Apr 8, 2010

You don't want an i-Pad? You are getting old!

The old tecchies recite their mantra of 'if you can't open it, you don't own it'. They lament that the i-Pad has no keyboard, no CD-drive, no printer connection - they miss the bundle of wires that make a computer a computer. "The original Apple ][+ came with schematics for the circuit boards, and birthed a generation of hardware and software hackers who upended the world for the better", writes Cory Doctorow on boingboing.net "Why I won't buy an iPad (and think you shouldn't, either)".
Well, sure. We are getting old and we say what we hated to hear our parents say when they got old: "those were the good old days".
You remember when you were able to repair your car by yourself - everything? When your telephone went silent - with a bit confidence and a drop of oil you could get it ring again. And the radio, yep, a flip against the coil, a resolute puff over the tunable capacitor, some dust-clouds - done!
Todays devices are different without being bad or evil.
The access moved to a meta-level. Go look at the way you do programming. In the (good, of course!) old days we hacked assembler-code, then moved to C (and still did some assembler-tweak), then C++. We started using Meta-languages like Delphi, created code by drag and drop, embedded libraries of code we did not even look at. We don't code the graphics-interface of our software anymore.
This transcending to the meta-level is happening everywhere. And it is good.
The i-Pad is a Meta-type of an access-device. The i-Pad is no computer and the i-Pad is no phone.

1 comment:

Sandor Ragaly said...

Since when does "meta" mean "castrated"? :-D And now, I'm gonna read what Cory Doctorow has to say!
PS: It's all about the bundle of wires...