About 10 years ago, when I was wearing the very unique hat of “Mac gaming journalist”, I got to meet a lot of remarkable people. One such person was Corey Tamas, who I met just as he was taking over Mike Dixon’s much beloved Mac Gamer’s Ledge and transitioning it into MacGamer.com, which recently relaunched after a few years of hiatus. Corey is a family man with a huge heart, a big Doctor Who fan (like bow ties, Doctor Who fans are cool), and one of the people that I will forever consider part and parcel of “Mac gaming”. He’s good people.
That said, sometimes he writes things I just can’t agree with, which brings us to today’s “10 Reasons Gamers Should Choose a Mac Over an iPhone/iPad“. Besides being a weird apples vs. oranges comparison – why not have both? – the ten reasons range from shaky to silly to flat-out wrong. Corey has authorized me to do my worst, so as a general survey of what’s going on with iOS gaming, here’s 10 Reasons Corey Tamas Is Wrong.
For all of my friends and readers with existing iPhone/iPod Touch hardware, today is an exciting day: iOS 4 is now available via iTunes. But before you go rushing to update your phone, let me give you one small piece of advice:
Apple has done a great job bringing some of the enterprise security features (complex passcodes, wipe on 10 failures, etc) to regular users as part of the upgrade. One of the new features in iOS 4 that has been underreported on is called “Data Protection“. From my understanding, Data Protection is meant to correct some of the issues with the original hardware encryption method introduced last year on the 3GS and 3rd Gen iPod Touch. It also provides developers with better APIs for encrypting your data, so that if you’re carrying around your financial data or health information, you can get an additional level of security. Additionally, there’s no discernible performance hit.
Sounds great, right? There’s a tiny catch: if you’re upgrading from iOS 3, the filesystem needs to be rebuilt from scratch to enable this feature. So if you have an iPhone 3GS or iPod Touch 3rd Gen, you need to do a backup-factory restore-data restore installation of iOS 4. To break this into discrete steps:
- Plug in your iPhone.
- Let it backup through iTunes.
- Rather than clicking “Upgrade”, click “Restore”.
- Let iTunes download the installer and do a complete restore.
- When the installation is done, iTunes will prompt you about restoring from the backup you just took. Do so.
- Wait the somewhat lengthy amount of time as all your data is put back onto your phone.
You can confirm this has been done by going to Preferences -> General -> Passcode Lock and scrolling to the very bottom, where you should see “Data Protection is enabled.”
That’s it. You will need to set a passcode to get the benefit of this (but you should have that anyhow); iPhone 4 users will automatically have this out of the box. You are certainly allowed to just do a regular upgrade, but you won’t get data protection (and if you’re in an enterprise, know that configuration profiles can check against this as a pre-requisite.) And for those on earlier hardware – sorry, you lack the hardware chip to do the encryption.
Developers who are interested in the technical details or in leveraging Data Protection should check out Session 209, “Securing Application Data”, in the WWDC 10 videos.
Enjoy the upgrade.
Thirty thousand feet up, I am sitting in the corner. Sandra Bullock’s “The Proposal” is playing soundlessly on nine-inch screens throughout the cabin. I am seated next to an older European woman who keeps using her tray-table as a pillow and a nondescript man. The seatbelt sign is on. A poor simulacrum of dinner is sitting in my stomach despite my watch saying it’s barely 4PM. In five hours, I will stumble in to my hotel room for a few hours of sleep before jet lag snaps me awake and I get ready for the week ahead.
This is not how I had intended to spend my thirtieth birthday.
WWDC 2010 was announced to be the week of my birthday for the second time in my life, and as is tradition, I am heading to San Francisco to attend. The trip that encompassed my 25th was unforgettable, if for no other reason than the keynote where Apple dropped the Intel bomb. This is my fifth trip to WWDC, my seventh trip to San Francisco, my eighth time to California. It is both a blessing and a curse, a week full of seeing distant friends while simultaneously running myself into the ground. I am already looking forward to next weekend.
Last night, my mother decided to scan the first photo ever taken of me, being held by my father and screaming shortly after my birth. This morning, I asked Katie to take a new portrait of me. (I tend to reuse the same picture of myself everywhere online for years at a time, and the old one was getting long in the tooth.)
So this is what thirty years looks like:
To all my friends, know that you are all always in my heart even if circumstance keeps us apart. I could not imagine for a greater group of friends. I love you all.
To my family, who have always supported me unconditionally, know that I could have never become who I am without you. I love you all.
To my wife, who has stuck with me through every twist and turn I’ve thrown at her, know that you are my everything. I can’t wait to be home with you, and I’m already counting down the hours. I love you.