NASA Makes a Free iPhone App

390825main_missions_160NASA has released a free app for the iPhone that offers dynamically updated information, images, and video from many of its ongoing missions.  NASA seems to be suffering through a confused decade in which it wonders what vehicle should replace its aging shuttle fleet, whether to dump the International Space Station into the ocean to save money, whether to go back to the moon, or whether Mars might be a suitable destination for a manned visit.

I think it’s probably safe to say that NASA is learning an enormous amount through its telescopes, satellites and rovers.  I suspect that very little is really learned from sending three or four humans to the moon other than how to keep three or four humans alive on the moon for a few weeks.  Perhaps NASA should just relax a little and stop worrying about making people interested in what it’s doing.  Perhaps they should just worry about collecting information.

National Film Board of Canada Releases Huge Film Library for iPhone App


The NFB (National Film Board of Canada) has just released a new free iPhone app that lets you watch hundreds of their films.  You can use the app even while you’re away from hotspots by downloading films for viewing during a 24-hour period.  The NFB is one of my favorite places on the web for film.  They just do it the right way.  They make it easy.

This is an excellent way to distribute their huge collection of ground-breaking films.

You can get the app at the iTunes store.

iPod Art: Yard Umbrella

iPodArt-YardUmbrellaI’ve been having fun with my iPod Touch today.  I got inspired to draw with the excellent Brushes app but my fingers are big fat and clumsy, so it required lots of zooming to make the view big enough so my painting wasn’t just a bunch of gigantic blobs.  I drew the umbrella against a backdrop of foliage in my yard.  The weather has been just as excellent as it should look in the picture.

I’ve learned that David Hockney, one of the greatest artists in the world, is drawing on his iPhone with the same application.  His drawings are much more successful than mine, but it’s fun for anyone to draw with a finger!

Apple is a Nightmare of Censorship

andasgamecensorLook at the image to the left.  If that image disturbs you to the point of banning the comic book, you are unintelligent.  No doubt about it.  It disturbs Apple so much that they’ve removed the comic book from their App Store.  Clear censorship.  The comic book is by author Cory Doctorow who has written many fiction and non-fiction books.  Most of his work supports open source creativity and remix culture.  I suspect that there’s more to Apple’s censorship of this work than meets the eye.  Apple hates open source stuff.  They lock down their products like nobody’s business.  They even think it’s illegal for you to make your own applications to load onto your own iPhone or iPod Touch.

Recent events at Apple and Amazon paint a disturbing picture of what is going on with these technology-based companies as they try to handle creative content.  It seems that the more efficiently a company designs and builds technology, the more interested they become in controlling and censoring content.  This is the fundamental core of fascism.  It is a very dangerous idea to give control of publishing and content to these companies.  It must not be allowed to happen.  They do not care one whit about freedom of expression.

What has become very obvious over the past year to any discerning observer is that Apple is a far right-wing conservative organization with truly frightening ideas of what content should be made available on a publishing platform.  Censoring the image of the Ork getting his head chopped off in a comic book is just what I would expect from an Islamic fundamentalist group or a right-wing Christian organization.  If the Taliban opened their own app store, I doubt they would publish an application that features a bikini-clad female chopping Muhammad’s head off.

So here it is –  for all intents and purposes as far as creative expression is concerned: Apple = Taliban.

I think Apple has some very smart engineers and designers working for it, but is burdened with a high-functioning nitwit at its helm: Steve Jobs.  We hear a lot about how smart this fellow is, but he appears to be about as clever as your average car salesman.  Apple needs to dump this guy quickly and figure out how to run itself as a content distributor because Mr. Jobs is not up to the job.

In the 21st Century you don’t run around censoring creative work in the United States of America.  You do that in China, North Korea, Cuba, Syria, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, Singapore, Burma, etc.

I would suggest Mr. Jobs apply for a job in one of these places.  They would simply love to have him.