MacStories Reading List: January 29 – February 5

With quarterly earnings, education announcements and Macworld under its belt, this week the Apple community had time to think and reflect upon recent events. Much of the controversy surrounding the iBooks Author EULA is gone, thanks to a clarification from Apple with a software update and Zynga now taking the spot of most hated company on the planet. At least for this week. Independent writers and bloggers share their thoughts on what it means to attend Macworld besides getting to report on news and interview people, whilst Harry McCracken provides us with a fantastic piece against "Apple is like a cult" promoters. Meanwhile, Apple's Q1 2012 results are still impressing a large part of the blogosphere.

It's this week's Reading List, so get comfortable, fire up your read-later application of choice, and enjoy.

After switching to an iPhone as her primary phone, Gina Trapani explains why it's better to set your iOS folders to have verb-based names, rather than nouns.

Thinking it through, I realized this category-based naming convention just doesn't align with my basic mental construct of what software is. Organizing items by category makes sense in libraries and bookstores, on restaurant menus, in music and movies—but not apps. An app isn't consumable media. An app is a tool. It helps you perform an action, to do something. Modern programming languages and APIs are verb-based (think MyObject->setName() and and HTTP's GET and POST), and the user interface should be, too. That's when I settled on a verb-based folder system.

- Good Tools Have Verb-Based Interfaces, Gina Trapani (@ginatrapani)

Shawn Blanc writes about Macworld 2012 and his impressions as an independent writer.

From a professional standpoint, attending Macworld was a no-brainer. As a writer, meeting peers in my field and developers whose products I write about was invaluable. Relatedly, I didn’t crack my MacBook Air open one time during the whole event. All the notes I took, all the links I posted, all the writing I did, I did from my iPhone. How fitting, eh?

- Macworld 2012, Shawn Blanc (@shawnblanc)

Continuing the discussion as to whether the iPad can be defined a PC or not, Terry Lucy shares his definition of "personal computer".

A Personal Computer (PC) is a device that one can interact with seamlessly. A device that can store memories, media, books, TV and film for the user to consume on-demand. A device that the user can create and share their own content from. A personal computer is a device that is easy to use for anyone.

- The iPad isn’t just a PC, it’s the ultimate personal computer, Terry Lucy (@terrylucy)

Shamus Young chimes in on the latest Zynga Vs. Rest of the World controversy, and explains why, unfortunately, sometimes it's better to avoid lawsuits and courts and accept the fact that this is a world of cheap knock-offs.

If there was a law to fight against people like Zynga, it could easily be abused by big publishers to stomp out the competition. Can you imagine how hard it would be to make the average Angry Birds player understand the difference between Mass Effect and Halo? The difference between Quake 4 and Prey? Fallout 3 and STALKER? Why Torchlight is a "Diablo clone" and Neverwinter Nights 2 isn't?

- Copyrights and Copycats, Shamus Young (@shamusyoung)

Evernote Essentials' author Brett Kelly shares his position on iBooks Author, and why it is important for an independent publisher to have a way to contact his customers (and readers) directly.

Like I said in that other post I wrote about eBook writing/selling, I capture an email address and name for each person who buys from me because, a) I want to keep in contact with them and try to add more value than just the eBook itself and b) having a list of names and email addresses of people who buy your stuff is extremely valuable. Sounds like Internet douchebaggery or whatever, but this is a business, after all.

- A Detailed Explanation of Why I Won’t Be Using Apple’s iBooks Author, Brett Kelly (@inkedmn)

Interesting numbers about Apple's Q1 2012 and the current state of the competition by Jean-Louis Gassée.

Third and last for today: Macintosh.

Although it now plays third fiddle to its iPhone and iPad siblings, the “historic” Macintosh looks hale: +26% in units, +22% in revenue. That’s $6.6B with an operating margin in the 25% range. Compare this to HP, the world’s largest PC maker. In its last reported quarter, HP booked about $10B of PC revenue, with a 6% margin.

- Apple Post-Quartum Thoughts, Jean-Louis Gassée (@gassee)

Rob LeFebvre interviews TapTapTap's John Casasanta, developer of App Store blockbuster Camera+.

The direction the industry is moving in this regard really does sicken me. The trend (mostly with games) is to have companies sitting around a big table brainstorming how to waste people’s time enough to the point where they pony-up some dough via virtual trinkets to prevent it. This is very unfortunate for society in general and companies like Zynga are the root of this evil in my opinion. Maybe I’m just old and crotchety but I recall a day when the primary goal of game designers was to create fun games. But I guess this new way is what we’re going to have to expect in this post-”appocalyptic,” 99¢ world where many of these entities can only be loosely called games.

- How Camera+’s John Casasanta made millions off a $1 app, Rob LeFebvre (@roblef)

Macworld veteran Ted Landau takes a look at this year's Macworld | iWorld transition and why it's the right move for the community.

The transition is complete. After struggling to find a new identity in its post-Apple environment, Macworld | iWorld has hit its stride. It is no longer seeking a return to its past glories — days that will never happen again. Instead, the show has planted a stick in the ground and said: “Enough with the past. This is where we are now. Let’s move forward. Let’s not worry whether this is better or worse than the Macworld from five years ago. Instead, let’s just make this year’s event the best it can be and work to make next year’s even better. And see how that goes.

- Macworld | iWorld Reinvents Itself, Ted Landau (@tedlandau)

Looking back, Om explains, is the wrong way to do business in today's society. Apple's transformation in the past years is an example.

McNamee’s argument aligns with my own belief that if you walk looking backward, you are going to run into a pole. Instead, look back, only to see how far you have come. As a chronicler of technology, one of the biggest lessons I have learned is that innovation is almost always unpredictable — in size, timing, scope and impact. In other words, the business of technology is constantly defining what is the new normal. In case you were wondering why I am bringing this up, I will point to some stories I read this week.

- Apple, Internet and the constant new normal, Om Malik (@om)

We'd like to thank Harry McCracken for producing a reasonable, level-headed article on why it's stupid in 2012 to compare Apple's user base to a "cult".

Stallman and Raymond, I’m afraid, are unable to process the possibility that intelligent folks might make a rational decision to select Apple products. They’re confounded by the fact not everybody shares their priorities, and assume that it’s a sign of a weak will. That’s the bottom line with most people that believe that Apple users are cultists: There’s something about someone else wanting something that they don’t want that confuses and upsets them.

It’s Time to Stop Talking About the Apple Cult, Harry McCracken (@harrymccracken)

Chris Foresman at Ars Technica reflects on the new nature of Macworld and what it means for journalists and Apple fans alike.

As a tech journalist, Macworld has gradually become less interesting. As a user of Apple's products and a geek in general, however, the show has become perhaps more interesting.

Macworld|iWorld 2012 completes post-Apple transition to "iFan event", Chris Foresman (@foresmac)

A great read by Matthew Panzarino on a lesson he learned at Macworld: if you want to do something, start doing it.

One designer fell in love with creating and taught himself by asking questions and using resources on the internet. A developer began learning to code with a simple Mac app called Game Maker and couldn’t stop. Another sustained his business through massive debt and out the other side because he believed in what they were doing. Some live in tiny apartments and others have earned and lost fortunes.

But most importantly, they started something and kept doing it. They realized that what they were doing was the thing that they loved more than anything else and began to do it.

- What I learned at Macworld: Yoda was right, Matthew Panzarino (@mpanzarino)

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