I’m still loving my iPod touch. It’s really a great little handheld computer. I’m able to do almost everything I need with the stock apps, but there are a couple free third-party apps that have earned a permanent place on it. One is the game Chess With Friends from NewToy. This is a version of what is also known as “postal” or “correspondence” chess. You make a move and send it to your opponent; your opponent makes a move and sends it back to you.
It will surprise few that I have not yet given Apple $10 for the privilege of upgrading my iPod touch (“iPt”) firmware from 1.1.5 to 2.x. Update: A month after posting this, I took the plunge. Version 2.2 came with some nice little improvements. I still miss my shell, but at least I have an SSH app! At first, I resisted out of attachment to the open source software I had installed via Cydia – with no supported “upgrade” process per se, I would have had to reinstall all my packages manually.
At the Western Mass. Developers Group meeting this week I showed a few people some of the unixy fun you can have with a (jailbroken) iPod touch and the Cydia package manager. Cydia is a port of Debian’s APT system to the iPhone platform – i.e. it’s a real package manager. It made it a snap to install Python, Mobile Terminal, Mobile Text Edit, Subversion, etc. This is the toolset that has allowed me to even do some work on the book as I mentioned in my last post.
This began as a quick reply to a discussion on the Well about a recent posting from John Gruber which links to a hit list from Crackberry.com about the iPhone. Gruber focuses just on the keyboard issue, about which I found I had this to say: With the built-in spelling correction, I can type close to 30wpm on my iPt keyboard. This is faster than I ever was with Graffiti, which I used for about 8 years and was pretty good at if I say so.
My first week with the iPt has been a thorough validation of my decision to jump ship from the Palm platform. The things this new device doesn’t do are still a problem, but the things it does do it does incredibly well. I won’t gush over those because they’ve all been thoroughly gushed over. But anybody who thinks the success of the iPhone/iPt platform is primarily based on superficial factors of appearance or brand image likely hasn’t used one for more than two minutes.