengineered algae that were created using the...
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Dear Clients and Industry Colleagues, There is an ongoing scandal surrounding Ukrainian forex broker, Forex Trend (“Форекс Тренд”). The company, which operates in the Ukraine, Russia and the CIS, attracts funds from individuals, supposedly for use on financial markets. The company is currently experiencing serious problems with the disbursement of funds to its clients. It is highly likely that we are witnessing the collapse of another pyramid scheme. This situation is aggravated by the fact that Forex Trend was masking its activities by using the popular PAMM Account investment service, and thereby sullying the certified financial instrument’s and the industry’s reputation as a whole. We are deeply concerned by this turn of events and, as such, believe it is our duty to act by way...
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Dear Judge Jacqueline Davies, Having witnessed for myself your dismissal of the half time motion and subsequent questioning of the evidence in the Paul Chambers appeal: what has now become known as the “Twitter Joke Trial”, it is abundantly clear to me that despite your earnest efforts to do so, you have not fully understood the nature of Twitter, its audience, or the underlying technology, and how this applies to the definition of a “public telecommunications network”. I feel that this is in part because you were not furnished with complete information before or during the trial. Furthermore, this ignorance has caused you to come to a conclusion about Paul Chambers' intentions which is fundamentally flawed. In my capacity as an internet professional, web developer and twitter user...
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Dear Data Collectors and Providers, Over the past few weeks, I have worked on a few projects that involve collecting data from various sources. This experience has ranged from immensely time consuming and frustrating, to mildly obnoxious. The open data movement seems to have improved things somewhat over the past few years, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement. This may seem obvious to people who deal with data on a daily basis, but there are so many data providers that still don’t have it right, we should spell it out. By far, the worst offender I’ve encountered in this situation has been the NC Department of Health and Human Services. While working on A Closer Look at NC’s Amendment One with a colleague at UNCC, a viewer suggested to us that HIV/AIDS data might be...
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Dearest Twitter, Firstly, I would like to commend you on a first rate micro-blogging platform and assure you I am very pleased with the service as a means to voice my opinions, and also a means to see others’ opinions and breaking news before mainstream media picks up the thread. Excellent stuff! However, I feel I must now write this open letter in good faith that you will at least look into addressing an ongoing issue that I have approached your support team in private about, but for which no solution has been forthcoming to date. As you are fully aware, I have been using Twitter as my primary means of communication since day one of my conception over 3 years ago. In this time I have somehow gained nearly 50,000 followers, mostly made up of good actors, but the bad guys like to...
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