Daily Archives: July 12, 2010

Apple screws pooch with iPhone 4. But there is a fix.

“You’re holding it wrong,” is apparently the latest ‘advice’ from Apple’s Steve Jobs. When the iPhone 4 first came out, people noticed a lot of signal drops. To me, that would not be surprising because the iPhone requires the AT&T service, which, in Minnesota, totally sucks. There are vast areas of my own personal geography where AT&T has zero signal, and most of the rest of it ranges from acceptable to sucky.

But it turns out that the iPhone had low-bars to an extent beyond that expected. In early July, Apple explained this as a software problem. The signal was fine, but the software that set the bars was wrong making you think you had a bad signal when you really didn’t

That, dear reader, is absolutely remarkable because if true, it would be one of the most astounding examples of the Placebo Effect. You see, people were not only seeing low signal bars, but they were also losing the signal itself. So, according to Apple’s explanation, people’s phone calls were being cut off because they saw that the signal had low strength as indicated. This, then, caused the signal to actually become low, and sometimes the call to drop.

That is one incredibly strong Placebo Effect. If only we could come up with a form of sugar pill that would do that to cure cancer!!!11!!

In the mean time, iPhone users figured out that if you touched a certain part of the iPhone with your finger, the signal would reduce significantly. There’s a little gappy thing near one corner of the phone, and if you touch that you get a drop in signal strength. Sort of like if you take a sugar pill as a placebo but it is accidentally attached to some effective medicine. That could seriously boost the Placebo Effect!

But then, it turns out that when independent studies were done by Consumer Reports, it was true that the the iPhone’s signal problem is not a Placebo Effect at all. It’s a case, rather, of THIB. (The Hardware is Broken.)

It was about that time, according to some guy on the TV, that Steve Jobs suggested that the real problem was that iPhone users were holding the phone wrong. Which reminds me of a story

Continue reading Apple screws pooch with iPhone 4. But there is a fix.


a picture of something

… in Kruger Park. Waterbuck have a neat adaptation: Nasty tasting subcutaneous fat. It is said that lions and leopards avoid them for this reason. I assure you, however, that they do not avoid them totally. In fact, I’m not sure if it works at all. They seem to be hunted in reasonably close proportion to their numbers in the environment.

But then you have the lions all going “ick, ick … ptui … why do we kill these tings again?”