iAd rant – AKA why I’m not updating my iPhone apps

It used to be the most aggravating aspect of the iPhone was AT&T’s craptacular service. But recently there’s a challenger to the title, and this one is coming up strong.

I’m talking about developers and their rotten implementation of iAds through software updates.

Let me start off with a “good” example of what an app update should be. The “Genius Scan” update for January has two pages of enhancements to what is already in place, assorted bug fixes, and extensive information on what exactly is being updated in the application.



Perfect. Very straightforward. I updated this app without a second thought. And no iAds? Excellent!

Some apps are adding iAds to their updates even though they were not initially in place. While I’m not a fan of this, I do understand it being a financial necessity for some developers. So long as the iAd addition is done in what I would consider “good faith” and something significant of the software is also value-enhanced, I think it’s OK.

As an example, Dragon Dictation’s recent update fixed some bugs, added some features, and inserted ads only for their own products.


To me, this is a good example of adding iAds to a product and adding value to the application update at the same time. I also appreciate the ads are focused on their own product line and not “carpet bombing” me with every product sold on the internet. Good job!

An update to the “Ministry of Sound Radio” app starts entering the “maybe” update category and strains the value-added premise for me.


While a one-button click to contact the studio is interesting, it’s not really enough added value for me to immediately apply the update and have ads all over the app’s interface. The app is working fine for me now, so I’m not going upgrade this app anytime soon.

The app “My Famous Portrait” is another example of this.


So far I haven’t crashed in the app, so until I start seeing getting kicked out, there’s no imperative for me to update and have ads clutter the applications’ interface either.

On the far end of “maybe” updates are apps like “Ruler+ CM”


The term “user opportunities” is just vague enough to make me skip the update. Yes the value added updates are there, but what does “user opportunities” mean? If I don’t know what an app update entails, and if my previous version is working fine, any new updates won’t get installed.

At the fringe of the “maybe” update category are app updates like “Rolling 5 Dice Poker”


Just saying “we’re putting ads in!” is the same as “bait and switch” to me. The app was free, but now it isn’t! And now the previously clean interface will be junked up with banner ads! No thanks.

Descending into the final “hell no” update category is the “Free/Not Free/Just Upgrade!” switch. Apps that were free at one point, but now have iAds in their updates. The only way to get rid of the iAds is to pay for a new update! Fun!

The app “I’m Right Here” is a perfect example of this.


No significant enhancements on the update. And in trade for my update it’s now “free”?

“Sudoku Solver App” is another example of this. Free at release, but now it’s not!


At the very bottom of the “hell no” pile are the app updates that combine the “Free/Not Free/Just Upgrade!” iAd addition with the removal of existing app features!

“At Once” is the most recent example of this.


Adding Google Buzz? Ok, that’s a nice addition. But taking away the landscape keyboard use? Removing a working feature in the app I already have installed on my iPhone in trade for a paid upgrade? That’s evil-twirly moustache kinds of heartless.


I’ll never ever update apps that take away features from previous versions, iAds or not.

TL;DR / summary version…

Developers! Add something of value to your app if you’re going to start with the iAds. Make it something fun or useful. Make me think the iAds are part of the upgrade “cost” and I’ll be OK with it.

Apple! Give us a “ignore this application’s update” option!

Ketchup, HFCS, Heinz waffling, and other critically important things

I have a confession. I love ketchup. Love it. Between ketchup, Tabasco Sauce, HP sauce, Louisiana Hot Sauce, Cattlemen’s BBQ sauce and Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce, I’m good for most meals.

So when it was time to reload on Ketchup, I noticed Hunts had a semi-new “no HFCS” variety on the shelves.


Go Hunts!

Heinz, however, has two different brands of ketchup, neither of which are clearly labeled to distinguish the difference in product. Heinz’s “normal” ketchup label looks like this…


…and it still uses HFCS.


The second ketchup product label from Heinz is almost identical to the first label, but an additional “Simply Heinz” banner on the label…


…means this product uses real sugar and has no HFCS!


Come on Heinz! Quit waffling! Grow a pair! Put a big honkin’ label that says NEW NO HFCS CRAP IN THIS MONKEY! Calling it “Simply Heinz” says to me the HFCS lobby has you guys scared.

Anyhow, I thought such critically important matters deserved a Friday blog post, so here we are!

Recall : Tylenol, Benadryl, Sudafed, Sinutab and Rolaids

The FDA just announced it’s time for more meds to get pulled off the shelf! Specifically, “TYLENOL® 8 Hour, TYLENOL® Arthritis Pain, and TYLENOL® upper respiratory products, and certain lots of BENADRYL®, SUDAFED PE®, and SINUTAB® products.”

The problem isn’t stinky packaging this time, but an actual problem with “equipment cleaning procedures” at the factories where they were put together. Nobody is saying what got dirty, and the FDA release says “it is very unlikely that this [cleaning procedures] impacted the quality of these products”, but you know it’s gotta be something “Call the attorneys!” nasty since everything is getting pulled.

Also some “ROLAIDS® Multi-Symptom Berry Tablets” are getting pulled because somebody forgot to type “Does not meet USP” on the labels. That’s somebody’s job right there.

Here’s the highly official FDA release on this mess.

RT Tuesdays : 01/18/11

Every Tuesday I re-post all zee tweets that didn’t originate from this blog just to keep everything in sync.

This week on Twitter…

  • Britney’s new song sounds like a bad pickup line. Is the power ballad “Somebody better call God, cuz he’s missing an angel” next? (about 8 AM Jan 18th via Twitter for iPhone)
  • The city I live in announced they are picking up trash and recycling bins in the same truck this week! Isn’t technology… hey, waitaminute. (8:10 AM Jan 17th via Twitter for iPhone)
  • Little known Texas law: Children must have at least three birthdays at Peter Piper Pizza before they can drive. http://yfrog.com/h4aatupj (1:05 PM Jan 15th via Twitter for iPhone)
Peter Piper Birthday!

Peter Piper Birthday!

  • Diet Zen: Don’t confuse the serious with the important. (8:28 AM Jan 14th via Twitter for iPhone)
  • Drunken rambling or 80s song: “I feel so good if I just say the word/ Sussudio I just say the word/ Oh Sussudio I just say the word”: 80s! (7:27 AM Jan 13th via Twitter for iPhone)
  • When somebody tells you to take a deep breath, they’re really saying you need a hit of glucose by self-tweaking your carbon/oxygen balance. (6:11 AM Jan 12th via Twitter for iPhone)
  • When somebody says they’re related to a famous person within 30 minutes of meeting you, that’s their secret way of asking you to punch them. (10:24 PM Jan 11th via Twitter for iPhone)
  • @wilw No, I won’t unfollow @wikileaks. I won’t be intimidated by the government when I’ve done nothing wrong, and neither should you. (3:33 PM Jan 11th via web Retweeted by RoyceEddington and 100+ others)

One solution to Xerox “installer quit unexpectedly” on mac

This was interesting. Installing a Xerox print driver on a new Mac Pro desktop with two active network connections caused a “installer quit unexpectedly” error at the very end of the install process.

The driver used was WC7755_UBPD_2.7.0_518.DMG which opened to Xerox Print Drivers 2.7.0.

The Xerox would install all the way to the “install complete” window, but as soon as the “install xerox printer” window appeared where you could select the printer on the network, the installer would shut down with a “installer quit unexpectedly” error.

The solution was to unplug one of the two network cables on the back of the mac. The installer worked perfectly when only one NIC/IP address was active.

Xerox tech support had nooooooo idea this was happening BTW.

The meaning of life by Stanley Kubrick

Over the weekend, I re-found this great quote from an interview with Stanley Kubrick about the purpose of life. It’s something to think about while speeding through the week. (I typed it out so it’s actually copy-and-pasteable, but the original scan is below the line.)


Question: “If life is so purposeless, do you feel that it’s worth living?”

Answer: “Yes, for those of us who manage somehow to cope with our mortality. The very meaninglessness of life forces man to create his own meaning. Children, of course, begin life with an untarnished sense of wonder, a capacity to experience total joy at something as simple as the greenness of a leaf; but as they grow older, the awareness of death and decay begins to impinge on their consciousness and subtly erode their joie de vivre, their idealism – and their assumption of immortality. As a child matures, he sees death and pain everywhere about him, and begins to lose faith in the ultimate goodness of man. But, if he’s reasonably strong – and lucky – he can emerge from this twilight of the soul into a rebirth of life’s elan. Both because of and in spite of his awareness of the meaninglessness of life, he can forge a fresh sense of purpose and affirmation. He may not recapture the same pure sense of wonder he was born with, but he can shape something far more enduring and sustaining. The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death – however mutable man may be able to make them – our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.”

The meaning of life according to Stanley Kubrick

Monday Morning Music : 01/17/11

Every Monday I like to post some music to start the week off on the right foot.

This week…

DKS – Sing With A Swing – (A New Things Rmx)

Kylie Minogue – Can’t Get You Out Of My Head (Blue Monday Mix Edit)

Ricky Martin – ‪Livin’ La Vida Loca‬

…and finally, Van Halen – Dancing in the Street

News stories the mainstream media missed : 01/15/11

Here are some news stories from this week that I think the mainstream media completely missed out on. All links are from legitimate news sources and not the fringe / wacko sites.

* The US government is recruiting everyday regular people to find out the best ways to blow up the US. The government then takes those ideas and comes up with stuff to keep to keep it from happening. Imagine the resume after having that job? 2010-2011 : Employed at modern day culper ring. Highly experienced in discovering new and exciting ways to destroy the United States. Classified references available with appropriate clearance. [NY DAILY NEWS]

* OK, what do you think would happen if I walked into a bank and told them “I’ve been direct depositing my paycheck every month here, so I would like to collect the interest on my future checks I’ll be getting throughout 2011 right now. In advance.” How far do you think I would be thrown into the street? Well the banks themselves are doing something similar to this little trick! They’re taking interest on foreclosed homes and counting them as income even though nobody is actually paying the mortgage or the interest! It’s ghost money! When the actual foreclosure finally goes through, the banks will then take the ghost money off the books. “Many bank financial statements actually look much better than they actually are… ultimately, the banks face a potential loss of $1 trillion on nonperforming loans.” I think I finally understand how epic financial crises start. [FORBES]

* President Obama renewed the Patriot Act for another year without any kind of complaint whatsoever. Doesn’t that kinda’ go against, oh, EVERYTHING HE WAS VOTED INTO OFFICE FOR? I’ll just put this in the growing “Guantanamo” pile. [EXAMINER]

* Apparently “the amount of dust in the Earth’s atmosphere has doubled over the last century.” You watch. Somebody is going to tie this into global warming, La Nina and cow farts before the end of the year. [SCIENCE DAILY]

* The FDA has ordered Vicodin and Percocet to dial back some of the acetaminophen painkiller ingredients in their products because they have labeled it as APAP. This is good because since most people didn’t know APAP = acetaminophen, they would combine Viocdin and Percocet with Tylenol or other acetaminophen based painkillers. Too much acetaminophen will completely nuke your liver form orbit, so the FDA gets the extra point on this one. [HUFFINGTON POST]

* Apparently a veggie-rich diet will make you more beautiful. Great. Science has just given PETA more ammo for those “I’d rather be nude” ads. [TIME]

* Finally, researchers may have found a cure for Tinnitus! Yes! Set all speakers to 11! [DALLAS OBSERVER]

Recall: Toxic Waste brand Nuclear Sludge Chew Bars

Toxic Waste brand Nuclear Sludge Chew Bars. Seriously. Somebody sat down at a desk and said “I KNOW! WE WILL CALL OUR PRODUCT TOXIC WASTE BRAND NUCLEAR SLUDGE CHEW BARS! THE KIDS WILL LOVE ‘EM!!”

Shockingly, Toxic Waste brand Nuclear Sludge Chew Bars have been recalled by the FDA today.

Even though Toxic Waste brand Nuclear Sludge Chew Bars are imported fresh from Pakistan, somehow, “the cherry flavor of the above-listed product contains elevated levels of lead (0.24 parts per million; the U.S. FDA tolerance is 0.1 ppm)”.

Lead. In a candy imported from Pakistan. Called Toxic Waste brand Nuclear Sludge Chew Bars.

When I win the lotto, I think I’m gonna’ put some crushed Ritz crackers with some lime powder in a bright-glow baggie, call it ETERNAL DRAGON SCALES FROM THE BLOOD TIGER JUNGLE and see if I can’t knock off Toxic Waste brand Nuclear Sludge Chew Bars off the shelf. Hey, no matter what I put out there, it can’t be worse than sucking on imported lead from Pakistan!

Here’s the link to the FDA recall notice.

“Plato Smash?” It must be ACTION PHILOSOPHERS!

I’ve been meaning to plug the guys from Evil Twin Comics for awhile since their Action Philosophers series is a perfect combination of awesome and educational.

Action Philosophers is a comic book series about the life, attitudes and the major philosophical ideas of… well, the major philosophers!

Issue #1 starts off with “The Pre Socratics!”, and seriously, how can you not love an intro to philosophy like this…

Another sample of Action Philosophers awesome awesomeness

BTW, starting with the pyromaniac dude in the lower left and going clockwise, that’s Heraclitus, Anaximenes, Miletus, Anaximander, Empedocles and Parmenides.

No, seriously.

Their contributions and beliefs are presented in a very entertaining manner, and quickly advance to Descartes.

A sample of Action Philosophers awesome awesomeness

Philosophy 101? Definitely. Educational? Yes, but in a sneaky “hey I learned something I didn’t mean to” way! Entertaining? Oh hell yes.

You can read the Pre-Socratics, Rene Descartes, John Stuart Mill and Carl Jung stories online for free by clicking any of the above links, or you can get a PDF preview of all four stories here. (NOTE: PDF link) You can also get the whole compendium from amazon.com from here or the identical link on the Evil Twin Comics’ website or the smaller “volume” series by looking at the author’s page at amazon.com.