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Apple: the friendly marketplace landlord

I’ve been saying for years that the 30% cut is completely out of line with the value that Apple provides to developers.

Manton Reece, App Store rent-seeking

Apple has already decided they can just do all of the app-focused editorial in-house. How long before they start scooping up app developers and signficantly increase the number of first-party apps?

I’m not at all confident the average iPhone buyer (i.e. Apple’s most valuable customer) could care less about third-party apps and so find it difficult to see them receiving real pushback for that kind of move.

Finding Your Place

I recently stumbled across I don’t hang out on the internet by Ryan Barrett and it hit a few marks for me, in different ways. One of the most significant effects being on the web has had on me is to ask a question: How much of this do you want?

My primary use of the web was to connect with people, much like Ryan explained, as a young adult looking for like-minded people. However, my relationship with the web has transformed to the point where I now feel as if I have both feet in different worlds; on one hand I adore the web enthusiast community – open web, IndieWeb, Micro.blog, etc – not least because without that collective behaviour it’s difficult to imagine the web would be relevant at all; on the other hand I love seeing non-web enthusiasts take part of their physical lives and share it with, well, more people than was previously possible. I connect in many ways with both sets of people and the intensity of my preference changes depending on a number of factors, not least of which is my mood.

However, the problem is the toll this can have on my energy and time, and frankly, on my mental health. Of course, “Just take a break!” is great advice and it’s always important to take a step back from any particular activity, even if only once in a while. I need more than that; my goal to work remotely requires focus, organised time, restraint; is that possible whilst investing time in a number of enthusiast activities? I’m convinced it is not.

The choice is therefore: what do I cut? Over the next couple of months I’ll be making difficult decisions with this, as the majority of middle-aged people also seem to do so.

Well… I have at least experienced all kinds of different joy in the process of indulging in a variety of interests and passions over the past several years. Things could have been much worse.

One Year on Micro.blog

This is a previous version of my About page on my hosted Micro.blog site:

Simon Woods is a man of dubious taste with little to no skill for effectively managing time, space, or any other dimension. He also likes to use words incorrectly, if for nothing else than the exquisite joy of seeing people care enough to get annoyed about it. There’s also a chance that doing the ‘words’ thing is difficult and laziness feels so damned good. He’s lucky enough to live with Claire Field, an infinitely patient and dizzyingly talented fiancée, in a city that is known for a collection of insects who continue to be quite popular many years after their death. Every day is made even better by the company of two cats, one of a delicate nature and the other of a kind you are likely to see with the Muppets.

The effort to work is often characterised by an inability to make substantial progress one way or the other but Simon has at least improved his ability to recognise this in a practical manner. There are points when it seems best to give up but then life wouldn’t be very interesting without challenges, and so he perseveres. To this day it is likely his most impressive achievement.

For those who have taken the time to read this he apologises. Please know that it was excruciating to write.

Especially the three paragraphs before this one.

… I was, uh, trying something. If it taught me one thing it’s that I much prefer to write creatively within the context of specific projects, especially when it comes to writing fiction.

I’m still thinking a lot about my pages and my blog and how it all fits together; I’m leaning towards having a single page as a better representation for both what I am now doing and what I am aiming to do. The question now is: how do I create such a page?

I have a custom domain – whilst I’m here, I’d like to thank Manton for introducing me to the idea that as long as you have your domain, the guts of the site are largely irrelevant; it has clarified my thinking a whole fucking lot – so I think I’ll start with something that’s free and then upgrade later when possible, should there be something else I need from such a site.

Anyway, I have tweaked both my current About page and my Subscribe page.

Also, I just released a bunch of updates for @til and now I’m ready to ramp up my efforts on other projects. As I previously mentioned my blogging quantity will decrease but in place of that I will produce higher quality, focused work. My ability to do this has in fact been jump-started by my renewed blogging over the past year, which is another thing for which I can thank Manton Reece; seriously dude, you both got more blogging from me and helped me find the focus required to make hard decisions… for that, I can’t thank you enough.

There are times when it becomes easy to forget the things we do for each other as people. Right now it is important for me remember that Manton, Jean, and the whole Micro.blog community has done for me that which I truly needed. Thank you all. ❤️

Apple Anxiety

One of my reasons for feeling trepidation at giving Apple a try beyond iPhone and iPad is that there is no cheaper option to try. There is no entry-level model; this is simply not something Apple are interested in offering to people.

So if I run into similar problems to that which Kohan Ikin has experienced I’ll be pretty well screwed. After saving for a computer for months and then relying on it to get work done, they would basically have me by the balls and only create more stress of a kind that is damaging in different ways.

“Just use what you’ve got” or “Just get another computer” you might say; right, fair enough, but I am already using what I have got – which, don’t get me wrong, is quite good – and the fact is that I am talking about my livelihood here, not just something to fart around on with the browser and email and shitty games or something. The change to the Mac might not actually work; it might be the case that I prefer Windows but even then just to try the Mac there is still this potential for more stress than I am sure I have the capacity with which to deal.

Damn it. Technology needs to hurry up and become better overall and more accessible.

For The Weekend: Ten

A few things for you:

Enjoy your weekend!

They did it with a small team and weren’t afraid to grow slowly.

Manton Reece

Reminder to everybody on Micro.blog; for the platform to be good or successful does not require a team of people literally sacrificing their lives to make it grow. We are in good hands.

You’ll need Oreo (Android 8.1) or higher and I will only support the app on the most recent version of Android. I know about “Pie” and this is the version I’m actively developing against.

Vincent Ritter, Gluon for Micro.blog Android

You can ask for access via the post! 🎉

Commenting on Commentors

I still don’t get how they keep getting away with it.

John Philpin, Facebook’s Dirty Tricks …

John is as concerned as I am with regard to the depth of vile incompetence at which both the Big Tech and political entities of our societies are allowed to operate at, and continue to thrive in the process.

The one thing that continues to surprise me is just how surprised so many online commenters are about this; as if corruption has not been at the heart of our so-called democracies for, well, ever.

If there’s one thing commenters can do, especially with the reach of Kottke and the like, is help build the alternatives and shine a light on the ways in which things can be improved. I understand that what’s in the news is what gets people’s eyeballs but at some point we all have to be accountable for improvement rather than mere observation.

For The Weekend: Nine

A few things for you:

Enjoy your weekend!

I’m producing a number to try to illustrate what I believe.

Justice Minister Rory Stewart

This is the kind of thinking that gets you a job, and a significantly influential one, in this country. Never felt more pride in my life.

We Must Build for the Future

I think pushback against Instagram is coming, as more people who have already left Facebook also remember that Instagram has the same leadership, and the platform is far enough off track that even the founders have left. It’s a good time to be posting photos to your own blog instead of Instagram.

Manton Reece, Breaking up Facebook is up to us

One of the things that always keeps me away from going back to the “easy” option of just using social media is the reminder that the same people who like to brag about “indpendent thought” and “independent speech” also use Facebook heavily for promotion and the like. A platform that so readily allows this illogical behaviour to thrive, and cause so much destruction, is never a platform any actual independently motivated person ought to invest in let alone trust.

I look forward to the continued growth of a diverse, independent ecosystem of small and flexible platforms to replace mainstream social media. Now more than ever we need the people making these platforms to understand that people do use these big platforms for real, practical reasons and the only way to move power away from such deeply flawed platforms is to provide usable alternatives.

We are only at the beginning of these efforts but speed is of the essence; the mainstream platforms hold sway over enough of the right people to damage the lives of millions of people, and those of us privileged enough to be born into the ill-gotten wealth of the tech-heavy Western world must lead the charge for higher standards across the board.