Archive for April, 2010

Apr 17 2010

More on iPad Badness

Published by under General,Speculative

There is another very interesting analysis or better a critique of the iPad’s role on one of the technical book publisher O’Reilly’s blogs. It explains how the iPad can be, and seems intended to be, used to constrain and charge for materials presently available for ‘free’. An attractively packaged content distribution channel rather than a device that opens new opportunities or delivers new capabilities.
Inadvertently, a recent NPR show “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” had a funny bit that emphasized this point. They called a person with some joke questions about the iPad but the person they happened to call owned and “loved” an iPad. When asked what she could do with it that she couldn’t do before, the answer was … “Nothing”! But, she loved it.
I think I’ll skip the iPad. It would probably be useful, even nice, for very old people who don’t want to deal with the complexity of a more flexible device (computer), but just read email and maybe a few web site; an up-to-date webTV. I’ll get to that point soon enough, but I’ll pass for now!

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Apr 12 2010

Pot or Kettle: Which is blacker?

Published by under General

Apple and Adobe have been fighting over control of web and mobile applications development tools and last week Apple made changes to their developers license that precludes use of a major feature in a forthcoming Adobe product. The following quote is from a Wall Street Journal article on the web this morning:

“An Apple spokeswoman said that Apple embraces standard technologies and that “Adobe’s Flash is closed and proprietary.”

Seems to me that both Adobe and Apple try very hard to establish closed monopoly environments which they can control and get rich on. Apple’s claim to “embrace standard technologies” excludes standards that they do not set or effectively control, but the wording suggests they support “open” standards. Their license change is certainly anti-competitive and in line with their own “closed and proprietary” approach.
Update: For a more detailed analysis of Apple’s PR, take a look at this ars technica article.

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Apr 02 2010

Homer & Langley

Published by under Books

by E. L. Doctorow

This book of historical fiction is loosely based on the eccentric Collyer brother who lived and died in NYC in the early to mid 20th century. The basic idea for the story is the Collyer brothers, but Doctorow extends the time period and broadly imagines the lives of the brothers. His version is told by Homer who becomes blind as a young man and is supposedly typing the tale on a braille typewriter. Homer’s viewpoint and concerns are well developed and he seems quite real as a person. Langley is mainly present as an aid and instigator of external conflict.
This relatively short book tells a version that is part black comedy, and part tragedy. Doctorow uses the story to note and comment on some of the notable aspects of the 20th century: wars, atrocities, blackouts, Vietnam, hippies…. Interesting, but not great. Well written, probably not very interesting for anyone under the age of 40 or so.

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