Particle Debris (wk. ending 11/11) Technical Shock and Awe

| Particle Debris

How do you shine visible light through metal? Well, if the metal is thin enough and the hole is very, very small and you use an LED laser, it can be done. And that’s what you see every time your green FaceTime/iSight light comes on. But the rest of the story is equally cool: developing technology, locking up the laser production capacity and differentiating your product. Here’s the terrific story: “Apple’s Supply-Chain Secret? Hoard Lasers” by Peter Burrows and Adam Satariano.

Previously, we’ve been exposed to a host of privacy issues related to smart phones. Does the Fourth Amendment only apply when you’re inside your house? Should you have an expectation of losing your privacy and anonymity when in your car, out and about? Here’s more on all that from, surprisingly, Scientific American. Supreme Court Considers GPS Cases and the Future of Privacy.”

Right after OS X Lion was released, I wrote a series of articles about how to change your login screen, Dashboard background, and Mission Control desktops. I knew that sooner or later, some developer would give us a tool to manage some of that grunge work, and here it is: “Lion Designer.” Sorry. Didn’t mean to steal your Saturday.

6-inch iPad

Notice a stranger hidden in the lineup? (Source: T-GAAP)

Two years ago, it would have been silly to expect the demise of the Mac Pro, but today, one can make a case for it — at least from Apple’s standpoint. The same may true of the sub-tablet. Amazon and Barnes & Noble think they’ve found a hole in Apple’s tablet strategy, and so they’re pursuing the 7-inch tablet that Seve Jobs once pooh-poohed. But maybe it’s time to revisit our assumptions now that the iPad has a grip on the tablet market. Two Guys and a Podcast steps through some of the initial logic. Market control and pricing.

For the business traveler, giving a Keynote presentation from your iPhone with an add-on projector/case/battery would earn some serious shock and awe points. And, yes, you can do it. Available for pre-order according to the link above, but it might be available by now.

Bookstone projector

Source: Brookstone

One of the latest and greatest Android phones is the Verizon Motorola Droid RAZR. But guess what? The RAZR ships with Android 2.3 “Gingerbread.” It’s already obsolete because the new Samsung Galaxy Nexus ships with Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich.” What’s going on? It’s our old friend, Android fragmentation. Harry McCracken has some ideas on how to fix the problem: “Android’s Fragmentation Mess–and How to Fix It.” Will his ideas work? Is anyone listening? Apple executives just keep on smiling.

Have you wondered why Siri won’t work on an iPhone 4? It’s because the iPhone 4S has an additional infrared laser that detects when the iPhone comes to your face in the “Raise to Speak” option. C|NET has some of the details. “Why Siri doesn’t like older iPhones.”.

We’ve been thnking that a smartphone and NFC is the future of mobile payments, but Ben Milne, founder of Dwolla, is moving towards transactions of $350M/year and mightily shocking (and pissing off) the credit card companies.  You gotta love this kind of stuff. “This 28-Year-Old’s Startup Is Moving $350 Million And Wants To Completely Kill Credit Cards.”

This is an older article, but I just discovered it this week. “How to Pick a Language.” If you’re trying to decide what language to learn for starters or for a project, this guidance will help. As an aside, in my technical experience, it’s Java for the Big Enterprise, C++ for government and military, and the C family for OS and app development.

What has led to Sony’s fall from great heights? The days of Walkman and Trinitron hardware lust. Dan Frommer suggests that it isn’t the hardware. Rather, Sony started to lose its way because of software. I agree. “How Sony lost its way, starting with software.

Previously, I wrote in this column that I thought Google’s vision for living room TV, plainly, sucked. Unfortunately, Google dragged Logitech into the debacle, to the tune of a US$100M write-down. For those who like to read about bad executive decisions, here’s the story: “Logitech Acknowledges Google TV Set-Top Box a ‘Big Mistake’”. This story makes me think about Steve Jobs and how, often, “No.” was the best policy. Lesser executives delude themselves.

Starfleet Comm Badge

Replica Starfleet Comm Badge - Am I a geek or what?

Finally, this story got my attention because I actually have one of these (replica) Starfleet Communicator Badges. (See above. But the battery’s dead, so I can’t call Starfleet HQ anymore.) This next author proposes that it would be cool to have a comm badge, like this one, and tie it into Siri with Bluetooth. Shock and awe. But as Walt Disney said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” Again, from Scientific American A Modest Proposal: Star-Trek-like Communicator Badges for Siri.”


Home page teaser source: Wikimedia Commons



As usual, John, my Saturday morning coffee has the spice of Particle Debris and what a taste enhancer that is!

I would really like to see Apple get off its principles and make a 6 inch iPt. It would be a face saving move, should (must be) all that the iPad is, and, with the delight of Siri. I use my iPt for reading and thumb note taking but Siri would certainly take it that giant step further. I do like the iPad and am, on again, off again thinking about getting the next next generation but it is a mite unwieldy for my liking and the MBA 13 is where my heart lies. As a practising bombasterd, I like to write and type and the pad wouldn?t cut it. Until then, my little iPt and decrepit MacBook will have to do and when I get my MBA 13, we?ll see if I even want one of those pad things.

If Apple has nothing new up its sleeve for next year?s big event, a six inch iPt would, if not take the show, spruce it up by a giant step. There would be dancing in the isles and Mr Cook would be making a direct statement and certainly look to be taking charge of Apple?s direction.

By the way, our challenged friend, Dvorak, (a John closer to the ones that can be jailed for acting on that moniker) has it out for Monsieur Cook for his presentation style. I don?t think he understands that when a friend, leader, respected member of a team dies, one is not going to, and should not be dancing the dance on stage. I am sure Timbo will be able to perform his duties admirably, pull out the personalities for sparkle and glamour and any show will be a resounding success.


I just discovered Dwolla today.
Color me impressed.
I think it could annihilate paper checks and wire transfers.


I think it could annihilate paper checks and wire transfers.

I think the little guy with the upside down head is after CC services’ goolies. Hungry little fella.


Your picks this week, John, strike me as case studies for business schools; how to lose one’s lead (Sony), how the marriage between a bad idea and a beta hardware release produces a stillborn product (Google/Logitech), the perils of not controlling the whole widget (not that one has to) aka ‘the frightful fruit of fragmentation’ (Google and all its OEMs).

As one who travels often, and presents frequently, the Brookstone projector would be a welcome asset. The idea of being able to pop my iPhone into this little wonder and present is too tantalising to pass up. I’ll have to look into it.

As for the Star Trek combadge, that’s just got to happen. Some bright engineer, somewhere soon, will simply make it so.


I completely agree that Sony’s downfall was software.  And this was evident even before the iTunes juggernaut.  I remember buying a Sony DVD burner and Sony camcorder in the late 90’s to early 00’s and the video editing and disc burning software that Sony bundled with these products were just godawful horrible.  I’m still a Sony camcorder buyer but I’ve learned to toss the disc that came with every camcorder I have ever bought.  I don’t even bother to check it out.

Aside from the crap Sony software, the other thing that turned people off Sony products I think is their insistence on proprietary media.  That’s just adding insult to injury.  Bad enough their software reeked, they’d make you buy their expensive in-house storage media on top of that.  I’m still on HDV camcorders but if the time comes to replace them and Sony flash camcorders only take Sticks then I’m done with Sony completely.

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