Subversion, TANSTAAFL & Oodles of Creepy Stuff

Welcome to the new and improved Particle Debris. Well, maybe not improved. Just relabeled. It’s stand alone column now, like Hidden Dimensions, and so I have more flexibility with the title. So let’s dig in. Got your coffee ready?

How did we get from the DOS command line to the very good Graphical User Interfaces we have today? One of the pioneers at Apple who is largely responsible for that leap is Susan Kare. Over at PLoS BLOGS, Steve Silberman has written a terrific article on how Ms. Kare, a Ph.D. in Fine Arts by the way, came to Apple and changed the face of personal computing with her design insight. This is required reading for all Apple fans. “The Sketchbook of Susan Kare, the Artist Who Gave Computing a Human Face.

Susan kare drawingEarly Susan Kare sketch. Used with permission.

Matt Alexander explained how Steve Jobs’s penchant for market subversion almost led to Apple building its own wireless network for the iPhone. (Now we know where all those rumors came from.) But even so, Apple has been successful in other subversive efforts, and here’s a nice recap: “Apple and market subversion.

If we only knew, intimately, how many millions of dollars per month it takes to run the free services, like Facebook and Twitter, that we take for granted, we’d have more insight into why things are the way they are. And why things will change. “There are no free lunches on the internet.”

No doubt you’ll be in a mall, somewhere, over the weekend. Here’s a thought, CNN reports that, “Starting on Black Friday and running through New Year’s Day, two U.S. malls — Promenade Temecula in southern California and Short Pump Town Center in Richmond, Va. — will track guests’ movements by monitoring the signals from their cell phones.” By the way, malls are already tracking you in other ways. Just when you thought things couldn’t get any more creepy….

It can. “Bring On The Creepy! Is Building A New Facial Recognition Mobile App.

And more creep, Terminator Style. Researchers are working on a contact lens that can display data. Right now, it’s just a prototype with a single pixel. But you know where this is leading… “Terminator-Style Contact Lens Closer to Reality.” This could be great for pilots, but the specter of the Borg, um, Facebook mind also looms.

BorgSource: iStockPhoto


I’ve seen some attachments that allow you to put an iPhone behind a high quality Nikon lens. It always seemed to me that if you’re going to do that, you might as well use the Nikon camera body. But here’s a niftier solution that doesn’t take nearly as much space: The iPhone Lens Dial. Now that’s something I can see throwing into a suitcase.

iPhone lensSource:

Previously, I wrote about some Samsung TV ads. It looks like Android especially Android 4.0, is really getting to gear for the holidays. If you haven’t see this yet, here’s a demo of the new OS, codenamed ‘Ice Cream Sandwich.” You find it interesting how new folders are created on the desktop.


Most of us are familiar with the awesome, deeply technical reviews that AnandTech does of computers, CPUs, disk drives, etc. So I was pleased to see the world’s most in-depth review of the Apple iPhone 4S. This one goes on for chapters and chapters, and you’ll learn probably more than you ever could have imagined about the iPhone 4S. It might take you all weekend to read it, but don’t do that this weekend.

Happy Thanksgiving to all. We’ll see you back here with Particle Debris on December 2nd.