On Schizophrenia

What causes schizophrenia?  We really don’t know.

A new hypothesis suggests that schizophrenia is a developmental disorder, which involves epigenetics—that switching business. Our brain with its 100 billion neurons begins developing in utero but is not fully formed until age 25 or so. Brain development involves neurons migrating from their place of origin to their destination (neuron pruning is also involved). The trip is set in motion by a gene switching on. If there were a glitch in this switching mechanism, it would not become apparent until adolescence, when brain development goes into high gear, and also when schizophrenia commonly flares up. This new insight is promising, but it doesn’t quite capture Susanne’s case, since she was in her early 30s when the disaster arrived.

Thanks for the link, John.

It’s time for Donald Sterling to go.

The New York Times is reporting that the NBA will investigate comments that LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling made that made his racism quite clear.  Look, if the stodgy old-boys club that was Major League Baseball in the 1990s can force Marge Schott out for being am embarrassing racist, sexist, and homophobic old coot, then the NBA can make Sterling give up his ownership stake.  Schott is the touchstone for the act that is clearly necessary.  I was embarrassed by her ownership of a team that I loved.

Webb Divorce

Shameful.  Painful.  Terrible.  I’m glad that I was mostly off of Twitter and Facebook for Thursday while my corner of the Internet reacted.  I’m done with him.  I’ll forgive him eventually, but there’s nothing that says that I have to maintain a relationship with him.  Call me what you will for the public unfollow: I will not care.

The Bag Man

“I look at this as an investment. When you ask me why I do this … let me ask you something. Who’s your favorite sports team? Most favorite. Who do you live and die with? What if I told you that if you gave me $10,000 right now I could guarantee you they’d be better? That if they were usually bad that they’d have a winning season? Or if they were just a game shy of going to a championship that they’d get there next season?”

SBNation’s Steven Godfrey met with some SEC bag men to talk about the bag man game.  My response, like many Southerners, is, “Yeah, and?”

On Paid iOS Apps

The market for paid iOS apps isn’t dead:

For these “Big Six” apps, price is almost irrelevant. If your app is useful enough for many of its customers to use it almost every day, they’ll pay a decent price for it. (Not allof them will — but you don’t need all of them.) The challenge is either making your appthat much better than the alternatives, or finding new app roles that are that useful to a lot of people.

Marco certainly knows of what he speaks.  Here’s my iOS main/home/first screen:

iOS Home Screen 2013-04-21Seven of those apps are iOS-bundled applications: Phone, Messages, Maps, Calendar, Clock, Mail, and Safari.  You can see that those last two are used enough that they’re in the omnipresent Dock; the other five are there out of convenience because I actually use them.  (Most of the rest of the bundled apps are on that fourth and final screen since they cannot be deleted.)

But everything else is third-party, and of the other 17 apps, seven are paid: Instapaper (articles saved for reading later); Letterpress (addictive game); ESV Bible (duh); 1Password (invaluable password storage — I know very few of my passwords because I don’t need to know); Flashometer (inexpensive weather forecast app that has a flashlight function embedded in it); OmniFocus (task management — I might let you chop off a finger before I let this go); and Twitterrific (manage multiple Twitter accounts from a fun interface; I’ve used it for years).

Of those seven, three — OmniFocus, Twitterrific, 1Password — are indispensable and get used multiple times per day, while the other four are opened at least once a day.  Marco has a Big Six; I have a Big Seven — and those dominate my home screen use, with the other nine + Folder getting more use than everything else.  (Of the 12 in my folder, only two — Federalist Papers and Terminology — were paid, and I’m pretty sure those two were $0.99 or $1.99 when I bought them.)

Marco’s point is quite valid: for the people who need a niche app, they’re going to really pay for it.  OF is $19.99, but I got it on an introductory/upgrade special; Twitterrific 5 is $2.99 and worth every penny; 1Password is $17.99 and worth every penny even if I did get it on an introductory price.  There is price elasticity for me in all three applications — far more than the other for four sure.

Your use cases are going to be different than mine, of course.  I use OmniFocus and 1Password on my iPhone because I’ve used the desktop applications for 2-1/2 and four years respectively.  I’ve used Twitterrifc on the Mac since it first came out for free — it was one of the first third-party Twitter applications.  I have brand loyalty because I have buy-in for these three, and this isn’t likely to be the case with you.

No matter your mobile OS, you’ll have must-have apps to fit how you handle things, and the chances are that you’ll be paying good money for those apps because you want them to live on.  For people that use their phone past free gaming and Facebook, you’re probably going to end up paying something north of $1.99 for at least a handful of apps.  This fact is what keeps the ecosystem running.