The Future of the Catholic Priesthood: Vampire Hunting?

What do you do when vampires turn out to be demonic monsters and not overly-serious teens?  Call in a secret priestly order trained in destroying those pesky little blood suckers, of course.  That’s the central story the upcoming movie “Priest.”

You put all of this in a post-apocalyptic world controlled by the stereotypical fun-hating Church, add a rogue priest, and you have have all the makings for Hollywood gold!  Oh, and there is good news for those of you seeking women’s ordination, too.  Turns out that a massive demonic outbreak changes the Vatican’s mind on that matter.

(Via Creative Minority Report)

Apple Opens App Store to Third-Party Development Tools

Via MacRumors:

Apple today announced that it is making several changes to its App Store developer policies and procedures, with one of the most significant changes being an easing of its earlier move to ban third-party compilers such as Adobe’s Flash-to-iPhone compiler it had built into Flash Professional CS5. Under the new policies, such third-party tools will be permitted as long as the apps generated by them do not download any code.

This is a good move that potentially opens app store development to a much larger community and should help get regulators off of Apple’s back.  I’m excited to see some of the potential tools that could arise, but I am still skeptical as to how Apple will handle this loss in control of the app development process.


Skype nixes 3G toll plan for iPhone

Today Skype released an update to their iPhone app that enables multitasking.  Along with it, they announce via their “Big Blog” that they won’t be charging for Skype-to-Skype calls over 3G as had been announced at their previous update.

At Skype, we believe that better call quality and better availability which is achieved with an app capable of multitasking and/or making calls over 3G lead to increased call frequency and longer calls. We also believe that the mobile world is in a period of significant change, for example, with some operators starting to move to tiered pricing models.

In light of that, we no longer have plans to charge a supplement to make calls over 3G. We’re delighted to make it easier for you to talk for even longer and do even more together using Skype.

OSU to start up iPad initiative

TUAW is reporting that my alma mater, Oklahoma State University, is starting a pilot program to evaluate how iPads can be used in the educational space. Handing out MacBooks, iPhones, and iPads isn’t a new concept, but this is one of the few instances where the use of the devices is being monitored to evaluate its academic value to the student.

…OSU is really interested in how their students will go about using them. The results should be intriguing, not only for the lucky college kids who get to use iPads all semester but also for Apple and for other schools that are formulating plans over how to share and use technology. It certainly seems like having an iPad at college would be helpful in the traditional ways (you could read textbooks or take notes on it), but it’s cool that OSU is thinking about new ways to use it as well, such as apps for tests or connections across local Wi-Fi for networked learning.

The program will start with a mere 125 students among a 20,000-plus student body. The iPad is thought of by many as a potential game-changer for education. So it will be interesting to see what the OSU experiment finds.

Spam: Coming to a printer near you

Computerworld reports on HP’s plan to send ads to your printer.  While discussing their new Web-connected printers and the idea of scheduled printing of Web-based newspapers,  HP says it will throw in a few printed “targeted” ads along with it.

The company also sees a potential for localized, targeted advertising to go along with the content. While testing its ePrint Web-connected printers, HP ran two trials where consumers received content from a U.S. national music magazine and major U.S. newspaper along with advertisements, said Stephen Nigro, senior vice president in HP’s Imaging and Printing Group.

“What we discovered is that people were not bothered by it [an advertisement],” Nigro said. “Part of it I think our belief is you’re used to it. You’re used to seeing things with ads.”

“Through IP (Internet Protocol) sniffing, you have an idea about where those printers are so naturally it allows you to kind of already target your offers,” Nigro said. – ComputerWorld

First off, printing newspapers?  Really?  They couldn’t come up with a better use case than that?  Haven’t iPhones, Android phones,  and iPad-like devices proven that we are moving away from such a ridiculous waste of paper?  Maybe it’s just me, but adding the annoyance of ads to the dying industry of home printers seems like a step in the wrong direction.  It good business for them, though.  The more ads printed, the more ink used, and let’s face it, ink cartridges are still HP’s best racket.

Ballmer rumored to present iPhone dev tools at WWDC [Updated] is reporting (h/t MacRumors) that Apple have allotted seven minutes of presentation time during Steve Jobs’s upcoming Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) to Microsoft.  According to their sources, Microsoft will talk about native iPhone development using Visual Studio 2010.  This would be shocking enough in and of itself given Apple’s recent headline grabbing stance on controlling native iPhone development and limiting it to their own XCode application and developers suite.  To make it even more shocking is the idea that none other than Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer himself will deliver the presentation.  This could prove to be one of the more interesting twists in the upcoming keynote on June 7.

On a side note, my unconfirmed, completely fictitious sources say that following Microsoft’s time, Adobe will be allotted 30 seconds during which CEO Shantanu Narayen, already fuming from the Microsoft announcement, will receive a swift kick in the crotch by Jobs.

Update:  Microsoft has apparently shot this rumor down via its Twitter feed:

Steve Ballmer not speaking at Apple Dev Conf. Nor appearing on Dancing with the Stars. Nor riding in the Belmont. Just FYI.

Is Verizon’s grass greener for iPhone users?

Marco Arment on life with Verizon:

It’s easy to think that the grass is always greener away from AT&T, but keep in mind that these are cellular carriers: massive oligopolists that don’t give a s*** about us. Their phones are ARPU vending machines, first and foremost, not communication tools. Cellular carriers are only a small step above cable and phone companies in the contempt and disregard they show for their customers.

This sums up my thoughts on wireless phone companies.  I don’t think I could have said it any better.

(h/t Daring Fireball)

Steve Jobs’s Thoughts on Flash

Steve Jobs has published an open letter regarding his thoughts on Flash.  This well-written outline of Apple’s relationship with Adobe lays out why Flash is not on any iPhone OS device.  This sums it up pretty well:

Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.  – Steve Jobs

Daring Fireball’s John Gruber points out how the detail of the letter gives Adobe “little wiggle room” to respond.  Michael Gartenburg (via Daring Fireball) makes the equally good point that Adobe’s only real play here is to respond with a version of Flash that runs favorably in a mobile touch environment.

A lot of talk from the blogs is about how this hinders developer’s choice when developing for the iPhone OS.  This type of commentary drives me crazy.  Developers can choose whether or not to developer for a given platform.  If they don’t like the ground-rules, they can go play somewhere else.  Logic dictates that if Apple drives away developers, fewer apps will be published, which makes the platform less attractive for consumers.  The power of choice is still there.

The “problem” for developers is that the iPhone OS and it’s associated devices are the most sexy from a consumer perspective.  So as a developer, here is your choice:  do you stand on your principles (or lack of ability to evolve as a developer) and miss the market, or do you challenge yourself to learn something new?  In the end, if lack of Flash is why you choose not to create an iPhone OS app or iPhone/iPod/iPad optimized experience in the browser, you probably weren’t committed enough the platform to make a great app in the first place.