"Notifications" across every platform drive me crazy, because they usually start out as useful, but because people tend to pay them more attention than all the other channels that have already been tuned out, companies start juicing them for engagement. I use twitter rarely, but every time I do I am perplexed why my "notifications" are full of crap about who recently tweeted. Shouldn't that just be in my timeline?
This is exactly what the Android notification channels allow you to do, and it actually works really well.
For UberEats I have the Delivery notification channel enabled, but the Marketing channel disabled. It's really the best of both worlds. And even more surprisingly it seems most apps support this, instead of putting all notifications under one channel.
I'm surprised Apple hasn't followed suit; NIH syndrome maybe?
[added additional external reference]
I don't think that's true. They will introduce 4 different priority levels a notification can have. It's still vastly different from Android's notification channels.
Would be great if iOS copied Android and had systemwide channels.
I don't recall getting marketing notifications from Uber Eats. What infuriates me are the follow up notifications (paraphrased):
"How was $RESTAURANT_NAME? Please rate and tip!"
"How was $PERSON_NAME's delivery? Please rate and tip!"
"$PERSON_NAME says thanks for the tip!"
I imagine Uber Eats would categorize them under Delivery so you can't opt out of these without opting out of the notifications that are actually useful.
The problem I have are the apps which don't allow that, which presumably also wouldn't allow to separate them into channels for the same reason they don't let you turn them off.
I don't think so, it's just built into the OS which I personally prefer.
>The problem I have are the apps which don't allow that, which presumably also wouldn't allow to separate them into channels for the same reason they don't let you turn them off.
I think Apple is in a good position to enforce this though, given how strict their review process can be. They could easily reject apps that didn't use notification channels properly. I'm sure some would find a way to abuse but I think that would be a minority.
As I said I was surprised on Android by how many apps actually used them, despite not being enforced. I can only imagine they would be even better on iOS, which is why I'm so confused as to why Apple hasn't.
The key feature for me is that, as soon as I get a notification that annoys me, I can long press on the notification and disable that channel or notifications from that app altogether. I don't have to go into the app and dig through a settings menu; it takes me all of 3 seconds to do what I want.
Maybe because developers want to do the Right Thing, and they can implement these notification groups with no effort and without the marketing department noticing it?
Because this is something apps should have been doing themselves. But I guess Android will prove (or has proven, at least to me) that it's necessary to enforce this.
After all, nothing is stopping apps from providing a single channel, right? It all comes down to providing developers with a basic framework, making it easier to do the right thing.
I'd love to customise the alert level for news apps. I would leave on actually important breaking news, but I have to turn it all off because they bombard me with worthless stuff. I want to know if the PMs head explodes, but I really don't care which royal has had another baby.
My bank, which is otherwise great, does this. Critically important push notifications and a pretty steady stream of meaningless advertisement.
Sure, 99% of them are expected, but it's nice to confirm deposits from my employer were on time, automated payments triggered as planned, etc. Plus, it catches anything nefarious (we had one card hacked a few years ago).
My credit cards also send reminders when payments are scheduled or due (1-2 are set to autopay, but 1-2 are manual pay).
Edit - none of my banks send junk notices. And most of them are configurable for which notices I want, with $ thresholds as well.
And online, the validation/authorization isn't any better - as long as somebody has the card number and my zip code, they can do as they please (until/unless some banking anti-fraud algo picks it up).
Before that they sent an SMS code, I much prefer the app notification.
So far, they've all been purchases I authorized, but I like knowing that I'd get a heads-up if something shady were going on.
Same for bank transactions over a size I specify.
Apple could definitely copy that. Right now the iOS notification system is useless because of how overwhelmed you get with everything and how notifications disappear by themselves when you unlock the phone.
I get a bunch of messages from my friend on Steam, so I tap to read them, but if I tap the wrong way it opens the app instead, makes all the messages disappear, and I have to wait until I get to a place with internet again before I can see what he said.
Another thing that drives me absolutely nuts in iOS, and that stems form its lack of a usable notification system, is that it considers it okay to interrupt your train of thought with modal alerts. When your battery gets low, you get an alert in your face. When there's a system update, you get an alert in your face when you unlock the device (and then an annoying, very dark-pattern-y "enter your passcode to install overnight" screen). When there's any number of things about Apple services you couldn't care less about, you get an alert in your face, too. On (stock) Android, all these things are notifications that can be ignored for as long as you desire.
Discord is the same way and it drives me mad, especially considering how fussy it can be about connecting. Snapchat on the other hand handles it right. If I get a notification (for an actual chat at least), I am able to open it anytime later regardless of whether or not my phone is still connected.
See “Helping People Manage Notifications” section.
A couple of years ago: Allow all or no notifications, hard to find settings to turn off
Current: Allow all, but easy to manage from home screen, apps that want to offer a choice of types of notification must figure out how, create config UI, make sure system is stable. Users must find, and each app is different and often report options are not working
iOS 15: A general framework that at the code level, each notification can declare. iOS unifies the UI for managing levels per app. Good actors will have lower costs, bad actors can be detected in device predictions.
I only see benefits, and you can still block apps abusing it
> Never designate a marketing notification as Time Sensitive. For guidance, see Helping People Manage Notifications.
Although I'm not clear on whether this are just HIG guidelines for notifications or if they are enforceable App Store rules.
Every app that I install, I have to go through the same routine of finding and killing all the various types of notifications it tries to send me. But I don't want apps to notify me of things. Ever. I'll check my email a few times a day, and the various messenger apps once every few weeks, and they will have a list of new messages.
I'm fine with the phone ringing when one of my contacts calls. But that's the full extent of where I'm prepared to allow it to distract me.
The iOS notification ecosystem is actually miles better than it was in the iOS 4-10 days, I think it's fairly user respectful now.
Do you have an example?
To be fair, they don't ABUSE it to the extent that it happens frequently. But they are still promotional messages I didn't want. I'd say they send 6-8 per year.
The Apple "Tips" app sends TONS of messages too. Granted that can be fixed by deleting the app. But people like my Mom still gets those messages to this day because she doesn't realize they are tied to that app and I don't believe they are opt-in, I think they are opt-out, meaning they are enabled on new phones by default (like Messages app and your Phone app). I know everyone here has deleted that app, but I bet most of our parents or children still have it installed and still get those messages.
The funny thing about this comment in general is that many people probably don't realize they get notifications from Apple either. But as I mention examples they probably think, "Oh yeah, I've gotten those too". That is the biggest problem. We get so many notifications that many of us simply forget them. You get a notification that the new Macbook Pro is released and you simply read it on the backthread of your brain and dismiss it without much intentional thought. That is how Notifications have become for people. I tried to get my mom to clear up her notifications recently and she simply doesn't think about it anymore. It is just something you deal with if you own a modern phone. It isn't something you control. Like how you don't really control the billboards that you see while commuting to work. You can't disable billboards (other than actively driving to avoid them). But you brain doesn't dwell on them either. You are aware of their presence, but don't expel energy to digest every one. Notifications have become the same way. But they shouldn't be that way. We can (technologically speaking) disable them and the tools to disable them or control them should be granted to smartphone users.
1. Launch the Music app.
2. Select the “For You” tab at the bottom (little heart icon) this will take you to an advertisement page trying to get you to sign up.
3. Towards the top of the page and to the right of “$date For You” there’s a profile icon. Select it to bring up a tab called “Your Account”.
4. Select “notifications” and you can toggle “New Music” off.
Oddly enough, mine was toggled off when I checked and I know I’ve gotten these notifications in the very recent past. I wonder if it changed to default-off in a recent update in anticipation of iOS 15’s new “focus” feature and Apple’s newfound commitment to battling notification pollution?
Ah, I have Apple Music, that would explain why I don't see these.
Yeah, that ain't right.
> That is the biggest problem. We get so many notifications that many of us simply forget them.
And it's a game of whac-a-mole to turn them all off. And keep them off.
Besides the notifications I think it's a dark pattern from Apple to actually show a red number badge above the settings app when there is no actionable item except the two things mentioned above.
Yeah, this really drives me crazy.
I've simply uninstalled all food delivery apps that send promotions using the "General" category (IIRC Grubhub was the work offender).
Uber Eats and DoorDash categorize their promotional notifications appropriately, so I never see them (and do get notifs about my deliveries).
I've been asking for this for a long time, But it shouldn't be only for 'Do Not Disturb' but rather for every message.
I don't want to be alerted for meme or forwarded messages, Letting the users determine the notification level - Delayed (to be notified when I check the phone) or Immediate can go a long way to habituate message etiquette.
As for non messaging apps like you mentioned, They should be shamed in the 'Notification Pollution' panel.
> Push Notifications should not be used for promotions or direct marketing purposes unless customers have explicitly opted in to receive them via consent language displayed in your app’s UI, and you provide a method in your app for a user to opt out from receiving such messages. Abuse of these services may result in revocation of your privileges.
Apple has now introduced a way for developers to report other apps that break the guideiness. Rest assured I will be making reports every time an app sends me advertisement notifications that I did not opt in to.
Similarly the Meetup app has started spamming me with Meetup.com blog type info with no way to turn it off but I need the notifications on for meetups . this one in particular is odd given than the Meetup app has some of the most granular notification settings of any service out there.
The Lyft app does this a few times a year as well.
Sure enough, after about half a dozen deliveries they started spamming me with promo messages as well. I quickly turned off notifications.
As usual, spammers ruin everything.
The natural outcome of this is that the first app which does NOT send me spam will be the one on my phone when I want to order food, and will be the one I actually use.
Oh, and my phone runs android. :)
Maybe even rev-share with users.
Personally I would ask them to stop glad-handing with china and using their slave labour. But that is just me.
The 'outside' is made up of myriads of tiny details – wind is moving the leaves, slowly and irregularly, the birds are singing, insects flying through the air, the earth feels soft and damp and smells of freshness after the rain, the movements of clouds and the sun are inexorably changing the lighting. We are, however, spending time in concrete boxes where nothing ever moves, and even seal off the sounds and air flow from the outside. Within those boxes we sit and lie and enter other, flatter spaces of our screens, which nonetheless offer us the possibility of some kind of change, movement in the world.. Of course we will browse those changes mindlessly.
Since mainstream social media has turned into a manipulative toxic landscape, I find myself retreating to more niche and better moderated sites, devoid of hate and over-strained emotions. I also find myself wishing for a digital space, be it a game or a website, that would feel similar to a walk in the woods – where a lot is happening but not much is important. Like watching the breaking of waves on the beach. Like sitting at a campfire. Like watching the tree tops move in the wind.
I like mindless browsing. I enjoy it. Just give me the right space for it.
Not saying you're wrong, just that your ideas don't work for me.
Last year, I found myself in an unusually unhappy place. Partly COVID lockdowns, partly changes at work, partly politics (US resident). My wife noticed and told me to get off Facebook/Twitter/etc - they were making me visibly agitated. As I weaned myself off those platforms, my happiness and stress levels improved.
I'm glad to be (mostly) off the platforms. It's been a massive improvement.
Facebook was the biggest culprit. I unfriended anybody I didn't know in meatspace. I unfollowed anybody I hadn't spoken to live in a year or more. My feed is now mostly photos my parents post, a few cycling groups, plus some marketplace activity. I no longer feel the need to check daily (or more) - once a week is plenty.
I do find I use Instagram more now. But, because it's "just photos", it doesn't stress me out like Facebook.
Twitter only gets visited when somebody links me to an interesting thread from elsewhere (here or other forums). I never go on my own.
I stopped using it because I was getting cross-ways with people I otherwise highly respected, over political comments which invited open disagreement. I didn't want to be at odds with these people, but Facebook has designed the service to facilitate this, and has engineered the degradation of personal relationships because of it.
That's strike one. We all know how to avoid difficult conversations in real life, because we can feel them creeping up on us, and we change the subject. On social media, you state the whole argument, and then people feel free to do the same, and put their spin on it.
For thousands of years, people have ebbed and flowed through life, met new people, and stopped seeing others. A very large part of the problem with Facebook is that it destroys this natural flow of life, and tempts you to connect with every human being you've ever said 2 words to, and then keep that connection forever.
That's strike two. When you compare this situation to how humans have lived for thousands of years, it's an almost-grotesque abrogation of the natural order of things. There are relationships that SHOULD fade away, and others you should ACTIVELY eliminate once you know where they really stand. All social media platforms are designed to treat your follower number as the end-all-be-all sacred metric.
I don't have a strike three. That was enough for me.
FB's problem is fundamental in the way that you described but I'd add a few points to it:
Not only does FB artificially try to revive relationships that have run their course (and also gives all of these past relationships permanent access to your thoughts), IMO FB fundamentally misunderstands "connection" - that or they understand it fine but are utterly cynical about it.
In what way is mindlessly thumbing through a high school classmate's wedding photos "connecting" people? People who you haven't spoken to in a decade or more? The primary uses of FB seem to be passively perusing the musings of people you don't care much about, which despite what FB PR insists, isn't making me care much more about them.
The FB news feed is one of the least social things I can think of! It is consumed passively, nearly always by yourself, and doesn't actually create any interaction between myself and others besides simple "likes".
I keep waiting for the arrival of social networks that actually meet their own lofty claims - software that actually facilitates the development of meaningful relationships.
I'll do you one better. I deleted my account back in 2016, in the run-up to Trump's election (cause I just didn't want to hear it). Just before I did, there was a whole rash of connection requests from my high school classmates. Facebook blasted out that one person had re-connected with me, and a dozen others suddenly thought that would be a good idea too. I graduated THIRTY years ago, and hadn't spoken to ANY of the others since. Most of the requests were coming from people I wouldn't even have called friends AT THE TIME. That's just not normal, but on Facebook it is!
I made a twitter account specifically to not have any friends and not do anything, and treat it the same way you're treating it.
Same reaction: it's been a massive improvement. I wouldn't go back. Looking at that stuff from the outside now, it feels like a trap. Amazing how they can turn making you miserable, into an addictive behavior.
We are apparently, as a species, more driven by panic than pleasure, and the algorithm optimizes for this.
I use Facebook basically the exact opposite way. I don't friend anyone I interact with on a regular basis (family, coworkers, neighbors), and use it exclusively for people I don't have another good way to keep up with - people I've met while traveling, people into the same niche hobbies, that sort of thing...
"Could I interest you in everything
All of the time
A bit of everything
Apathy's a tragedy
And boredom is a crime
Anything and everything
All of the time"
What are we paying, when we're paying attention?
We pay with what we could've done and what we could've learned.
We pay with the people we could've met, and the conversations we could have had.
We pay with every future us, that we could've been,
We pay with the values we did not live by,
We pay with the goals we did not reach,
We pay with every opportunity to become more fully alive, that is now gone.
We pay with the moments of joy that never happened,
We pay with the peaceful sleep,
and the refreshed feeling in the morning,
that we didn't get.
Because we were busy paying... attention.
Here's the video on Bo Burnham's own channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1BneeJTDcU
It's hard to find content that doesn't overstimulate you in that state. Sitcoms and chill twitch streams work so well exactly because the extent of what is happening is safe, predictable and confined, yet the process is slightly different every time.
Isn't it friendship and social delight?
If we did, that's where FB would live. It's a kind of friendship surrogacy - noisy and occasionally entertaining, but facile and shallow.
And that's the definitive effect of ad tech. It makes everything facile and shallow.
Politics becomes polarised and infantile and hostile to nuance. Social interactions become gamified ("Follow me and I'll follow you back to help both of us reach 1,000/10,000/100,000/millions!") Clicking Like becomes a displacement activity which avoids real political change. Relationships become performative. Businesses become all about engagement and persuasion - using the same old template of techniques and page designs - and not about social value.
I think it's naive to expect Apple to push against this, because Apple are part of the problem. Apple World is a shiny place which includes exactly the correct number of minorities and age demographics all living the officially approved clean, smiling, sunny, fit, healthy, efficiently organised, and brightly decorated middle class consumer lifestyle that Apple products try to personify.
This isn't even about technology. FAANG (and Microsoft) have created a shockingly undiverse collection of overlapping online worlds which define too many elements of work time and personal space - and all with a 1950s tone of optimised conformist consumption, mandated self-improvement, and transactional time trading.
Because it wasn't an issue yet, our mothers didn't put an arm around our shoulders and say "aw honey, the ingredients of friendship include awkward movements, inconvenience, sacrifice, vulnerability. You can't do it without those essential ingredients."
The result is there is just enough friction that I don’t bother going to get the number. But if ever I need access I can alway go get it.
But unfortunately it is a human problem (exploited by apps, but still a human one), and anything done by another app is just treating the symptoms without treating the underlying issue.
I recommend the book titled Atomic Habits. For short term “solution” you may try rearranging app icons like reddit, fb to some obscure position to make it just a bit harder to find them (do not totally hide them since you will just revert it), and I read that turning on grayscale also deceases the “joy” we get from addictive apps. But I found the last one way too limiting on usability.
There's taking an aimless stroll and there's compulsively opening reddit or facebook at 3am.
Browsing facebook is more like taking a walk in a dystopian junkyard than a forest, and a sign by Apple saying "you might be browsing a junkyard" would just add to this dystopia. This is why the proposal is to design better spaces for mindless browsing, since we apparently need it.
Mindless browsing will occupy my attention, keeps me distracted and on the edge, draining my energy and mental capacity, makes me jittery - even if this realization took me quite some time.
A walk in the woods is refreshing and my mind is focused, wandering maybe aimlessly, but well-paced, on its own time, makes me relaxed and open-minded.
We like distraction, our mind craves it, often we don't want to think about what bothers us. But allowing all the random itches that bother us is the only way to address them and let them go.
Also, I have zero, NIL creativity after mindless browsing, I am drained.
Alone with myself and my thoughts on a train or a walk the thoughts are no longer buzzing, they are forming, transforming, becoming real ideas.
Sometimes I daydream while walking in the woods, but I am more likely to daydream while staring at a blank wall or while waiting for a bus on a boring street with nothing but concrete and asphalt rectangles to look at.
In fact, my whole purpose in walking in the woods is to stop the mental chatter, including the daydreaming. If I find myself daydreaming during the walk, I consider that a failure and tell myself that next time I walk in the woods, I should take along a friend or a dog to make the walk more engaging and consequently more effective at stopping the chatter -- or that I should find more interesting woods.
This comment could be extended greatly by introducing the concepts of "focused attention" and "involuntary attention". Very briefly, focused attention is how we pay the bills and contribute to advancing our civilization and all, but focused attention eventually tires the mind. The best way to recover from the tiredness and to restore the ability to focus the attention is to do things that engage "involuntary attention", e.g., taking a walk in the woods where there are things that attract attention involuntarily (without raising the blood pressure like the sirens and the horns of the city tend to do). That will restore the ability to pay focused attention (to whatever the person choose to focus on) faster than would being in a room alone and staring at a blank wall. Some people advise spending as much time as possible either engaging in focused attention or recovering the ability to focus one's attention and advise against daydreaming and aimless browsing of the web because those are sub-optimal ways of restoring the ability to focus attention. (Spending time with friends or walking in the woods with a dog are much better ways.)
Your instinct points to the right direction; mild distraction is actually conducive to insight generation. But we have co-evolved with outside and can have a very intuitive grasp on the hierarchy of information; to dynamically tell apart what is noise what is signal in any moment. In contrast, apps are engineered by an army of experts to hijack those intuitions as a side-channel attack on our attentional heuristics. Browsing becomes mindless because we are oversaturated in our attentional system through the every trick available to keep us engaged and click on ads. E.g. red notification buttons vs. ripe fruit.
To say NOTHING of how infuriating anti-social it has made us as a society.
Nature is mostly good.
Mindless scrolling is mostly bad.
Since the immediate 'outside' – my home and office – mostly lacks this tiny uninterrupted movements that I describe, this continuous stream of life happening, I begin to feel isolated and turn to the screens around me. They provide a similar feeling of being connected to life, even if much less fulfilling.
Sure, I could work on changing the social life of my city, reviving the town square and planting gardens, but here, on a hacker news site, I like to dream about some technological solution that might fulfill the need of seeing myself embedded in a perpetual movement on life.
I was just talking to a friend the other day on how badly Apple and Google are trying their best to kill curiosity and creativity. I mean when I first got my 286 the machine was just full of possibilities. I think learning the ins and outs of it was more fun than doing anything productive.
I used to hack away at it all day and night. Learning about interrupts, tinkering with the BIOS settings, hacking the serial port, irq, etc. Now everything is just locked down. In my latest phone I can't even run `fastboot` as that too has been locked down permanently because "security".
Thank god we have Linux created before all this Bullshit started happening. If Apple, Google and Microsoft was in charge of things as they are now, we wouldn't even have any hardware to run anything else than Windows and iOS.
It worked for mom & pops and techs alike but corporations new attitude of "We'll decide what's best and remove other options" is a bloody pain in the arse now.
A particularly bad one is this insistence on not allowing me to permanently say "no" to something. It's always "maybe later" or "remind me in 24 hrs" or similar... even Firefox does it now when you set it up - I think it was to do with sending FF to my mobile or something - but the message was "do it now" or "do it later"... I don't want it EVER!
So, no! I don't want anyone else's opinion for stuff like this - let me decide what's best for me and allow me to tinker if I want!
Windows 10 is the best Windows ever for the vast majority of people who use Windows. Same with Office. But you can still install whatever software you want on your Windows machine. Explain to me again how this is worse than what we used to have; where Microsoft have gone wrong in how they build software? Is it perfect? Of course not - no-one could even agree on what that means. But let’s be realistic about how much progress has actually happened: it’s a lot.
If Linus Torvalds was a teen today and there was no open PC standard, only a Mac, then it would not have been possible to create Linux the way it is today.
Imagine if also Microsoft starts to make their own processors and then sell their own computers with Windows and all locked down, and don't allow anyone else to make computers with Windows or their processors.
Sure Dell, HP and others could still make PC's, based on Intel or AMD CPU's or some ARM processor and then run Linux (or develop their own OS), but it's a hard sell.
The PC's sold to the mainstream thanks to Windows/Word/Excel maybe, but then people who wanted could tinker as much as they wanted and where free so make and sell their software (windows based or whatever) or their HW peripherals.
Now you are at best stuck within an app store if you create something.
Torvalds didn't create Linux as a teen in his bedroom hacking on what he had. He created it at university studying operating systems. He would have created it on Raspberry Pi or some other platform.
Linux is widely deployed on x86 because x86 is available and open enough. It replaced Unix operating systems on dedicated architectures, like Solaris on SPARC.
> Sure Dell, HP and others could still make PC's, based on Intel or AMD CPU's or some ARM processor and then run Linux (or develop their own OS), but it's a hard sell
GNU/Linux was a hard sell in the beginning too. In the olden days, if you put Linux on a laptop you lost special features and you had very limited software support. Web pages were designed to work with IE only and you could only run Mozilla. Your major option for producing printable documents was special purpose programming languages like TeX or using Mozilla Composer. And good luck getting your winmodem/winprinter to do anything!
Today enough exists that you can buy hardware from companies that expect you to put Linux on them and then run them with full features and great intercompatibility. Your phone will be crap but it'll be good enough, and in ten years time it'll have a lot better features. Till then, if you want a great lowlight camera, buy a great lowlight camera.
The inversion of trust is a frustrating aspect of modern business, and it creates many social problems. But it isn't a technical barrier to oldschool hacking about.
Back in ~1997/8 I was working at a software manufacturing company - we burned and printed and shipped all the Solaris Software for SUN....
We would receive EDI data from sun to burn to CDs then do the fullfillment shipping - so If you went to SUN.com and ordered Solaris, it was made and shipped by us...
We needed a better way to receive the files from SUN, and so we had a few FTP servers... We hired a group of dudes who knew linux and had them setup our FTP machines, chrooting users and various security measures...
So I, the IT manager, sat down with one of the consultants that we had hired and I told him "You know, If I were you - I would setup a Linux Support company and offer Linux support as a service"
A few weeks later Dave Sifry came back to me and said "Guess what we started, LinuxCare... to offer Linux support as a service"
He was later valued at ~$100 million and LinuxCare was a ~$1 Billion company...
Chris DiBona of google fame was on the team, and I can't recall the two other guys' names...
But yeah - that was when support for Linux was basically non-existent...
Oh yeah - I forgot; SUN wanted us to learn this new thing that they were using to create the EDI files... XML. So we had to accomodate XML when the only people that knew XML at the time were SUN employees...
And finally, I think that SUN had the best logo ever made. And the shittiest firewall, Checkpoint sucked. (sorry Checkpoint team - your lead developers on Checkpoint were friends of mine... but I hated that firewall)
Raspberry Pi would be unable without Linux.
What? Of course I can. Gatekeeper exists but can be disabled
Also, almost every patch has issues these days: that hardly ever used to happen. Their quality has taken a dive.
I am not saying that is isn't the perfect tool for many people: it has been for many years. The issue is that when I wanted to change things and leave them changed, I used to be able to do that. Now, they are doing their best to remove that ability! That makes no sense! Let me break it if I want! I have no warranty anyway!
Disable Windows update and it comes back on due to the Windows Update Medic Service. Ok, disable that then! Oops, you're not allowed. Ok, I can circumvent this by changing permissions on the dll and then deleting it. I'll then run updates later at a time of my choosing. Now I run updates. Oops, it's back again! Microsoft knows best.
By all means make it easy for the "typical" user. But I wish they'd stop taking away the underlying power-user stuff because they think they know best!
In a way, the restrictions which used to be exclusive to Home are now part of Pro, the more expensive Pro for Workstations is what Pro used to be and Enterprise (also available through a per-user subscription model instead of a per-machine model, cheaper in a way for individuals with 5 PCs nobody else uses) also has some extra toggles not removed.
I think the subscription versions also include an Intune license which is the only supported way (other than installing third-party AV) to disable Windows Defender permanently, as well.
Now, MDM-managed Apple phones still come with a number of core restrictions, though I believe there's more loose side loading on there - however you have to register Apple hardware into MDM at purchase time as only authorized resellers can grant this access to a serial number.
Meanwhile I'm setting here just now, wasting hours hand-holding Windows10 because it's unable to install one of its own big feature updates, without any idea what was going wrong or where to start fixing the problem (because everything is so "user friendly").
I'm really tired of it deciding when I should be on mute, or when it should warn me that I am muted. Just let me do it.
It's the X button in the top right corner.
In the olden days we had individual developers who would work out the internal API these applications used to work. I wonder if that's still theoretically possible. Surely it must be? Even if the client app needs a signed certificate, since it runs in an unsigned environment (i.e. Linux) it should be possible to grab the certificate and present that when you need it.
Right now, I have a nearly uncrackable walled-garden iphone on my desk. And a mac laptop running XCode (learning about Metal programming), and at the same time running an Amiga emulator (tinkering with 68k assembly), and a windows gaming laptop next to it, and a breadboard on the floor with a pile of resistors and capacitors and transistors.
So what's the problem again?
When I was a kid I would have killed to have had easy access to things like Raspberry Pi's, microcontrollers, SGI workstations (which is what the Mac is these days), and a zillion free programming languages.
Instead, while I had full access to the family's PC and could learn C and assembly language programming on it (btw I had to pay for those compilers), and learned all about interrupts and writing to VGA registers, I still couldn't do anything super low-level like muck around with the boot sector because my dad needed it for work, the phone system was so locked down that you'd go to jail for "exploring" it, and I had barely any idea how to get started playing around with logic chips because there was nothing like Sparkfun, Adafruit, Hackaday, etc, and Radio Shack in the mid-90s really wasn't much help.
There is still room for improvement - yes it would be nice if all the tech we used was both hackable and secure - but geeks who want to tinker are living in a land of plenty right now.
I guess it depends on who "you" are. A lot of kids get exactly one device. Some have to share it with their siblings as well. So I do think it matters whether our most widely used devices are completely locked down or not.
It doesn't just matter for kids either. It also matters for democracy how many people only own devices that governments have complete control over.
That said, I do think the problem can be exaggerated. People tend to find ways around restrictions. It can even be a motivation for looking more deeply into how things work.
And not all of those workarounds are terribly expensive. Ironically, the most expensive devices are also the most locked down.
This is true, but RPi Zeros are so cheap and powerful that I think it's much easier for community organisations (schools, scouts, dedicated groups) to start hacking events. The kid who can't get a 10 USD computer and a phone and access to a shared laptop is the kid who couldn't access to shared desktop in the olden days. In those days entry level could be a month's salary for a professional.
For the households where every kid has their own laptop, a Pi is accessible.
And for those who only have access to single shared machine, the kid today has access to a VM. That means they have options the rest of us didn't have - I couldn't run Linux until I had a paper round, because installing Linux on the family computer was not going to happen.
Perhaps one clear advantage to the old world is that in the 1980s and early 1990s, anyone could write an operating system and eventually get something that could do everything their old computer could do. I mean the idea was tractable. It's not like today where even thinking about creating a web browser filled Microsoft and Opera with such dread they gave up.
To be clear: I don't think it's all rosy today. But I don't think it's all bleak either.
> It also matters for democracy how many people only own devices that governments have complete control over.
You are right that there's social implications here, but I think the social concerns are primary and not a consequence of the technical situation. We arrived at this situation because companies decided they own their customers when we have massive social problems mistrust and distrust. This has come on the back of a generation that learnt abominations like a company's only obligation is to its shareholders. If you want to build trustworthy business, you need to maintain the right culture.
One question is whether a low income but educated and dedicated parent can find a way to acquire some hackable device for a highly motivated kid. I think the answer is probably yes, with some exceptions in extremely poor countries.
But that's not the most likely scenario. A far more likely scenario is a kid that wants to modify the device they're actually using on a daily basis to make it do something slightly different. There are no parents involved, and it would be utterly pointless to hack some completely different device like a Raspberry Pi just because it's more hackable.
So I worry that widespread use of locked down devices and locked down distribution channels makes the path from consumer to power user to hacker to software engineer to entrepreneur far less smooth. Some people who could have been interested in being more than mere consumers are going to be left behind.
You are absolutely right that access to all sorts of devices is hugely easier and cheaper than back in the 70s, 80s and 90s. It's definitely not all bleak. It was a decidedly rich country upper/middle class affair at the time. But we're also having to live with restrictions that would've been unimaginable back then.
Just imagine Microsoft in 1995 attempting to restrict what software people were allowed to install on their PCs. Imagine what regulators would have said if Microsoft had tried to charge 30% on all software and content loaded onto PCs. Or what if Microsoft had been able to issue no-recourse lifetime bans on using any of their software and platforms?
The objection that Microsoft was a monopolist isn't really convicing given that they were replaced by a hugely more powerful and ubiquitous oligopoly that now runs the actual economy, not some tiny niche called "The New Economy".
Like how you can't get Facebook on the Play Store because it's only available on F-droid on Android, for example?
That's certainly... interesting.
Facebook is quite happy on the Play Store because it has weak privacy and disclosure policies, because Google has no interest in enforcing such things.
So there may be a good reason why Apple don’t want this to happen, given that essentially everything is on your phone these days.
There’s still Android
Yes, this is why the phones are locked by default. This is not at all why the phones aren't unlockable, though. They can be unlockable and still be secure. Apple just doesn't want to give you the choice.
Really secure data goes through a seperate device of which I have total control, but which I treat carefully (and less conveniently). It's a very comfortable trade-off.
Why can't I run Xcode on iOS or iPadOS devices? What's the technical limitation? These devices have the capability to render stuff on larger screens wirelessly, and one can connect keyboards to them. The limitation is purely artificial.
What makes it important for them to use Unix rather than something that works fine the way it is while maintaining some standard of UX?
If kids show an interest in computers, they can just install unix on some computer like a raspberry pi and tinker on that.
The concern is whether the device is a piece of paper or a television. A television can show much more complex images under the control of the average child, but it is purely for consumption. A piece of paper lets you display anything you can draw or you can turn it into a paper plane or do origami, but the realism of the resulting products is going to be much less, and they will be relatively static.
An iPhone is, by design, a television. Unix systems are pieces of paper.
Last time I used MacOS, it was a functional piece of paper and it worked as a television too, so there isn't really any dichotomy here. Any television could be built on top of a piece of paper and give you access to the base level too.
The concern is that the television is winning out: even though Android and iOS are built from pieces of paper, their maintainers only bless television-like interfaces. Frankly, I believe a major part of this is because they're built on top of Unix like interfaces, which is based certain assumptions that they don't want to maintain. So I certainly wouldn't say Unix-like is the solution.
The parents might not know better.
> Also, why should kids tinker with computers if they can explore art by painting or music by learning an instrument or literature by reading?
They should be given the chance to do so, as they should be given the chance to explore art or craft or a lot of other things.
> What makes it important for them to use Unix
I don't see how mentioning Unix is relevant here. They should be given the opportunity to play and tinker with the devices, not only the preplanned path with games on the devices, that is all.
When my kids reach the age that they need a phone, probably sooner than I want to admit right now, I'd rather have them use some restricted device with some level of security checks in place for apps, so an iPhone, than something that is totally open which would make them vulnerable to being phished or persuaded to install viruses, etc. "Best way to play fortnite 10, download here".
It's not either/or. Parents can be the guardians of their children's phone, enabling all the security Apple pretends to enable with a password.
The power of Apples marketing is astonishing.
However, I also spent a lot of time painstakingly copying BASIC games, line by line from magazines, then figuring out how to expand upon them for additional features. Gaming was just the gateway drug.
> Another peak self-absorbed Hacker News comment
Unnecessarily inflamatory - perhaps an ad-hominem attack, or appeal to emotion.
> in which we learn that curiosity only means tinkering with devices
Strawman argument - this is a blatant misrepresentation of GP's point.
> This comment is ignoring that a device that does all that without you having to worry about how it works is a tool way more powerful than one in which you need to at least know how to build everything from scratch with an enormous learning curve
False dichotomy (there's no reason you can't have an opinionated device that works flawlessly OOTB while also being extremely hackable) and another strawman (OP never advocated for you having to do everything yourself, only have the ability to tinker).
> So please, enough with this narrative, it’s really outdated and based on such a limited world view.
Another appeal to emotion.
I encourage you to take a class on logical argument, because this ain't it.
Having the option defeats the fundamental advantages their approach offers.
There are a lot of problems with Apple’s approach from an antitrust perspective and fair competition should be regulated through legislation, but there are good reasons for closed ecosystems to exist and plenty of great alternatives for people who want something more open.
The problem is a social one and hasn't been properly solved by technical measures as you note. Instead of acting like the digital world is somehow separate from the rest of the world, we should have enough strong and effective laws and regulations that if a person steals from me, they can reasonably expect to spend a few years in prison.
The result of discovering a person has released a fraudulent product to the Google Play Store is currently that they get get their Google account shut down, maybe. The actual result should be that they find out what the inside of a prison cell is.
The result of discovering that a company tracks a user without effective permission through the use of dark patterns that meant a user pressed "I agree" under the misapprehension that this was the only way of using the app should have their shares acquired by the justice system at a penalty rate - or some other effective penalty so that companies don't balance the cost of obeying the law with the cost of the fine.
If Apple believes that their users want protection from digital thieves, Apple has a responsibility to lobby for better laws and regulations. They can't use halfmeasures as a pretense in the hope that some amorphous other will get laws that protect their users passed.
This is FUD. Linux works flawlessly despite giving all the freedoms. Typical users don't install anything outside the repositories. Apple has countless problems with security and privacy in their App Store.
eyebrows raise to the ceiling
> Typical users don't install anything outside the repositories.
head tilts nearly horizontal with the floor
"Flawlessly" is here being stretched beyond the breaking point, and anyone who is OK with only installing software from the official repos for any major Linux distro is not a "typical user", very obviously.
"Normal" users? They're going to want several proprietary programs, some of which will surely not be in even the non-free repos, unless they're an only-uses-the-browser type who'd be fine with a Chromebook (or, more realistically for that user profile, just their phone).
Power users? I have to assume my experience of often wanting or needing something outside official repos, or a newer version of something in official repos, is far from unusual. I'm not even that demanding a power user, and that's still a very common situation for me. What's worse is the more one chases system stability, the worse this problem becomes, since Linux distros mix the base system and user-facing applications all together (and the structure of x-window-system/wayland/drivers/GTK/QT makes it hard not to do this)
See also: Android is Linux used by the general public.
Many older models also would run mainline Linux fine, and the default Chrome OS install usually has a container and a Wayland to Chrome adapter behind a toggle.
I want to be able to chose a device I control, with software I control because I have strong concerns on privacy, freedom to create and waste management. My choices are quite limited and things are hardly moving in the right direction.
Do your concept of democracy being all about your own choices and seeing anybody with different point of view as your enemy kinda reinforce my point. This is not about your specific choices and personal freedom. This is about everybody choices and freedom.
Yes, authoritarianism as a business freaks me out, seeing people embracing it and embracing the fake sentiment of safety it provides is freaking me out. And yes, I do think it's time the Apple and Google duopoly is broken down and people are actually given choice.
I like the fact that Facebook can't pull their apps from the store, put them on a rival store with lax standards, or otherwise circumvent the app store controls. These controls clear benefits for me, but side loading and alternate stores would cripple their effectiveness. In fact crippling the effectiveness of these controls is the purpose of side loading and alternate stores.
If you want a phone you can root, buy one. There are options out there. Why do you want to take my choice away from me?
You keep repeating this disingenuous argument. If you don't want to root your phone, don't root it. If you don't want your kids to be able to root their phones, don't pretend like you aren't taking away their choice.
If you don't want rival stores with lax standards, don't install them. Just don't keep telling people who want to be given a choice that they're somehow "taking your choice away from you".
If you want to be in prison, go ahead, but don't pretend that having the option to leave is somehow "taking your choice away".
If it were possible to root an iPhone, Facebook would have never agreed to give users the option to stop tracking them across apps; they would have instead said “please watch this video and do what it says to continue using Facebook/Instagram!” and guide naive users into rooting their phones.
Closed ecosystems have many advantages (and disadvantages) over open ones. However, a closed ecosystem with a gaping hole in the wall is no longer a closed ecosystem; you can’t have it both ways.
This doesn't happen on Android because Google has no interest in enforcing strict privacy policies on the Play Store.
That is a loss for everyone, even if tinkering with computers is not your hobby.
I wonder what they stand to gain from this, since they wouldn't bother if there wasn't a benefit.
Android I can possibly understand, what with Google being an ad-company and expecting to track users. But Apple doesn't seem to be doing that all that much anymore.
For the tractor situation, John Deere & friends expect to capture the business of independent repair shops, so there's a gain in their locking down the devices.
If I buy an iPhone to run myOS on it, how's this a loss to Apple? Especially since they don't charge for IOS updates, and they also support their phones for a long time, so if I don't buy a new iPhone every year it's not because I'm running some custom OS. My iPhone 7 still has all the latest updates and I haven't paid Apple one cent ever since I bought it used more than four years ago.
What you are suggesting is to allow 3rd party to join in the ecosystem.
If IBM had been smarter and launched PC as a closed platform it would have been a 10/100 trillion dollar enterprise.
Not necessarily. They could still continue to charge for every download, just as I can, and already do, listen to music on my iPhone without an Apple Music subscription and without purchasing from the iTunes store.
If I want the whole Apple experience, I will continue using macOS / IOS. Hell, that's the reason why I started buying MacBooks when I could afford them: the "apple experience".
But I also run Linux on my work PC, because for that I don't care about the Apple experience. But I hate my HP laptop, for comfort reasons. If I could buy a MacBook and have Linux run on it as well as it does on the hp, I would (because I love the hardware) and that would be a net gain for Apple, wouldn't it?
I get the whole point of the "experience" and "ecosystem", etc. Up until a few years ago I absolutely loved it. Still love my iphone and wouldn't switch to android.
But now I can't stand macOS anymore for my work needs. I'm looking to buy a new laptop to use Linux on it. The offers from Lenovo / HP / Dell don't look all that great to me. I would absolutely buy an MBP if I knew Linux worked perfectly on it, but I know it doesn't, so Apple doesn't get to make a sale.
The point is: If I want to tinker with an iPhone and would not buy one if I couldn't, why is it a loss for Apple to sell an extra phone, even if the buyer won't consume their other digital products? The seller wouldn't have consumed them anyway, especially without buying the iPhone.
Yes, there's the support side of things, but again, they could have some sort of warranty voiding system in place.
A future with only one or two computing monopolies is a desired end state for history to BigTech.
> Another peak self-absorbed Hacker News comment, in which we learn that curiosity only means tinkering with devices, learning how they work to the bits, plus some random Linux thrown in.
Totally unnecessary generalization.
> I was just talking to a friend the other day on how badly Apple and Google are trying their best to kill curiosity and creativity [with regard to the computer they're using].
You'll have to explain how it's a "limited world view" to suggest that we can have our cake and eat it too: that we can have open, hackable platforms that are also popular and easy to use.
There are so many domains where you can dive incredibly deeply into 'em. Some of them are computer augmented, and benefit from a stable, predictable computer host. There's been a lot of instances over the years where Macs served that role of 'creativity toaster' and did it well… now we've got the same thing, except for phones.
Anybody who's used to that situation doesn't find the status of iPhone ecology shocking. A bargain is being made. Or a service is being hired, from effectively a computer administrator.
This feels related to the saying that it’s easier to innovate down the stack than it is to innovate up the stack. It’s far easier for Apple to design and fabricate its own chips than it would be for Intel to make its own consumer OS.
Are you implying that Linux doesn't work 99% of the time? If so, you are mistaken. I'm running Linux for me and my relatives without issues for years. I'm not a programmer/hacker.
Just choose the hardware designed for it (exactly like in the case of Apple).
And lets not even go over the ux disaster that is the mix and match of uis from various apps.
Here comes your problem (which I actually mentioned in my above post). Choose hardware designed for Linux if you want it to really work. Why don't you complain that your Windows installation does not work well on a Macbook?
And even so, how can you say it works 99% of the time if you have to go and research each piece of peripheral that you want to use? Normal users go to bestbuy or amazon or whatnot and buy a microphone, they don't want to go and see if it works on ubuntu or whatnot or have weird behaviours at home. you can blame manufacturs for not supporting linux while they support win/mac, but again, normal users experience just isn't that great.
You said you are running linux for you and your relatives. Who installed it on your relatives machines? Who checked the compatibility of each hardware and maybe even bought some replacement things to work on linux? I know most users/relative I know wouldn't go to websites to try to find out if this or that works well with this and that. They just want to go to a shop, buy a laptop+accessories and plug them in when they get home
These are not the right tools to also have completely exposed with no security or guard rails, where we can easily open up or broadcast everything to the world.
You can have your cake and eat it too, there are devices available that work just how you want, but that doesn't mean every device has to work that way. It certainly doesn't mean that my device has to work that way, just because you want it to.
"Security" has become the excuse big companies use for everything they foist on users. Better update to that new OS version that ruins the user interface -- it comes with security patches! Better make sure you can't play any games that aren't approved by Apple -- it's the only way to make iPhones secure! Better centralize the entire Internet so it all depends on four or five giant corporations to run -- they're the only ones who can be trusted to implement security!
Maybe display a big, scary "unofficial OS, you're on your own, don't bother us if your iPhone becomes unusable". Maybe have one jump through some hoops, like getting an "approval" code by signing some mile-long EULA on the iCloud account stating you forego any software-related warranty / support.
This should be enough to deter "regular users" from messing with their phones, and Apple wouldn't have to go to any length to guarantee that a "restored" device isn't compromised. Kind of like the KNOX thing on Samsung phones used to work.
And this actually seems to be possible, since people are having success with running Linux, a non-apple sanctioned OS, on the M1 Macs, which have the secure enclave, etc. My understanding is that whatever issues they are experiencing are related to hardware support.
This is it right here. Power-users will blame the user for having their device compromised. Users, on the other hand, will blame Apple. Apple will do anything they can to avoid negative PR like that.
I don't know what the state of the world is today, but I've installed custom OSes (mostly Linux) on every Mac I've owned (my most recent was a 2012 Retina which I really liked).
Installing a custom OS isn't easy and it's pretty obvious to everyone it means thinking "Yes, it's a good idea to lose support for almost every program I run". By "everyone", I really do mean that: I've never heard of an anecdote of someone who's mother wiped MacOS and threw Ubuntu on their box and encountered some bugs. Technical knowledge about security isn't out there, but we do get "Apple makes the system that is an iPhone, going away from Apple's product means abandoning my iPhone" seems to be there, even if they don't understand what it means for something to be an operating system.
This is not at all what we are looking for.
You do NOT check and/or balance big companies by allowing them the freedom to tinker alongside the little guy. They will wrest the machines to their purposes every time, and they are Not Happy about obstacles in their path.
Having checks and balances on big companies is a very good argument but it points the opposite direction from how you're seeing it…
Notice how you say "Curiosity *can be* about design, ..." but then the tone of your comment reads like you mean "Curiosity *should only be* about design, ...". Please don't do that.
Curiosity can be about anything, lets just leave it at that.
Where does one draw the line though? ESG is becoming increasingly important to investors and I already see financial institutions instituting controls in their apps around gambling .
When should large companies with sufficient reach implement opportunities to address social harms?
I sympathize with the tinkerer mindset, but this mindset exposes serious lack of empathy in exposing REAL risk to REAL people by allowing anybody to hack devices simply to satisfy 0.01% of users who want to run a custom bootloader. This is not a valid engineering trade-off for a "trillion dollar company". The world doesn't revolve around you. There are other products on the market for tinkerers that don't involve exposing everyone from your grandma to politicians to serious security and privacy breaches.
I shudder to think what the world would have be if Andrew Tanenbaum/Linus/Wall/etc had to wait for a week long review after creating their software and got rejected every time because Apple support told them.. "Are you out of your freaking mind!? You possibly can't think we will let you do anything remotely like that on our hardware. P.S. Also your account is now permanently banned."
In the mobile world, Android allows tinkering, but also achieves much worse privacy and security guarantees
there are options for everyone, if you want to hack it, good, there's android for that. there are even phones that you can customize. if you want a stable black box, there's ios, this is well known before you buy it. there are options for every one of us...
i think you guys forget that this is an echo chamber and the real users out there are not tech savy. i
Why is it not possible, exactly?
being hackable means exactly the opposite of stability: you can change low level features and break things. if there is a chance to do it, people can be tricked to do it. of course, i'm excluding here people who have knowledge, as i continue to belive that they are a minority.
Yes. On my laptop, Linux is extremely stable, and yet extremely hackable. What, Linux doesn't work for you flawlessly? 99% chance it's drivers, which has nothing to do with stability and everything to do with the limited amount of effort that people have poured into drivers on that particular platform.
> being hackable means exactly the opposite of stability
False. "Stability" implicitly means "without modifications". There's no product or (human-made) system in existence that remains stable once you start making arbitrary modifications to it.
> if there is a chance to do it, people can be tricked to do it
Yes, and "freedom" (which is a core tenet of the United States Constitution, where most HN commenters are based) includes the ability to do things that will hurt yourself. "We know what's better for you than you do" leads to tyranny the majority of the time (as it does here, where Apple has full control of their devices and regularly makes decisions that hurt their users).
Moreover, it's relatively easy to design a system that prevents the vast majority of users from shooting themselves in the foot (by making root(-adjacent) access difficult to acquire by accident and fairly difficult to be tricked into doing), and coupled with actual education would keep the levels of this particular kind of computer fraud (where someone convinces you to bypass your computer's security features) well below the rates of other computer fraud (such as falling prey to scam emails).
Any computer with preinstalled Linux will "just work". Typical users will only install apps from the repositories, and those are more secure and private than App Store.
ChromeOS is a similar story - even more so, actually, given that it can run a full fledged Linux distro within the system.
The current situation is that Facebook is not limited in their use of patterns that increase your engagement. The author of the comment is proposing some extensions to iOS that mean that Facebook is able to use patterns that increase your engagement, but you're also able to turn it off.
This article is actually genius, and I truly believe they're good recommendations. Apple in these mockups wouldn't be forcing you to turn off addictive behaviors - it's just letting you know they exist, and giving YOU the power to help control it.
The jist of your post is that you want the freedom to smoke cigarettes without the oppressive government health warnings on the packages.
I remember back in my DOS days as a kid tinkering with autoexec.bat, himem and all that just to get an addition 10Kb or memory to run a game.
Now, with Windows in particular, they're slowly removing my ability to dick about and do what I want.
The defaults are all pretty much set to "we know best" and you have to jump through more and more hoops to disable stuff (Windows update, I'm looking at you!).
I'm moving to Linux (again) at the end of the month (got uni exams coming up... want to get them out the way). Had issues with it in the past but I will try and live with them this time as I want my freedom back.
It is just one of those things were very rarely I realize that I am running (by ratio) a fairly rare OS as just a daily desktop. To that, don't try and force your self onto Linux, eventually you may just sit with it and never go back to Windows. If you do, that's fine if that works for you. If you stay on Linux, cool power to you.
When I got my first 286 very little was available to me because it all had a cost. Want to learn C then get your wallet out to buy a C compiler. Want to learn Pascal then get your wallet out for Turbo Pascal . Want to learn UNIX, well hard lines, that stuff is only available in ivory towers.
Allow real browser extensions, I just want to be able to use uBlock origin. Not some overengineered "system extension" that can only check the network.
Linus Torvalds, 1993
If Linux hadn’t been created, 386BSD and its derivatives would be correspondingly more popular. Or Hurd would have happened. Or both. Maybe BeOS would be a contender amongst commercial OSes.
If Linux hadn’t been created things wouldn’t be that different in all likelihood.
A vast, vast majority of the population could care less about learning about interrupts, tinkering with BIOS settings, etc. They want a device that is easy to use, and as simple as possible. So companies therefore abstract away 90% of the "creativity-inducing" components because a computer is a lot less intimidating when the user clearly knows what they can and can't do with it.
Apple and Google are not sitting in a meeting room pitching the best ways to stifle creativity. They are selling a product to a population that wants their highly complex device to be as simple as possible.
I'd add "reliable" or maybe more accurately "repeatable".
When my mother runs into technical problems, she will literally get frustrated to the point of tears. She doesn't give a single fuck whether she can change the OS or install unapproved software to tinker, she just wants the stuff that was working yesterday to still be working today.
When she wakes up and an OS update has broken some app she uses, she's never gone "Let me dig into why this happened, maybe I can fix it." and she never will. That's simply just something that has gone wrong in her life and ruined her day and now she needs to find a new way to do the thing that she wants to do.
But you're wasting your breath. A very vocal segment of HN are effectively fundamentalists about this. The fact that there exists a market segment best served by devices which do not conform to their fundamental ideals because they have different priorities is simply unacceptable regardless of any other consideration.
There's still many ways to be creative though and I think there's also more potential than before due to increased resources for developing other kinds of applications.
It's not all bad.
Every year there's a new pitch from a modular laptop or a hackable smartphone. Never met anyone who uses one though.
I don’t think it is
Unless you want a rootkit installed when you charge your phone with a public charger, it needs to be locked down. These restrictions are made for security and stability. If the average user doesn't need them, then don't enable them. Simple logic.
"Creativity" doesn't mean "tinkering with kernel settings".
Combining simple apps together like lego building blocks to build something, is where it shines.
Not sure how this does not apply.