*The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone*

by on June 27, 2017 at 1:34 pm in Books, History, Web/Tech | Permalink

An excellent book by Brian Merchant.  Two neat things I learned that I hadn’t known before.  First, when you are typing the software guesses which letters might be coming next and gives you extra latitude in hitting those keys.  (I believe this oddly makes the QWERTY keyboard efficient once again, also.)  Second, there are non-disclosure agreements for reading a possible non-disclosure agreement to sign (or not).  You have to sign one of those before you even get to see the non-disclosure agreement for the work at hand, in other words if you don’t sign the NDA you can’t even report on how much secrecy they were demanding from you.  Apple used those.

1 Peter Boysen June 27, 2017 at 1:51 pm

The keyboard thing I knew. There was a little-known rock band called “Damiera” that was physically impossible to type in one try on the early iPhones (no idea about newer ones), because the predictive letter function was tuned such that the letters on either side could completely eliminate one of the letters on a keyboard (I think in Damiera specifically the i or the e was not pressable for this reason; no matter how precisely and slowly you pressed it, a letter to the left or right would be input). An uncommon problem, but interesting all the same.

2 Mark v sussman June 27, 2017 at 2:19 pm

It would be interesting to see an analysis of all the secret wars, killing and exploitation this company engaged in to monopolize on the secretive development process once complete….

As an aside, which corporations win for worst global citizens of 2016? I argue that apple and their dependence on conflict minerals and child labor may take the cake, but I’m also not particularly aware of what other bad actors may have been up to this past year.

Thoughts anyone????

3 The Anti-Gnostic June 27, 2017 at 3:33 pm

I nominate Utne Reader for addling so many minds.

4 Thor June 27, 2017 at 3:44 pm

The UTNE Reader? That’s nothing! Harper’s!

5 Alain June 27, 2017 at 4:00 pm

“which corporations win for worst global citizens of 2016? I argue that apple”

LOL no, idiot.

6 Butler T. Reynolds June 28, 2017 at 7:16 am

Ha, ha… Don’t you have a speech at a university to shut down? Oh, yeah, it’s summer break. 🙂

7 Sigivald June 27, 2017 at 3:30 pm

in other words if you don’t sign the NDA you can’t even report on how much secrecy they were demanding from you

But you can still report that the NDA was under an NDA!

8 albatross June 27, 2017 at 4:49 pm

I wonder if anyone does more iterations than that.

9 Enrique June 28, 2017 at 12:02 am

If so, it’s NDAs all the way down!

10 Daniel Hill June 28, 2017 at 12:40 am

I suspect there are turtles at the bottom, but it’s only a rumor. We’ll never know thanks to the infinite layers of NDAs…

11 Daniel Hill June 28, 2017 at 12:42 am

If the first NDA prevents you discussing the contents of the second NDA, including the fact that it prevents you acknowledging the existing of the third NDA, there’s no way we’ll ever know. There has to be the plot line for a novel in this!

12 Mark Thorson June 27, 2017 at 3:53 pm

Why don’t they just go all the way and have you sign a blank piece of paper?

13 Anon June 27, 2017 at 8:11 pm

Isn’t that what most of us do by never reading any of all of them ?

14 dearieme June 27, 2017 at 4:26 pm

I may have muddled this (it was a long time ago) but I think I was once asked to sign a document promising that if asked to sign the (UK) Official Secrets Act I would do so.

It’s only a bit of theatre, signing the Act. But many important things in life are only a bit of theatre.

15 chuck martel June 27, 2017 at 4:55 pm

The strange ceremony of affixing one’s signature to a document not only indicates your agreement with and commitment to the document, it also forbids that you change your mind about the matter.

16 dearieme June 27, 2017 at 6:17 pm

The Official Secrets Act applies to you whether you sign it or not. That’s the usual thing with laws.

17 Daniel Hill June 28, 2017 at 12:38 am

You may not be interested in the Official Secrets Act, but the Official Secrets Act is interested in you…

18 rayward June 27, 2017 at 4:27 pm

Obsessing about secrecy might suggest there’s not really that much to protect. Sure, the i-phone is an amazing device for communicating in grunts and groans but not for, you know, communicating in words strung together in sentences. It’s not even a very good phone; I know when someone calls me on an i-phone because, unless she speaks directly into the microphone, it’s incomprehensible. Okay, I can use my i-phone to call a Uber, direct me to a not very good restaurant, read a not very good book, watch a not very good movie. It’s amazing, and the producers of it no doubt need an NDA to protect it’s wonderfulness.

19 Proverbs 6.1 June 27, 2017 at 5:04 pm

Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth. I and Thou thus speak with a forward mouth. Ask Broward County. Or perhaps an I-phone is something else entirely. A buckler full of mementos, and the emoticons are hackabara. I prefer the mentos, and the chicklets.

Dew is after all the symbol of a multitude. By the kindling light the mist is transformed into vast snow-white clouds, which presently break into separate masses and rise up the mountain-sides, to disappear in the blue above, dissipated by the increasing heat.

Regarding an NDA, I don’t Google has had a major innovation since Image search.

20 Proverbs 6.1 June 27, 2017 at 5:04 pm

froward mouth

21 carlospln June 27, 2017 at 6:17 pm

“Second, there are non-disclosure agreements for reading a possible non-disclosure agreement to sign (or not)”

Double Secret Probation:


22 Christian Hansen June 27, 2017 at 7:45 pm

I want to hear about the real illuminati shit. For instance, why does the battery go fuckity fuck just when your service provider notifies you that you are eligible for an upgrade.

23 Butler T. Reynolds June 28, 2017 at 7:25 am

It’s the only time we embrace existential nihilism without negative emotions. We click on the [I agree to terms] checkbox assuming that our insignificance will keep the company from bothering to destroy us, not that it makes a difference in the long run anyway.

24 Ricky Tylor July 1, 2017 at 12:30 pm

This type of analysis is something very hard to see, but I guess that’s life. We are better at focusing on positive things; it’s easier with business like Forex which I can do according to my own way and comfort. It’s easier with broker like OctaFX who got sensational set of schemes and features counting from low spread to high leverage, deposit bonus and then there is even day to day market analysis, insights and much more, so all this helps big time.

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