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Google Leaves App Inventor In Limbo

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the fare-thee-well dept.

Education 114

theodp writes "Google took some heat for pulling the plug on App Inventor for Android, but all was good with the announcement that App Inventor would live on at MIT. But try to run the App Inventor Java test today and you'll be told that 'as of December 31, 2011, Google ended support of App Inventor', even though the Google-funded Center for Mobile Learning at the MIT Media Lab won't be able to provide a large scale App Inventor service for general public access until 'sometime in the first quarter of 2012.' Until then, schools offering App Inventor classes and others who desire continued access to the easy-to-use mobile development environment are advised to try to run their own App Inventor Services on Google App Engine using MIT's test JAR files, a seemingly daunting task, especially considering App Inventor's target audience. Any thoughts on why Google would unplug the old system before the new one was ready?"

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Because (2, Insightful)

JustOK (667959) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563954)

They're evil?

Re:Because (4, Insightful)

SharkLaser (2495316) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563976)

I've said for a long time that it's just stupid to trust Google to keep any of their services up and running and to rely on them. You get what you pay for. People who still haven't got that are just going to see more services they use dropped.

Re:Because (3, Interesting)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564344)

You get what you pay for.

No you don't; you get what you have a contract for and can afford the lawyers to enforce* as long as it costs less than paying the penalties in the contract. We've already had one of these stories today, where it was mentioned that Microsoft provides guarantees. That's not entirely true (they provide guarantees for windows; not for some other products; different ones for different people etc. etc); but for the most part most of the serious IT vendors, Microsoft included, do things like:

  • provide end of life announcements at least a year and as much as five years in advance
  • clearly tell you in advance exactly how much warning they will give you and then always give you at least that much
  • seriously take into account the different needs of big and small customers

If Google and co want to be taken seriously they need to do at least the second thing.

* provided that you do "due dilligence" to make sure that the company actually can do what they have promised in the first place and that you are reasonably lucky and they don't, for example, go bankrupt from some stupid patent lawsuit.

Re:Because (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564528)

"You get what you pay for."

No you don't; you get what you have a contract for and can afford the lawyers to enforce* as long as it costs less than paying the penalties in the contract.

The phrase is normally "You TEND to get what you pay for." It's a rule of thumb rather than an absolute. As individuals we rarely or never bring lawyers into it, so whilst you're right, your version isn't much use except in business to business deals.

Re:Because (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38566322)

Good example: I paid $20 for blow job last night. Now, you would expect a 5-minute mouth job without much effort put into it. Nope, she spent at least half an hour working my cock, stroking my ball sack, even went down and licked my asshole. Best of all, she asked if I wanted to cum on her tits or on her face.

Re:Because (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38567074)

Your Mom's great like that!

Re:Because (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38567738)

You should try my sister!

Re:Because (2)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564586)

So how much warning did we get about the end of Windows Mobile again? Plays For Now? Zune? Kin?

Re:Because (2, Insightful)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564796)

So how much warning did we get about the end of Windows Mobile again? Plays For Now? Zune? Kin?

None. Business decisions were made, losses were cut, and the corporations deployed PR flacks, spin doctors, and social media twits to smooth over the end-user ill will. No big story there. That's how it's done: now, then, and probably for a long time to come.

We draw attention to it when Google does it because of that company's smug stance of "doing no evil" and pretense that they are somehow more morally upright then Microsoft, Apple, Oracle or their other tech-giant peers. They are the corporate equivalent of the preachy "socially conservative" politician who gets caught in the public restroom with an underage rent-boy.

Re:Because (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38564888)

Your Windows Mobile, Zune or Kin device keeps working today. What's ended is "support", which doesn't preclude you from keeping using it. But when Google pulls the plug, it's just gone - the wonders of online services.

Re:Because (2)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 2 years ago | (#38566752)

I badly hate you for forcing me to post this link supporting Microsoft. If you are a troll or a Microsoft shill, I bow down to your powers; we are not worthy of you (your posting history shows remarkable re. Anyway; here goes;

Windows Mobile is still supported; Microsoft's lifecycle page [microsoft.com] gives its end of mainstream support as August 2013 which means that if a serious security bug becomes widespread they will still "have to" fix it. According to Microsoft's support policy you even have a minimum of a further year where their self help stays up which will help migrate off the no longer supported product.

The simple thing is, that if your business has somehow committed to Windows Mobile, you now know that during 2012 you gently suggest everyone move over to something else and you make an allocation in your 2013 budget to migrate those people that are still using it. This compares with Android lifecycle which seems to be more a matter of speculation [overclock.net] than an existing plan in Google's mind. This would would be okay if Android were continually upgraded like Gmail but it isn't. I have no idea how to check when security fixes will stop for my Android phone.

How can I make up for this post? Could I point out that RedHat provides production support for two years longer than Microsoft provide mainline support? Maybe I could point out that if it was Free software, you could buy outside support forever and ever because you have the source code? I should definitely point out that if you collaborate with known felons like Microsoft you shouldn't be surprised and definitely shouldn't complain when they stab you in the back as they have done to most of their important partners in history. I really don't think any of it helps. I still feel dirty inside.

Re:Because (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 2 years ago | (#38567222)

PlayForSure initially had four months notice of closure, but Microsoft bowed to pressure and changed it to 3½ years. After that time you could still use the music that had been authorised already, but you could not play it on new machines. It was not the immediate cutoff that you imply, but it is still a good cautionary tale about DRM.

Re:Because (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38567410)

Anal retarded. (AR)

Re:Because (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38564578)

Whoah! I better hurry up and backup my mail before they pull the plug on that one too!

Re:Because (2)

andydread (758754) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564654)

So who do we "trust" Microsoft? Hmm lets see how well did that go for Microsoft's 'Plays For Sure' partners. Hmm looks like Silverlight is about to be deprecated also. Or do we trust Apple? I still have a pefectly good PowerMac G5 Workstation sitting here in this lab but there is no up to date software for it.

Re:Because (1)

SharkLaser (2495316) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564788)

Most Microsoft's products are actual products you run on your desktop, like Windows and Office. They keep working even if Microsoft "discontinues" them. With cloud and Google stuff discontinuing them means they really are dead.

Re:Because (3, Insightful)

aix tom (902140) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564862)

For critical systems I only trust myself.

I trust everything I have physical control over and have up to date backups/mirrors of to not stop working the next day. Which pretty much rules out that I would ever trust any "cloud" services that are not offered in an technical identical way by multiple companies.

Re:Because (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#38567548)

I have a bunch of Microsoft products that have lasted for years. Office, games, operating systems, even a development environment once when I did some MS programming once upon a time. And they only stopped working when I uninstalled them. Oh that's it, I get it! I bought the stuff and didn't rely on free crap that I didn't know was going to be there from day to day! I had apps that Microsoft made money on from sales instead of from selling my personal data so I could keep my apps as long as I needed them. Yeah I didn't have apps that google keeps around as long as they can absorb data from them and make money from said data. You think google does stuff for free? Get a fucking clue. They are no different than any other company except in the currency they charge to use their stuff. This product obviously didn't generate enough useful data for them to sell, whether directly or indirectly. Personally I would rather pay cash and keep at least some privacy. But likely you like to post pictures of you and your friends doing bong hit on facebook or other stupid crap like that. So go ahead and keep using google services; it probably doesn't matter to you.

Re:Because (1)

andydread (758754) | more than 2 years ago | (#38567874)

google does stuff for free

Never thought nor did I ever insinuate that Google does stuff for free.. clown.

Google is an advertising company. They sell ads. They target you with the ads they sell based on they info the collect from you. They do not sell your information to third parties as you would like to have people believe. I guess you don't watch digital cable either because they collect data from you to "enhance" their commercials per region.

So what the hell are you going to do when Microsoft 'migrates' you to their cloud services. And you think Bing doesn't collect data on you and target you with ads based on the data that Microsoft's Bing collects? Maybe you should get a clue.

Re:Because (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38565540)

I've said for a long time you're a shill who works for MS/FB's PR firm.

Re:Because (4, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564158)

Yes, because open sourcing and handing over a project to an institute of higher learning where the basic components of that project were developed is a sign of true pure evil.

Or, you know, a company making a business decision that supports FOSS. Whichever way Slashdot is leaning today.

Re:Because (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38564932)

Funny how some people seem to think that if we don't all subscribe to the same groupthink that we all must be lost and directionless. Good stuff there.

Re:Because (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38565830)

Compared to a lot of other web-based / "cloud" services that close down, this can continue under your own power if you so choose to do so. It's not subscribing to anything, just facts. Sure they're closing down a little early, but again, if it was so important to you, you can download the files yourself and host your own server.

Re:Because (4, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564160)

What about this makes them evil? They are entitled to withdraw a service, that doesn't make them evil at all. Just because the third party replacement service isn't ready doesn't oblige them to do anything.

Re:Because (4, Funny)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564510)

What about this makes them evil?

Nothing. It does make them stupid though. You'd think they'd want as many apps as they can get (and young minds learning their platform). Developers, Developers, Developers!

Re:Because (2)

aix tom (902140) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564924)

It doesn't make them evil. It makes everyone doing the "Oh, the Cloud is the future" dance look stupid, though.

Re:Because (2)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 2 years ago | (#38565588)

I wouldn't say the right to discontinue a service makes them evil. But I do think it's a good reason not to rely on any Google "cloud" service unless you don't mind losing everything.

Re:Because (1)

deathguppie (768263) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564164)

For god's sake people take a soundbite and make of it what they will.. Google only said "we will do no weavil".. not "do no evil" peoples expectations are just waay to high.

Re:Because (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38564330)

You're an idiot. "Evil" is things like crushing free speech, putting profits over human rights, etc. "Evil" is not shutting down a product.

Re:Because (1, Insightful)

SharkLaser (2495316) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564386)

"Evil" is things like crushing free speech,

Google does that too [wikipedia.org] .

In Germany and France, a study reported that approximately 113 White Nationalist, Nazi, anti-semitic, radical Islamic and other websites had been removed from the German and French versions of Google.

Re:Because (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38564422)

They were required by law to do that, otherwise they'd have to stop offering their services in France and Germany.

Re:Because (1)

SharkLaser (2495316) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564480)

Yet the made a big deal about Chinese government trying to censor them. But I guess that's totally different!

And showing the middle finger [slashdot.org] clearly broke laws!

Re:Because (2)

drkstr1 (2072368) | more than 2 years ago | (#38565162)

Yet the made a big deal about Chinese government trying to censor them. But I guess that's totally different!

So your argument is that Google is evil because they chose to follow the law when it came to removing some material (" White Nationalist, Nazi, anti-semitic, radical Islamic and other websites"), but tried to circumvent it when it came to censoring the Chinese people?

There's a lot of evil shit that goes on in this world... I guess ignorance is bliss...

Re:Because (4, Informative)

itsme1234 (199680) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564682)

Why don't you quote the rest?
"Google has complied with these laws by not including sites containing such material in its search results. However, Google does list the number of excluded results at the bottom of the search result page and links to Chilling Effects for explanation."

To put it shortly: out of 57634762346346 sites google was legally forced to remove 113 sites from the index and despite this you can still learn what URLs had the removed sites from the takedown notices.

Doesn't sound evil to me.

Re:Because (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564446)

"Evil" also include things like frickin' sharks with frickin' "laser" beams attached to their frickin' heads.

Re:Because (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564612)

Actually, Microsoft were the big tech villain of the time. When Google announced the "Do no evil" policy, it was pretty clear it meant "we won't do business by dirty tricks like Microsoft do."

But I agree, simply discontinuing a product isn't evil. Annoying to users of that product certainly, but not evil.

Re:Because (3, Informative)

nitehawk214 (222219) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564414)

They're evil?

I wouldn't call continually starting projects they have no intention of finishing evil. It is more like the corporate version of ADD. People ask me why I dont use more Google services even though I have an android phone. Unless a google service is funded by an external entity, you never know if it is going to be around once you start to rely on it.

Re:Because (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 2 years ago | (#38566466)

No, you're evil.

Remember that handful of pennies you gave away to a stranger that one day?
That was me. You discontinued your service against my will, and by your own words that makes you an evil person.

I demand you behave as you expect from others. You must continue this service you once did, until I have tens of thousands of your dollars in hand. Only then will you raise above evil and it be possible to be both a good person and to stop being a hypocrite.

Re:Because (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 2 years ago | (#38567626)

they were ass pennies

Head up thier ass (0, Flamebait)

datavirtue (1104259) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563982)

Google truly has their head up their ass. They are reminding me of Microsoft more and more each day as one bone-headed maneuver after another is executed. [Disclaimer: I'm a Google fan boy.]

Re:Head up thier ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38564192)

At least they can spell.

Re:Head up thier ass (2)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564524)

At least they can spell.

Oh yes?? You do know that Google's own name is a misspelling of a very large number? Seldom has a pedant been so completely and utterly wrong.

Re:Head up thier ass (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | more than 2 years ago | (#38565356)

At least they can spell.

Oh yes?? You do know that Google's own name is a misspelling of a very large number? Seldom has a pedant been so completely and utterly wrong.

They could get a trademark on Google.

Re:Head up thier ass (2)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 2 years ago | (#38566340)

They could get a trademark on Google.

oh yeah??

If you have a better source, the internet wants to know.

Re:Head up thier ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38566612)

True, that, true. They couldn't get a trademark on "jd2112 sucks cock" due to all the prior art.

Oracle (2, Funny)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563986)

should be the usual suspect.

or... (3, Informative)

Capitaine (2026730) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564020)

Include flamebait targeting Apple here

Bad mental image (4, Funny)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564032)

The moment I read the headline, I got a mental image of "Google" scientists playing limbo with some guy and when they had him bent over backwards, they trapped him. Sorry... that's just weird... sorry about that.

Re:Bad mental image (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564338)

and reading your comment i was thinking of Google scientists playing Limbo with real people

*watch for the bear trap*

Re:Bad mental image (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38565768)

Score -1 yet again for stupid Slashdot headline writing.

The Usual (1)

BanjoBob (686644) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564036)

Greed & Power.
Corporations don't do anything that isn't based on one or the other.

Re:The Usual (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38564240)

Neither do individuals.

Re:The Usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38564596)

I'm sorry that you have such as dark view of the human race. A handful of them may be rotten to the core, but most of them are good.

Re:The Usual (2)

Bucky24 (1943328) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564688)

A handful of them may be rotten to the core, but most of them are good.

What is "good" is relative depending on culture/religion. The hijackers who flew a plane into the twin towers thought they were doing good. A good portion of the world would probably disagree, but "good" can't be measured by popular vote either. From my (obviously pessimistic) point of view, a large number of people are NOT good, and there are very few who are. Again, just my opinion, but I agree with GP.

Not Surprising (3, Insightful)

Tihstae (86842) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564038)

This is not surprising at all. What is surprising is that they gave advanced notice. Google doesn't lay down any timelines or plans for any of their schtuff. They invent it, put it out there and at some point, turn it off. How can you expect them to keep things running when they seldom even write documentation for the stuff they have out there? If they do write documentation it is released way after the release of new features and often right before a new release nullifies that documentation.

Google's view is it's ours so we will or won't support it at our whim.

Google Leaves App Inventor In Limbo (5, Informative)

omar.sahal (687649) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564040)

Because they don't give a shit about app inventor!

Re:Google Leaves App Inventor In Limbo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38564172)

Of course they don't, it doesn't make money. The best thing you can do is e-mail Google and tell them that thanks to assholes like Andy Rubin and Vic Gundotra you will not use their products anymore, as they keep alienating the users over and over again.

--
There is a new arrogant asshole [mailto] in town!

Re:Google Leaves App Inventor In Limbo (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38564390)

or Health or CodeSearch or ...

heck if Android no longer is part of their nearly 100% ad-revenue backed business, watch them drop it like its hot...

I trust my email to google, I use youtube, I use search. I refuse to use the same account for more than one service. I wish I didn't have to trust them for any of those, but they frankly provide the best solutions...

Because Google doesn't really care (4, Insightful)

DavidinAla (639952) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564070)

I don't mean this as criticism of Google, but it's a major company whose interest is making money. Something like this is pretty much irrelevant to its operations. Some other priority -- internally or externally -- got in the way of what they were doing, so they pulled the plug. Those who think Google (or any other company) does things just to be helpful are living in fantasy land. This is what's wrong with relying on free services. If a company can make money by offering you a service, that service will continue. If it can't -- and it some other interest gets in the way -- your service will be gone. If you truly care about something, pay for it from a provider who has a financial interest in keeping your business.

Re:Because Google doesn't really care (2)

devent (1627873) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564326)

What about if the free service will help make them money? There a lot of instances that if you nuke a free service you will hurt your bottom line, so that statement it's not really true "If you truly care about something, pay for it from a provider who has a financial interest in keeping your business".

Also, only because it is important to you, it's not necessary important to the company you pay money to. If you really care about something, do it yourself or rely on a trully open source product with a good community around it.

Re:Because Google doesn't really care (1)

webmech (1994100) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564418)

It would be truly helpful if somebody like Google started a developer/user community for their free services such as this. This would bridge the gap between those who need and those who can provide. A little consideration can go a long ways.

old man yells at cloud (2)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564100)

heh - slash should grab^Hlicense that grandpa simpson cartoon clip where he yells at the cloud.

(shakes fist) "damn you, cloud!"

each time I see someone trusting a 'cloud service' I think of that simpsons image. can't help it anymore, so might as well just associate any cloud-based story with that icon. text is actually optional as the image tells all you really need to know.

Google Leaves App Inventor In Limbo (1)

omar.sahal (687649) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564104)

I don't know about other people but I'm quite hopeful about app inventor. This software could be aimed at someone like me and when I used it I liked it, but was thinking it would be much better if I could see the code as well. With the code being open this can be added, It's tough for those using it for now, Google has let them down.

Obviously... (4, Insightful)

N0Man74 (1620447) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564166)

It seems obvious to me, that they are blatantly ignoring your sense of entitlement.

How dare Google for having the unbridled audacity to not keep their free experimental service and software project fully maintained and supported 100% of the time after donating it to the MIT Media Lab, until the Media Lab was able to deploy their service.

Sure, it could be a bit frustrating if you were a heavy user of it, but at the same time is it really fair to criticize them for not being quite generous enough and on your terms?

WHY IS IT 'GOOGLE' AND 'LIMBO' SOUND SO RIGHT ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38564170)

Could it be bevause you see it so often ??

How about Bootstrap? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38564174)

It's a shame that AppInventor is having a rocky transition, and I'm definitely hopeful that it will emerge intact over at MIT.

In the meantime, I'd recommend that teachers check out Bootstrap [www.BootstrapWorld.org] for their classes. It's a full-blown curriculum that teaches kids to program their own videogames using *purely algebraic* concepts. It's a nice way of reinforcing math skills though programming, and it lives entirely in the cloud! Anyone with a web browser can write, run and share programs with friends, and the curriculum is polished enough for even 5th and 6th graders to start hacking.

Best of all, it's 100% free, and requires absolutely nothing to download or install.

Because it's crap? (2)

KZigurs (638781) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564248)

Because App 'Inventor' is a pile of steamy crap?

No, really. Designing a mobile application is a tad more complex than just throwing together a few storyboards. And those apps that do fine just by somebody throwing together a few storyboards are simply not worth having.

A stepping stone (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564448)

And those apps that do fine just by somebody throwing together a few storyboards are simply not worth having.

If this were true, then "Google Leaves App Inventor In Limbo" would be a non-story. For example, The Register wouldn't have reported on it [theregister.co.uk] . Let me put it another way: Even if having the "hello world" type apps that beginning computer science students come up with are not worth having, isn't the ability to create them worth having so that said students can eventually proceed to make worthwhile apps?

Re:A stepping stone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38564526)

A "Hello world" program is useful because you learn how to set everything else needed to get executable code up. If "App Inventor" were a plugin to Eclipse, or if it let you transition away from the uselessness of a slideshow, it would be great but you cannot: [appinventorbeta.com]

Can I develop in App Inventor and export the source code to Eclipse or some other IDE to work on it further?

No, App Inventor does not generate Java source code.

Re:A stepping stone (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564592)

But it still teaches the concepts behind what goes into an app. How is that not useful by itself? Or how would you teach those concepts better while holding the students' interest?

Re:A stepping stone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38564754)

We can all dream about what kind of wonderfully simple development tool this could be, but the fact of the matter is that App Inventor, as it is, is almost totally worthless. There is no way to transition into useful programming development, and any marginally intelligent human being will quickly recognize that their hands are being tied like this. Set up your students with Eclipse, and a few simple assignments to handle some simple GUI interactions.

If your kids aren't at that level, let them use Alice [alice.org] or something simpler. They aren't going to be able to make anything cool on a smartphone anyway (yet) if they must do everything "point-and-click."

Re:Because it's crap? (2)

wembley fraggle (78346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38565722)

I'm sort of curious if you've ever actually tried to use app inventor to do anything interesting. Because as an educational platform [mit.edu] , or a place for young adults to learn about software [mit.edu] , or a way to give youth a voice using digital storytelling [youthradio.org] , it seems to do pretty well.

It's not the most flexible platform, but it is surprising (a) how much you can do with it and (b) how much creativity you can harness when you have a platform that's approachable by neophyte programmers with good ideas.

App Inventor Classes!? (5, Insightful)

yotto (590067) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564254)

Maybe these "schools" who offered "classes" in App Inventor should first have someone on hand who knows enough about computers to get the service up and running.

And maybe, just MAYBE they should have had that all set up already, considering they're (presumably) charging money for the class.

What's next classes on Minecraft? Oh wait... [arstechnica.com]

Re:App Inventor Classes!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38564410)

Considering schools aren't full of tech head teachers, not even those running IT classes, I think this is an unfair expectation. And as a lot of classes are in publci/state schools, the people this is really hurting are the students who won't be able to learn...

Why unplug the old system? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38564266)

Raising the evil just a bit day by day.

Relying on Google (1, Interesting)

cjcela (1539859) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564306)

Google has been pulling the plug on a lot of their projects lately. This will make me think twice about alternatives when starting new projects on the cloud, especially if they are based on "free" services. There is hidden price there, which can hit you in the less expected moment...

Dupe! Dupe! Dupe! (2)

Monkey-Man2000 (603495) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564334)

Oh wait, this [slashdot.org] was a different story whining about how Google was dropping a FREE service. If this is indicative of the hot, daily Google news we get here, is there some way of filtering it out? Or better yet, is there a more succinct way of teaching people that Google drops projects left and right seemingly on a whim (i.e., business case) and should not be trusted with anything important (like the coursework for the Spring class you'll be teaching).

Re:Dupe! Dupe! Dupe! (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38565016)

by itself neither story would be much of a story, but because they're happening at the same time they're a story - and also the story about google doing little face-lifting on google.com. sure, it would have been nice of slashdot to combine them all into one I suppose.

Google's no longer your play friend? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38564460)

Come on guys, it's over. The whole Google culture of "wow! neato! invent! explore!" is coming to an end. Google's growing up and their Legos and Lincoln Logs are slowly being put in the back of some closet where they'll soon be forgotten. It may have been fun while it lasted but don't think for a second that Google axing apps that you like but aren't profitable will continue on in the future.
 
I'm honestly expecting them to pull the plug on Google+ in the next two years if there isn't an upswing.

Re:Google's no longer your play friend? (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564638)

No, that era isn't over. This is what it's like when you run bunch of beta projects. Some live and some die to make room for new things. With 60M+ users I don't thing Google+ is going anywhere any time soon.

Re:Google's no longer your play friend? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38564782)

MySpace still has millions of users.... who haven't touched their account in years.

If it doesn't have ads, it's going away. (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564500)

Assume that any Google service that doesn't have ads is going away. They've discontinued everything from the Google search API to Google Scholar. Wikipedia has a full list [wikipedia.org] , from Google Aardvark to Google Web Accelerator. Most of the no-revenue services are already gone.

  • Likely to go: Google Fusion Tables, Google Refine, Trendalyzer, Correlate, Visigami, Sky Map, Speak to Tweet, Web Fonts, Open Social, and Web Toolkit. Those all have a limited audience.
  • Likely to become a pay service: Google Business Solutions (Google Docs, etc.), Google Voice.

Re:If it doesn't have ads, it's going away. (0)

RawsonDR (1029682) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564902)

Likely to become a pay service: Google Business Solutions (Google Docs, etc.)

You mean Google Apps [google.com] ? That's already a pay service. And for the free versions of those services, they certainly profit in the long run from keeping people using them.

Re:If it doesn't have ads, it's going away. (1)

depeche (109781) | more than 2 years ago | (#38565218)

as far as I know google scholar is still alive and well... http://scholar.google.com/ [google.com]

Re:If it doesn't have ads, it's going away. (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 2 years ago | (#38565974)

as far as I know google scholar is still alive and well...

It certainly is — for me, it's the fourth item on the main Google page's More menu, between Finance and Blogs — and it's often tied in with many institutions' own journal licensing setups. For example, when I'm at work, GS will find stuff in my local academic library specially and will provide links directly to the full text of articles on the sites of journals (which are definitely paywalled; I don't intend to debate whether that's right, but it's how it is). By contrast, when I search from home without using the work VPN, I get a greatly curtailed version.

Re:If it doesn't have ads, it's going away. (1)

Doctor O (549663) | more than 2 years ago | (#38567266)

My impression is that Web Toolkit (or as most people call it, GWT) is quite heavily used by lots of people. I guess if they made it a for-pay framework, at least the company I work for and several others would simply shell out (given the price is in the four-figure league) instead of rolling their own.

'Cause Google's attention span shorter than MS's (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564756)

Seriously. Microsoft and Google can't seem to stop abandoning new technologies. Oh yeah, they'll continue to be "supported" (wink, wink). Sure makes me want to invest my time in the latest whiz-bang language/API/Framework/etc.

MIT had time to set it up (4, Insightful)

SageBrian (711125) | more than 2 years ago | (#38564798)

Google announced the dropping of App Inventor months ago. And it was announce in August that MIT was taking it over.
http://developers.slashdot.org/story/11/08/16/2048207/app-inventor-continues-life-at-mit [slashdot.org]

So, why is the story about Google dropping a service, and not about MIT properly preparing their service?
Especially if classes were being prepared for this, you would think that MIT would have gotten things up and running in 3 months. Or, were they just relying on Google to keep it up for another year?

So set it up yourself (2)

Cederic (9623) | more than 2 years ago | (#38565444)

seemingly daunting task, especially considering App Inventor's target audience

What the fuck is a school trying to teach the use of App Inventor for if the teachers can't do something as basic as set it up?

It might not be entirely straightforward but pretending to teach people how to write software while knowing fuck all about it yourself is disingenuous and borderline fraudulent.

Forgive my utter lack of sympathy.

Re:So set it up yourself (1)

AnttiV (1805624) | more than 2 years ago | (#38565898)

Note: I didn't read the 'daunting task' thing. But, still, you are dead wrong.

Instructors are not, in general, required to know the inside workings of anything underlying the thing they are teaching about.

Car analogy: Driving instructors are NOT required to know how to a) build, b) completely repair a car. They are now really even required to know the inner workings of said cars. They just teach you how to drive the thing. Ask any "normal" driving instructor how Torsen works, or how a common-rail diesel engine works, or turbocharger. Or anything more specific than "what are brakes?", really. They MIGHT know and it would be good if they did, but is surely is not required.

A teacher teaching programming languages is not required to know how the computer works (physically), he is probably not even required to be able to install said environment.

A word/excel/other office software teacher is not really required to be able to do anything other with that computer, save work those applications. He is not always even required to know how to install office himself. (yes, I know a person like this. He gets paid.)

Bottom line, teaching about thing A does not automatically present a pre-requirement of knowing about thing B that enables thing A to work. It is always good to know, but very rarely required.

Thus "knowing fuck all about it yourself" is not necessarily true here. If installing the App Inventor requires "mucking about" in the OS and installing other required software, then, no, it is not required from the teacher.

Now, the guy who set it all up in the first place...

Re:So set it up yourself (2)

Cederic (9623) | more than 2 years ago | (#38566526)

I expect a physics teacher to know more about physics than the syllabus covers. I expect a foreign language teacher to be conversationally fluent. I expect an English Lit teacher to know how to construct poems, stories and books.

I expect someone teaching programming to be able to be able to at the very least install and configure software.

You may argue that the App Inventor is teaching how to use a graphical tool to make apps. For the people using it that may well be the case, but for the person teaching it, they're teaching a programming language. It may be a drag & drop fluffy friendly one but pretending it isn't a language does a disservice to the people being taught, and demonstrates ignorance by the teacher.

I fucking hate ignorant teachers.

Re:So set it up yourself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38566982)

You're arguing with a teacher here. Teachers think their job isto sit in a room and collect a paycheck. If you are literate enough to read your materials the day before you're a superstar. This guy probably thinks that a driving instructor that can turn a car on and find the roadmakes him the best instructor in the world.

You laugh at this, but there's people that really set the bar that low for professors.

Problems unforeseen and otherwise (4, Informative)

wembley fraggle (78346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38565636)

Relevant: http://appinventoredu.mit.edu/faq-app-inventor-transition-mit [mit.edu]

I've been involved with the App Inventor community for a while; anyone who has been using AAI has known this time was coming. The hard deadline was set by Google a while back, the target from MIT was to get an analogue to the appinventorbeta.com service up and running by 12/31. They're a little short of that goal for a few important reasons.

Most importantly, the original App Inventor engine (at google) ran on top of google-proprietary internals. That is to say, it was not possible to spin out the App Inventor backend (which handles building and packaging an APK file from the blocks program) onto MIT servers without doing what amounted to a complete rewrite to enable it to run on App Engine. Google supported this effort and handed it off to MIT, who have been working hard to get an up-and-running system ASAP. As for right now:

If you absolutely rely on App Inventor, you can now run your own parallel instance of the backend by deploying the system as linked in the OP. This works nicely, because now the system is completely under your control (and you can hack it if you choose). This is useful for people teaching classes that use AAI as a platform (as I will be doing later this semester), but isn't so great for hobby programmers.

If you want something that runs like the old appinventorbeta.com site, allowing you to write apps but not have to worry about putting up your own backend server, wait a few weeks. There will be something up on appinventoredu.mit.edu fairly soon.

The reason why this transition is taking so long is nothing so nefarious as Google or MIT being evil or bad citizens. It's simple, really: there's not that many people actually doing coding for the project, and there's been a lot of coding to do. It'll be out soon. Patience, young apprentices.

App Inventor isn't going away, and as a matter of fact, the list of new features and useful extensions that are targeted for the coming few years is exciting and compelling.

lol (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38565798)

if people spent as much time fixing bugs as they do ranting on slashdot...

Re:lol (1)

toriver (11308) | more than 2 years ago | (#38566076)

Those who can, do. Those who can't, post.

App Inventor sort of reminds me of Sun's long abandoned Java Studio, which was supposed to let you create Java UI apps by drag and drop. Died a well-deserved death.

Re:Problems unforeseen and otherwise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38565918)

Perhaps meanwhile the students could make use of a simpler App maker called Illumination [susestudio.com] .

google is search and advertising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38565668)

google is search and advertising. They also present a useful webmail service, since it has good search built-in.
All the rest is their omnipotence delirium.
Btw I think google peaked already. They are launching into this newish area of cloud computing, virtualized apps, SaaS, which in many cases is not in the users' interest, and this will slowly come to bite them in the ass.
Googlers can do search, and they can do advertising right. All the other crap they are getting into only gets them bad karma (and I bet huge costs with little return).

Cloud services (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38566786)

Bitten once again.

yes i know it was free, and its Google's right.. but it still shows that you cant trust something you don't have in your own grubby little hands.

The punchline: (1)

toby (759) | more than 2 years ago | (#38566834)

Is that App Inventor is the brainchild of Professor Hal Abelson, not exactly somebody who deserves another slap in the face from Google.

Don't know who Professor Abelson is? Do some reading, kids. [codequarterly.com]

MUCH easier to use alternative... (1)

TroysBucket (1748662) | more than 2 years ago | (#38567990)

*cough* Google's App Inventer was never able to really build true applications anyway (the apps can't be submitted to the Android Marketplace and distributed in any way). Plus, there are better alternatives (available right now) for teaching development and easy app creation for Android, iOS, web and plenty more... Illumination Software Creator - http://radicalbreeze.com/ [radicalbreeze.com]
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