cc licensed flickr photo shared by ooki_op


That’s it.




Got one?



I sit on the sidelines taking in the iPad frenzy. Over the last few months, rarely have so many firm opinions been founded on so much lack of actual information. but now that changes.

A bit.

I have a hunch there will be two types of people. Those who hate iPads and those who have one. (woosh is the sound of me ducking).

The Cory Doctorow slam is that if you cant rip it apart or code unix on it, it’s no good. Of course what can I say, the dude got like 12,000 comments on a post. Hell no, its not a hacker’s machine. So what? I am looking around my house at many appliances I use but don’t feel the need or desire to pry open and hack- my Samsung TV, my refrigerator, my microwave, my washing machine…

And it seems silly to talk about all of the things iT iCant iDo like it is supposed to replace a computer. It’s like buying a food processor and assuming you have to throw out all the knives in the kitchen. Well maybe that was the suckiest analogy ever.

On the other hand, I tilt my head in puzzlement over the prediction of the iPad being a “game changer.” What game is it really changing? What if it ends up the same old media bosses in a new box? And I’ve already heard of some exorbitant prices for the shiny new iMagazines.



cc licensed flickr photo shared by vyxle

I feel the tug.

I want one.

My Apple colors may be showing through. And that is the mystique that all the other companies can ridicule but secretly desire. Have you taken an informal survey of the kinds of computers you see in public places, in airports? I’m seeing more fruit than Dell.

Take all the things wrong with my iPhone. Yeah, I cant see web sites with Flash, I have to go back and forth from apps to do certain tasks, heck until a year ago, you could not even copy/paste text AND I STILL LOVE THE THING. That’s the rub, all the things that it can’t do are far outweighed by what it does. Do I feel love when I hit the power button on my PC? Hardly.

So I am not one to stand on lines to get new toys and usually refrain from getting the first version of hardware. Often you can leapfrog the first generation’s mistakes. Or stay safely on the sidelines if version 1.0 flops. You wont really be that far behind, trust me- I waited more than a year to get an iPhone.


I do want one.

But for what?

Ah, the frenzy.

I might wait.

A few… months…. weeks… days. Maybe I’d drive down to Phoenix tomorrow.


Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. You don’t share culture, crunch/create data, or communicate with other human beings using your washing machine, refrigerator, or microwave oven.

    1. I have a pretty sophisticated washing machine ;-)

      But riddle me this- I’ve already gotten a Skype call from my colleague Carl from his iPad, so I guess that was not communication nor is Carl human to you. And not even having an iPad, but knowing a micron of what they can do, I am not clear how the first two items are precluded. Yes, they are not done in the same way as a computing platform, but the iPad can do more than my appliances. Just not as much as you want. S’ok.

  2. “the iPad can do more than my appliances”

    That’s the point. This device can be used for much more than the appliances you referenced, so it is a shame that it is locked down. To say, “my washing machine and microwave oven are locked down and I see no big deal” is not an apt analogy. Your freedom to hack your home appliances is not as important as your freedom to hack machines you use to share culture, to crunch/store personal data, and to communicate with others.


  3. All these questions about whether or not you can “hack” the darn thing seem moot to me. It’s so esoteric – the realm of the uber-geeks. Average tech consumers like me and my friends don’t care a whit. We have already have machines that we can hack, and we don’t hack them – for a variety of reasons. Some of us (like me) could, but don’t have the time or inclination. I’ve got a toddler. I have better things to do with my time. Others, like my brother who is an engineer who designs medical devices, are certainly smart enough to learn how, but don’t care to. He has other hobbies – like building backyard catapults and brewing beer. So what’s wrong with having what is essentially a media appliance? For those of use who aren’t interested in breaking open our computers and putting them back together again? It just seems like such a silly argument. If hacking your information/communication device is important or interesting to you, don’t get an iPad. If it isn’t, and you like what the thing can do, get one and be happy. Why slam other people and the devices they want to use because they don’t fit the way you want to live your life?

  4. I shouldn’t be surprised. And really, I don’t think I am surprised.

    Here I was thinking that people could distinguish between their impulses and desires as consumers (cable TV, video games, junk food… whatever, I get it), and some sort of critical detachment and ethics as professional technologists.

    Instead, we get people who make their livings as experts and analysts squealing like pre-teens at a Justin Bieber mall appearance.

    It seems like yesterday that people in our field agreed that open standards and a platform-independent web were worth supporting. That there was something significant about teaching users to exert meaningful control over the means of communication. Turns out, we just needed a shinier remote control and more space on the credit card.

    No wonder so many people in the academy don’t think much of our opinions and ‘expertise’. They would be just as well served by some geniuses at the on-campus Apple store.

    1. I think I just got bitch-slapped. Or not. Well, I wrote this not to be so fracking definitive like everyone else pretends to be.

      But I can’t say anything definitive from the outside or poking at the tea leaves.

      For something maybe more your flavor, see the ConceivablyTech article referencing nod to the 1968 DynaBook concept of Alan Kay (who responds in comment)

      My focus for where creativity happens in the web, which to me scratching around in HTML, script, code, is what I found in my early HyperCard days (and more)– the iPad is just one more screen/viewer. I cant create much on my TV either.

      And here’s where I am- I am a content creator, and as such, I need to at least have one to be able to test stuff I produce, just the same way I have a PC in my office which I need to pull hair out on IE testing.

      The thing is out. People will be using it, like it or not. I can’t throw stones and hope it might go away. I can (and will) throw stones at what I dont like, but I dont like lobbing them from the other side of the fence.

      (for the record, I have no cable TV, no video games, and limited junk food, but guess I can still be susceptible to impulses, I am a hum— canine).

      Wow, that slap stung, but I asked for it. It is helpful. May I have another?

  5. I gotta agree with you, Alan. I am a little ambivalent right now but we both sure do love all thing Mac. I gotta be a 1.0 sideliner here… Now if iPhone’ll just come to Verizon!

  6. Wasn’t meant to be a slap. Especially not to you amigo, someone who has taught me and others so much about the real-life DIY working web. (Going back to the late ’90s, living in Mexico, when I came across a groovy HTML tutorial written by some dude from Maricopa.)

    I’m trying to distinguish between the natural (OK, programmed) desires for shiny consumer goods (again, I am not at all immune) and how that is already being conflated by so-called professionals as a ‘game-changer’ for teaching and learning. From what I see, the only things different from the iPad and a laptop are a slicker interface and a more constrained and proprietary range of options.

    Who knows, I may buy an iPad someday. I can imagine it being an awesome companion on long flights, or commutes on the bus.

    I certainly enjoy my iPhone, and find it a very useful tool at times. But it’s been two years now since I got it, and I’m still waiting for a native app that really makes a difference to teaching and learning (outside a few specialized disciplines). I sat through a two-day EDUCAUSE virtual focus session on mobility, and saw lots of stuff that enhanced student life (renewing library books, checking lineups at the campus coffee shops) but precious little that justified the hype (not to mention the expense).

    Not to say my iPhone doesn’t come it handy when I’m teaching or learning, but it’s all built on the reliable open web stuff that we thought was The Fuss back in 2003: RSS, nice clean HTML, access to open content, people sharing their stuff using formats that we can all play with.

    To sum up, my own iFrenzy is that people in our field are behaving as consumers, not as professionals. And I fear that inability to think critically will ultimately result in a more expensive and more constrained online educational environment.

  7. Susan WB, even if you don’t plan to exercise your freedom when using computing devices, I think it is important to support that freedom for others. Every technology we choose to buy/use comes with a network effect. That is, our choices affect others.

  8. I agree that the iPad is a seductive consumer device that may disrupt support for open technology standards particularly in teaching and learning however as Primary school teacher I can see many learnig uses for an information appliance that provides learning content on a multi-touch large screen. Even though this looks somewhat contrived it illustrates the low cognitive overhead needed to start using such a device built on engaging innate kinaesthetic behaviours.

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