iPhone Developer Interview: Chpwn [3rd Party Cydia Developer]

This is a new series, here at iJailbreak.com. We ask an iPhone developer a bunch of questions. They answer them. We publish them. Simple as that. Since we mainly bring you jailbreak news, we’ve started the series with jailbreak devs, and this week’s interview is with Chpwn.

Introduce yourself: Who are you? Where you from?

Hi! I’m Chpwn. I live in San Francisco, also known as the land of horrid AT&T service, and I joined the iPhone world when I got an iPod touch about a year ago. I just got my first iPhone (an iPhone 4), and until then, I really had no idea what it was like to be messing with your /phone/. Maybe that’s a good thing, though, since I might not have gotten involved if I had started with an iPhone.

What projects are you known for, Cydia and/or App Store?

My most popular app is (by far) ProSwitcher, which I created with Ryan Petrich. I’ve also created a few paid apps, Infinidock and Infiniboard, as well as a few smaller tweaks called ProTapper and MobileVolumeSound. Other jailbreak work I’ve done is the GUI for the Spirit jailbreak and I have a few tiny patches in the Cydia application itself. I’m not yet in the App Store, but I’m considering it for the future.

Do you develop for other platforms besides iOS? If so, which ones?

Not currently. I’ve done some web development in the past, along with the ancient Palm OS, a bit on the Wii (homebrew scene), and some for the desktop, but nothing notable that’s public. That may change in the future.

On your blog, you said you haven’t been able to update your jailbreak apps, because of no jailbreak available for your devices. Have people been bugging you to get your stuff updated? If so, does that bother you, or can you let it go?

People, of course, want to know when the apps they use (and sometimes, have bought) are going to be updated. For me, this is as soon as I can (I know it took months for Infinidock on the iPad, but that shouldn’t happen again). I get a few emails a day about this, but I think most jailbreak users are happy on 3.x for now. Hopefully, I’ll be able to use the jailbreak for all devices to update my apps.

As for whether it bugs me, that really depends. For my paid apps, those who are asking have bought the app, and I’m going to support those people the best I can. For ProSwitcher, though, Apple’s multitasking system is really a love or hate scenario. I happen to love it, so that’s what I’ll base my decisions on, but I know that many people prefer the old system, and hope that another developer can take up the project for their sake.

What’s your view on the whole geohot story? At iEvolution we feel bad for him, but other sites have been pretty hard on him. Is he justified in his actions, or did he bring this on himself?

From talking to him myself, and from my personal experiences, I think he is perfectly justified in taking down his blog and Twitter. Sure, it may be a little “over the top”, but some of the comments I saw there were pretty nasty, and I think attacking him over this is not helping the issue. At this point, though, I don’t think that the issues that he left over are going to be positively affected by his leaving of the scene.

There is one thing he said, though, that makes me really understand where he is coming from: apparently, he has been getting /phone calls/ from random people, asking about when he is going to release his next jailbreak. This is a bit ridiculous. As those fake Steve Jobs emails said, “It’s just a phone.”

Finally, I agree with his overall reason for leaving: it’s no longer fun. I only do what I do because it’s fun for me. That’s the same for almost everyone in the community, especially those who are actually creating the jailbreaks. When it’s not fun, there’s no reason to stick around, when all you will get is attacked.

For people who haven’t been to your blog, can you explain what’s going on with “Pulldown“?

Pulldown was one of my “afternoon” tweaks, where I get some idea and decide to implement it that afternoon, along with Infinidock, ProTapper, and a few others. Some of these end up getting released, but most don’t. I don’t think I’m going to release Pulldown as anything more than source code, if that, just because of the maintenance nightmare it would become, even as a free app. In addition, the current code isn’t really workable, and the sounds and images are owned by Twitter for their iPhone app, and I couldn’t include those. It was an interesting idea, but it’s probably not going to become a finalized project.

Any other cool projects on the horizon you can tell us about?

All the cool projects I’m “working” on right now require me to be pretty quiet about them. Hopefully, though, my day of work a few days ago will allow the Spirit source code to be finally released as promised (even if it is months late).

What is your point of view on all these iPhone 4 issues? Have you had any trouble with your iPhone 4?

I bought a bumper, so I personally haven’t had any issues. Before I put on the bumper, though, I did a few tests and the signal did significantly drop. I don’t have great AT&T service where I am anyway (San Francisco), so the drop was pretty dramatic.

I do think this is a serious issue and that Apple needs to reasonably fix it. The software “fix” does not even come near the actual issue (Anandtech’s analysis here shows that quite clearly). I don’t think a recall is going to happen: this is Apple, after all. But issuing free bumpers to everyone (and refunding already purchased ones) is a reasonable fix, and I hope that’s what they eventually go with.

If there was never a mobile operating system, from Apple, do you think we would have ever seen the smart phone market go where it has? Would there be anything like Android or webOS?

If you ask me, we wouldn’t ever have seen anything like we have today. Apple’s track record is interesting here, though, because while they introduce some truly revolutionary concepts and interactions, they also try to pass of such features as copy/paste and video recording as something they “invented” themselves. I like most of what Apple does: just not always how they do it.

Android is not my favorite operating system, despite liking the openness it brings to the table. For me, the most important part of software is the interface and “experience”, and in that area Android is significantly lacking (this is the same reason I use OSX, not Linux, for my desktop). I like webOS a lot better in that response (and I still feel a connection to Palm), but the momentum is sadly just not there. Overall, though, it’s hard to argue against iOS having the best interface, so it’s what I’m going to stick with for now.

What’s the app/game your using/playing the most right now?

Probably Super QuickHook and Hook Champ by RocketCat Games. Thanks again to Ryan Petrich for getting me hooked on that truly awesome retro series. The apps that I use regularly are Twitter for iPhone, Instapaper, Colloquy, and Facebook. In Cydia, I only use iFile and MobileTerminal right now, due to how my iPhone 4 is jailbroken.

In the movie “Super Troopers”, what was the name of the mascot, that was printed on all the bundles of marijuana? (No Google!).

Never seen it. If only you had switched these questions around: I’ve actually seen the movie you gave Ryan Petrich :P.

If you liked this interview, check out last week’s interview with Ryan Petrich.

If you’re a developer, or know a developer who would be willing to be interviewed by iJailbreak, send them our way. You can contact us here.

Don't forget to follow iJailbreak.com on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Be sure to check out our partnership page where you can get mentorship on starting your own business online.