Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Steve, 1999

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  • Sacha, in reply to James George,

    matching their keyboard to the drapes

    not a metaphor?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    kids would have to be fairly young to not remember when it was unusual

    it's like telephones being attached to the wall #notnatural

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Sure helps if you remember what monochrome command line interfaces were like; must mystify the young just like the wifi demo in Russell's story.

    Ah, the halcyon days where 20 GOTO 10 was the height of sophisticated wit in the school computer lab.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Sacha,

    it’s like telephones being attached to the wall #notnatural

    Recently at MOTAT I tried to show my kids how to use a dial telephone. It was HARD.

    Also, my kids are very used to me staring intently at a screenful of indecipherable scrolling text, followed by tapping out weird hieroglyphics. Cue disbelieving, slightly distasteful looks: "Dad, why do you always make the computer do that?"

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to James Butler,

    keyboards are going to seem so ridiculous

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Sacha,

    keyboards are going to seem so ridiculous

    Hmm. Consider that in the 80s and 90s, most of the people who bought home PCs were people who wanted to get stuff done - people who wanted to crunch numbers or process words, and realised that a computer was the most efficient way to do it. Now a computer has become for most people a device for consuming data, then sure, it's just an historical accident that they have keyboards and come preloaded with Office; and the devices we see now which are purpose-built for consumption, iPads and smartphones, are a better fit for this model. But the core PC getting-stuff-done market still exists, and is still a significant (and, I suspect, increasing) percentage of the population; and I think it will be some time before we see a better input device than a keyboard for those uses.

    OTOH for accessibility reasons I hope someone does come up with something better soon...

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to James Butler,

    the machines are just catching up to our standard human modes - gesture and voice

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Sacha,

    which raise different accessibility challenges and possibilities

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Sacha,

    Well IMHO the written word has become as much a native mode of human communication as either of those...

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to James Butler,

    For sure, but it's more recent and still less widespread. I expect the proportion of time spent pointing and talking (especially via Skype, etc) to increase as interfaces and supporting infrastructure like affordable genuine broadband mature.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome, in reply to James Butler,

    Not according to the research; reading and writing are still hard to learn skills which we have no natural inclination to pick up (children only do well at it because their brains are much more plastic than adults).

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 441 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to James George,

    Since the Apple II I have never used Apple; not because its products are made in concentration cum work camps

    I’ll be brief, because I’ve gone through this ad nauseum, but Foxconn, which does most of Apple’s assembly, almost certainly also manufactures the components in your computer. Or your gaming console or router.

    but because I know that whatever they are selling will always be available in better a form factor (ie free from restrictive conditions) for less elsewhere.

    Which is fine if “freedom from restrictive conditions” is your primary requirement.

    As Henry Ford pointed out a long time ago, you can make a reasonable quid shooting for the top end of the markets where dilettantes fret over matching their keyboard to the drapes, but the most profitable business is that which considers the masses, the hoi polloi, to be their number one customer. Apple appear to be going after us plebs at the moment so doubtless the form ahead of function types will find someone else to adore.

    Sorry, but this really is bullshit. Apple’s growth products are its phones. Apple makes 28% of the revenue and two thirds of all profits in the mobile phone business. Compare and contrast to Nokia.

    It will have a 75% share of the global tablet computing market in 2011.

    It has been able to do this because it genuinely innovates, which allows it to define, or redefine, product categories, and to make those products compelling by presenting them as part of an ecosystem that actually works. I certainly don’t like everything Apple does – I actively dislike the iTunes Music Store – but the idea that that Apple succeeds because it puts form before function simply isn’t true.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington, in reply to Russell Brown,

    And yet, at Webstock, Foo, etc, there are a lot of people who can and do hack code, who carry a Macbook as their personal machine.

    Oh yes, I was really referring to hardware hacking, i.e. overclocking, disk configurations etc...

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 949 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    the machines are just catching up to our standard human modes – gesture and voice

    I suppose I’ll have to have a crack at driving Mac OS 10.7 with that multi-touch pad thing. My cheap mouse from Dick Smith still seems to work pretty well.

    Unlike, it must be said, almost any freakin’ mouse that Apple ever makes. I find Fiona’s “magic” mouse almost unusable. What’s with that, I do not know.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Peter Darlington,

    Oh yes, I was really referring to hardware hacking, i.e. overclocking, disk configurations etc…

    Ah yes. That would be the member of the household who just had to have two graphics cards ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Now disused but somehow we can't discard our floral iMac. But I cannot get too sentimental about Apple these days as they have become a bit of a monster--for a brief period a couple of weeks back, they passed Eron as the world's richest company.
    I do pine for my Mac at work, replaced recently by a cod PC (our faculty arguing that they can't continue to support Macs). Still can't figure why you have to press three tabs to start the bastard.

    The best joke at the Edinburgh festival this year; "I had to choose a password with 8 characters, so I chose Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs".

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2558 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to HORansome,

    Not according to the research

    Bring a gun to a knife fight why don't you.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    Eron

    not to be confused with iRon :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew E, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    The best joke at the Edinburgh festival this year; "I had to choose a password with 8 characters, so I chose Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs".

    According to XKCD, you wouldn't be far off the pace if you did choose that as your password.

    There's some nice quotes from Jobs on the WSJ. One that rings a bell for me, who was starting work (and then going to Uni) on the cusp of the DOS/GUI change was this:

    “Some people are saying that we ought to put an IBM PC on every desk in America to improve productivity. It won’t work. The special incantations you have to learn this time are the “slash q-zs” and things like that. The manual for WordStar, the most popular word-processing program, is 400 pages thick. To write a novel, you have to read a novel––one that reads like a mystery to most people. They’re not going to learn slash q-z any more than they’re going to learn Morse code. That is what Macintosh is all about.” [Playboy, Feb. 1, 1985]

    174.77 x 41.28 • Since Sep 2008 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Now, smartphones are basically variations on the iPhone.

    HTC had the finger touch screen Gene and Touch both out before the iPhone. In this part of the world at least they were the groover's choice and pretty much everywhere before the iPhone arrived. They caused quite a fuss.

    From memory the interface we now see on android smartphones hasn't changed that much since those early HTCs.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Russell Brown,

    but the idea that that Apple succeeds because it puts form before function simply isn’t true.

    Word. I resisted the move to Mac for years - just because I was being a curmudgeon - but when I finally made the jump, it was the function that made it worthwhile. I'm no fanboi - I prefer Android to iOS and hate iTunes - but, simply put, Apple's computing devices make getting it done so much more intuitive, reliable, stable and easier.

    I'll never go back to a Win PC. E̶v̶e̶r̶.

    ETA: Ever is a big word

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew E,

    And my (recently deceased after 8 years of sterling service) Sony Ericsson P800 - with touch interface and Opera browser - was apparently much admired by Jobs back in 2003.

    174.77 x 41.28 • Since Sep 2008 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Off at a tangent: since we're not feeling the iTunes love, which legal download sites are worth the effort?

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    From CNBC 7 Aug 2011.


    Part 2.

    My feeling is we will be talking about him in a different way soon enough, so I'll let others fly the flag for now.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Rich Lock,

    Off at a tangent: since we're not feeling the iTunes love, which legal download sites are worth the effort?

    I was a fan of eMusic until they arbitrarily disconnected me a couple of years back. Perhaps an Indonesian IP at the time didn't help.

    Beatport, Boomkat and Juno are fine for electronic music but their interfaces leave something be desired.

    I really liked Amazon until they, too, decided that non-US addresses (that Beverley Hills 90210 address had a short life) were verboten.

    Bandcamp works for me, as does Amplifier for NZ tuneage. As often as not, though, I'll buy off an artist's own site if possible, or the label's.

    They get the full wack and I'm sure they appreciate the extra few cents.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

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