[FoRK] Betting on the iPad

Aaron Burt aaron at bavariati.org
Fri Feb 12 11:05:21 PST 2010

On Wed, Feb 10, 2010 at 12:39:17PM -0800, Lucas Gonze wrote:
> >> A netbook without a keyboard is not a lesser desktop, it is a new type of
> >> thing with new strengths.
> On Tue, Feb 9, 2010 at 11:14 AM, Aaron Burt <aaron at bavariati.org> wrote:
> > The same could be said of *any* design variation.  This particular one has
> > been tried many, many times.  Good on them if they make it work.
> Ok, so what's new in the current generation?

<snip features>

Yes, those (especially good touch-screen and always-on internet) could tip
the balance toward something new, but so far that makes the iPad a bigger
iPod Touch, or a joke iPhone out of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttewGXkCmZI

> A standard wearable?  Is there such a thing?  A modern borGphone
> desn't have a screen?

Depends on the application.  Most wearables have a screen, but many are
designed to be used w/o looking at one.  AFAIK industrial/military ones are
usually special-application with a fairly rigid workflow to permit this.

> Anyhow, I don't want to do verbal fencing anymore, because you said
> something interesting about a paradigm shift in how computers
> facilitate human interact and labo(u)r.  Can you say more about that?

Yah, sorry, the discussion hit a sore spot-- my brother and I have been
dreaming about useful, non-visual computers since we were kids.

Most computers demand the sole attention of our eyes and fingers.  That's
fine in some circumstances, but eye & hands are most folks' primary
interfaces to the world.  When computers became important to a lot of our
work and socialization, they forced us to spend more and more of our lives
with our eyes & hands attending to a virtual world "inside the screen"
rather than to our physical world.  This also forces our work and
socialization into narrow channels.

So I want computers to help us with new stuff, the kind of things that
require eyes and hands.  I also want them to help us with the kind of stuff
we already use them for, but I want them to be less obtrusive.  I want an
electronic butler, not a tireless sub-millisecond drama-queen.

You know the joke about how we'll have a paperless restroom before we ever
have a paperless office?  Now I'm talking about PowerPoint-less managers,
form-less data entry/retrieval, click-less calendar management, and other
sorts of madness.  It's like the kind of stuff we did before computers,
when we had secretaries, but with modern precision and fewer humans.*

I'm afraid I haven't tried to put this stuff into concrete terms for a
while, so I don't have a vision statement + manifesto at the moment.  But I
must work on it.  The technology is there now and the tools are cheap.
I just picked up a couple USB Arduino clones for $10 the other day, so I
can now interface anything electric to any computer.

It's a strange new world, and it needs to stay that way.

Thank you for asking,

*Funny - same thing could be said about modern organic/sustainable ag.

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