Subversion, TANSTAAFL & Oodles of Creepy Stuff

| Particle Debris

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.


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This is it? This is our next PD? Saturday ain?t tomorrow!

Well! Now I have to exist half of Wednesday, all day Thursday, all day Friday lying in waiting, anticipating, thinking about it.

I like anticipation.

Lee Dronick

This is it? This is our next PD? Saturday ain?t tomorrow!

Tomorrow is the Thanksgiving Day holiday here the USA and that usually means a four day weekend. If I am correct, you Canadians have your Thanksgiving holiday earlier in the year.

Among other things I am thankful for The MacObserver and the friends I have made here.


Yes us in Canada had Thanksgiving a month ago. Actually what it really means is that we get two excuses for great meals a month apart, though we only get one day off.

I’m thankful for finding a job. w00t!
(IT Manager for a robotics company. How geeky is that? My street-cred went up big time when I accepted their offer.)

Lee Dronick

I?m thankful for finding a job. w00t!
(IT Manager for a robotics company. How geeky is that? My street-cred went up big time when I accepted their offer.)

I am happy for you. Have a great weekend


Congrats, geoduck. Didn?t want to be nosey & ask; so glad to hear of your success and may the goddess Fortuna be your companion.

Friends, Lee, certainly to be remembered these holiday times. Around the world people have celebrated the rewards of harvest which drew members of communities together. Today we celebrate such times more in memory but the feelings stand unchanged. I was fortunate to celebrate traditional harvest festivals at longhouses in Borneo and the spirit is truly universal.


I?m thankful for finding a job. w00t!

Congrats, geoduck! Certainly something to be thankful for.

I got my marching orders from the Mrs a few days back, ‘You need to come home for Thanksgiving’ in an email posted from ‘wife@...’ No room for fooling around. I’m just thankful for fleet-footed travel agents.

That said, Ice Cream Sandwich running on the quad-core Asus Transformer Prime looks quite impressive - both the software and the hardware. The four cores provide what looks like very snappy performance. The rumoured iPad 2 upgrade will provide a higher resolution screen, but insofar as I am aware, not an upgraded (quad core) CPU. For that, we’ll probably have to wait for the iPad 3 sometime next year.

Naughton’s piece might well have quoted the Second Law of Thermodynamics with reference to there being no free lunches, but his point is well taken. I get the sense that more people are coming to equilibrium with this concept, but seem, at least amongst the younger demographic, to be resigned to being the commodity of trade - and at peace with it. Consternation over compromised privacy is the purview of advanced age (30+ y), or so it seems.

Looking forward to some down time (not sure when that will happen) to get through the AnandTech 4S review.

And I should add, I second Lee’s sentiments.

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