[Humanist] 24.375 iPad apps for us; Goodreader

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Fri Oct 1 22:39:36 CEST 2010


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 24, No. 375.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org



        From: Humanist Discussion Group <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 24, No. 374.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

  [1]   From:    James Rovira <jamesrovira at gmail.com>                      (25)
        Subject: Goodreader Updates

  [2]   From:    Desmond Schmidt <desmond.schmidt at qut.edu.au>              (14)
        Subject: RE: [Humanist] 24.370 iPad apps by us

  [3]   From:    Timothy Hill <timothy.d.hill at gmail.com>                   (42)
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 24.365 iPad apps by us


--[1]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Thu, 30 Sep 2010 21:54:24 -0400
        From: James Rovira <jamesrovira at gmail.com>
        Subject: Goodreader Updates

Goodreader's latest update now allows .pdf annotation.  I did try
iAnnotate on another person's iPad and liked it a great deal.  Will be
curious to see what people who use both say about them, especially
given the price difference between the two.

<<Major update introducing major new feature - PDF Annotations,
including notes, highlights, markups and drawings:
- all annotations that you create or edit in GoodReader - notes,
highlights, markups, and drawings - are saved in a PDF file, so you
will be able to see them later on a computer or in another copy of
GoodReader on your colleague's device
- all notes, highlights, markups, and drawings created outside
GoodReader, and properly stored in a PDF file, can be viewed or edited
in GoodReader
- types of annotations that you can create and edit in GoodReader:
comments ("sticky notes") with 7 different icons, text highlights,
freehand drawings, lines, arrows, rectangles, ovals, text underlines,
text deletion marks (strikeouts), text insertion marks, text
replacement marks. You can freely adjust color of all of the above.
- other types of annotations that you can view in GoodReader: text
boxes with callouts, polygons and polylines, squiggly underlines,
cloudy shapes, rubber stamps, file attachments. All annotations that
can be viewed, can also be deleted. In addition, some of them can be
edited in a limited fashion (color, placement, scale).
- you can now extract files from PDF file attachments>>

Jim R



--[2]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Fri, 1 Oct 2010 13:27:31 +1000
        From: Desmond Schmidt <desmond.schmidt at qut.edu.au>
        Subject: RE: [Humanist] 24.370 iPad apps by us
        In-Reply-To: <20100930215031.90415878DD at woodward.joyent.us>

Hi Dave,

I think there may be an advantage in developing for a proprietary hardware platform such 
as the iPad despite any moral distaste you may feel. Writing iPad applications seems 
to be relatively simple, and even fun. So any loss of development effort due to future changes in 
the system won't be any more costly than maintaining a more stable product that makes use of 
existing convoluted standards.  What I'd love to see (and probably never will) is one standard 
and one language for web applications that handles everything from server to client. Until we 
see that I will resign myself to developing for the inevitable rubbish bin, so long as my product 
gets consumed by a few users on the way.

best
Desmond


--[3]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Fri, 1 Oct 2010 11:11:23 +0100
        From: Timothy Hill <timothy.d.hill at gmail.com>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 24.365 iPad apps by us
        In-Reply-To: <20100929222202.E365584FB8 at woodward.joyent.us>

> My original point was that if a target audience uses the iPad and/or the
> iPad offers capabilities that your application requires, or both, then
> develop for the iPad. Neither one of those are "ethical" questions.

Ah, but it's not that simple, is it - because the 'target audience' is
to an extent determined by the applications developed for the iPad.

Tech companies have long realised that users are interested foremost
in content, and not in platform: that, in other words, the best way to
create platform lock-in is to ensure that desirable content is
accessible only on your particular platform. The most successful
attempt at this kind of platform-monopoly-through-content-control is
Microsoft's domination of the world through its business/office
applications; the most obnoxious was probably the Browser Wars, which
saw every company implementing HTML in some slightly different way in
the hopes that *its* implementation would become the default on the
www.

Everyone knows the results: developing becomes less about writing and
improving tools, and more about negotiating corporation-created
obstacles in an attempt to get one's applications working across
platforms. Whether one wishes to classify this as an "ethical" or a
"technical" evil is neither here nor there; but the factors that have
tended to mitigate it are open standards and a community process.

Apple is, quite clearly, attempting platform lock-in through cornering
the market on content. If there were any doubts on this score they've
been entirely obliterated by Steve Jobs' (now failed) attempt to make
sure that iDevice apps are not only compiled into *but originally
written in* Objective-C. And while it's true that the 'iPad has no
restrictions on the data formats iPad applications can read', Apple's
continuing claim that what its browser reads is somehow HTML 5 is a
pure old-skool Browser Wars tactic.

Of course, Apple is not particularly to be censured for this: it's
just a corporation behaving as corporations tend (and are, perhaps,
legally obliged) to behave.

But this doesn't mean that we, as developers and humanists, have to
play into the hands of this strategy. We can (and generally do) favour
open standards and platforms; should consider all platform options
that are on the table (as an aside, I'm puzzled by the repeated ease
with which Android drops out of this conversation); and ought to
consider the extent to which commitment to a proprietary platform is
simply storing up a rod for our own backs in the future.

Timothy Hill
Centre for Computing in the Humanities
King's College London







More information about the Humanist mailing list