Particle Debris (wk. ending 8/13) Star Trek’s iPad & iPhone Hidden Features

| Particle Debris

I’ve written before about the connection between electronic clipboards and the Personal Access Display Device (PADD) used in Star Trek and Apple’s iPad. Here’s the most complete story I’ve seen on the parallels between them, including extensive comments by Michael Okuda and Doug Drexler, prop specialist who devised the early devices used in the Star Trek TV shows and movies. Great reading for iPad fans: “How Star Trek artists imagined the iPad… 23 years ago,” by Chris Foresman. Includes some cool pics.

Reader “WestCoastBob” sent me a reference to this very extensive article on all the apps that are installed on the iPad that is installed in the iCub light aircraft. If you’re into flying, you want to check it out.



For those who may want to engage in a bit more speculation about the departure of Mark Papermaster from Apple, The Wall Street Journal had some additional details on his apparent falling out with Steve Jobs. However, the WSJ didn’t claim that iPhone antenna problems were the sole reason. Rather personality conflicts may have been brewing long before the iPhone 4 was released, and antennagate may have simply been the straw that broke the camel’s back. The WSJ explains in “IPhone Executive Is Out At Apple.” (As a side note, I find it interesting that journalism style finds it more important to start a headline with a capital letter than to keep the product name intact.)

One of the things I paid a lot of attention to when I was a science and technology marketing manager at Apple was 2D/3D CAD programs. This item didn’t make the cut for general news, but I wanted to point point out that Graebert GmbH, of Germany has shipped its ARES Commander Edition 1.0 for Mac. A Linux and Windows version is also available, and that makes this CAD program the first to run natively on all three platforms.

TMO noted today that Bernstein Research’s Toni Sacconaghi has once again elected to Beat a Dead Horse by suggesting that Apple engage in a stock buyback as well as pay dividends. It just isn’t going to happen, explains, Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt in “Why Steve Jobs doesn’t pay dividends.” But what I found interesting was the associated chart showing the distribution of Apple’s Cash, Short term investments and long term investments. It looks to my untrained eye that Apple converted a lot of cash starting in Q408 into, presumably bargain priced stocks and reaped the rewards. When you have billions of dollars to play with, if you’re shrewd, you can earn some serious money.

David Pogue has posted an article, “Three Unknown Features of the iPhone 4,” and one of them is very intriguing, namely the Unified Contacts feature. It seems to be worth looking into in more detail. The other little know features include FaceTime tricks and Spoken Books in which iBooks will read books and PDF documents out loud.

A year ago, the Android OS had 4 percent of the smartphone market share. A year later, it’s up to 34 percent and has surpassed RIM’s 33 percent. Here’s the chart and analysis by Mark Walsh at Online Media Daily. Apple has some serious competition now, especially with the announcement by Google of Voice Actions.

Finally, we’ve seen a smattering of stories in the past before about Steve Jobs’s license plateless Mercedes Benz SL55. Here’s a good background piece at Gizmodo by Bryan Gardiner with lots of additional juicy tidbits about Mr. Jobs reluctance to display a California license plate on his car. And how he’s gotten away with it.

Jobs's SL55

Mr Jobs’s SL55, Credit: Gizmodo



(As a side note, I find it interesting that journalism style finds it more important to start a headline with a capital letter than to keep the product name intact.)

This is somethingI’ve had trouble with ever since the first iMac came out. The grammarian in me says it should be IMac if it starts a sentence. The perfectionist says it should be iMac regardless of where it is, as that is the correct name.

My solution is simple. I try really hard not to use an iProduct to start a sentence. If the article had been called “Ex-IBM Executive Is Out At Apple” or “Papermaster Is Out At Apple” or even “Head of iPhone Team Is Out At Apple” they could have avoided the problem.


When you have billions of dollars to play with, if you?re shrewd, you can earn some serious money.

Apple would not be the first company to discover a hidden revenue stream in the Accounting Department. The CFO bears a very heavy responsibility.


Enjoyed article on Star Trek and the iPad. A great read for any ST fans.


The iCub,and related planes are amazing. I grew up around light aircraft. My folks ran an FBO that installed avionics. There were systems that would do some but most definitely not all of this back in the 1970s-80s, but they were only for top end business twins and jets. The C172s, PA28s and StarDuster Too’s that we worked on were lucky to get a NavCom and an ADF. This kind of a system would have cost more than many of the aircraft we worked on. What’s more none of them would have been able to power it. (I remember planes that used a little wind powered generator to run a few lights and a radio.)

So now this is on an iPad. It does thing’s you couldn’t do back then, it’s more accurate (the old systems were radio and radar based, GPS didn’t exist back then), runs off of it’s own battery, and you can carry it with you.

It is absolutely astounding.

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