Scripting News for 7/4/2007

It’s the API 

Nik Cubrilovic: Twitter v Pownce: It’s The API, Stupid.

The API is why Twitter is a coral reef, and Pownce is just a shipwreck.

Twitter, to me, is a very thin app, on top of a bare-bones identity system with a clean and simple API, very lightweight (and therefore not very secure, not suitable for banking applications, for example). And for not very much more complexity it’s also a pub-sub system (not IM, though many people confuse it with IM).

It’s one of the 25 most interesting pieces of software I’ve ever seen, not because of its technical prowess, rather because it is not technically impressive. You can master it as a platform in a matter of days. With good sample code (which I didn’t have) probably in hours.

Doing my part 

Don Park, who I know to be a reasonable and fair person to do business with (I have experience), had a terrible experience with Magnussen’s Toyota of Palo Alto.

Part of the power of blogs is that we get to share our experiences, so we can avoid businesses that take their customers for granted. There are lots of Toyota dealers, and many of them are a pleasure to work with; again I speak from experience.

I drive a Toyota myself, purchased at Lighthouse Toyota in St Augustine, FL (turn down the volume before clicking that link). I’m sure I paid more than I had to, and there were problems with the deal, but they took care of them, and in the end I felt good about the purchase.

There’s a big Toyota dealer in Berkeley, I’ve had to bring my car in for service there, and likewise, they’ve done a good job, and treated me with professional care. I managed to blow out all four of my tires (they’re run-flat tires, a terrible design, imho), and they replaced them at no charge. I wasn’t even their customer. How about that!

If Apple had *really* wanted to be revolutionary 

They would have made a wifi-only cell phone.

I wrote about this earlier this year. As I talk with people from home on my iPhone it seems so silly. The place is saturated with wifi bandwidth, and the device uses it, for everything but telephone calls.

6/15/07: “You gotta wonder why Apple went with such old, expensive, customer-hostile and likely obsolete technology.”

And then I read this article by David Pogue in today’s Times saying that T-Mobile introduced a phone last week, in the middle of all the iPhone euphoria, that routes phone calls over wifi if a signal is present.

Seems the iPhone should be doing that.

Good morning everybody! 

Happy July 4.

Got some great tunes on the iPod, ready to rock.

First song this morning is an old fave.

Baba O’Reilly by The Who.

It’s the song you think should be called Teenage Wasteland.

And the last line is “We’re all wasted!”

Pretty funny.

Then there’s the famous Bob Dylan song.

Subterranean Homesick Blues.

Ever notice there are lots of parking meters on Scripting News? There’s a reason why.

Except I had forgotten what it is.

A friend asked if it wasn’t the Beatles song.

Lovely Rita Meter Maid.

I said sure, if you want.

But that wasn’t it.

It was the line in Dylan’s song.

Don’t follow leaders…

You know the rest. πŸ™‚

11 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jim Posner on July 4, 2007 at 10:05 am

    Happy Independence Day!
    Here is one of my favorite Bob videos- je ne sais quoi.comes to mind


  2. Tasty Content ! I Know I have Good Taste !


  3. Of course the iPhone won’t let you make wifi calls for free, because Jobs has crawled up AT&T’s asshole, and AT&T doesn’t want you to make wifi calls for free. If Jobs let Skype port their client to the iPhone, AT&T would shit Jobs out in a jiffy.

    Now are you beginning to understand why it’s such a big problem that Jobs won’t let developers port their software to the iPhone? It has nothing to do with the network stability, like he claims. My iPAQ phone is fully programmable, and the network hasn’t gone down because of it. It’s all about controlling what you do with your iPhone, so AT&T can make as much money off of you as possible. Try to use a $0.99 iTunes as a ring tone: you can’t! Instead you have to buy $10 ringtones that are just a few seconds of the $0.99 iTune. You will, because you don’t have any other choice. And the company that will bring it to you? AT&T. They’re the phone company, who doesn’t care, because they don’t have to.


  4. Dave, maybe someone will hack you suggestion into an iPhone.


  5. Don, Don, Don, I wrote about the lack of an SDK and considered it a huge disappointment and product flaw right from the beginning.
    However, it’s still an interesting product.
    Don’t conflate my enthusiasm for the product with any confusion over whether it’s a ripoff or not. It is a ripoff. On the other hand, the price I’m paying is a small price for what I’m learning from using it.
    College is a ripoff too, btw. But I still got a degree. And went back for more. πŸ™‚


  6. Dave:

    I followed a link from Daring Fireball to a wiki ( where they list (among other things) the complete contents of the iPhone’s disk. One of those directories is for, the Finder replacement on the iPhone and that app’s directory contains graphics for AT&T, Cingular, TMobile and Vodafone. I wonder if you’re on the money with this idea that Tmobile+iPhone = new home phone…



  7. Posted by John Starta on July 4, 2007 at 7:00 pm

    Re: If Apple had *really* wanted to be revolutionary…

    Wi-Fi-only cell phone? That’s not revolutionary, that’s ridiculous. No matter how old, customer-hostile and obsolete you consider GSM (AT&T and T-Mobile) or CDMS (Sprint and Verizon), fact of that matter is that their coverage far exceeds Wi-Fi, WiMAX, or any other wireless [data] technology. Even T-Mobile gets that (the Hotspot @Home phones are GSM and Wi-Fi)!

    I think most people would consider actually making and receiving calls anywhere — not just their home or a coffee shop — far outweighs the cost or “coolness” of Wi-Fi VoIP. Lose the mobility and ubiquity of cellular (GSM and CDMA) and you’re left with essentially a land-line. If you doubt the uselessness of a Wi-Fi phone in the real world, go try using a Linksys or D-link Wi-Fi phone while walking down the street or from your car on the freeway.


  8. I have a skype client on my Nokia N73 and unlimited data time included in my monthly bill, it’s been fantastic. Do you not miss 3G speeds?

    By the way, the video looks good (the N73 certainly can’t do that), do you mind if I ask what you used to rip the DVD (if that’s what you did)?



  9. Posted by Jake on July 5, 2007 at 5:30 am

    What makes a good identity system and what about Twitter makes it a good identity system?


  10. Posted by Stewart on July 5, 2007 at 7:24 am

    I’ve had a BT Fusion cell phone with Wifi through my router for over two years…


  11. Dave, Dave, Dave… As a developer, you should appreciate what a huge and fatal flaw it is that Jobs won’t let third party developers make software for the iPhone. It’s not just a “rip off”. It’s a disaster.

    Your comparison of college to the iPhone (you claim both are “rip offs”) is just bizarre and surrealistic. I got a lot from college, it was well worth the money, and my education wasn’t obsolete after three months. Unless you mean to compare the iPhone to one of the internet fake diploma mills that just prints your name on a useless piece of paper that you can frame and hang on your wall just to impress your friends, without actually learning anything. (I hope you didn’t go back for more fake diplomas.) I will concede that the iPhone and fake diplomas are both designed to impress people, and aren’t useful for much else.

    Why are you so enthusiastic that you keep forgetting to mention the downside of the iPhone in most of your rhapsodic missives? It’s really sad to see you acting like such a fan-boy, knowing how Apple’s screwed you over so much in the past, and you’re shelling out your money asking for more, and trying to convince other people to do the same.

    This Forth of July, I was at a party where several people were trying to be the center of attention by showing off their iPhones. It was really sad. I suppose the need to show off your wealth by buying and yapping about useless junk comes with having a lot of disposable income, and that’s why they’re selling so many iPhones to people are so insecure that they want everyone to know they’re rich.

    I bought my iPAQ because it’s easy to write software for it. Why can’t I program pie menus on the iPhone? Why can’t I use Cepstral’s speech synthesizer on it? Why can’t I run TomTom Navigator on it? Why can’t I program it in efficient Lua integrated with native APIs, instead of inefficient JavaScript running in a sandbox? Why can’t I use it anywhere but the United States? My iPAQ does all that and more than your iPhone will never do.

    The iPhone is useless to me if it can’t be programmed, and it’s a rip-off for consumers because they will not have any of the zillions of applications that have been ported to the Pocket PC platform. As much as the Pocket PC sucks because of its OS, the iPhone sucks even more because it is a dead end. The platform doesn’t matter as much as the applications, and the applications aren’t going to exist unless Jobs opens up the platform.

    There’s a more down-to-earth review on the Washington Post, and here is one of the comments:


    I have no idea… most of the reviews for the iphone point out some deal-breaking issues but still recommend it. I just don’t know.

    On campus, we had a guy that was showing off his iPhone with the typical “I’ve got the latest thing” smugness. Once side by side with a sprint PPC6700 (older model windows mobile phone), the iPhoner was speechless.

    It was a constant stream of…

    PPC6700: “can your iphone do this?”

    iPhoner: “em, no but it can do this”

    PPC6700: “oh, so can mine…how ’bout this?”

    iPhoner: “erm… no…”…

    Quite sad


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