I’m sitting at the airport in Minneapolis, waiting for a flight to Atlanta. I’m headed for Big Nerd Ranch for a week-long crash course in iPhone programming. I’ve done a little, but I think it will be a great way to start from the basics and fill in all of the holes in my knowledge. The thing is, I’m a little torn about the circumstances; Big Nerd Ranch is paying for this trip and providing a week of classes in order for me to review the facilities for The Unofficial Apple Weblog, where I’m a blogger. There’s nothing innately wrong with the situation, it’s essentially the same as receiving an NFR license for software to review, except for I can’t give away the license at the end, and it’s worth a whole lot more.
I want to maintain my “journalistic integrity,” but I’m not sure how this will turn out in the end. Big Nerd Ranch is pretty legendary, and I feel like it would be a waste to decline the invitation. I also feel like there are plenty of developers and would-be devs who would love to have a look at the offerings. I just don’t want to be pegged as providing reviews in exchange for anything. I’ve always been good about paying for software I’ve reviewed and continued using, returning review hardware (or buying it, in the case of the ViDock). I don’t want this to be a black mark on my integrity.
This is the plan, then: I’ll be letting the ranch speak for itself. I’ll be shooting video and doing interviews with the personalities involved, including Aaron Hillegass, which I’m pretty psyched about. I won’t be adding a lot of commentary or expressing my own opinions about the experience. If something’s great, it should come through as great without much help from me. I’ve noticed that people only question your integrity if you say positive things… but I doubt I’ll have much negative input in this case.
As I said, this is an opportunity I just couldn’t bear to pass up. It’s exciting and very generous of Big Nerd Ranch. What will be, will be, I guess.