Category Archives: Opinion

The Record

My friends Brent Simmons and Chris Parrish have launched a new podcast called The Record. The first episode is an interview with another friend of mine, Luke Adamson, covering how he got into the software racket and his time during the NeXT and early OS X days of The Omni Group. Luke is one of those guys that’s been around for ages but you’ve probably not heard from often. He’s got some great stories and it’s terrific that Brent and Chris opened their new show with him as the guest.

There’s no lack of podcasts these days, and more are added regularly, but that doesn’t mean there’s not an audience for niche shows with specific goals in mind. The goal of The Record is to capture the early days and growth of the Apple developer community. Smartly, they’ve decided to break the show into seasons each focusing on a different aspect of the period. The first season focuses on the Seattle scene before the introduction of the iPhone. I think you’ll be surprised as just how much of an influence the Seattle crowd has had on the greater Apple development community. The Record has a bunch of great guests lined up and I’m really looking forward to following along.

If you enjoy listening to Debug then I think you’ll find The Record to be a terrific companion.

Çingleton

For the past three years my partners in crime and I have been putting on a conference in Montréal called Çingleton. It has been a great success. We’ve enjoyed hosting terrific guests and incredible speakers.

One of our goals with Ç is to nurture into existence something timeless or, at least, relatively long lived. In the industry we work in that’s somewhat uncommon. Fortunes change quickly in the technology business. Languages and frameworks come in and out of fashion. Market share, the statistic that launched a thousand ships, is constantly in flux. In no small part our jobs, as people in the technology business, is to stay abreast of the latest advancements, stay informed about likely future directions and to stay relevant and capable of leveraging the latest tools available to us.

That’s not what Ç is about. There’s a lot of terrific conferences and resources to help you with that. What we wanted Ç to be about was something else. Behind all of those micro decisions there’s a framework of decision making through which your choices are filtered. In various ways each year of Ç we’ve tried to poke at that inner thought process and to coax our speakers into addressing it.

We just posted the talks from Ç 2013. You can watch them here. When you love those go back in time and watch the videos from previous years.

I’d like to thank all of our speakers, from this year and in years past. Ç would not be even half of what it has become without their commitment, generosity, intelligence, wit, charm and, most of all, their capitulation to blackmail.

While I’m at it, Luc, Scott and I are thankful for the hard work put in this year by Scotty at iDeveloper.tv and Dave from Life With Purpose for their work on the videos. Without their contribution we’d not have been able to get the videos up all at once. Scotty and Dave are both involved with NSConference. Take a gander at their speaker lineup. Not half bad!

And a very special thanks to my pal Dan Moren for coming back year after year and being the person who has spent the most time on stage at Ç. Dan is the kind of guy that just don’t quit.

Sen. Franken Quizzes Apple Over Touch ID

US Senator Al Franken has sent an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook regarding the privacy implications of the Touch ID technology introduced in the iPhone 5S.

A couple of years ago Senator Franken demanded answers from Apple over the logging of device locations. At the time there was a lot of push back against Senator Franken, dismissing his concerns as being ill-informed and technologically illiterate. “Location Gate” was a bug. Don’t worry about it. For those of us who know how software works, yeah, it was pretty obvious that what was happening wasn’t what was intended. Honestly? When writing software what happens not being what we intended is the default state.

Given the revelations of how much access the American government has into our online communications Senator Franken doesn’t sound so stupid now, does he?

When your job is to represent the people I’d argue that the best thing you could do is to actually represent the people.

Nobody likes what the NSA has been doing. Apple has just introduced a new device, that’s destined to be incredibly popular, and it’s core feature is identification by what a layman may as well describe as a very personally invasive magic.

Asking questions and getting answers on behalf of the people is the essence of democratic governance.

We nerds may already know the answers but most people don’t. They deserve to know. More over they deserve to have it explained in the most understandable and approachable terms.