Anonymity and freedom

“Remote computing freed criminals from the historic requirement of proximity to their crimes. Anonymity and freedom from personal victim confrontation increased the emotional ease of crime, i.e., the victim was only an inanimate computer, not a real person or enterprise. Timid people could become criminals.” Donn Parker, on the behavioral aspects of computer security

We need to talk

“If you’ve ever wondered how it works, this is how it works: I don’t call Steve, Steve calls me. Or more accurately, someone in Steve Jobs’s office calls someone in my office—someone at a much higher pay grade —to say that he has something cool. I then fly to the metastasized strip mall called Cupertino, Calif., where Apple lives, sign some legal confidentiality stuff and am escorted to a conference room that contains Jobs, some associates, and some lumps concealed under some black towels. I stare at what was under the towels. Everybody else stares at me. This is how Apple, and nobody else, introduces new products to the press. It can be awkward, because Jobs is high-strung and he expects you to be impressed. I was, fortunately, and with good reason. Apple’s new iPhone could do to the cell phone market what the iPod did to the portable music player market: crush it pitilessly beneath the weight of its own superiority. This is unfortunate for anybody else who makes cell phones, but it’s good news for those of us who use them.” Lev Grossman, Time

Sharp clarity

“The grain structure of film allows a softness that HD video tends not to have, posing more challenges, especially when it comes to capturing female faces. We seem not to care about seeing men in a rougher, more edgier way, whereas females, were used to seeing them in a softer, more appealing way. So there’s a little more filtration needed, and you have to approach it from a different standpoint.” Stephen McNutt, director of photography for Battlestar Galactica

Branding fidelity

“Wi-Fi doesn’t stand for anything. It is not an acronym. There is no meaning. Wi-Fi and the ying yang style logo were invented by Interbrand. We hired Interbrand to come up with the name and logo that we could use for our interoperability seal and marketing efforts. We needed something that was a little catchier than ‘IEEE 802.11b Direct Sequence’. Interbrand created ‘Prozac’, ‘Compaq’, ‘oneworld’, ‘Imation’ and many other brand names that you have heard of… The only reason that you hear anything about ‘Wireless Fidelity’ is some of my colleagues in the group were afraid. They didn’t understand branding or marketing. They could not imagine using the name ‘Wi-Fi’ without having some sort of literal explanation.” Phil Belanger, founding member of the Wi-Fi Alliance

It’s simple

Mistake 1: Simple visual appearance doesn’t = simple interface” Bruce Tognazzini


“I had a guy come up to me, in my face, saying, ‘You think you’re so cool? You’re not cool’ and I’m saying to him, ‘Dude, it’s a commercial.’ ” Justin Long, on playing the slacker-hip Apple Mac guy to John Hodgman’s nerdy PC guy

Get a Mac

War of the words

“We find that pretty arrogant. They don’t decide. We don’t decide. Gamers decide.” Xbox Canada’s Jason Anderson, on Sony’s E3 proclamation of “Sony decides when the next generation begins”

Hi-speed express

“At the end of March 2006, 42% of Americans had high-speed at home, up from 30% in March 2005, or a 40% increase. And 48 million Americans — mostly those with high-speed at home — have posted content to the internet.” Pew Internet: Home Broadband Adoption 2006

Big in America

“…We had been contacted by Jim Clark, the founder of SGI (Silicon Graphics Inc.), who called us up one day and said that he had just bought a company called MIPS Inc. which had been working on some things with some great R&D people, and it just so happened that they came up with a chip that they thought would be great for a video game console… We were quite impressed, and we called up Japan and told them to send over the hardware team because these guys really had something cool… When they reviewed what SGI had developed… they basically said that it… had lots of little technical things that they didn’t like… So, the SGI guys went away and worked on these issues and then called us back up and asked that the same team be sent back over, because they had it all resolved… There was sort of the same reaction: still not good enough… Well, Jim Clark called me up and asked what was he supposed to do now? They had spent all that time and effort on what they thought was the perfect video game chipset, so what were they supposed to do with it? I told them that there were other companies that they should be calling, because we clearly weren’t the ones for them. Needless to say, he did, and that chipset became part of the next generation of Nintendo products (N64).” Sega of America president Tom Kalinske, on the inner rivalry that existed between the American and Japanese branches of Sega

Like a surgeon

“You know, that’s the first thing I do when I hit a browser bug I can’t pin down - start cutting the styles in half. Doesn’t matter which half, just start narrowing down the potential culprits by halves until I’ve got it down to one or two lines. Glad I’m a web designer and not a surgeon. ‘Does it hurt now? How about now?’” Wilson Miner, on finding CSS bugs by elimination