Some miscellaneous iPad thoughts (including an answer to the “need” question)

Before I get to the writerly part of things, a couple of thoughts and iPad links:

  • Folks have said some very nice things about my iPad posts here and comments elsewhere, which suggests something about obtaining ethos that I hadn’t really thought of before:  if you don’t necessarily know what you are talking about, it is best to  a) be first and b) be willing to say what you think, wrong or right.
  • In my role as an iPad “expert,” I have been asked by people “why I need an iPad.”  This has happened surprisingly frequently.  Well, “need” is a concept that can be reduced to the very basic (e.g., water, food, shelter) or it can be rather frivolous (e.g., chocolate, scotch, snow globes), and everything in between.  I will say this though:  I am of the opinion that in modern American culture, almost everyone “needs” easy access to a computer, a television, and a radio (which is often replicated by the computer, of course).  I don’t know if everyone “needs” an iPhone, an iPod (which for me is my phone), a DVD player, a coffee maker, high speed internet access at home, or a car, but for me, all of these things are indeed “needs.”  Then there are things like washers and dryers, lawn mowers, and dishwashers:  these are kind of on the edge for me.  For example, when our dishwasher broke a few years ago, it took us almost a year to replace it.Anyway, for me, I think the iPad is somewhere between an iPhone and a dishwasher.  If something happened to my iPhone today, I would go out and buy another one, pretty much no matter what the cost.  If something happened to my iPad, well, I could probably go without for a while.
  • I continue to be amused and puzzled by iPad polarization, the “this is the end of civilization as we know it” versus the “this is the best thing ever.”  The latest thing in this category is this whole “the device just disappears” argument, as retold in this Wired Gadget Lab piece.  That strikes me as a little much.  (BTW, Wired has lots of good iPad articles collected here).
  • In more examples of how the iPad is actually useful for developing content:  check out this cool video of drawing on/with the iPad. The fingerless glove is a nice touch to prevent unintentional touching.
  • Obama apparently said something about not liking the iPad, though his comment (as discussed in this Salon.com piece) is more along the lines of “the kids today.”  Not that interesting.  More interesting to me is this comment that comes from Fox News Channel psychiatry correspondent Keith Ablow in response to this:  “The president is doubly correct. First of all, he is right (as I have written a number of times) that the Internet, Facebook and, yes, the new iPad and many other devices can interfere with people becoming wise and knowledgeable, rather than simply deluged with facts. They can also become estranged from real relationships and from themselves as they become obsessed with pretending to be stars on YouTube or worthy of “followers” on Twitter or popular with thousands of “friends” on Facebook.”  In other words, pretty much the same thing that Socrates said about writing in Phaedrus.
  • Here’s an interesting piece about reading on the iPad versus reading good-ol-fashioned books.  I don’t know if books are going to “disappear” or not, but this guy’s reaction here is different from mine.  I will admit that I don’t do a lot of reading on my iPad– I’m still mostly a paper kinda guy when it comes to magazines and books, for example– but I do find it very readable and light enough.  And I don’t constantly fear that I will be robbed if I take my iPad in public nor do I get a lot of inquiries about it from strangers.  Of course, I tend to take it out in public in “too cool for school” Ann Arbor.
  • “Two weeks of travel, Ten iPad lessons” by Michael Gartenberg over at slashgear is very good advice about using an iPad for travel instead of a laptop.  Every one of these lessons rings true to me, and I will find out a lot more about that and other iPad travel experiences very soon since I’m going to be going to the Computers and Writing Conference this weekend without a laptop and with my iPad. (See below).

Okay, with all that out of the way….

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