AltConf is a community-driven event, assembled to serve developers and a product driven community. Held in downtown San Francisco at the AMC Metreon with 400 seats spread over 2 theatres. AltConf is an annual event timed alongside Apple‘s WWDC, June 13-16, 2016.
My fiancée Judy is a consummate gamer. The other day I was horrified to see she’d started one of these “harvest and harass” games that have become a cancer on our industry. At the risk of paternalism, I suggested she choose something else to play, to which she protested that she wasn’t able to find anything better. Everything out there was either too violent, or too Zynga.
Since my Twitter stream is a veritable who’s who of the industry, I thought I’d tap the collective wisdom to get some recommendations for her. Capitulating to popular demand, I thought I would share people’s recommendations with all of you.
Note that while I didn’t specify platform, Judy is an iOS gal, so I’ve listed things with an “iOS > Mac > Other” bias. Still, many of these are available on other platforms. Use your least unfavorite search engine, or check the developers’ sites, for different versions.
For starters, a lot of people recommended games by PopCap. These guys are the kings of casual gaming for a reason, and have published games on platforms I’ve never even heard of. Here are their iOS offerings:
If we’re going to be successful in defending our industry from extortionists, we need to focus on extortion. If we spend our energy bickering with each other over our personal agendas, we will fail.
Apple is not a patent troll. Neither is Microsoft. Neither is PixFusion. Patent trolls, by definition, produce nothing but lawsuits. Using the legalized monopoly power of a patent against competitors is how the system is designed to work. Whether that system should exist at all is a separate issue. Whether this company or that company is being a dick is a separate issue.
We are going after one type of behavior: obtaining patents for the sole purpose of extracting licensing fees. That this is a burden to all technologists is something we should all be able to agree on, and is therefore something that we should all be able to work together to change.
If we start equating Apple to Intellectual Ventures, or if we try to eliminate software patents entirely, we are going to find ourselves up against the platform vendors, and we are going to lose. Save those battles for another day.
The past few weeks have been very dark indeed. Rovio and others targeted by new lawsuits, Craig Hockenberry predicting doom, and Matt Gemmell’s morale falling like Stonewall Jackson. The only thing keeping me from joining my colleagues in abject depression is working for an 11th hour rally.
Rally time starts now.
Intellectual Ventures and their ilk are many tentacled beasts who use thousands of shell companies to do their dirty work. When they send blood-sucking tentacles like Lodsys into our community, we need to cut them off.
Eventually the head will figure out to stop losing tentacles. Eventually the patent trolls will learn to avoid indies the way dogs in East Texas learn to avoid anthills.
Of course patent trolls are more likely to be from California than from Texas, so they might not know about the anthills. I actually spent part of my childhood in Texas, and learned the hard way that if you step on an anthill you’ll soon be covered in swarming, biting ants. You could, in theory, crush them one by one, but it’s much easier to just avoid anthills.
Let App Makers be as the ants of East Texas, minding their business until someone invades their anthill. Then Swarm! Swarm! Swarm! We will let the patent trolls know: if you attack one indie, you attack all indies, and we will file every motion we can against you, we will attack your patents, and we will show you for the mafioso thugs you are.
Our general in this fight is Michael McCoy, a Longhorn Texas technology attorney who is also conveniently licensed in California. We’ve been meeting in Amsterdam to hammer out a strategy and form a plan for immediate action.
When he returns to work next week, Michael will assemble and lead the Appsterdam Legal Defense Team, establish the Appsterdam Legal Defense Fund, and start implementing our strategy, codenamed Operation Anthill.
Legal action and education will be the start. We will also consider other ways of protecting ourselves, such as pushing for legislative reform. Of course, our enemies are both wealthier and better connected than we are, so will have to take our story to the people, let the public know that small businesses, jobs, and the economy are being threatened by parasites—and pray that democracy can still prevail.
We must move the fight away from the story that has been conceived by our enemies. This isn’t a patent infringement issue. There’s nothing most of the affected App Makers could have done to avoid being targeted. This is extortion, plain and simple, with the familiar twist of misappropriating the law to harass the very innovators patents are meant to protect.
NPR primed the pump of public awareness with the latest episode of This American Life, “When Patents Attack!” Ready or not, the time to act is now. I propose a tongue-in-check brown ribbon campaign to raise awareness. Brown? Obviously.
Software patents are bullshit.
Steve “Scottie” Scott and John Fox of iDTV recorded an interview with Michael McCoy and me, Mike Lee. (8:15 audio file, MP3 format). If you are a member of the media and would like a high quality copy for your broadcast, or would like to schedule an interview, please contact bmf at le.mu.rs.
News from the front has not been promising. Tech blogs read like Tolkien short stories. Our colleagues are being overrun by patent trolls. Widget Press is about to fall, and Iconfactory may be next.
None of us are ready to take up this fight, but if we don’t bring the fight to them, they’re going to bring the fight to us.
At this point we have two options. We continue business as usual, going along our separate paths, spending each day praying we are not the next to fall. Or we stand together, here and now, and fight back.
Abandon the notion that lawyers are our enemies. There are many lawyers who would like to help stop this misuse of patent law. I know because when lawyers and others want to help App Makers, they contact the Appsterdam movement.
Our goal is to serve the interests of App Makers all over the world, and there is no greater interest than fighting the destruction of our industry, our businesses, and our way of life.
Let this be our rallying cry. We’re starting by putting the call out for attorneys and patent experts who would like to help assemble a legal team: email bmf at le.mu.rs.
In a few weeks, we’ll set up a legal defense fund to fuel that team. Then we will formulate and implement a strategy to fight these bastards.
Together, we will get the message across: If you come after indies, we will come after you. They can afford to fight, but we cannot afford to lose.