The iPhone 4 Defect

I feel lately like Apple is the genius younger brother in the computer world. You know, the one who doesn’t get blamed for bad things that happen, because he is so smart, even brilliant, and innocent. He’s always got a plausible excuse for why something bad happened. Then people pat him on the head and say, well, it’s OK young man, just don’t let it happen again.

With Apple’s iPhone 4, the cute answers have been “don’t hold it that way“, and “we’re stunned that blah blah blah” when it comes to a reception issue that many people have reported. I’ve been saying for several months now that Apple is at a crossroad. These kinds of answers won’t cut it because they’re an adult company now. What they’re telling their customers is bullshit. There is no other word for it (well there is, but this one has the best bang for the buck).

Steve jobs reportedly told people not to hold the iPhone 4 a certain way, you know, the same way that virtually all of their advertising demonstrates to hold the phone, and the way Jobs himself held it at its introductory keynote. Then there was the letter that admitted that they we’re “stunned” to find the way they measured signal strength be wrong. In other words, they were lying all along about those signal strength bars. They were making it look like they had more signal than they actually did. They just said they didn’t know, or think it was possible, that they were lying.

Well, today, none other than Consumer Reports called bullshit. They said the phone, by bridging the gap in its new antenna design, could lose -20Db in signal, and that could lead to dropping a call. Unlike what Apple has said in their letter, the other iPhones did not lose the signal like the iPhone 4. Antenna experts reached slightly different conclusions. Then they acknowledged a problem.

OK Apple Genius, your move.

Presentations To-Go with Slideshare


After our presentation at ACCS 2009, I’ve had a couple of “Wedding Singer” moments where it would have been nice to know that developers were working on new versions of plugins, like WPTouch for the iPhone. Another one popped on my radar today, thanks to my office-mate Patrick. The web service Slideshare has enabled, in a beta form, a way to view presentations on mobile phones. Since there is no Flash plugin for the iPhone, you can’t view the slideshows as they are presented on the standard Slideshare site. However, by going to, you can browse on your phone all of the presentations at the site, including your own. It works on most smartphones, including the iPhone, and it works pretty well.

ACCS 2009 Mobile Edition

If you didn’t know, a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation can be downloaded to an iPhone, but viewing it is not a visually rich experience since there is no “player”. It simply allows you to scroll vertically through the slides. With Slideshare Mobile, you have previous and next buttons to advance the show, along with other options to offer feedback, mark as a “favorite”, view the slides in a “sorter” view, and a download link.

Another “small piece” delivered.

By the way, downloading Keynote presentations (the Apple presentation program) from Slideshare doesn’t work on the iPhone’s Safari browser. Since Slideshare doesn’t use a direct link to the file, but instead links to a Zip archive, Safari won’t allow the download because of security issues.

Small Pieces To-Go

conference room schedule

Jim “The Reverend” Groom and I gave a presentation at the 2009 Association of Collegiate Computing Services (ACCS) of Virginia Conference on March 12. Despite the usual anxiety of it all coming together and sounding coherent, I think it turned out pretty well. The main theme of the presentation was taking the idea of “Small Pieces Loosely Joined” and applying it to mobile devices, specifically the iPhone/iPod Touch.

I’ll have more to say in a separate post about some interesting discoveries on way to present mobile content, but for now here is the resource page for the Small Pieces To-Go presentation.