Saturday, 10 April 2010

The paradox of the iPad

According to an article by one Nicholas Carr, the new iPad, which I had heard of during one of my increasingly rare visits to the television, is not so much a step forwards as a step backwards in technology. He argues that the iPad will make it much more difficult for creative people to actually do creating because its structure does not, as a personal computer does, permit easy creation of writing or drawing. This is because the iPad, like the iPhone my brother bought as a result of losing his mobile in Dàlián two years ago, does not allow for easy personal work, which I love (too much I think):
Hell, I still haven't gotten over Apple's removal of analog RCA plugs for audio and video input and output from the back of its Macs.
Cory Doctorow says rightly that the iPad is really like the second coming of the CD-ROMs I used to have in high school, being severely annoyed that I could not write on topics I was at the time obsessed with like old county cricket.

Carr, looking from a Luddite perspective with which I have a fair bit of sympathy despite being an obsessive user of computers, says again:
If Ned Ludd had been a blogger, he would have written a post similar to Doctorow's about those newfangled locked-down mechanical looms that distance the weaver from the machine's workings, requiring the weaver to follow the programs devised by the looms' manufacturer. The design of the mechanical loom, Ned would have told us, exhibits a palpable contempt for the user. It takes the generativity out of weaving.

And Ned would have been right.
I certainyl do not want to have my own work taken out of this. I have had ambitious, and developing, projects of writing fantasy (of a sort) for a long time, and know very well that even when a more-easily-replaced software item like AppleWorks goes out of produciton I have trouble even replacing it, let alone learning how to use the best replacement software available. I imagine adding new software to an iPad will not be by any means so easy as to a computer, even though the space is much larger than on the currently popular iPhone.

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