Business Perspective on the Iphone Jailbreaking App Cydia

If you outlaw jailbreaking phones, outlaws won’t jailbreak their phones.

Two days ago I saw Saurik the creator of Cydia give a keynote at a conference which provided an interesting perspective into the world of jailbreaking the iPhone. He talked quite a bit about Cydia and its role in the marketplace. Cydia is an interesting piece of software that benefits pretty much everyone involved.

For those not in the know Cydia is the App Store on the iPhone but for software that Apple does not allow on the App Store itself. It is installed on devices by jailbreaking them and gaining complete control of the Iphone.

Cydia got its name because a cydia is a species of moth that lives and grows in apples.

Cydia obviously benefits the end user giving them unbelievable value added features that add functionality that Apple won’t allow on the App Store. I personally will always want my phone jailbroken because of f.lux eliminating the blue spectrum at night on my phone. The value added is tremendous. Blind people can use iPhones to their full potential with Cydia by unlocking features to provide a great blind user experience.

It’s cool to look at Cydia and how it affects Apple’s business model. It benefits Apple greatly in a lot of ways. The obvious benefit of Cydia is that it’s a testing ground for apple’s new features. Pretty much every feature Apple has implemented In the iOS updates has already been tested years before with Cydia.

The largest value Cydia provides to Apple is the prevention of zero day exploits. Zero day exploits are defined as exploits that hackers find and then don’t tell anyone about the glitch in order to monetize off the exploit. The teams that work on jailbreaking spend 1000s of hours finding zero day exploits and then release the exploit in the form of jailbreaks which Apple can then reverse engineer and fix the exploit. It’s very interesting to think that Cydia is a security competitive advantage for Apple compared to Android who only has white hat hackers to protect from zero day exploits.

There are some downsides to Cydia. The big one is the disruption of the business model for the App Store and the iPhone itself. It’s small because Apple is primarily a hardware company but Cydia allows free tethering while Apple changes 20 dollars a month to add the feature. There is also a little bit of piracy because with Cydia you can spoof the App Store purchasing system. This is small because the majority of people that jailbreak don’t use Cydia to pirate but just to add features. I believe these downsides are small and can be outweighed solely by the increased value Cydia adds to the early adopter crowd who if not for Cydia would be on Android.

With the clear advantages in place, I wonder if people couldn’t find exploits with future updates would it be beneficial for apple to give jailbreak teams an exploit. After 6 months or so apple would give the evasion jailbreak team a jailbreak to release. No one would know it came from apple directly but doing so, will benefit a large amount of users and potentially boost sales. It would be interesting to look into this more. I want to see a graph with iphone sales and how they correlate to jailbreak announcements. My hypothesis is it might be small as the percentage of people that jailbreak is small.

Cydia opens the iPhone and makes it behave like a fully featured computer. A lot of companies don’t want people to take control of their devices as it would drastically affect their business model (think game consoles). In fact it’s currently illegal for consumers to take control of devices if the manufacturer prevents that. Cydia actually has to go to court every couple years and ask for an exception.

Saurik makes a very interesting point in that by locking the phone down and only providing an apple experience, it’s not a complete computer experience. The idea is that if a kid gets an iphone that is locked down he will still be able to do a lot, but if he was inclined to explore the
computer science software development world he would not be able to the fullest extent. If the kid had a jailbroken phone or an android phone he could load up a fully featured ide and learn about making games and apps.


Ideas are just groups and extensions of other ideas.

To me the formation of ideas is one of the most fascinating things the human brain is capable of. I find the synthesis of ideas works best when I organize previous ideas and work on improving existing ideas.

I find the most useful skill for idea generation is the ability to do research well. I think my main competitive advantage is that I’m able to type things into google search bar easily.

I’m going to talk about how a specific abstract idea formed for me. It’s really interesting because while the idea is focused it’s just built off a combination of ideas that mainly were from other ideas from other people.

Coaster Sandbox

This idea is an educational physics based mobile roller coaster building app. Users can build roller coasters by moving points on a spline collider to build a custom roller coaster and the see how the physics interacts as you change the weight.

This idea started this summer when I saw the forum thread on unity3d that shared the iPhone gyro script example on unity3d . This script hooks up the angle and orientation of the phone to the camera in game. This makes the users smartphone a window into the virtual world. Essentially this script gives the user pseudo virtual reality experience on your smartphone.
For an example of this check out this video here.

When I saw this script I immediately saw the potential. I then started researching ways oculus rift developers have capitalized on the vr technology. Rift Coaster a roller coaster vr simulator that seemed to draw the most attention. A simple virtual reality demo that showcases the potential of virtual reality.

An idea was planted, I was going to make a mobile virtual reality coaster experience similar to Rift Coaster. I began to do research, as other people have been working on similar ideas. I soon found the Unity Hermite Spline script. This script allows you to take points and build a smooth curved track between the points. I then found free rollercoaster 3d models on turbosquid. I now had all the assets to build a prototype.

During my research I came across the PixArtist on YouTube. He posted a video of his roller coaster work in progress of him building a rollercoaster in runtime and then riding it completely physics based. I then saw the potential of this combined with the mobile vr coaster idea.

Seeing that video and all of the PixArtist’s work really inspired me to continue working on my ideas and continue to innovate. The phrase good artists copy great artists steal comes to mind. Innovations develop fastest when you build off of other people’s ideas and the Pixartists has some very amazing ideas.

I then combined all the free assets available and made a rollercoaster prototype similar to rift coaster. I showed the prototype to some friends to play test it. They were not that engaged and I realized that the demo needs more to it. I then stopped development and worked on other ideas it was summer and there were plenty of things on my plate.

Flash forward to October, where I went to Hatch Festival. I saw several people in the tech community give talks on open source software and was inspired to release the Roller Coaster game open source, in order to give back he community. I also sent the Pixartist a message mentioning to him how great his games are and the potential of his games on mobile.

Check out the open source repo here.
Flash forward to yesterday I was talking to Audrey Wooding about a grant opportunity for education STEM games. After the talk it hit me. I should apply for the grant with a roller coaster sandbox idea.

It was that moment the combined all the ideas I had before on the subject and gave me the focus I needed to understand where this idea should go.

Over the next weeks, I’m going to be working on this grant proposal and collaborate with other developers on the idea. Ideally I would reach out to the Pixartist and try to get him to join the project.


The Power of Engaging

There is direct connection with a dopamine serotonin feel good response when someone likes, comments, follows and shares on social media. The engagement received helps validate the person’s existence.

This validation that social media provides ultimately empowers the user and does a lot of good in the world because of this. The confidence that social media provides is driving the world to be a more productive efficient place.

it’s crazy to think of how many things are done with posting it on social being the main motivation. I know when I personally am doing stuff I usually think of how to post about it on social. if I am backcountry skiing I usually think about how what my caption will be on my daily Instagram post on the skin up.

Not all social media is created equal. While I think it’s beneficial to be on all social media possible, some social media primarily is designed to just a waste of time. A key takeaway for all social media seems to be spend less time digesting content and more time creating content to be digested. Spending time making content and then analyzing the engagement over the past year has really helped me dial in my audience and construct posts to optimize for my audience.

There is a lot of power in engaging with others. Showing the love on social gives the feel good response to the recipient. When you like posts on facebook for instance, the algorithms on facebook are skewed so next time when you post on social the chance of the friend seeing your post are higher.

This summer I came across an open source script called the love machine. This script uses a headless web browser to log onto facebook and automatically like all posts on my timeline. Besides causing some weird conversations and one person getting very pissed off the benefits of the love machine have been very good. People generally feel good when the love machine likes their posts. They then have a positive reception of me and engage with my stuff more.

It’s really interesting to see how validating people around me affects my personal life. Lately I’ve been experimenting with trying to validate everyone around me by smiling, conversing and joking around everyone I see. Some people just laugh at me and think I’m weird. The connection I have been able to make with people just by smiling and being happy around them has helped me tremendously.

I’m going to vibrate higher then everyone else to try to pull everyone up around me.


3d Scanning

Yesterday I finished building a frame to hold my laptop and kinect sensor. The frame manages the cords and holds everything together so I can easily scan 3d environments.


The implications of this technology will be huge. What is interesting is the technology is only 3 months away from being much better software available from Google on a tablet.


It’s nice to adapt to the technology while it is still in its infancy. Google will have the technology in their smartphones at the end of next year and soon the technology will be standard and not thought about as new.


The implications that this technology (giving smartphones eyes) will have on society will be the biggest improvement of the smartphone since the original iPhone. There are 1000s of use cases that will dramatically improve, the quality of life for everyone.


It’s cool to look at this technology from a usability perspective. Currently creating and navigating 3d spaces is a challenge for non innovator every adaptor category. The key change on the software side is that it’s about to become easy to navigate and view 3d spaces.


I look to be on the cutting edge of usability improvements to the navigation of 3d spaces in the coming months.


It’s also going to revolutionize game design. I’m making a game where you are trapped as myself in a 3d scanned version of my house and you have to escape.



Game Design

About a year and a half ago, motivated mainly the skiing game shredsauce. I decided to take on game design. After ripping apart several tutorials I decided tomake my first game, a ski prototype much like the shredsauce game that inspired me to start.

Game design really struck a chord with me. I’m constantly motivated and inspired by the complexity and challenge that game design brings. Game design to me feels like the unlimited balance of creativity and logic. Game design meshes Science technology engineering art and math (steam) into a perfect combination of human creation. It combines those 5 things well so they all build off each other. Each aspect motivates me to learn each other aspect and slowly design better and better games.

Over the next year I made 8 game prototypes. My skills as a designers were slowly increasing. Soon I was able to come up with simple ideas and build rough prototypes in a day thanks to the power of the game engine unity 3d. Rapidly prototyping games allows me to make iterative changes to the games and make games super lean.

I quickly learned about the power of mobile games. People have a big connection to their smartphones and have the ability to be completely immersed by the screens they can fit in their pockets.

This past summer I published 4 simple mobile games. The games were largely variants on previous popular games. I’ve made several mistakes with marketing and execution of those games. The good thing about games is they can be updated and improved fixing the mistakes.

Publishing games have been one of the most motivating things I have done. Over the next months I’m going focus my efforts on building games that are a lot more immersive and focus on creativity.

Until now game design has largely been a solo experience, building games based on what I learned from the game design community. I’m going to release some of my games open source to give back to the community. I’m also going to focus on collaboration with like minded people to build larger projects.

Check out my first open source mobile game demo.


I like Self Validation.

In pre civilization times human beings were simple creatures. The tribal life was for them and they enjoyed a good night with their closest tribesmen around the campfire. For hundreds of thousands of years the Homo genus developed this way.

All it took was a couple seeds. A couple seeds the led to the birth of agriculture and the start of humanity. The next 10,000 years the human species used technology to solve problems and exponentially grow as a species.

The environment that humans live in today, is more different from pre civ days than ever before. While it’s getting more and more different technology is making it more and more easier to survive. I’n the next 100 years humanity will play a tough technology versus environment battle.

It’s fascinating how rapidly the internet has changed humans in such a short amount of time. It’s has really connected everybody and has brought forth a global tribe somewhat mimicking connection felt in the pre civ tribes. People connected to the internet feel like they have a global voice in the state of the world around them through the internet.

It’s crazy how much good this is doing for humanity.

The effect of social media in just the sheer motivational potential is astounding. Using peoples personal networks to validate themselves is a genius idea that gets people motivated to do things to get those likes.