« October 24, 2010 | Main | October 26, 2010 »

October 25, 2010

The iPhone in "Zero History"

As I was reading William Gibson's superb new novel, one of whose foci is a search for the creator of a shadowy brand that prefers not to be known, it dawned on me after I was well into it that the iPhone — perhaps one of the most iconic and pervasive brands in the world — was being mentioned over and over again.

I went back to the beginning and took notes and here's what I found.

1. The word "iPhone" appears on a total of 36 (of 404) pages: 18, 30, 31, 74, 75, 80, 98, 103, 104, 115, 136, 146, 163, 168, 169, 190, 200, 243, 244 (twice), 250, 253, 256, 297, 310, 313, 328 (twice), 334, 335 (twice), 340, 349, 351, 359, 361, 367, 377 (twice), 393.

2. On page 146: "Where did you buy your phone?" "The Apple Store. SoHo. New York SoHo."

3. The iPhone functions in a variety of roles in "Zero History"; excerpts follow.


p. 18: Purse, iPhone, key with its tassel.

p. 30: She got out her iPhone and Googled "Gabriel Hounds."

p. 31: Hollis put the iPhone down...

p. 74: "Aldous," said Aldous, to his iPhone.

p. 75: ... Milgrim returning the iPhone...

p. 80: ... the iPhone suddenly inert, empty.

p. 98: Now it's all iPhone apps.

p. 103: ... she brought out her iPhone.

p. 104: Hollis held the iPhone away...

p. 115: Meredith Overton was stroking the horizontal screen of an iPhone, pinching up virtual bits of information.

p. 136: The image that came up for Heidi's call, on the iPhone...

p. 146: She looked at the iPhone.

p. 163: It's been around since before the iPhone started to become the default platform.

p. 168: "Controls the penguin," she said. "But we're switching over to iPhones for that."

p. 169: She got the iPhone out of her purse in the little bronze elevator, hit Heidi's cell number as she stepped out.

p. 190: The iPhone app's made a huge difference.

p. 200: ... the iPhone with it.

p. 243: ... holding an iPhone with both hands, arms extended...

p. 244: ... offering her the iPhone...

p. 244: ... then looked at the iPhone...

p. 250: ... rapidly thumbing the screen of his iPhone.

p. 253: ... pinching at pixels on her iPhone's screen.

p. 256: Now Heidi produced her iPhone.

p. 297: Instead, he was focused on the screen of the iPhone, watching the feed from the ray's camera as it rolled.

p. 310: Hollis's iPhone rang...

p. 313: ... came up with an iPhone...

p. 328: Her iPhone rang....

p. 328: ... said Hollis, to the iPhone.

p. 334: ... stroking the screen of an iPhone.

p. 335: Glanced down at the iPhone's glowing screen, then looked at Hollis....

p. 335: The woman looked down at her iPhone, stroked the screen.

p. 340: There was an arming sequence, on the iPhone now, that required a thumb and forefinger...

p. 349: Her pale bare arm passed her iPhone in.

p. 351: He put the iPhone on the edge of the sink...

p. 359: ... the iPhone began to vibrate.

p. 361: He held her iPhone behind her back, seeing exactly where they were now...

p. 367: ... where she'd given him the penguin's iPhone.

p. 377: ... her own iPhone glowing green on her lap.

p. 377: Milgrim turned on his iPhone, saw a blank glowing screen, then realized that the penguin's camera was seeing empty sky.

p. 393: ... said Heidi, on Hollis's iPhone.


My question is this: why "iPhone" rather than "phone" after the first time a character is noted to use/have one?

Or is an iPhone, in Gibson's mind, sui generis and not "just" a phone?

Is the frequent invoking of the word meant to create a kind of word trance in the reader, drawing her or him more deeply into the virtual world rendered by the text?

With Gibson it's entirely possible, whether intentional or not.

We know what Steve Jobs thinks but he's not here just now.

So I'm asking you.

Note: page numbers refer to the British trade paperback edition.

Don't ask.

October 25, 2010 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Watermelon Soap Popsicle — "WHAT did you say?"


I wonder if there is a parent perverse enough to employ this when their small child says a bad word?


October 25, 2010 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

101 art ideas you can do yourself — by Rob Pruitt


Yes, the very same Rob Pruitt featured here last Saturday.


Back in 1999 he created this site so people would have something to do on a rainy day.


Or even one that's not rainy.


October 25, 2010 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

GPS dog locator tracks your pooch up to 3 miles away



Almost ready, that is, for Gray Cat and me.

I'm thinking about another year till it's scaled down small enough that my petite 7.5 lb. furball can manage with it unperturbed.

"12"-24" collar fits most dogs."



[via Marshall Minshew]

October 25, 2010 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Please rate Richard's home page


Find it here.

FunFact: I like it.

There's more to him than meets the eye.

October 25, 2010 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Drive like Mike: His special-edition Mercedes is up for auction on eBay


Long story short: the NBA Hall of Famer has put his 2007 Mercedes-Benz SLR 722 (above and below) up for auction on eBay, with a "Buy it now" price of $429,998 which also gets you the title signed by Jordan.

From the auction description: the car is "loaded with carbon fiber from the hood to the floor pans and wheel wells. Still has Mercedes-Benz factory warranty till Aug. 2011 or 50,000. Comes with all papers, books, keys, trickle charger, k40 radar, and SLR car cover."

Just 150 of these cars were built, with only a couple dozen sold in the U.S.

"According to the National Automobile Dealers Association, the car, which sold new for $480,000, is worth about $449,000 today in mint condition."

Jordan's car has 962 miles on the odometer.


The auction ends this coming Sunday, October 31, 2010 at 4 p.m. PDT.

October 25, 2010 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bulllet impact — 1 million frames/second

Videre est credere.

Much more interesting in my opinion were some of the 4,117 (as of 1:32 p.m. ET Saturday, October 23) comments.

Fair warning: there goes the week.

[via a reader who knows that saying a rifle is rifled isn't nonsense]

October 25, 2010 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tea Duckie — Floating Tea Infuser


Why wait for bathtime when you can have your duckie with you every waking moment?


"Three-piece set includes floating duckie,


metal mesh basket (to hold loose tea)


and water-shaped holder (to house duckie and basket after steeping)."


3.5" x 2" x 2".



October 25, 2010 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

« October 24, 2010 | Main | October 26, 2010 »