Wasted talent

Scam apps like this one here irritate me to such an extent that I am actually writing about it, which in fact only helps the developer out. There is no bad promotion. But the fact remains there is too much crap in the App Store. Search is broken, unless a developer has fantastic marketing through word of mouth, they really have to choose smart creative keywords to be found. They would also be wise to enroll in app reviewer and promotion programs. But before I digress too much, let me state my point. Smart developers, please, apply yourself and your talents in a better way.

Since the launch of the app store I have been curious about the market as a whole. I check out craigslist and job boards with keywords like iPhone, developer, Cocoa, Obj C, etc. There is a market with job openings, the mobile developer/programmer job openings are astounding given the economy. Go off and do some good. Stop putting apps out there that only tech savvy people would know are fake. Claiming the app will track your friends phone if you give it the number, unlock your phone with a thumb print scan, there are even hand warmer apps. Actually I think my phone has that app already installed, it opens after an hour long conversation.

This practice is especially evil when you charge for it. Unfortunately given the structure of the store it breeds a window shopping experience asking for impulse buying. Typically there will be a disclaimer telling the buyer that this app does not actually do what we just told you it did. But awesome news for shady developers, don’t fret, you can still trick your buyers. That wonderful “more” button is so convenient. Depending on the length of the description the disclaimer on the bottom could be hidden, only revealed when clicked. Why would someone develop an app where ratings dwindle and reputation is tarnished? I don’t know, I want to understand, I do. Does the feeling of “taking someone” give that of service.

Yes, the claims of millions and billions of apps and download’s and dollars made is justified. But frankly too much of the app store is reminiscent of that guy in the trench coat selling fake Rolex watches to trusting tourists. Both will give the time, it’s accuracy is another story.

Really to the disingenuous developers in the crowd, check craigslist. You will make more money that way, and guess what? There’s an app for that. Personally I like this one.

I hate flying

Traveling by air is the biggest pain in the ass, it’s not just my imagination. I’m a cynic, I admit that, but airports, airplanes and the airlines annoy me just as much as cellular and insurance companies. Actually more considering I have to go through the traveling “process” more often. Although I do believe that some of the reasons many flight attendants and airline employees are less than a joy to work with is aggravation from their companies making the rules of conduct. But in my opinion that excuse quickly runs out.

Many of the low-level suits of the airline companies, those on the phones and in the airports, have the same artificial sense of elitist entitlement as their “frequent flyer”, “advantage” and any of the other eye-roller titles the blood suckers give to the customers they hook.

It’s not difficult to notice so many of the simple improvements airlines can make to make the flight just a little bit more bearable. obvious size constraints aside, my being 6’ 3” I could use just a tad more leg room, but my comfort runs into profit margins as it would require a reduction of seats. What would that mean in the long run? Simply put, an easy excuse to raise the fairs even more. So let’s focus on what could be done with the tools we already have. The drink cart: does it have to be the same size as the aisle? Especially since most airlines no longer serve food on the average flight? If you look at the cart you will notice that the edges have a metal trim on every corner and edge. I find it odd that it’s such an armored device considering most other trims in the plane are plastic and rubber to cut weight.

Another thing you will notice are all the dings and dents. To me, that’s like the fear I get parking next to a beat up car in the parking lot. Whether it’s the driver or the car(t) it doesn’t matter, truth is, it’s probably a combination of the two. Get some foam or any kind of padding, and wrap that up. Everyone will thank the first airline that implements this because everyone at one time or another has been a victim of the cart, and it hurts.

But I do want to stress again that the carts do not have to be that heavy or wide. There are so many lighter and better maneuverable alternatives available. Look at any of the latest high-tech baby strollers. Those hold and house the safety of a helpless child, something anyone sane person cherish’s much more than a bag of peanuts and a Sprite.

The armrest needs to be wide enough to hold more than 2/3s of an adult elbow. I always think about the non-verbal struggle my brother and I would have on family vacations when we would fight for armrest real estate. One person would always be taking up the front half and the other would have the back. What’s even worse is the raw deal the middle seat gets having to share with both neighbors.

Can we give some love to the brave one that gets blocked in by not one but two passengers? The window seat experience would be just a little bit more bearable if the surface around the window frame were a padding similar to what’s around the drink cart. It can’t be a porous foam as that would cause just a bit more spreading of bacteria and germs. Though its not like we should really worry about that considering the close quarters passengers sit in, but we are trying to improve the situation. By having the padding sealed it would allow for quicker better cleaning.

I would like to hear suggestions others have, feel free to add to the list…

Shady Practices in the App Store

BNO News for the iPhone

I’m seeing a new trend in the App Store in iTunes that scares me a little. Charges and (sorta) hidden fees that come along with a paid app. I am limiting this to paid apps because I am under the system of belief that free apps have the right to charge for an added feature set. My first aggravation came along with an application my buddy recommended to me. BNO Breaking News. It was an app that he had found which solved the “I have an idea for an app” conundrum. I don’t why I call it a conundrum, but I’m keeping it. So continuing, he was ecstatic when he found his app for sale. BNO Breaking News is a real simple application that simply sends the user ‘push notifications’ to the user’s iPhone. I was pretty impressed with the idea and that he found an application that perfectly met his needs and expectations. He told me about it and without much hesitation I downloaded it while I was still on the phone with him.

The charges started with the application costing 1.99. Not a bug deal, but I see that number as a paid app that is viewed by the developer as semi-premium. Many of the applications that cost to download “paid applications” are .99. Little differences like a dollar make a big difference. I was not paying a close attention to the fine print in the description, but BNO’s plan was to offer the application at 1.99, with a trial period. To get more than one news update a day a subscription plan is required. For a year’s worth of news pushed to my iPhone it would cost a total of $13.97. In my opinion it’s just not that good of an application to call for a $14 price tag.

The part that really got me fired up enough to write a negative review for the app was that there was a change in the application in an update. Conveniently, BNO added an account button inside the application. There really is no real reason to enter the application otherwise. Just make sure push is enable in settings, and the app just sits there. I consider this bad design, and that’s being kind and rational. I look at this as a hidden charge which I refer to as an app store bait and switch. So, unfortunately there is an application on my phone which is useless. I am not willing to pay $13.97 to use this application, being under the impression that 1.99 was the real price. But with the faceless customer service and developer support that is the iTunes App Store, I think this kind of ethically challenged business practices will continue for sometime.

The combination of one-click, impulse buying together with faceless customer service, makes screwing customers easier developers. It’s just good business.

BNO News Screenshot