Tag Archives: apple

Apple vs. HTC (aka Google)

My good friend mil_ wrote an interesting article over at his technology blog: TechNippon. As you may have guessed from the title of this post, it’s about “Apple vs. HTC (aka Google)“…

He said I could post it here as well, so give it a read if you care at all about the advancement of technology!

As you may have heard, Apple has filed a patent lawsuit against cell phone manufacturer HTC (manufacturer of the “Google Phone” the Nexus One). And as you may have also figured out, these lawsuits are a thinly-veiled attack against Google’s Android OS as well (Google, despite not being directly named in any of the lawsuits, released a statement in defense of HTC).

The two lawsuits (one federal, one with the ITC) name 20 patents that Apple is claiming infringement upon. The first question is how did Apple manage to get some of these things patented? Most of them deal with OS-level software functions (ie the Android OS, not HTC’s hardware) that, if upheld by patent courts, would give Apple all but a monopoly on basic functions of smartphones or any modern-day multi-device. For example, power management functions for a digital camera or “reducing voltage to an instruction-processing part of the processor” aka sleep mode.

Many of the patents also deal with specific software/OS programming techniques, like using OOP for, well, anything (graphics, notifications, multitasking) and others deal with how the OS is run. It seems that Apple took some basic, broad programming ideas and patented them being used in a specific context: in this case, on a mobile platform. Mobile phone OSes were extremely simple until smartphones came along, and Apple got a head start on everyone by a few years with the iPhone–admittedly a paradigm-shifting piece of hardware and software. In other words, they patented the basic functionality it would take to make any phone work like a desktop. And now, a few years down the line when more and more phones are becoming PC-like, Apple suddenly has the golden patents to throw the hammer down on any and all competitors.

What Apple is doing here is nothing short of snuffing out technological advance to increase their own market share and, in turn, profit margin. Things like multitouch gestures are not something you should be able to patent. ”Unlocking a device by using a gesture on an image” is such a broad idea that it should have never been granted a patent to one specific company in the first place. Multitouch gestures, and smartphones in general, are natural evolutions of technological advance. OOP is not a specific idea that one company owns, but an entire method of programming. How can a company “own” multitouch? There are many manufacturers of capacitive and resistive multitouch screens. But the software that enables us to take advantage of the technology? Apple’s.

In this case, Apple should at least grant third parties the license to use their patented technologies for a nominal fee like any rational company/entity. But it has instead requested to bar the sale of any and all devices who are named in the infringement case–which includes all Android phones and even some WM phones. Is Apple being overprotective of its own products or its own ideas (which is also dubious at best–the idea of a screen that responds to multitouch has probably been around for decades. I can assure you that Mr. Jobs was not the first person ever to think of it, just the first to think of using the law to claim ownership of it)? Or is it just sending out a quite large and loud first attack on the other technological mega-entity (and reasonable threat to their smartphone near-monopoly) in the room, Google? It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Google didn’t back down from China, instead directly confronting it. How will it deal with the closed regime of Appleland and its leader’s all-powerful reality distortion field??


National Game Registry: Breakout

original platform
key personnel
Nolan Bushnell (production)
Steve Wozniak (program)

Breakout incorporates the ball and paddle play of Pong but introduced a wall of breakable bricks. As simple as the brick element seems, it provides a single player experience that Pong lacked, as well as a clear objective: clear all of the bricks. Breakout, like most arcade games of the time, contains no ROM or CPU and features black and white graphics.

(Super Breakout update)

Breakout was inducted on March 21st, 2009.

Return to the National Game Registry to view more inductees.

National Game Registry: Apple ][

United States Library of Congress

Apple II
image: Willegal

Apple II
image: Old Computers

Apple IIc
image: Old Computers

Apple IIe Platinum
image: Old Computers

This article features the best games released for the Apple II as selected by the National Game Preservation Board and recommended for permanent preservation by the United States Library of Congress National Game Registry.

System: Apple II
Manufacturer: Apple
Debut: 1977
Nation of origin: United States

The Apple II was part of the first wave of affordable, mass-marketed home computers. The other members of this wave, the Commodore PET and the TRS-80 Model I, were replaced in a few years but the Apple II lived on for over a decade with only incremental updates, the Apple IIc and Apple IIe, along the way. The system attracted many developers and was home to many famous franchises. Apple heavily marketed itself to schools, making the Apple IIe the de facto computer of American education in the 1980s, with releases like Oregon Trail and Where In the World Is Carmen Sandiego?. The system was also home to hardcore games, including the first entry in the John Madden Football series. Apple eventually replaced the original II series with the completely overhauled Apple IIGS in the late 1980s. Inducted Apple II games include:

Pitfall II: Lost Caverns


Emulation: National Game Registry recommends AppleWin for Apple II emulation on home computers.

Manuals: Many Apple II games are less than self-explanatory. A collection of manuals may be viewed at Replacement Docs

Visit the National Game Registry to view more inductees.

National Game Registry 1983: Pitfall II Lost Caverns

original platform
Atari 2600
notable conversions
Atari 5200 (1984)
Atari 800 (1984)
key personnel
David Crane
Mike Lorenzen (Atari 800/5200 “Special Adventurer’s Edition”)

The sequel to Pitfall! is true to the spirit of the original while adding many new elements. Lost Caverns introduces vertical gameplay, save points, swimming and non-player characters. The presence of music is a welcome improvement, featuring a rousing march that brilliantly shifts to a minor key when Pitfall Harry takes damage. Enemies are much more formidable than those of the original game, but Pitfall Harry now possesses infinite lives. There is no time limit, resulting in a an exploration-oriented adventure. The version released for Atari 5200 and Atari 800 more than doubled the length of the game, adding a new cavern, new enemies, items, and hazards, resulting in the definitive version of the game.

Atari 5200

Pitfall II: Lost Caverns was inducted on February 23rd, 2009.

Return to the National Game Registry to view more inductees.

CNN Apple

An interesting, new article on CNN about how everyone lets Apple get away with murder, including an example of the confused/cultish thought process of the Apple loyalist . . .

“They’re skimping on materials, on testing things to gain market share, but they’re kind of pushing away people who have been with the brand even when [it was] struggling,” he said.

Yet when asked whether he’d abandon Apple, the answer was no.

…”They make very good products.”




Top Ten Gaming Emulators for English speakers using Windows (Vista, XP, 98, etc.)

There are three main criteria for this list:
1) size and quality of the library of the system(s) being emulated
2) user-friendliness of the emulator
3) performance/reliability of the emulator

#10 WinUAE
format emulated: Commodore Amiga
This emulator is actually kind of a dick which definitely hurts it.  However, the Amiga was a true gaming machine and it actually had a large number of exclusives or games that ran best on it.  Actually, a lot of bad Super NES games from European developers were born as good games on the Amiga.  Tons of games, great graphics, lots of variety, plus a Euro flair.

#9 WinApple
format emulated: Apple ][
So far, I haven’t used this emulator extensively but it’s worked quite well to date. The Apple ][ had a large and interesting library specializing in adventures, western RPGs, and other genres not well represented on the dedicated gaming consoles.

formats emulated: MSX, MSX2
Another emulator that I haven’t used a great deal but will in the future, for sure. MSX and this emulator were straightforward and easy to use. The style of the system’s library isn’t that different from a gaming console but it had a lot of exclusives.

#7 Magic Engine
formats emulated: TurboGrafx-16+add-ons, SuperGrafx
note: this Europe-based emulator actually costs money – $20 thanks to exchange rates
A straightforward emulator for a straightforward system that allows you to play the card and CD based games.

formats emulated: NES, Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Atari 7800, Colecovision
MESS is an attempt at a super emulator, able to handle ALL old systems but, for the moment, it falls way short. It is able to do a pretty decent job with the systems I’ve listed but, save for the NES, most of these systems didn’t exactly have awesome libraries.  NEStopia is better at emulating the NES but MESS gets the job done and you just can’t argue with this history and importance of the 2600.

#5 DOSBox (with DOSShell frontend)
format emulated: DOS
Current Windows systems are unable to run many of the old PC games from 1995 and before. DOSBox changes all that and opens up a world of THOUSANDS of games, many VERY different from what you’d find on the gaming consoles. DOSBox is complicated, though, so download the DOSShell frontend, which makes the emulator very easy to use.

#4 zSNES
format emulated: Super NES+add-ons
It emulates the SNES very well and is very easy to use.

#3 Kega Fusion
formats emulated: SG-1000, Master System, Genesis+add-ons, Game Gear
Master System + Genesis alone probably would have earned this spot but add in the gems from the 2nd rate libraries of the SG-1000, Game Gear, SEGA CD and 32X and it’s even more solid.

#2 Visual Boy Advance
formats emulated: Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance
Thousands of games, many of them GREAT. Now on your computer. Not as comfortable as a real GBA SP in your hand but now you can blow up the screen. And it’s cheaper.

#1 MAME32
formats emulated: A LOT (most 2D arcade systems)
MAME is a very successful attempt at emulating ALL arcade games. Who knows if it will ever reach that point but as it currently stands it’s able to emulate 90% (my own made up number) of 2D games from the 70s through 90s. It can handle every NeoGeo game, every game from the legendary Capcom CPS1/CPS2 board, and that’s just the start. Most of the 2D arcade legends from Namco, Nintendo, SEGA, Konami, etc. etc run just fine on this system. That’s a whole lot of games and a whole lot of quality. The only drawback is that arcade games aren’t exactly deep and complicated but the combined quantity/quality here earns #1.

WAIT? WHAT ABOUT (insert emulator here)?
Yes, there are a lot of other emulators and systems and I’m not super experienced with some of them. There are also some that just aren’t complete enough to warrant a place on this list but are still worth downloading. For instance, Project64, a Nintendo 64 emulator, runs Super Mario 64 perfectly but has a lot of hiccups on games like Perfect Dark. I don’t especially like the Commodore 64 or Atari 800 computer emulators available and their libraries are also somewhat cancelled out by the inclusion of Apple ][ and DOS on the list. The Sharp X68000 and its emulator are very strong but it’s near-complete reliance on arcade conversions for its library means that MAME effectively cancels it out.  Most emulators for 3D, optical-disc based systems are still pretty unreliable unless you love changing plug-ins and settings for every game, so no PlayStation or Saturn on this list.  And systems like PS2, DS, Xbox, etc.?  Go BUY THEM AT THE STORE.

related posts:

Wow, Apple has been shitty for longer than I realized . . .


Wow! Apparently, Apple jumped into the “intentionally faulty product” game way back in 1980 with the Apple III, a product I never even heard of before. If you don’t want to read the whole article it’s the familiar story: presentation over function. In order to make the unit as quiet as possible, there was no fan and no vents. A heat absorbing mechanism was included but it was insufficient and testing would have had to have revealed that. So a whole shitload of them failed, naturally. On top of that, Apple III had Apple II compatibility but it was intentionally designed not to run Apple II programs at optimal performance levels.

Their marketing must be absolutely ingenious because what other fucking company can have such a high failure rate and still do so well? ARGH.