Overqualified: APPLE: fixes before breaks


To: APPLE
Re: usability engineer

Dear Apple,

I am writing to apply for a position with your company, and I am including my resume for your review. It outlines my experience as a computer programmer in the field of natural language processing. In this letter, I would like to talk to you about the next level of user experience.

You have cornered the market on usability, Apple. Anyone can pick up any of your devices and find themselves productive within moments. But what are the limits on that productivity? As far as I can tell, there are none. I don't believe you do enough to guide your users safely through the sometimes dangerous new landscape that sprawls behind that flat screen. I don't mean spam, here. I'm not talking about protecting them from others.

Late at night, drunk, our language changes. Our adjectives shift, becoming stronger, more romantic. Our verbs become more clear, more specific, occasionally more desperate. They change even when we're talking of simple things, like eating an apple if you will excuse my example. In the day we simply eat an apple, but late at night, while my wife sleeps, I tell another woman how I am piercing the apple with my teeth. Then I am cutting flesh from it and laying those pieces on my tongue. I am imagining that its flavors are hers.

We can measure a user's word frequency in their first few days of use, and warning flags can be set to detect an increased appearance of certain word classes, perhaps even specific emotional tones.

And, according to presets in your system, your connection can be suspended for your own good, long before you hit send. Txt Msging and Email are the new drunk dialing, and we can help protect our users from themselves. We can protect them from their own natural inclinations to lewdness, regret, longing, desperation. Imagine a robot operator listening to your calls, his robot hand at the ready, waiting to disconnect you when you call her at four a.m. to tell her that you should never have let her go, that you think about her breasts sometimes, about that hollow where her neck cups up behind her ear, sometimes you think too much, are you there? You bitch. I'm sorry that I let you go. I should have followed. I can't bear to think of you with him, piercing and laying his flesh on your - DISCONNECT.

There are words which indicate drunkenness, but sentence complexity is a better indication when you are working with certain emotional tones. Lust, for instance, has specific complexity markers for its drunken and sober instances. Sober, the verbs become more complex, the scenarios depicted are less straight forward, involve motivations, adjectives and adverbs. Drunk, there are subjects and objects and there are simple descriptions of what should go where. For some, they will want the call to end much sooner if they are sober. They make much worse fools of themselves when they are sober. Are you still dating him? What is he, half your age? Maybe I should call him. Does he still have that bright red farmyard phone with the laughing eyes? Is his number still Horsey? Do you - DISCONNECT

We can make the world a better place for the broken.

Joey Comeau