Archive for January 23, 2013

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 [Tweets] [Favorites]

The No-Hire Paper Trail

Jeff Blagdon:

Steve Jobs threatened patent litigation if Palm wouldn’t agree to stop hiring Apple employees, says former Palm CEO Edward Colligan in a statement dated August 7th, 2012. The allegation is backed up by a trove of recently-released evidence that shows just how deeply Silicon Valley’s no-hire agreements pervaded in the mid-2000s. Apple, Google, Intel, and others are the focus of a civil lawsuit into the “gentleman’s agreements,” in which affected employees are fighting for class action status and damages from resulting lost wages, potentially reaching into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Colligan claims that Palm only hired three people from Apple, while Apple hired 2% of Palm’s employees.

While there are perhaps arguments to be made for the strategic benefits of these kinds of no-hire pacts, it’s obvious from the e-mails we’ve seen that high-ranking executives realized their potential legal ramifications. Above, Google’s Eric Schmidt notes that he doesn’t want to create a paper trail explicitly mentioning the agreements, lest the company “be sued later.” In a separate e-mail, Intel CEO Paul Otellini expresses his desire that the existence of the handshake agreements not be “broadly known.”

Core Rot at Apple

Lloyd Chambers:

Over the past few years a semi-conscious unease has been steadily growing in my mind: OS X is not getting more reliable and more stable, it is instead developing more and nastier problems that range from interference with getting work done to potential data loss.

We can quibble over the details—for example, I like Mission Control—but I agree with the general sense that something is going wrong with the development of the OS. There have been improvements in some areas, but it seems like technical debt is accumulating and Apple is shipping more stuff that’s half-baked.

Update (2013-02-11): He’s posted some reader comments.

Update (2013-02-27): Gene Steinberg interviewed Chambers about Core Rot on his podcast.

Xcoder 0.1.15

Ray Yamamoto Hilton (via Ole Begemann):

Xcoder is a ruby wrapper around various Xcode tools as well as providing project and workspace parsing and partial write support. Xcoder also supports manipulation of keychains, packaging and uploading artifacts to Testflight and provisioning profile management.

The Serif Readability Myth

Kas Thomas (via Kontra):

Lund undertakes an exceptionally detailed and critical review of 28 typeface legibility studies conducted between 1896 and 1997. He finds seriouos methodological problems in nearly all of them. Legibility itself is still poorly defined, even today, and is not well distinguished from readability. It turns out a surprising number of otherwise convincing “legibility studies” have been based on reading speed or reading comprehension, which have no bearing on glyph recognition per se. Reading speed is now known to be mainly a function of cognition speed, which varies considerably from individual to individual and is not related in any straightforward way (and possibly in no way) to typeface design. Reading comprehension is even further removed from type design.

It does feel unnatural for me to read large amounts of sans-serif text (on paper), but it may simply be that I’m not used to it.

Ole Lund’s dissertation is available for free download; you just have to register with your e-mail address (which the site doesn’t verify).