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Monkey Island Creator Slams Corporate Control Over Game Publishing

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the just-another-business dept.

Censorship 298

An anonymous reader writes "Ron Gilbert, co-creator of classic games Maniac Mansion, Monkey Island 1 and 2, and many more, has spoken out against corporate censorship — the way of large companies getting a say on what does or does not get published on the distribution channels they control. Although his insightful rant applies to a number of corporations (Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo and Comcast are mentioned), most of the direct examples single out Apple. Quoting: 'Apple has maintained an almost North Koreanish dictatorial control over the devices, becoming the arbitrator over what is good and bad, what is allowed and not allowed. They don't have this control over the Mac because it is a real computer and an open device, but they can do this with the iPhone because we (as consumers) were convinced by the cell phone carriers that they needed this control to protect their networks (in the same way they wouldn't let us own our own telephones in the '70s) and Apple was happy to jump on that ship because they could finally control everything that went on the device and we bought it into it. Apple apologists say that Apple needs this control to maintain the "specialness" of the device. I say that's a load of crap.'" He also mentions Adidas dropping out of iAds because they couldn't accept Apple's excessive creative control, and a photography app that was rejected because it used the volume buttons as trigger."

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298 comments

Happy and satisfied (3, Insightful)

Tsiangkun (746511) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788624)

I bought the iPhone because I know they are controlling the user experience. I'm greatly enjoying my user experience on my iOS devices. I feel like I got what I paid for, and am likely to get more apple products in the future.

Re:Happy and satisfied (0, Flamebait)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788732)

>>>I bought the iPhone because I know they are controlling the user experience. I'm greatly enjoying my user experience on my iOS devices. I feel like I got what I paid for, and am likely to get more apple products in the future.
>>>

Fahrenheit 451 is the kindling point for books.
What is it for bullshit?

Re:Happy and satisfied (0, Troll)

labnet (457441) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789014)

Perhaps you should be modded informative.
My wife has 'instructed' me to purchase an ipad for our upcoming 5 week Europe holiday.
I said this morning, 'It's rather expensive at $AU1k', wouldn't you rather a portable pc.

She countered with saying it's all about the app store and how cheap the entertainment is (we have 3 young kids)
I could see her point. From a 'normal' consumers point of view, the Apple App store is brilliant and the control they wield there creates a great product for the masses.

Sure, tree hugging developers might get upset, but they can play with the mess that is becoming the android app space, you can publish any crap/greatness (including malicious) you like. When lazy & evil people abound, freedom to publish does not create utopia.

Re:Happy and satisfied (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789132)

I wonder if she's ever heard of the Nintendo DS, or Archos, or Books.

On our recent European holiday, the iThing stayed off most of the time. Besides being bulky and not holding much content on it's own, it can also rack up absurd network roaming charges.

Re:Happy and satisfied (2, Informative)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789394)

DS - Subset of functionality.
Archos - Shit.
Books - Subset of functionality.

Would you like to offer up more alternatives that also don't provide the same functionality? Because that's *really* constructive...

Re:Happy and satisfied (2, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789152)

Sure, tree hugging developers might get upset, but they can play with the mess that is becoming the android app space, you can publish any crap/greatness (including malicious) you like. When lazy & evil people abound, freedom to publish does not create utopia.

Anymore FUD you got there Steve?

Considering someone snuck a tethering app into the app store as a flashlight, the apple app store security is clearly worthless.

Re:Happy and satisfied (2, Insightful)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789052)

Your post may (or may not) be a joke, but there are merits to the walled garden approach; namely that while it's harder to get out, it's also harder to get in. This form of managed security really is ideal for many users who have neither the skill nor the inclination to concern themselves with technical issues. The situation becomes even more tenuous when the difference between a legitimate and malevolent app is neither obvious nor, in many cases, distinguishable. This is a very real issue on Android-based devices, for example, where there's little or no barrier for any given app to receive the same "stamp of approval" (in that there is none, but one may be perceived) as another and be listed side-by-side.

Philosophically, I agree that users should be given the informed decision of opting-out of the walled garden, but this is already the case in practice, and reality trumps ideology most of the time. It's also reality that there is simply no way to opt-in to such an environment on non-iOS devices.

Re:Happy and satisfied (2, Informative)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789150)

Being "hard to get in" only benefits Apple.

This is handily demonstrated by Apple's other platform: MacOS.

You simply don't need to castrate a platform in order to make it "safe".

Re:Happy and satisfied (2, Insightful)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789194)

No, there is no guarantee it's harder to get in, the guards are too busy watching to make sure you don't get out to pay attention to the other side of the walls. The articles that came out a few months ago about Android and iOS apps that were leaking your info all over prove that. And if you think that Apple is actually going over the code of the apps in the App Store, I'd remind you of how many times they've retroactively pulled an app when they suddenly find out that it does something that they've decided is verboten today.

What the walled garden really does is lull the unwary into thinking that the same amount of effort is being put into keeping them 'safe' as there is in keeping them 'in'. If you are lucky (and you aren't really with Apple) then it is true. If you aren't, then your false sense of security is just another reason why the walled garden is a horrible model to buy into.

Re:Happy and satisfied (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789314)

there is no guarantee it's harder to get in, the guards are too busy watching to make sure you don't get out to pay attention to the other side of the walls.

Nonsense. The plethora of App store rejections is prima facie evidence that it's harder to get in. Note that harder != impossible, just more difficult, and it goes without saying that *any* barrier is greater than no barrier at all. And in many cases, simply being *more difficult* is enough to make it not worth someone's time. This principle is amply demonstrated in everything from home break-ins to car theft to browser exploits.

There is no silver bullet, of course, but fortunately lead bullets work just fine most of the time.

nothing left to lose. (2, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788628)

And we all see how android is filled with back doors and hemmoraging data. Moreover google is now back peddling and starting to lock things down. Sometime you want freedom sometime you want security. I'll take freedom on my desktop and security on my phone. why? because in the future the phone will be my credit card and for that I want something close to trusted plat form computing.

the good news is you have a choice. DOn't buy an iphone, get your freedom, and as the singer said, perhaps nothing left to lose.

Re:nothing left to lose. (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788672)

The problem with Android is that even though it lets you see what other apps can do, Google doesn't offer something simple like a checkbox to turn off their capabilities when people don't want them to run. Once Google implements something like that, it will be smooth sailing for Android.

But you've also got the black box problem, everything you run on the iPhone is based on trust with Apple, for all we know, there -could- very well be malicious apps in the app store that got through. The difference is, its a lot easier to detect malware running on Android than on iOS.

Re:nothing left to lose. (2, Insightful)

halfEvilTech (1171369) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788682)

well I hate to rain on your parade. But Apple's iOS has been caught to be just as guilty as the Android App market with applications that constantly transmit private information to servers. Just because Apple wants their fancy walled in garden for their app store does not make them immune to that happening to them.

I am personally sick of people who think since I own a Mac or Linux box, I am immune to viruses and other crap that people get with windows. And the same holds true for iOS vs Android vs Blackberry vs Windows Mobile. Live with it.

Re:nothing left to lose. (3, Insightful)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788922)

We must be reading different news sites. I've seen stuff about Android apps sending GPS data, and even contacts. The "counter point" article I saw on iPhone says that two thirds of apps send the unique device ID to the server.

Now, I don't love that it sends this, but it really is an entirely different class of problem.

-Peter

Re:nothing left to lose. (2, Insightful)

rabbit994 (686936) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789366)

Android apps tell you what permissions they want. While I wish they gave you more information, it's enough to get the feeling with something isn't right. If you download malicious app and expect to play a game when the app requests contact data and GPS location, along with internet connection, you know something is wrong.

Re:nothing left to lose. (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788794)

>>>because in the future the phone will be my credit card

Oh man, I hope not. Otherwise this is the future we'll be facing: http://video.yandex.ru/users/sotniko-aleksand/view/142/ [yandex.ru]

Darn it's in Russian. Well basically it's a Sci-Fi Channel episode of Sliders where everyone is a number and no one talks to real people, except through online chat rooms. You can not do anything but what Data Universal (equivalent to Google) let's you do and based upon your Google-determined preferences.

Let's keep the cash and credit cards separate from the people that have ~100,000 pieces of data about us.

Re:nothing left to lose. (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788810)

And we all see how android is filled with back doors and hemmoraging data.

Sure. And of course Apples OS is completely secure. You don't have to fear a malicious attack from e.g. opening a simple PDF document ... oh, wait ...

Sometime you want freedom sometime you want security.

I can see a value in security checks. I don't need someone to protect me from "inappropriate" content. I can decide for myself which content I consider appropriate for me, thank you very much.

Re:nothing left to lose. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33788932)

You want your phone to be a credit card? Wow, you ARE a fucking idiot. I hope you get taken for every last penny that you earn from your low paying job.

When will Apple learn... (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788646)

When will Apple learn what Nintendo learned back in the 90s, consumers don't like censorship and will but their games from the platform that doesn't have censorship.

If Apple intends their iPhone to be more than "the obsolete product that started a revolution" they need to change their policies. People want to use the devices that they paid for in the ways they want, otherwise, a rival platform (probably Android) will have a "killer app" rejected from the Apple app store and Apple will pay the price like Nintendo did with Mortal Kombat.

Re:When will Apple learn... (1, Troll)

odies (1869886) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788674)

What did Nintendo learn? Wii is one of the locked-down devices of the current generation consoles. They have strict rules for developers (need to be a formed company having an office and good amount of staff and financial ability) and they are strict about adult games.

Even 360 and PS3 are more indie-friendly.

Re:When will Apple learn... (0, Troll)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788718)

Nintendo learned that they shouldn't restrict programs based on some censorship code.

While it is true that Nintendo isn't that indie friendly, they are the most friendly out of the 3 when it comes to homebrew development.

and they are strict about adult games.

[Citation needed] Nintendo is no more strict about "adult" games than Sony or Microsoft is. The reason why you don't see a huge amount of mature titles for the Wii is more self-censorship and studios reluctant to spend a lot of money developing a game for what is seen as a "kiddy" console.

Re:When will Apple learn... (0, Flamebait)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789086)

Ah, yes, totally a troll comment. Despite the fact that every single one of my points can be backed up with facts if the moderator wasn't a complete dumbass.

Lets see here, Sony disabled an entire feature to try to avoid homebrew (the OtherOS feature), and keeps on patching and trying to block people from jailbreaking their PS3s.

Microsoft bans people from Xbox Live if they detect they are using a console that is modified in any way.

Nintendo simply releases a patch about every 6 months that removes the Homebrew channel and within a week or so, Team Twiizers and the like come up with a way around it and homebrew continues like normal.

As for the second one, look at "No More Heroes", a profanity-laced violent game for the Wii and Manhunt 2 was also released for the Wii with a whole host of other violent games.

And no, Microsoft and Sony don't allow AO porn games on their consoles either so that is a moot point.

Re:When will Apple learn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33788882)

Nintendo isn't any more strict about adult games than Sony or MS. All three won't allow AO games. Otherwise, Nintendo doesn't censor content.

Nintendo does require your company to have an office. "A good amount of staff and financial ability" is probably a requirement for a publisher, but not for a developer. To become a developer, you simply need enough staff/experience to convince them you can release for the platform. Obviously it takes more to convince them you can make a Wii game than it does for a DSiWare game.

Essentially, their requirements boil down to "convince us that it's not going to be a waste of our time to approve you." The office space requirement is because they don't want dev kits in people's homes, mostly out of fear of visitors wandering off with them.

Re:When will Apple learn... (3, Insightful)

DeKO (671377) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788920)

Actually, no, the Wii SDK is the cheapest of the three. And they even support flash, so you can even start your game without the SDK. The need of having an actual company is just a way of saying "you have to take this seriously"; not a big deal if you really want to make a career of it. Most people who complain about the need to have a company actually have no idea on what goes into making a game. Nobody wants to play your tetris clone that you derived from a tutorial on gamedev.net.

Re:When will Apple learn... (1, Insightful)

0racle (667029) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788758)

Apple will learn when people stop buying the iPhone, iPod and iPad. So far, there is not much for Apple to learn; the lock in on those devices just doesn't seem to bother most people, possibly because they don't expect their phone to act like their general purpose desktop.

The above post is not offtopic, you fucktard mods. (0, Flamebait)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789074)

Man, the anti-Apple mods are out in force today. Fucking idiots. Offtopic my ass...

Re:When will Apple learn... (1)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789016)

I'm not sure its only consumers that always drive the shifts from platform to platform. Developers got screwed by Nintendo since there was only one game in town (so to speak). When Sony offered the relatively dev-friendly alternative of the PlayStation, devs jumped at the chance to free themselves from Nintendo's shackles, not to mention the high cost and relatively low capacity of cartridges. Once Sony got a near-monopoly in the PS2, they started acting just like Nintendo did. I was developing games for the PS2 relatively late in its life cycle, and SCA's approval process for the TRC (Technical Requirements Checklist) involved them dictating actual game design to us, such as the color of our game palette and other such idiocy. Essentially, they began aggressively turning away any game they didn't feel had "hit" potential, since they felt the market was glutted. It's true there was no way our game would ever by a smash hit, but it was a quality title with millions already sunk into its development.

So, after pissing off developers like that, they wonder why devs don't feel bad at all about switching over to the Xbox or Wii instead developing for the PS3? I'm no longer working on console development, but I wouldn't be surprised if Sony has gotten a lot more friendly with developers lately.

Still, it takes a critical mass of consumers flocking to a new device AND devs fed up with the current regime to force a switch like this. But as long as there remains some amount of competition, corporate restrictions can't get too draconian, or the competition starts looking more and more attractive.

Re:When will Apple learn... (1)

TrancePhreak (576593) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789244)

The PS1 had a period of undesired control too. Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night almost didn't happen because Sony was blocking all non-3D games.

Re:When will Apple learn... (2, Insightful)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789110)

Remember: Android is open to OEM's not the end users. The second generation of Droid devices are more locked down than the first and I suspect that the next generation will be a return to the days where the carrier dictates what is on the device and what markets you are allowed to buy/install from. After all, the Carriers are the OEM's customers, not you.

Re:When will Apple learn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33789226)

When will Apple learn what Nintendo learned back in the 90s

.... that making platforms such as GameBoys, GameBoy Advances, and Nintendo DSes will leave them laughing all the way to the bank?

Apple is even worse than Microsoft in this regard. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33788648)

Apple will get a cut when customer using iPhone on ATT network even if the phone was bought out right without contract. ATT will force a data plan on customer even though the customer had no intention in using the data network. Apple dictated the term. Apple is evil.

Speaking of microsoft... (3, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789022)

I know everyone loves to hate on apple's dictatorial approach, but just for once I'd like to talk about some of the less egregious examples of corporate censorship. He mentions XBLA in passing. I want to know what he's specifically talking about.

The indie section was a mess last time I looked, the top sellers were "personal massager" programs that did nothing more than make the controllers vibrate on command. There were several "games" that just tortured your avatar. One involved just shooting your avatar out of a woman's womb and trying to make the "baby" break as much stuff as possible. The indie section of XBLA seems more like an abandoned lot than a walled garden. If MS is exerting any control over that crap pile, they should be ashamed of themselves.

The non-indie sections of XBLA on the other hand do have better offerings, but I've heard of a few cases where MS has definitely meddled. They're pushing a "gamers have no reason to expect things for free, so you can't give them anything for free" motto it seems. Valve claimed that MS wouldn't let them release TF2 updates for free for that reason. They could have charged for it, but free updates for an already watered down version of the game? Absolutely not. At some point there was also an issue of how big a file TF2 could update, though I don't remember if that was MS putting artificial limits on it or the XBLA software couldn't handle it. I'd wonder if that's part or all of the reason steam is coming or has come to the PS3 but not the 360. MS may have said they couldn't, or steam may have decided (for good reason) to not bother. Either way, we 360 owners lost out there, and any game that my computer can run I'll be buying on steam.

Anyway, I think this discussion can use some examples that aren't apple because this problem isn't limited to iphones and ipads.

Regarding iPhone/iPad/etc. (5, Insightful)

ScientiaPotentiaEst (1635927) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788658)

What the mans says is true. Yet people still buy and use the products (including many here on /.). Given that there exist alternatives, people must be OK with the compromise (design/"sexiness" vs openness).

We each have a most powerful weapon against such authoritarian control - do not buy the offending company's product. No-one truly needs an iPhone. Either go without or buy a more open alternative.

Re:Regarding iPhone/iPad/etc. (4, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788856)

>>>against authoritarian control - do not buy the offending company's product.

That's what I do. I don't buy Apple or Microsoft or Comcast or another other product I don't need (or can get free). Unfortunately that's won me the label "cheapass". I wonder if the time will come when not buying will be considered unpatriotic.

Re:Regarding iPhone/iPad/etc. (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789066)

Already come. Our government has been telling us to "go out and spend" quite a bit recently. They didn't really say it was unpatriotic, I guess.

Re:Regarding iPhone/iPad/etc. (1)

pablodiazgutierrez (756813) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789296)

I think if you swerve a bit more toward that direction you'll go from cheap ass to weirdo/eccentric. I used to get a lot of heat from acquaintances here in silicon valley about getting rid of my old (1998) Saturn I had since grad school, and get something fancier. Well, I took half of their advice and sold the damn car. it was costing too much pain and money to service. Now I commute by bike and am happier. And suddenly people stopped asking me to get a nice car, and instead seem to be a tad jealous: "I'd love if I could do that, but my commute is too long..." Blah blah blah.

But I still have an iPhone which I find tremendously useful.

Re:Regarding iPhone/iPad/etc. (1)

angus77 (1520151) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789268)

There's not always such an alternative. The school I'm working for is talking about buying iPads for all the teachers and banning all Windows boxes (which until now have been the private property of the teachers) as a security thing.
I'm negotiating with them to let me keep my Debian machine. I make all my worksheets using LaTeX on Emacs. Being forced to use an iPad would be devastating.

It should be noted that... (1)

carlhaagen (1021273) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788670)

...this whole "Operator Jail Hell" part of the problem (hello, AT&T) is restricted to the American customers. Things are nothing like this in Europe.

Re:It should be noted that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33788734)

Apple uses this restriction to milk the customer. The regulation in Europe had stopped Apple from doing this.

Re:It should be noted that... (1, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788914)

Europe has its own lock-in problems

- not in cellphones but other areas. Like DAB radio and DVB television that has limited space, and therefore allows governments to block people from setting-up their own private stations. For example you probably won't find TBN over there (a small religious broadcaster) or MINDtv (independent liberal station) or Rush Limbaugh Show (talk jock) or Megahertz (retransmits news from China, Russia, India, and so on). Because there's not enough space on the multiplex, they are "disapproved" from both DAB or DVB.

So for every advantage the EU has, it also has some disadvantages too. Lock-out.

Robert Gilbert - 1 Troll (2, Funny)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788688)

Mod Robert Gilbert - 1 Troll for attacking apple.
.
joking

Re:Robert Gilbert - 1 Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33789018)

Mod Robert Gilbert - 1 Troll for attacking apple.
.
joking

The Black Turtleneck Special Forces will be on their way to re-educate Mr. Gilbert. Carry on buying magical Apple products, civilian. There is no Black Turtleneck Special Forces. Mr. Gilbert has always been one of us now.

Maybe not the best example. (1, Interesting)

TraumaHound (30184) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788692)

a photography app that was rejected because it used the volume buttons as trigger

It's a volume button. I don't have a problem with Apple with rejecting an app that subverts the defined usage of a hardware button. I haven't used (or heard of) this app, but what does it do if you try to change the volume of your music or phone call when also trying to take a picture?

Re:Maybe not the best example. (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788756)

Why shouldn't buttons be multi-purpose though? There are 3 buttons on an iPhone 4 and one switch. One of the buttons is used to exit the app, the other two should be used as needed. There are a lot of ways that buttons can be used for more than one purpose. For example, in the camera app, there would be no need to have music playing, if you want to change the volume of your phone you could just use the silent/loud switch included. Rocker buttons are very nice for page scrolling when holding a phone in vertical mode and would be useful in the camera app. Android lets apps switch functions of the buttons and its not frustrating, its very convenient on a touch-phone with very few physical buttons.

Re:Maybe not the best example. (3, Informative)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788888)

For example, in the camera app, there would be no need to have music playing, if you want to change the volume of your phone you could just use the silent/loud switch included.

There are two issues here. First, Apple requires that apps use the published APIs according to their guidelines so things don't break as hardware changes. Apps that won't work on the new version because the switches have changed are a no-no. Second, if I'm playing music through my phone and also doing something else, no I don't want the second app to prevent me from adjusting the device volume when a louder song comes on, that's just freaking annoying. I'm not a big iPhone fan (don't own one, probably never will) but complaining about Apple requiring developers to use the APIs as published is just dumb.

Re:Maybe not the best example. (1)

Labcoat Samurai (1517479) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789090)

Second, if I'm playing music through my phone and also doing something else, no I don't want the second app to prevent me from adjusting the device volume when a louder song comes on, that's just freaking annoying.

It would be annoying to me too, but I'd like the option of choosing not to buy it rather than having Apple make that decision for me.

Re:Maybe not the best example. (1)

recoiledsnake (879048) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789332)

The app that Apple pulled needed to perform various steps to enable the easter egg, so it's not as if the volume buttons are instantly reconfigured. You have to go out of your way substantially to enable it, and still people did it, because they really wanted to.

Re:Maybe not the best example. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33789350)

There are two issues here. First, Apple requires that apps use the published APIs according to their guidelines so things don't break as hardware changes. Apps that won't work on the new version because the switches have changed are a no-no.

A "no-no" that is trivial to patch. Nothing to see there.

Second, if I'm playing music through my phone and also doing something else, no I don't want the second app to prevent me from adjusting the device volume when a louder song comes on, that's just freaking annoying.

Are you and adult? Because I am and I would like the things I buy for my personal use to be useable in ways beyond what the original designer intended. I am capable of choosing for myself whether I would like the convenience of using the paltry number of physical controls on an iWhatever for whatever purpose a developer might enable. I can live with the tradeoff of not having full volume control on my "camera" (a problem that certainly doesn't hamper real cameras).

That is the whole point of TFA -- people should be able to choose for themselves.

Re:Maybe not the best example. (1)

Pollardito (781263) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788972)

That's crazy talk. If you want your users to use physical buttons they will need to tap out the name of the function they want to run via morse code on the one main button.

Re:Maybe not the best example. (1)

Grail (18233) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789000)

please describe the way you change the volume of the next song, or the volume of the phone call you are currently engaged in, if the reader application has remapped the volume control buttons to be scrolling controls?

Re:Maybe not the best example. (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789118)

please describe the way you change the volume of the next song, or the volume of the phone call you are currently engaged in, if the reader application has remapped the volume control buttons to be scrolling controls?

It sounds like you can jump out of the reader, change the volume on whatever you want, and go back to the reader.

Re:Maybe not the best example. (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789120)

No

Simply. No.

What next, hijacking the home button?

Re:Maybe not the best example. (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789140)

Works just fine for Android, the GP2x and about every other device I've owned that doesn't have an Apple sticker on it.

And quite honestly, scrolling through rocker buttons like the volume buttons on my Android phone is easier than using my Nook's back and forward button and that is a dedicated e-reader!

Re:Maybe not the best example. (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789292)

except when you start hijacking buttons that do various things, they stop doing what they're supposed to do. In Apple land and for the majority of regular users, this is a sin.

Re:Maybe not the best example. (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789354)

Yes, and that really is no big deal. If I want to change the volume of my music, I just go to my music app, in Android (and presumably in iOS 4 since it has multitasking too) and change it there then go back to my e-Reader app and the like. Just like how the keys WASD move my character around in a FPS and type out WASD when I'm in my web browser, the rocker keys can turn a page in an e-reader app and change the volume in the music player and act like a camera button in a camera app.

Re:Maybe not the best example. (5, Insightful)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788864)

It's a volume button.

What's a "volume button"? Is that any different than any other button? Does it have a label on it that says "this button only controls volume, and nothing else, always"?

I don't have a problem with Apple with rejecting an app that subverts the defined usage of a hardware button.

Ha! "Subverts the defined usage of a button". That's very Orwellian of you. Isn't the "defined usage" of a button to be pressed?

I haven't used (or heard of) this app

Yeah, and you won't either, because Apple rejected it. You'll never get to determine, for your own usage scenarios, whether it's more comfortable or natural to press a button on the side of the device to take a picture. You won't have to make that choice for yourself, because Apple has already made it for you.

what does it do if you try to change the volume of your music or phone call when also trying to take a picture?

What do you think it does? It takes a picture. That's why you're using the camera, right? Do you turn on your music, take a phone call, and then start the camera? If you have the camera running and know that the volume button takes a picture, is it going to confuse you when you press the volume button and it takes a picture? Why is this difficult to figure out? Maybe it's better that Apple did make that choice for you if you're confused by things like this.

Your keyboard has a button on it near the bottom that's really long and doesn't have a label. Most of the time, when you're typing sentences, when you press this button it inserts a space character in the text. Do you get confused when you're online and you're using TAB to skip between interface elements, you land on a button, press the space bar, and it "clicks" the button? This key is only supposed to insert spaces into text, right? Why is it also clicking buttons that you've focused? That's madness! And what's the deal with that TAB button, anyway? Sometimes it inserts a bunch of whitespace, and sometimes it changes focus. How can anyone be expected to make any sense of this? And don't even get me started on a backspace key that would cause my browser to go to the previous page. That totally loses me.

Re:Maybe not the best example. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33789134)

None of those examples removed functionality from other applications.

For example, I can still turn down my music, even though the tab key moves between fields in a browser.

Re:Maybe not the best example. (3, Interesting)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789356)

None of those examples removed functionality from other applications.

Neither does the cited camera app. When you're using the camera, the button does one thing. When you're not using the camera, it does something else. Nothing has been removed. Things have only been added. The concept of using one button for multiple actions has been around for as long as computers have had buttons. This is especially prevalent with console games. When you're on one screen a certain button has a certain action, when you're doing something else that button does something completely different. It's all about context. People are in fact intelligent enough to figure this out. Yes, even Apple users.

Re:Maybe not the best example. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33789448)

When you're on one screen a certain button has a certain action, when you're doing something else that button does something completely different. It's all about context. People are in fact intelligent enough to figure this out. Yes, even Apple users.

Do not overestimate the Apple users. Steve Jobs doesn't and look how well he's done.

Fortunately we have the choice... (2, Insightful)

sapgau (413511) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788702)

If it sucks so much then fortunately we are not forced to buy it.
I don't own an iPhone and don't have a burning desire to own one. So reading this is kind of entertaining.

$30 dollar phone with pay as you go airtime for the win.

How to avoid Apple lock-in in one easy step (1, Insightful)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788722)

How to avoid Apple lock-in in one easy step:

1. Don't go through Apple.

Really, vendors shouldn't have any control over any of their services and be forced to whatever a whiny geek whines about. How dare stores control what they choose the sell, how much they sell it for, and how they sell it?!?

Re:How to avoid Apple lock-in in one easy step (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33788768)

You completely miss the point in your idiotic rant. They just don't want to control what they sell. They want to control it AFTER you buy it. If I buy it, it's mine. I should be able to do whatever I damn well please with it.

Re:How to avoid Apple lock-in in one easy step (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788928)

You completely miss the point in your idiotic rant. They just don't want to control what they sell. They want to control it AFTER you buy it. If I buy it, it's mine. I should be able to do whatever I damn well please with it.

And how, exactly, are they stopping you form jailbreaking it or installing Android on it?

Apple is controlling what you do with their services, provided with the device. They're not stopping you from hacking it or installing your OS of choice. I mean hell, do you complain Tesla Motors is controlling their cars after they sell them to you because their dealerships and warranty programs don't sell or support aftermarket laser cannon turrets? There's an easy solution, go to a different company for your aftermarket services or buy something else in the first place.

Re:How to avoid Apple lock-in in one easy step (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33789352)

Actually they do whatever they can to prevent me from hacking it or installing my OS of choice.

Re:How to avoid Apple lock-in in one easy step (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788886)

If you had a point here, and I'm not really prepared to concede that you do, what on earth does it have to do with the topic at hand? The post in TFA(I know, I know) is from a DEVELOPER, not a CUSTOMER at all. In fact, he claims that as a customer he's been very satisfied. What he is complaining about (commonly referred to in discussion formats as 'the topic') is how Apple restricts the content creators in a manner to which they really aren't entitled. This isn't 'what they choose to sell' as in 'movies', but rather 'what they choose to sell' as in 'only movies without minorities'. It is arbitrary and offensive, and serves no actual purpose other than creating a 'perfect world' of their own design.

Re:How to avoid Apple lock-in in one easy step (1)

ExploHD (888637) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788958)

The problem has been market leaders have the money that these companies need. Companies fear if they aren't there, the competition will be. Take WalMart for example; they were able to drive down prices by telling companies to drop their prices or they would be dropped from the stores. With WalMart having such huge sales volumes, companies went along and drop their prices. It's a monopolistic move that in the long run is dangerous to an economy.

Re:How to avoid Apple lock-in in one easy step (1)

angus77 (1520151) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789318)

How to avoid Apple lock-in in one easy step:

1. Don't go through Apple.

Not always an option. The school I work for is considering forcing all the teachers to use iPads starting next year.

I'm an adult! I am! I am! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33788764)

The point made repeatedly throughout TFA:

Once again, I call bullshit . I'm an adult.

...

I'm an adult.

...

Really? But I'm an adult.

So point your browser to Android's development tools [android.com] and program to your heart's content. No one is forcing Apple stuff on you.

What lockdown? (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788766)

If you look at games to be had, Apple applies only the barest degree of quality control. What exactly are the limits of the machine he is raging against that matter to game development?

There should be someone to at least say:

1) Does it run.

2) Does it run on the devices it claims to run on.

Otherwise the store would be full of applications that didn't even run, or rampant IP piracy like you see in the Android Market with a bunch of apps that make copious use of material from Disney and elsewhere...

I would think someone raging against corporate control over game delivery channels would be praising to the heavens the most open indie game development channel ever which a ton of people will buy games through.

Rantfail (5, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788806)

From the article:

I love my iPhone. I bought one day-one and continue to own one and an iPad. They are truly amazing devices, and in my opinion, there are none better.

Aaaaand that's where you lost me. Beaten Wife Syndrome: if you keep going back for more, after a while you have to take some responsibility for enabling the whuppings.

Re:Rantfail (2, Interesting)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789098)

I feel the same way, though. I do not like Apple's policy of keeping things locked down and I hate how they got into bed with the phone companies (and they likely soon will with the content companies), but they do make very, very good devices and good software for them. I haven't come across anything comparable yet, although some Android stuff is getting close. The thing is, Apple's policy of locking stuff down doesn't really hurt the iPhone. It does to some degree on the iPad, but again, until something better comes along I am keeping mine.

The good news is that Apple is slowly relaxing its control, while Google is tightening theirs. Hopefully both will end up in the sweet spot, and we'll have ourselves some healthy competition.

Re:Rantfail (2, Insightful)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789440)

In my opinion Apple's hardware is lagging behind that of Samsung. It would be hard for them to do any better, most components they use are manufactured by Samsung after all. HTC also does nice devices. The software of current Android is good enough. I will not be buying another Apple phone again.

Re:Rantfail (1)

Borg453b (746808) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789186)

I have great respect for Ron Gilbert, but you've got a valid point.
As a hobby developer, i'd like a phone i can develop content for, so I'm certainly leaning towards Android. Apple's getting too close to '1984' for my liking. On a side note: for once, it looks like m$ is doing something aesthetically right. Win 7 mobile doesn't _look_ halfbad.

Censorship inherent to corporations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33788828)

Corporations have only one concern, profits. Anything that harms profits is bad and anything that is perceived to help profits is good. An edgy game may help profits but more often than not edgy means risky and corporations by their nature also abhor risk. They want safe. Creativity will always suffer under corporate control. I used to work as an art director at Disney and I called the place creative purgatory.

Help save a film from corporate American. Join the fight at:

http://www.fftheuntoldstory.com/savefreakyflickermovie.html

Not a shameless promotion I don't even reveal my name I just want my film back. Check out the main link for more info and I just posted more renders. Bug the media and prove we can fight back!

http://www.fftheuntoldstory.com/

Other end of the spectrum (1, Insightful)

CambodiaSam (1153015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788832)

I seem to remember the Atari 2600 games that were mostly junk because of the complete lack of control over the quality of content. If you've ever played the ET and fell into a hole about a thousand times, you know what I mean. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E.T._the_Extra-Terrestrial_(video_game) [wikipedia.org] Extremely strict oversight might not be great, but neither is total anarchy.

Re:Other end of the spectrum (1)

Shadow99_1 (86250) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789218)

Quality of the games has been the one thing no gateway company has ever given to shits about. Titles continue to be horrible even today, and content control hasn't effected this.

So don't write for iPhone, sheesh. (1, Insightful)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788840)

Apple's controls are well known. In fact, they're probably the closest you get to console-style controls from the big three except they're open to everyone.

If you want to write code and not worry about approvals and crap like that, there are three major platforms you can write for - PC, Mac, and Android. Heck, I'm sure other than the Google Marketplace, the other marketplaces for Android probably excercise some control as well.

I guess I'm just getting tired of all these posts of "whine whine whine Apple approvals suck whine whine whine". Apple's not forcing you to code for their platform, so if you don't like it, don't. There's no law (yet) that says everyone must write for the iPhone. We all know Apple's approval process sucks. It's well publicized in many mass media publications already and has been since the app store opened 2 years ago. I know lots of people who won't write an app for iPhone out of fear of it getting rejected. (Some refuse to write for Android too, but that's more of a "I can't afford to support and test on a million different phones" than "I refuse to subject myself to Apple's draconian policies").

Or is it more a case of "I don't like to write for iPhone but it's the only way I can make money"?

As for Adidas, they did what any business would do - they withdrew, which is their right. If enough people do that, Apple may relent. If not, they risk having their iAd platform rendered marginalized. But that's a business decision only Apple can make, and if others are happy about it, good, if not, they'll leave.

Heck, I don't know what ads Adidas was trying to do, but they could've been highly annoying and distracting ones that really, no one would've wanted.

Re:So don't write for iPhone, sheesh. (2, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789084)

so if you don't like it, don't.

I don't. And I don't buy any Sony products either. Today, however, my boss was telling me how he wanted to buy one of those new iPads so he can connect to the interweb over his verizon cell phone line to check email and yes, run his Windows apps. I know, so wrong on so many levels. He won't consider a laptop as being too big. The conversation finally ended when I explained that I don't know anything about Apple products, and never will, so I couldn't help him pick one out, get it on the interweb or anything, and I wasn't willing to learn, at any price. I suggested he get an android phone or Blackberry to check email and lower his expectations for running apps. I have no idea what he will buy, and wish I could never know.

So even those of use that simply choose not to buy Apple or Sony products, still get the dirty end of the stick sometimes when others around us make those choices.

Someone finally gets it! (4, Interesting)

DodgeRules (854165) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788842)

Thank you Ron Gilbert! At last someone finally gets what I have been saying for a long time and has the gonads to say it out loud. (Be careful though Ron, some blogs will ban you for such treachery. I know because I tried to say this very same thing and got my account deleted from a female blog dictator.) Now, don't get me wrong. The iThings are very nice products from a hardware point of view with the MAJOR exception of no user replaceable batteries. (Sorry, but having to spend $79 to replace the battery in a $99 iPhone 3GS is just plain idiotic.) The hardware is attractive, user friendly, and usually well designed (with another exception of the user-touchable antenna which de-tunes it.) I just have a major issue with someone else telling me what I can or cannot install for apps on my devices. If I am paying that much, I feel I have bought the right to install what I please as long as it doesn't interfere with the phone company network.

Re:Someone finally gets it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33788954)

>> I just have a major issue with someone else telling me what I can or cannot install for apps on my devices. If I am paying that much, I feel I have bought the right to install what I please as long as it doesn't interfere with the phone company network.

Your sense of entitlement is overwhelming. I know it's been said by others, but honestly, don't buy the fucking thing if you don't like something about it that much. Period. Bitching and whining, whining and bitching comprises so much of tech comment these days- It's like watching a kid at Toys-R-Us rolling around on the floor screaming when they can't have something.

Re:Someone finally gets it! (2, Insightful)

explosionhead (574066) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789320)

Sorry, but having to spend $79 to replace the battery in a $99 iPhone 3GS is just plain idiotic.

I'll preface this by saying that I don't like non-user-replaceable batteries either, even just because you can't take a spare battery if you're not going to be near power for a while.

But you should know better than to say "$99 iPhone 3GS": It cost a lot more than that and it's subsidised by your fixed term service contract with the telco. Although you consider $79 too much, compared to $600 - $800 to purchase the phone outright, it's not wildly out of proportion.

Re:Someone finally gets it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33789340)

You're delusional if you believe that an iPhone actually costs $99. That is just the portion of the device cost that your carrier has chosen to expose to you upfront, the remainder is recovered from your monthly fees. Here any carrier will hand you an iPhone for free when signing a contract, does that mean I should be even more outraged about paying money to repair a device that, 'like, totally wants to be free man'?

The reality is that an iPhone costs Apple $250 to make, is sold for about $500 if you're a carrier buying in volume or $700 to consumers, varying by model and capacity.

Great Words (1)

Superken7 (893292) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789040)

Wow, where is the "+1 Insightful for the original article's author" button when you really need it?

Natural result of Corporatism (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789072)

Inevitable. After a business grows over certain size, it starts to assert its will over the market and society, instead of obliging with the wishes of the market. At this stage, the business is not a social group that is conducting business in a market anymore, but a feudal kingdom of its own self with power and clout. Inevitably, like most self-interest oriented social organizations that acquire power, they use that power to assert their own will.

gaming was not immune to this. internet, may make it immune in future.

Useless Demagoguery (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789144)

When I was in college there was one polisci grad student who loved to write for the college paper. It was clear that he had no context of reality, all he wanted to do was force his opinion on other people. He was repeatedly denied a doctorate, and he repeatedly claim liberal bias. It was in fact just a lack of willingness to recognize reality. It would be like building a thesis on the 'fact' that Obama was not America, or that Palin never shot anything in her life, or Limbaugh takes trips to the DR to molest boys. There are a large number of people who think this is true, but it is not reality.

So if we are talking about video games, what is the point of a "North Koreanish dictatorial" attitude. It serves nothing but to lead us to name calling, which admittedly is all that most pundits can do. The reality is that video games on consoles are the definition of corporate control. They require a payment to be written, they require a payment for every copy sold. We don't hear about the games that don't make it because the cost is so great that no one would develop a game that would not make it past the corporate censors. Furthermore, a game has to sell millions, so no one is going to write a game that would piss of a large group. Just look at the pulling of the Taliban theme in Medal of Honor. This is precisely the example of self censorship that has plagued the corporate game industry.

What has changed is that Apple has provided a platform with minimal upfront costs and reasonable distribution costs. This has allowed developers to experiment with games in a way that previously only available on PC platforms. This is not being an apple-apologist. This is reality, and comparing kiwis to kiwis. The iPad is much more a console, with a relatively simple IDE, than a PC. On a PC everything is possible. The console requires a tribute. Apple requires less of a tribute. We will see what tributes are required for the Android console, and if, as assumed many times on /., developers will be putting all the games banned by Apple on Android devices. The market will decide, much like the Wii vesus xbox, if people want to have fun or bash seals brains in. I think the dead heat between the two says that there is room in the market for both, even though both are massively controled by large corporations.

Fanboyishness has limits (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789190)

I am an Apple fanboy. I have been for many many years. I believe that Apple makes some of the best hardware and software available today, and one of my biggest regrets about my current job compared to my previous two is that fact that I don't get to use Apple equipment or systems in it (all MS and Lotus and MS and RIM and MS).

But Ron Gilbert's criticisms of Apple are essentially correct.

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