Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Touched by the hand

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  • Joe Wylie,

    "I downloaded Kick-Ass IV onto my iPad the other night -- what a dag!

    I once knew a guy who really did talk like that. He'd wear the same Garfield t-shirt five days in a row.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    I was being ironic. Couldn't you tell? But call me a dickhead. I've also been a Mac User since I was 13 in 1981, and once the 3G S version comes out, I'll probably get an iPad. Although my iPhone does most of what I need for the moment.

    Your little anecdotes are somewhat pointless, if you want my opinion. People are free to think what they like. We can laugh at them, but it doesn't always mean our standpoint is the correct one and they are dickheads. Maybe Apple paid them to smash their iPads.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    recordari, I think you might be onto something. Apple talks up the M$ rivalry. It's a way of making out they're in the same league, that there's some ongoing war. But the truth is that the world is moving away from platform allegiance - it's becoming less and less relevant, and each device is weighed up on it's own merits, rather than as another stage of this battle.

    In reality, they all mesh with one another, and choosing to stick to only one becomes increasingly limiting. Buying an iPad doesn't mean that I have to sell off the 3 Windows boxes, the Linux box, the Netware box, my PDA, my phone, and change the house network. It's just another device, with an interface I might find a little bit annoying initially, having been accustomed to file system access since about 1985. Maybe it would be a deal breaker, if another comparable device without such a DRM-oriented limitation was available. Or I might just dig it for what it does do, rather than what it doesn't.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Ballantyne,

    @ Recordari:

    I was being ironic. Couldn't you tell?

    I assumed you were but preferred to ignore it to reiterate my loathing and contempt for that video clip. And, um, you weren't a Mac user in 1981, because they weren't invented until 1984, when I started using them. I expect you meant Apple user.

    The point of my little anecdotes was that I strongly suspect the iPad's concealment of the gory details of the file system will contribute to making the iPad and its sequels the prevalent device for lightweight day-to-day computing. Like, everyone will use them for reasons that will be so obvious that only dickheads will ignore them. The form factor and the touch screen will help too.

    Frankly, the number of reasonably smart people I've met over the years who don't understand the difference between memory and storage, or who've lost their work somewhere on their hard disks and want me to help find it, is disgraceful. As somebody said a couple of weeks ago, for years the public has been asking the computer industry for elevators and the industry has given them aeroplanes instead -- and then sneered at them for being crappy pilots.

    That said, I won't be buying an iPad myself this year. I've recently finished Hackintoshing my PC (it was that or Windows 7 and really, I've had enough of Windows) which has freed up my BlackBook for casual couch computing and the like. My personal IT budget this year will probably go on replacing my iPhone 3G with the HD model around the middle of the year.

    My Hackintosh, by the way, goes like a rocket powered freight train. Yeeha!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 27 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    And, um, you weren't a Mac user in 1981, because they weren't invented until 1984, when I started using them. I expect you meant Apple user.

    Yeah, that. Apple II. We had one of the early Mac's in 1984 also. And I got to play with an Apple Lisa. Which wasn't their best use of resources, but hey, it was fun at the time and had a Gui. Yes yes, they stole it from Xerox. We've been here before.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Frankly, the number of reasonably smart people I've met over the years who don't understand the difference between memory and storage, or who've lost their work somewhere on their hard disks and want me to help find it, is disgraceful.

    Computers are like toilets, everyone uses them, but there'll always be those who'll pee on the floor. Unlike IT types, restroom cleaners were never under any illusion that the world was going to kiss their asses for the grubby but necessary role they fulfilled.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Ballantyne,

    @Ben:

    Apple talks up the M$ rivalry.

    Not really -- mainly when Microsoft bends over and tapes a "Kick me" sign to its arse. Now that Vista is over there'll be no more "Hi, I'm a Mac" ads, according to Justin Long.

    At the iPhone 4 event about the only thing Steve Jobs had to say about Microsoft was that the new phone will have improved interoperability with MS Exchange, which doesn't sound much like war to me. The Apple hierarchy understand that their main business is hardware, with lucrative sidelines in content provision and now advertising.

    On the other hand I wonder about Microsoft's sense of purpose. When the head of its business products division can blithely announce it won't be porting Office to the iPad -- is this the same Microsoft that leaped into the Macintosh software business in the 1980s and has been pumping big bucks out ever since? Apparently not. No wonder its market cap is so stagnant.

    Even Adobe, which has far more reason to feel abused by Apple, is turning out software for the iPad, and some of it is said to be pretty good.

    Ben, of course web standards mean we're all one big happy data-swapping family now but that doesn't eliminate the possibility of someone coming along and dominating a new(ish) platform they've (more or less) invented and for which they control the primary channel for content and software. Especially if that platform fills a long-standing need in the general populace. That's capitalism.

    The whirring sound I hear now is coming from the ashes of my Stalinist Mum spinning in the urn on my mantelpiece.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 27 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    In reality, they all mesh with one another, and choosing to stick to only one becomes increasingly limiting. Buying an iPad doesn't mean that I have to sell off the 3 Windows boxes, the Linux box, the Netware box, my PDA, my phone, and change the house network. It's just another device, with an interface I might find a little bit annoying initially, having been accustomed to file system access since about 1985. Maybe it would be a deal breaker, if another comparable device without such a DRM-oriented limitation was available. Or I might just dig it for what it does do, rather than what it doesn't.

    A Singapore-based company has helpfully come out with the JooJoo tablet, which is just like the iPad except it really sucks. The Wired review shows that getting a device like this to really sing isn't trivial.

    And I agree: this is just one more device, which offers a very appealing user experience for media consumption, and makes content owners feel secure. It's not really the end of the internet, honest.

    It will be interesting to see how it unfolds, whether the use of DRM follows the iTunes experience and falls away, how relaxed Apple is about third-party hacks, and how the media companies handle their opportunity here. There seems to be a consensus already that the Wall Street Journal subscription pricing is unrealistic.

    OTOH, the beautiful Marvel Comics app shows what's possible.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The software politics around all this are fascinating.

    One of many developers pissed off about Apple's change to the iPhone SDK terms, mandating that applications be “originally written” in C/C++/Objective-C, emailed Jobs and got a reply.

    John Gruber puts the other side of the change, which prevents apps being developed with third-party software tools, like Adobe's. He notes that it's in Apple's interests to do this. But:

    My opinion is that iPhone users will be well-served by this rule. The App Store is not lacking for quantity of titles.

    Consider, for one example, Amazon’s Kindle clients for iPhone OS and Mac OS X. The iPhone OS Kindle app is excellent, a worthy rival in terms of experience to Apple’s own iBooks. The Mac Kindle app is a turd that doesn’t look, feel, or behave like a real Mac app. The iPhone OS Kindle app is a native iPhone app, written in Cocoa Touch. The Mac Kindle app was produced using the cross-platform Qt toolkit.

    Web apps are unaffected by the change:

    No change. The iPhone remains completely open to web apps. The difference between the web, as a competitor to native iPhone apps, from something like Flash is that the web is not controlled by anyone. There is no platform vendor for the web — and Apple has complete control over WebKit, its implementation for the web.

    Even there, Apple has just released some stuff for WebKit that benefits a lot of people making open-source software.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    A Singapore-based company has helpfully come out with the JooJoo tablet, which is just like the iPad except it really sucks. The Wired review shows that getting a device like this to really sing isn't trivial.

    The Germans have come up with the WePad which, if all specs are accurate, really doesn't suck apart from the appalling name, but lacks the Apple momento-hype and marketing I guess.

    This has just begun but I'm having issues with the lack of screen real estate on my laptop already (17") as I run my dozen apps or more, so I'm not planning to downsize that soon.

    I guess I'm a dickhead for not wanting to

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    @steve

    I'm pretty confused by M$'s plans at the moment too. Not that I especially care what happens to them - their only products that I use are Windows (which I'd just as soon stopped being developed, and just stabilized), and Visual Studio. Oh and Hotmail. Even if they start giving Office away for free it won't switch me back from OpenOffice.

    Ben, of course web standards mean we're all one big happy data-swapping family now but that doesn't eliminate the possibility of someone coming along and dominating a new(ish) platform they've (more or less) invented and for which they control the primary channel for content and software.

    Yes, Apple will dominate the iPad, most likely. That's a no-brainer. Will they dominate devices of that size that people use for doing the stuff iPads can do? I very much doubt it. There will still be a huge range of more powerful devices (like the far, far more mature laptop market), and similar devices at lesser prices, and lesser devices, like phones, PDAs, etc. They can get a good piece, sure. But total market domination isn't something I see happening again. Like I said on this topic last time it came up, the fragmentation of the marketplace continues apace, and I think it's a good thing, really. Everyone gets the configuration they like, all the devices interoperate, and everyone's happy except monopolists, who can get stuffed.

    The whirring sound I hear now is coming from the ashes of my Stalinist Mum spinning in the urn on my mantelpiece.

    Yes, she'd be furious you weren't fully into Linux, if she'd been the least bit tech-savvy. Rooting for Apple is as bad as being a running dog for American Imperialism.

    @russell

    A Singapore-based company has helpfully come out with the JooJoo tablet, which is just like the iPad except it really sucks. The Wired review shows that getting a device like this to really sing isn't trivial.

    For sure it isn't. Making a Ferrari is a pretty expensive process too, hence the price. But a lot of people are perfectly satisfied with lesser cars.

    @simon

    I guess I'm a dickhead for not wanting to

    More of a dickhead than me, who never, ever shuts his workstation down voluntarily, because I can't bear waiting 5 minutes for it to come up?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    The software politics around all this are fascinating.

    Reckon - and check this ranty piece about how the business of location-based services will play out.

    But the odds-on favorite here by far is Facebook. With 400M+ users, an already very active userbase, and users' growing familiarity with FB Connect on off-platform sites, they are the easy pick front-runner. Maybe they buy somebody, maybe they don't. Maybe they buy *several* somebodies. But you can bet yer sweet ass the road to the LBS playoffs sure as hell goes thru 1601 S. California Ave, Palo Alto, CA.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    They can get a good piece, sure. But total market domination isn't something I see happening again.

    They've managed to make iTunes the overwhelmingly dominant digital retailer of music; and the iTunes Store sells far, far more mobile applications than any other retailer.

    That actually worries me, especially given iTunes' mediocrity as software and a retail platform.

    OTOH, if you look at all the other major contenders in music distribution technology, say, six years ago, iTunes was the one you'd want to win. Windows Media DRM was fairly hideous.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Apropos of nothing in particular, this was funny.
    Apple Death Knell Counter.

    More of a dickhead than me, who never, ever shuts his workstation down voluntarily, because I can't bear waiting 5 minutes for it to come up?

    Get an iPad. It's as close to instant as you're likely to get. Which makes this multi-tasking noise somewhat irrelevant. It takes just as long to switch between apps as it does to switch on a new one.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Somehow I get the feeling that cutting code on an iPad would be a frustrating experience, as would any kind of creative activity, particularly things that usually involve typing rapidly on a keyboard. But for something to use in the lounge, I can see the point...almost. I already have a very cheap HP netbook, which is smaller than an iPad, has a fixed and nice keyboard, plenty of screen, is quiet, has wifi, webcam, USB ports, card reader, long battery life. and boots from static memory so it's plenty fast (and I haven't crippled it by installing 2000 apps on it). But even still, I can't see the point in shutting down. I just close it. That way, I'm right in the middle of exactly what I was doing last time. It's as close to being as awesome as a pencil and paper as an electronic device has got, yet. I still carry those as backup.

    I made the mistake of letting my son play with it, and now he won't leave me alone when I open it. An iPad would probably need to be hidden.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2605 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Lolnui

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

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