Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 15th Oct 2015 22:32 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

In the past few weeks, Marco Arment, co-founder of Tumblr and creator of Instapaper, released version 2 of his podcast application for iOS, Overcast, for free. There's only one in-app purchase, which doesn't unlock any additional functionality, but just sends some money Arment's way. Call it patronage, if you will. Coinciding with the release, he published a blog post in which he states that any indie developer can just give away their full work for free, so his 'new' model should work for everyone.

Obviously, this caused a bit of a ruckus, since it's easy for a multimillionaire like Arment to give away his work for free. His situation is clearly unique, and most independent application developers barely get by as it is. Or, as Samantha Bielefeld puts it:

The issue isn't that Marco is successful, there are many app developers who would love to be in the same position. He has earned his time in the spotlight, and it's only natural for him to take advantage of it. Though to state that anyone can simply do the same thing and be successful, is just plain wrong. He has accelerated the race to the bottom for the podcast app category, and he comes bearing a huge following of people who will give him money for nothing in return except for the possibility of further development of Overcast. The average developer isn't being called out by name by Phil Schiller for something negative they have written about Apple. The only thing "indie" about Marco is that he works by himself. He is far removed from the typical experience of app creators, and even if it's deserved, it wouldn't hurt for him to be a little more humble, and realistic.

And she's completely and utterly right, of course.

This doesn't surprise me, though. Over three years ago, when the first Retina MacBook Pro came out, Arment and I had a Twitter exchange about something he said: he said that any web developer should immediately run out and buy this €2300 laptop because retina would be the future, and if they didn't, they weren't taking their work seriously.

I pointed out to him that for the majority of people working on the web, €2300 is a lot of money, and most of us don't have that kind of money just lying around. It might be pocket change to a millionaire, but it's almost a full month's salary for me (now - not so much in 2012, when I earned much less than I do now), and in many places in the world with active web developers, it's probably several months' worth of salary.

This exchange with Arment has always stuck with me, because I wanted to make sure that I would never turn out this way. I'm not rich by any stretch of the imagination (i.e., Dutch standards!), but despite my income being decidedly middle-class, I still belong in the, uh, I don't know, top 5% or so of the world - just by virtue of being Dutch. I'm 'rich' enough to buy several new phones, tablets, and computers a year to make sure I remain familiar with as many platforms as possible for OSNews, but I realise damn well that I'm incredibly lucky I can do so, and would never just assume that everyone else can as well.

So no, this kind of attitude doesn't surprise me at all. I call this the Donald Trump reasoning: everybody can be rich, if only they were Donald Trump.

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RE[6]: Ugh...
by galvanash on Fri 16th Oct 2015 15:13 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Ugh..."
Member since:

Maybe this helps: instead of focusing on money, try focusing on what works. The cold and harsh truth is that the most developed countries with the lowest poverty ratings, best healthcare, best education, and happiest citizens are all... European welfare states. The very thing so many conservative Americans seem to fear.

I get that, but many of you guys over there don't seem to see our big picture here...

Our debt to GDP ratio is 108% and growing rapidly (its really a lot higher in reality because of peculiarities if how our finances are done, but it is 108% the way most countries measure it). The Dutch ratio is like 75% or something, a bit high, but manageable...

We have the 5th highest in the world, only behind Japan, Greece, Italy, and Portugal (pretty much poster children for f*cked up economies)... Im all for social programs, but Im more for fixing the fundamental problem first: we spend too much damn money and we don't tax logically.

What we need is sensible tax policy (i.e. taxing for the purpose of generating actual revenue as opposed to redistribution), and a focus on paying down our debt. I would not be opposed to new and better social programs if I thought the government was at least trying to honestly address this - but no one is and generally speaking both parties fiscal policy just keeps making the problem worse...

Now, I'm not saying you can just apply our policies 1:1 to America, but there's no denying that a lot of things the US gets wrong, we get right. Learn from it - even if that means possibly maybe perhaps accepting that something you consider as "socialist" just happen to be the least worst ways of achieving something.

Im not a loon. I know what socialist means and I don't think it is a bad word. But we have bigger problems right now. We just don't agree on priority. I want a government strong enough to actually do some of what you guys do over there - we simply don't have that right now.

edit - seriously, politics aside.. Look at this chart and tell me if you think that looks healthy to you:

Edited 2015-10-16 15:23 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[7]: Ugh...
by Lennie on Fri 16th Oct 2015 18:51 in reply to "RE[6]: Ugh..."
Lennie Member since:

If you want to fix spending then you need to fix the military-industrial complex.

They have their fingers in so many things, they are the cause of lots of government spending, even wars.

Take the recent leaked documents about drones for example, it sounds like some futuristic high-tech killing device, but the reality is: "nearly 90 percent of the people killed in airstrikes were not the intended targets."

At least now you don't have to wonder where terrorism comes from.

Not that I know how you'd need to do that.

You'd probably need to first adopt some of the ideas of Lawrence Lessig to fix how voting results are counted and get the money out of politics.

Do I see that happening any time soon ? Nope.

If you folks don't fix your country the Chinese Yuan Renminbi will be the next global currency and the US Dollar less and less important. With all the debt in the US that might be really bad news. It might be the last things keeping the US economy running.

PS Not saying the Dutch or even the EU is doing really well. Or even China for that matter.

Edited 2015-10-16 18:59 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[8]: Ugh...
by galvanash on Fri 16th Oct 2015 19:46 in reply to "RE[7]: Ugh..."
galvanash Member since:

If you want to fix spending then you need to fix the military-industrial complex.

Not trying to be rude, but that kind of thinking is exactly the problem. Yeah, military spending is part of the problem, but you can't fix things just by turning one knob. Total military spending in the US is about 30% of what we spend on social security and healthcare. That in itself wouldn't be so bad, but the 3 combined (social security, healthcare, and military) end up being over 75% of total spending, leaving little for science, education, transportation, environment, etc. In fact the biggest expense after the big 3 ends up being paying interest on all the damn debt.

We don't need to cut military spending. We need to cut spending on everything, and increase taxes on everyone. Not a lot, and not all at once, but that is the only way to make any progress at this point. Short of doing that we all just bicker over our sacred cows while we slowly bankrupt the country and everyone loses...

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[8]: Ugh...
by IgnitusBoyone on Fri 16th Oct 2015 20:00 in reply to "RE[7]: Ugh..."
IgnitusBoyone Member since:

A realistic tax policy that wasn't aimed at behavioural adjustment could really simply things. Just git rid of Deductions and Credits and tax income after the poverty line based off the average effective tax rate. Maybe have 3 tiers of tax brackets as so your first 50k after poverty is taxed X and then after that its taxed Y.

They always complain your trying to pull over something when candidates propose it, but the reality is we pay on average X amount of our income a year now which is always less then the real tax bracket. Just get rid of the complication and match the rates to what people actually pay then live with in your means.

Reply Parent Score: 1