Writing about things I can’t write about

The iPhone SDK NDA is really cutting into my ability to write about what I’m actually working on outside of the usual editing gig.

To wit: I just completed the first of four iPhone SDK articles, but of course I can’t say whom it’s for or what it’s about. I may not even be able to link to it when it’s done. Which is a shame because it’s way attractive. See if you can find a very quiet reference to it on the reworked Subsequently & Furthermore home page, now with much more iPhone content (since that’s the kind of freelancing work I’m hoping to attract).

For my own projects, I’m digging into the OpenAL support right now. You have to understand both the OpenAL API and make some use of the Audio Toolbox, for reasons that are presumably also off-limits given the NDA. Suffice to say that much of the OpenAL sample code on the net won’t work, thanks to the deprecation (and what’s the next step after that… anyone?) of certain convenience (crutch?) functions that maybe shouldn’t have been part of OpenAL in the first place. So, you use Audio Toolbox, which is a pretty attractive API in its own right.

At some point I’m going to get back into the net radio code for iPhone. Some of my Core Foundation work that I did for the book (and then threw away, since a Cocoa alternative was available) makes me understand some of my inexplicable errors that hung me up a few months ago. To wit, if myBuffers is a CFArrayRef instead of an old-fashioned C array, then referencing myBuffers[i] is a very, very bad idea (the correct call is CFArrayGetValueAtIndex(i)).

But having said that, there are enough web radio apps already to make me not want to do yet another, to say nothing of the legal burden of licensing a stream-finder, or (ick) hosting my own. I might have to move on to the harder audio app idea that I can’t shake, but haven’t committed to paper prototype yet.

Speaking of iPhone audio apps, I have nothing to add to the controversy over the rejection of Podcaster except to say that I would have expected Apple to backtrack and OK the app by close-of-business today, since the decision is so obviously wrong and harmful to the platform as a whole. Giving serious developers second thoughts about developing for the iPhone, if not sending them fleeing to the exits, is probably not in Apple’s self-interest.

I’m inclined to think it’s just a case of working out the kinks in the App Store: when it opened, there were howls of derision for Apple letting in junk like the hundreds of public-domain books wrapped in a trivial reader, the “flashlight” apps, or the $1,000 “I Am Rich” app. Now they’ve gone too far the other way, but rather than reject Podcaster for being junk, which it’s not, the stated reason is that it supposedly competes with Apple’s built-in iPhone functionality (not even true because Podcaster can fetch podcasts while you’re mobile, a nice feature when you take your iPhone on a trip and leave behind the Mac Pro it’s synched with).

Again, I’m not freaking because it’s so obviously, wildly wrong, that I think Apple will quietly make things right.

Of course, I had confidence the inexplicable, unenforceable NDA would have been lifted by now, so what do I know?

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