One for the Humor Tag

A day or so after submitting the universal (iPad) version of Speed to the review team, I received a curious email back. The reviewer had elected to reject the update because they couldn't make the 'no GPS lock' flashing icon go away on their test iPad.

After getting over the initial irritation, I realized what had happened: the reviewer had ignored the description and tested this on a device with no GPS that was most likely indoors chained to a desk. I sent off a snarky response and re-uploaded the same binary hoping they'd see their mistake. Hopefully it will be reviewed in time for launch day, but it isn't that important as a GPS-equipped iPad won't be released for another month anyway.

This also highlights an oversight in the supported devices options I get to choose when submitting: because the app is marked as working on all devices (as Apple suggested back at WWDC last year, suggesting external GPS units would come to iPod) I'm not allowed release an update that specifically requires GPS.

Oh well, just thought I'd share :-) if Apple rejects the update again I'll just add in some UI that bitches at you if you don't actually have a GPS lock in time.

Death Knell for PowerPC

As all the news sites are reporting, Sony is about to release an update to the PlayStation 3 that disables the ability to install or run Linux on the PS3 (one of the original features touted at launch). This update is mandatory if you want to continue using the online/multiplayer features of the PS3/

Unsurprisingly there is outrage in the community.

Miguel de Icaza, the man behind Mono and Gnome, states the "JIT compiler for SPUs wouldnt exist without Linux/PS3" and he believes Sony is "putting a bullet [in] PPC innovation/work, one of the few affordable systems for development".

The maintainer of the SPU GCC back end, Andrew Thomas Pinksi, is livid:

"…more than that, the spu gcc backend is no longer going to be maintained by me."

What that means to you non techie folks is that the standard compiler used by all Linux distributions to create software (and Unix and Mac OS X) will no longer fully support the Cell processor, the last remaining credible desktop PowerPC platform. This will kill all interest in using the Cell in any Linux-based PowerPC workstations and seriously makes things look dire for the future of PowerPC.

Already, two major Linux distributions have announced that they're dropping PowerPC support (Fedora and OpenSUSE).

I think this is a travesty and Sony are making a huge mistake here, and it's very sad to see PowerPC having such a public execution. More than this, I'm furious that come April 1st I will have to choose between updating my PS3 so I can play games on it and losing my Linux partition forever, or keeping my Linux partition (in which I've invested quite a lot of effort) at the expense of not being able to play or update games.

State of the iPad

iPad launches in the US next Saturday, and all the iPhone developers out there have by now submitted their applications to be considered for the App Store on launch day. I, like Marco Arment, don't believe I will be running any iPhone apps as-is on iPad, and ergo don't believe you should have to either1:

"But then I saw the pixel-doubled version of my app in the simulator. It sucked, and it was completely unusable by my standards. I don’t think I’ll want to run any pixel-doubled apps on my iPad in practice."

With that in mind, I have submitted Universal updates for Grace, Speed and SameGame which will hopefully be live on launch day so that you have a fully iPad-compatible version at no extra charge when you get your iPad. As-is, they all have pretty much 1:1 feature parity with the iPhone versions. I'm working on some very cool updates to make use of iPad-specific features and UI, but they'll be gestating a little while longer.

The great thing about iPad's increase in screen size is that you can design brand new experiences into your apps that were never feasible before, for example two-player on-device multiplayer, and proper car dashboard replacements, etc. I'm really excited about what I'll be able to produce in the coming months.

1. One app you'll notice missing from my initial lineup is Lights Off. To be honest, I'm still figuring out how I can bring Lights Off to the big screen without it sucking, but I'll make sure to keep you up to date. It's something I want to bring to iPad fairly quickly. Also at this time I have no plans to bring Nuker to iPad; it's a more widgety type application and I don't think it would bring anything to the table on iPad.

Grace - Picture Exchange for Non-Verbal People

Grace, our application for communication with non-verbal children is now available on the App Store for iPhone and iPod touch, and hopefully will be available Day 1 on the iPad App Store (the application has been submitted to Apple for approval).

Lisa and I have put a lot of effort into Grace to make it a simple yet powerful tool for children in need of a voice, and we have much more planned! For now, Ciara O'Brien has the full story over at The Irish Times: 'Using a Phone Voice'

The Grace website is up at