This Space for Rent

Why, no, I won’t be using the Apple App Store any time soon

One of the things we’ve taken to doing is buying copies of a local earthy-crunchy(ish) coupon book (the Chinook Book, which isn’t really local anymore), which costs us US$20 a whack and gives us something on the order of US$40’s worth of coupons we can use (things like “buy one/get one free” from Bob’s Red Mill, which is a screaming deal when the “buy one” is a 25 pound bag of oats, which means that the corresponding 25 pound bag of organic flour [needed to balance the load on my trek when I bring it the 4-8 miles back to home (the distance depends on the weather. 50 pounds of cargo on an extracycle pretty much prevents me from doing a R100 after stopping by Bob’s Red Mill, but it’s pretty easy to make up a 15 mile loop shopping loop from Milwaukie to Westmoreland, even if it does involve rowing the mighty xtracycle up one or two steep ramps] costs me an additional 0¢.

This year they’ve got something new that they’re shilling like mad (at least 20 separate advertisements within the Chinook Book itself – they’ve got an online coupon book for the iPhone (and iPod touch) that you can get from the Apple App Store, then unlock by feeding it a unlock code that they provide in the paper Chinook Book.

Now, I’ve got an iPod Touch that I use as an alarm clock and thermometer (it was a gift from my mother, who bought it and couldn’t find any use for it either,) so I thought “why not? It might actually make it worthwhile to carry the iPod down to the store with me.” and tried to get the offending app.

Now, it’s a really pain in the butt trying to do anything texty on the teeny tiny iPod Touch (no keyboard except for an onscreen one. I’d jailbroken my iPod, of course, but immediately found it impossible to do any software development on because I couldn’t type at the screen, but if I telnetted in (iOS? It’s Unix, but with the nice Apple GUI stripped off and replaced by a glossy but almost X11ish clumsy WYSIAYG cellphone UI) the Touch would go to sleep at inconvenient times and require my taking coding breaks to reach over and wipe my finger across the screen just to keep it awake.) But I figured that I’d only need to do the whole App Store nonsense once and then I’d have a nicely lobotomised autocoupon program sitting on my alarm clock.

Well, the first thing the App Store threw at me was a 55(!) page licensing agreement which basically said “you agree that if you’re stupid enough to give us a credit card number we have the right to charge it up to the limit, then laugh at you when you complain.” I wasn’t planning on giving them any credit card information (remember the Chinook Book app is supposed to be free) so I accepted the license and continued to the “set up your account” page, which asked for an email address, a password, a password reminder, and a clue.

So I gave it a password, a password reminder, and a clue.

None of which were accepted by the stupid App Store. The password was TOO SHORT! The password reminder was TOOOO SHORT! And I suspect the clue was TOOOOOOO SHOOOOORT!!! as well, but I didn’t see anything more than the top of that bright red alert box before I told Apple they could screw themselves and shut down Safari.

Dear Chinook Book; I like the coupons, but I’ll stick to paper, thanks, because I’m not in the mood to prove to Apple that I’m conformant enough to be allowed access to their stupid App Store.

(And this answers any of my questions about wanting to get an iPad, too. It would be nice to have a little tablet computer, but if my experience with the iPod Touch is any indication I’d jailbreak the iPad, then just not use it because the rest of the user interface is designed along the lines of “why, yes, the Finder is useful, and that’s why it had to die.” At least MacOS (up to version 10.5) lets you install applications from anywhere, and has a good terminal program so I can get to a command line like G-d himself intended.)