Mac Desktop or Laptop Required


#1

My goal is just to learn a little about programming, and the reviews on the book were over the moon. I buy it on my Kindle, and right in the first chapter run across something that was not in the promo materials:

“This book was designed to be read in front of a Mac.”

And then:
“These experiments [presumably only doable on a Mac] are not optional.”

Is this right? Because if it is, this book is useless to me. I’ve got an iPad and iPhone, but work requires a Windows computer and I really don’t want to buy a Mac just for a hobbyist project. Had I realized I was entering a world that required a desktop or laptop Mac I wouldn’t have bought the book, which appears to be unusable for me if I can’t do what I am asked to do on the iPad.

I would appreciate knowing for sure. I also suggest that you amend either your sales material or the first chapter so that people understand the hardware requirements. Thanks.


#2

Yes, you’ll need a Mac.

The book is designed for people who want to develop applications for iOS or Mac OS X. And you can’t develop software for either of those platforms on a Windows machine. I’m sorry.


#3

You need to fix your marketing materials.

I understand that if I want to program on a Mac, I need a Mac. However, I want to program for an iPad, and I have an iPad with more speed and more memory than most older Macs. The blurb on Amazon says directly that the book is “compatible with . . . iOS5,” leading me, as the kind of novice to whom the book is targeted, to conclude that if I had an iOS5 device I was good to go.

I suspect it is obvious to those who know something about programming that you can’t write software for an iOS5 machine unless you have a Mac, a computer that runs a different operating system than the iOS5 operating system I was hoping to write programs for. I can understand that there are reasons that might be true even though C is a high level language that works across a range of machines, and even though iOS5 devices work seamlessly with machines from many different operating systems.

The point is, however, that you market this book to novices who by the nature of things know nothing about programming and would not necessarily know those things. I freely acknowledge that I do not have the domain knowledge that would let me know whether iOS5 programming requires a Mac. I do have domain knowledge in Deceptive Trade Practice law, however, and I can tell you that marketing a product as “compatible” with iOS5 that requires a different operating system would be considered deceptive within the meaning of those laws (not that I think you personally meant to deceive, which btw is legally irrelevant, and not that anyone is going to bring to a lawsuit, because I certainly am not. I’m just pointing out that domain knowledge depends on what we know, and while I don’t know operating systems I do know what I can fairly expect when I read a statement of compatibility. You can’t target novices as your customers and expect them to know that “compatible” with iOS5 does not mean the exercises necessary to the book are, in fact, compatible with the highest end iOS5 device.).

I read before purchase the materials you prepared to induce purchase, and nothing in those materials says to the targeted novice, “You need a Mac.” Someone deliberately chose the words ‘compatible with’ rather than the word ‘requiring.’* Since the vast majority of iPhone and iPad owners do not, in fact, own Mac operating system computers, this is not a trivial omission given that you explicitly target novice programmers wishing to write programs for their iOS5 devices. Assuming that your intent is not to mislead, you really ought to fix that, at least on Amazon, where it would be a five minute task to revise the materials to market the book accurately.

In the meantime, I will view this ill advised purchase of what looks to be a brilliantly constructed book as the equivalent of ordering the wrong entree at a bad chain restaurant. Sometimes you pays your money and takes your chances, and get something quite different from what the menu says you are ordering. I will put in for a refund at Amazon and keep you in mind for a reboot if and when I get a Mac. All the best.


#4

Dr. Campbell, You are correct – we should have made it clear that a Mac was required. I hope it is obvious that we did not do this to trick anyone one into buying the book; it was simply an oversight.

I’m certain that whoever you bought the book from will take it back. I suggest you return it for a refund.

Once again, I’m sorry for the inconvenience.


#5

It was obviously an oversight, and Amazon has already made the refund. It looked like it was going to be a great book, and I’m sorry I wasn’t able to enjoy it.


#6

day late and a dollare short here, but you can work through the C/obj C stuff without needing a mac… checkout ideone.com.

you WILL want a mac to get the most of this, but this site’s a good sandbox to go through the basic C/obj C stuff in the book.