Saturday, July 19, 2008

App Store Listings Unethical

Nope, I'm not talking about developers adding special characters or numbers to their app names to get attention, I'm PO'd about Apple engaging in false presentation of apps.

A "Featured" list would be fine to display apps whose developers pay advertising revenue to Apple. I would think the apps in the banners at the top of the AppStore or in that band below "New" listings would fit that bill.

Unfortunately, Apple seems to be deliberately making all their lists on the splash page "featured" lists, making it difficult for consumers to find and choose apps. This is misleading, and unfair.

For example, I browsed the app store on launch day, and want to check to see if any new apps have been released (updates I don't need - get them automatically). You would think that the place to look is at the top of the apps store under the new heading. Unfortunately, if you click to display 'new' you get a very abbreviated list of apps, many of them not new at all. Furthermore that list comes presorted with 'featured'. If you sort by 'release date', you get reverse chronological order, but again it is missing many, many apps. For example, there are no apps listed for 17 July there. See this screen shot:

AppStore New

If you go to the pane on the left of the app store, and select "All iPhone (or iPod Touch) Applications", and then sort by "release date" you get a very different list that isn't included under the "New" heading. Yup, several released on 17 July. Sure, some of these are updates, but not all of them. Apple isn't doing us any favors by misleading us, and is wasting my time in particular.

Another example is from the "Games" listing in the left sidebar. If you click that, you get a page with frames for different categories of games, such as Action/Adventure, Casino/Card, Family/Kids, Racing/Arcade... I was trying to find a Solitaire game that I was playing as a web app - Cookie Bonus Solitaire. I clicked on the "See all" link for Casino/Card Games and I get this very small list of games:


There, that's it. Just eight games! And no Cookie Bonus Solitaire. I could find CBS by searching for its name in the PowerSearch. And if I search for "solitaire" alone, I get TWENTY TWO apps (including a few MahJong type games).

WTF is going on, Apple? Are you deliberately misleading customers to make certain developer's products fail? Or are you truly this selfish that you cannot do what's best for the consumer? Very, very disappointing, unethical, immoral, and plain stupid.

Please fix this yesterday.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Top Ten Reasons I won't be getting an iPhone (in Japan)

10. SoftBank will run out of them quickly.

9. Some SoftBank dealers are racist and charge gaijin extra money and/or won't sell to them if they can't show a long-term Japanese visa.

8. I wouldn't be able to activate one right now anyway.

7. SoftBank's signal coverage is worse than AU, my current carrier.

6. The iPhone isn't waterproof, like my Casio G'Zone

5. My wife won't switch to SoftBank, so texting will be a bitch, and cost more.

Even ¥7300 yen per month is too much! My wife and I have two phones for ¥5000-6300 per month (total) with AU. Beat that, SoftBank.

3. Another "Made in China" product.

2. I rarely use the phone anyway, and I already have an iPod Touch.

And the number one reason is:

1. Frankly, I spend too much time on the internet already. I don't need more access to online content.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Wussy Nation #1

Note: Often foreigners living in Japan encounter things they can't understand or rationalize. These may both amuse and infuriate us at the same time. Posts under this heading in MacKenchi will describe such experiences.

Yesterday, while riding on the JR Yokohama line to Hashimoto, a ko-gal (high school girl) sitting on the other side of the train from me tried to get the attention of another young woman sitting one person down from me. Although the train had few riders, this in itself was unusual for Tokyo, as strangers rarely talk, interact, or even look at each other.

The kogal was trying to tell the other woman that there was a butterfly sitting on her shirt. When the woman realized what the deal was, she tried to shoo the insect away - but the butterfly was having none of it, and kept its grasp. The butterfly woman started to cringe and panic, so I stood up and motioned her to be still. I carefully grabbed the insect by its wings (it was clearly tired and trying to rest) and released it as the doors opened for a stop. It was just a small cabbage butterfly - utterly harmless and probably close to dying.

Well, I returned to my seat, nodding my head to the woman as she thanked me - assuming the ordeal was over. For whatever reason, the door stayed open as we stopped for perhaps a minute. The poor butterfly lazily fluttered around outside the train for a bit, then surprisingly flew back inside. I watched as the two women looked on horrifyingly at the butterfly desperately trying to find something to land on that was solid and unmoving. It finally settled on the raised underside of a man's shoe sitting between me and the first butterfly victim. He was asleep, so I thought that was the end of it. He was thin, in his early 20s, dressed in an inexpensive suit and shoes with elevated heels. So the butterfly had space under the arch of the shoe. 

Then both women started talking to the guy and he eventually woke up - a bit confused. When he saw what they were pointing to, he groggily tried to shake the poor insect off with increasing vigorousness. Then he started to panic a bit and looked worried as the train left the station, while he struggled to get the butterfly to release its grip. At this point, I had had enough. I couldn't watch this pussiness any further. I shook my head and walked to stand next to a door further down; my stop was coming up anyway.

The dude kept shaking his foot to the horrified commentary of the two women until finally the train conductor came out of his compartment (we were on the last car of the train) and plucked the poor butterfly off the shoe with his gloved hand. I think he released it out the window, but I was too disgusted to watch anymore.

I mean, GEEZUS, what the F is wrong with this young man? I guess I could understand if he was a little girl with insect phobia (like my wife) - but this was a guy, you know a dude or male of the human species. I guess he didn't inherit any balls from his father. A REAL man would have just picked it off with his bare hands and let it go out the window - or even smack it against the seat frame and kill it. And it's not like it was something icky like a cockroach or dangerous. This guy chose to show what a complete helpless ninny he was.


I'd like to think this is an isolated instance of spinelessness, but my experiences here suggest otherwise. 

Sometime I'll tell you how a little moth fluttering around a dining room in Okinawa turned 5 Japanese science graduate students and their professor into a pack of screaming idiots.