some emergent markets


Fabulous by Daphne Lasky
June 16, 2010, 6:26 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

Leave it to Artforum to remind us that, despite our very excellent adventures, we are not the coolest kids on the block. To see photographs from our own trips to MAXXI and the American Academy, click on the link to Jie’s flickr, to the left.

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(good) rules are good by Daphne Lasky
April 19, 2010, 2:35 pm
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Steven Johnson’s recent op-ed in the Times suggests that the restrictions that Apple places on its App Store might actually be a good thing for developers:

The App Store must rank among the most carefully policed software platforms in history. Every single application has to be approved by Apple before it can be offered to consumers, and all software purchases are routed through Apple’s cash register. Most of the development tools are created inside Apple, in conditions of C.I.A.-level secrecy. Next to the iPhone platform, Microsoft’s Windows platform looks like a Berkeley commune from the late 60s.

And yet, by just about any measure, the iPhone software platform has been, out of the gate, the most innovative in the history of computing. More than 150,000 applications have been created for it in less than two years, transforming the iPhone into an e-book reader, a flight control deck, a musical instrument, a physician’s companion, a dictation device and countless other things that were impossible just 24 months ago.

Perhaps more impressively, the iPhone has been a boon for small developers. As of now, more than half the top-grossing iPad apps were created by small shops.

Those of us who have championed open platforms cannot ignore these facts. It’s conceivable that, had Apple loosened the restrictions surrounding the App Store, the iPhone ecosystem would have been even more innovative, even more democratic. But I suspect that this view is too simplistic. The more complicated reality is that the closed architecture of the iPhone platform has contributed to its generativity in important ways.

The decision to route all purchases through a single payment mechanism makes great sense for Apple, which takes 30 percent of all sales, but it has also helped nurture the ecosystem by making it easier for consumers to buy small apps impulsively with one-click ordering. People don’t want to thumb-type credit card information into their phones each time they download a game to distract the kids during a long drive in the car. One-click purchase also supports lightweight, inexpensive apps, the revenue from which can support small software teams.

Consumers are also willing to experiment with new apps because they know that they have been screened for viruses, malware and other stability problems as part of the App Store’s approval process.

The fact that the iPhone platform runs exclusively on Apple hardware helps developers innovate, because it means they have a finite number of hardware configurations to surmount. Developers building apps for, say, Windows Mobile have to create programs that work on hundreds of different devices, each with its own set of hardware features. But a developer who wants to build a game that uses an accelerometer for control, for example, knows that every iPhone OS device in the world contains an accelerometer.

If good limits are generative, what does that mean for urban public spaces? Which organizational tools help places become sites of exchange, and which tools limit growth?