The secret history of technology
Mysteries isn't the right word. There's nothing mysterious about how the technology that shapes our culture and changes our lives came into being. It's a combination of profound insight and arduous work by incredibly talented people. That's why those stories — their stories — are so very important to us. They, the engineers and designers, are the crossroads of science and art, technology and humanity. They are why we have things like the iPhone and iPad, like Safari and Siri. And while not mysteries, their stories have remained largely untold. They've remained secrets. So, why am I repeating this particular refrain?
One of the reasons Guy English and I started the Debug podcast was simply to get a chance to have or finish all the great bar-room chats no one ever has enough time for at shows like WWDC. The other reason was our mutual passion for story, for the "archaeology of the unknown". In both those regards we've been luckier than we ever dreamt possible. We've had guests — brilliant, magnificent guests — who have shared with us their stories, their facets of how much of the mobile, multitouch world came to be.
Just this week we concluded a three part series — 6 hours total! — with Nitin Ganatra, former Director of iOS apps at Apple. If you use the built-in apps on your iPhone or iPad, he led the team that built many of them. Even though I was there recording them when he spoke with us, I've listened to each several more times since. They're that educations. They're that good.
- Debug 41: Nitin Ganatra episode III: iPhone to iPad
- Debug 40: Nitin Ganatra episode II: OS X to iOS
- Debug 39: Nitin Ganatra episode I: System 7 to Carbon
We've been extremely fortunate to have had several other guests generous enough to share their stories with us as well.
Ken Ferry spoke with us about his time working on Cocoa, Auto Layout, and Passbook.
Evan Doll of Flipboard spoke with us about his time on Pro Apps and iOS.
- Debug 25: Vicki Murley on evanglizing Safari and CSS transforms
- Debug 9: Matt Drance, the Apple Outsider
- Debug 3: Jury and Kaleidoscope
David Gelphman spent an amazing 4 hours with us talking about his time working on PostScript, Core Graphics, and AirPrint.
- Debug 16.1: David Gelphman on Apple, Core Graphics, and AirPrint
- Debug 16: David Gelphman from Adobe to General Magic
The one and only Don Melton, former Engineering Director of Internet Technologies at Apple spent a couple hours telling us, as only Gramps can, about the development of WebKit and Safari, two things which have shaped the modern, interactive internet.
That's a lot of hours of podcasting, but if you haven't listened to them yet, or missed some of them, and you're at all interesting in how the iPhones and iPads and Macs you hold in your hands and use everyday came into being, I can't recommend them highly enough. Not because of the facts involved. Facts are important, certainly, but are ultimate dry and dead things. Because of the people. Because of the lives and careers spent, the knowledge and experience gained, and the incredible work crafted.
The iPhone and iPad encapsulate among the most important technological and cultural events of the last decade. These are part of their story, and the stories of the people who helped bring them into our world.