Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: iPad Impressions

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  • Martin Lindberg,

    it'll be interesting to see how the iWorks applications (and Keynote in particular) will work in multi-touch form

    ArsTechnica's review of iWork for iPad

    Sounds a bit constrained.

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I don't think anyone is saying the iPad isn't capable of being used to generate content. Certainly that's not what I said. I said that content generation is not what it shines at - for example, it's got few advantages over a laptop or desktop if you're doing a lot of typing (especially if you've docked it to a keyboard).

    See my comments upthread about writing (and reading) in portrait format, which certainly seems like an advantage to me. I'm actually finding plenty of uses for this thing. Which is surely the point.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22849 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    ArsTechnica's review of iWork for iPad

    Sounds a bit constrained.

    Not surprising for the first generation of the software. I thought they did quite well to get a multi-touch version of a productivity suite done as quickly as they did, given that no one's actually done it before.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22849 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Hilary, I'm seriously on the verge of taking offence here. You've clearly made the judgement that I have made an unnecessary purchase. I think that's up to me to decide.

    Are you being a little defensive on this thing? I think Hilary originally queried what she saw as an implicit plug of JB Hi-Fi, a company with a questionable industrial relations record. In the context of gadgetry - and I mean gadgetry as a whole, once again, not just Apple - it didn't seem incredibly out of place to me. And it provoked a discussion, of the kind that the iPad is due to provoke because it's not just another computing device, it's a new category of thing. And as such it is reasonably natural to ask, is it filling a need, or creating one? The jury must still be out on that one, surely. And at least some of these new gadgets can legitimately be construed as a big FU to the environment. I mean there is a special hell for people who buy digital photo frames, yes? Otherwise there should be. I don't give a toss if it's their money (a concept which is questionable in and of itself), seeing as it is everybody's planet.

    You've argued that the iPad has actual uses, which is great. But I don't think the discussion was not meant to be had, and besides, surely, it was bound to happen on PAS of all places. You built this place, I can't quite fathom your surprise.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • SteveH,

    See my comments upthread about writing (and reading) in portrait format, which certainly seems like an advantage to me.

    I love portrait mode, but I can't see how this is much of an advantage for the iPad when the iPad's screen is only 1cm taller than my laptop's. And I'm already using portrait mode on my desktop.

    For me the ability to consume media anywhere on a decent size screen is a huge win. But I don't really have a need to create media away from my desk (beyond the odd email, tweet, or blog comment - which it's fine for), and it loses a lot of portability if you'll want to carry a keyboard around for doing a lot of typing. But no doubt we'll all use iPads slightly differently.

    The iPad is really great as a portable web browser/video player/digital photo frame/GPS. You wouldn't buy one solely as a music player but it does that too. I'm not too bothered if it's not also the world's best content creation device.

    Since Sep 2009 • 444 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Horansome,

    Our unsustainable power sources will surely wind down, that is inevitable, although I think it's also likely to take an awfully long time, we still have so much oil, coal, uranium, natural gas, etc. But our ability to generate sustainable power is constantly rising at the same time, and at some point it will most likely tip to becoming the predominant method, with the unsustainables being used only where they must. This by simple economics. The planet of the future will look very different, lots more dams, windmills, solar farms, solar choices in building design, electric mass-transit, crops for biofuel (probably genetically engineered as an absolute imperative at some point), geothermal power stations, etc. I'm pretty much expecting electric vehicles to continue their steady rise too, but more likely will be a trend away from autos just by urban design. This will take place gradually, over decades, even centuries.

    Storage of electric power is really not that much of an issue. Most of it comes down to the timing of the usage. The highest usage is during the day, when solar power production is at its highest anyway, and at night there is stored solar power in the form of water in dams. This is just today's solution to the problem, many others are possible.

    I don't fret about running out of power. My main concern wrt fossil fuel usage is global warming. For that, only global cooperation can possibly help, and might not be sufficient even then.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    [the iPad is] a new category of thing

    No it's not. Apple don't do innovation on the product-category scale. Never have. They've never created a new class of product. Personal computers, cellphones, MP3 players, now tablets, they take things that others have done before and make them pretty and popular. Well, excepting the PC. They can't take credit for that one.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Our unsustainable power sources will surely wind down

    Hah!

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome,

    I think the problem of Peak Oil goes beyond Anthropogenic Climate Change; we currently need petroleum to produce the material goods that will eventually replace our reliance on petroleum (Electric cars have a lot of petroleum in them and in their manufacture, for example), and there is a very big question as to whether we have enough oil left to complete the transition. At the moment our entire manufacturing industry relies on petrol at some point and, for most it, almost every point in the chain. We need petroleum to make solar panels and turbines; we don't currently have the ability to make them without the consumption of oil, and we're not bringing bringing online non-petroleum manufacturing technologies at any particular speed.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 441 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Are you being a little defensive on this thing?

    I don't think so.

    I think Hilary originally queried what she saw as an implicit plug of JB Hi-Fi, a company with a questionable industrial relations record

    It wasn't a plug. It's where I bought the thing, because it's near my house. I didn't want to get into the JB Hi-Fi thing, but seeing as you asked ... I don't think going to JB is any different to going to Noel Leeming or Harvey Norman. Indeed, it appears that both those chains pay junior sales staff less than JB does. The difference is that JB got singled out by Unite and the others didn't.

    I think I've participated pretty gamely in the discussion, but I'm tired of feeling I have to justify buying the first computing device my business has bought in two years. I don't think we'd be having this discussion about a budget laptop at the same price.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22849 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    It wasn't a plug. It's where I bought the thing, because it's near my house. I didn't want to get into the JB Hi-Fi thing, but seeing as you asked ... I don't think going to JB is any different to going to Noel Leeming or Harvey Norman. Indeed, it appears that both those chains pay junior sales staff less than JB does. The difference is that JB got singled out by Unite and the others didn't.

    Some workers at JB organised, elsewhere they didn't. But again, it's not a superfluous discussion to have. Nor is the point that cheap laptops can be as bad if not worse than the devices at the toy end of the scale. I'd fully expect to have that range of views expressed here, it really has nothing to do with you having to justify your purchase. Or if it does, it's to the extent that we all have to justify all of our purchases - and that's not a bad thing to consider every now and then.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome,

    It could be worse, Russell. You could have bought one of those locked-down Texas Instruments graphic calculators. Purchasing one of those really brings out the ire of most geeks, it seems.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 441 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Anyway, I need to prepare to emit a whole lot of carbon from the air this afternoon (hey, it's my mum's 70th birthday), so I'll have to go.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22849 posts Report Reply

  • SteveH,

    Apple don't do innovation on the product-category scale. Never have. They've never created a new class of product.

    Apple created the first device to be called a PDA: the MessagePad 100 AKA Newton. The Apple II was also one of the first "home computers", if not the first.

    Since Sep 2009 • 444 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg,

    You could have bought one of those locked-down Texas Instruments graphic calculators. Purchasing one of those really brings out the ire of most geeks, it seems.

    Pfft, only HP calculators using RPN (Reverse Polish Notation) qualify as geek-worthy.

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    You could have bought one of those locked-down Texas Instruments graphic calculators. Purchasing one of those really brings out the ire of most geeks, it seems.

    I remember someone trying to buy a biorhythm calculator back in the olden days. Figuring that The Calculator Centre in Lorne Street would have every kind of calculator he tried there, only to be told that they didn't stock such a thing. When he asked why the guy got seriously sniffy and said "I don't think people should be allowed to have them."

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    we currently need petroleum to produce the material goods that will eventually replace our reliance on petroleum

    I'd agree with you if you replaced the word "need" for "use" in that sentence. We use petroleum as power to produce stuff now, but we don't need to. It's just the cheapest way. As it gets dearer, the other sources become more attractive, and petroleum becomes only useful in those places that must have it, like aircraft.

    As a raw material in, say, plastics, it will continue to be useful, but it is not required in anywhere near such quantities for that, and in the long run we could quite possibly supply the entire need sustainably through biological sources.

    I guess I differ from you in a perception of the urgency of the problem. Just about the entire industrial base of the whole world can be replaced (and is replaced, bit by bit) over 10-20 years. Yes, we're geared to petroleum, but the shift can come incredibly rapidly, if we put our minds to it, if any real signs of petroleum shortage reared their ugly heads, rather than what we currently have, a very gradual rise in price. At some point that price rise will cap out when sustainable sources are the same. Then, most likely, energy prices will only drop, as we get better and better at exploiting sustainables, and our industry is geared more and more towards them.

    That's how I see it playing out, anyway. The idea that we're flying headlong towards a disaster seems unduly alarmist, considering the truly enormous reserves of oil we have, the even more stupendous amounts of untapped coal, lots of gas, lots of uranium. Yes, I'd love it if sustainable sources were being developed faster, but I think the slow speed is mostly caused by the still enormous quantities of unsustainables we have. Our shift to sustainability is gradual, ongoing, and just as inexorable in the long run as our depletion of unsustainables is.

    My biggest worry still remains: What about all that carbon in the atmosphere?

    <rant>Regarding solar panels, why do people always think that they're the be-all and end-all of solar power? They're not even what's used in the world's largest solar power plants. They're not what is used in solar water heating. They're not how kinetic energy is created in our dams, NZ's main source of power, ultimately from the sun. They're not how the sun warms our houses every day. They're not the technology which causes plants to grow. Solar power is a much bigger picture than solar panels. But they're still a really cool idea.</rant>

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    I'm really sorry, Russell. Didn't mean to attack you personally, or your purchases. I'll go elsewhere to have conversations about ethical consumerism and global interconnectedness.

    Have a good birthday celebration with your mother.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3227 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Figuring that The Calculator Centre in Lorne Street would have every kind of calculator he tried there,

    My God, I'd completely forgotten about that place, and my very first portable computer, the Casio PB100, which I had to save up for 2 months worth of paper deliveries (the Herald! Imagine!) to buy at $100. I wrote lots of lovely programs in BASIC, saved to tapes, then tragically it was stolen while I was playing Gauntlet after school one day. :-(.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Warrior needs food, badly.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    I'll go elsewhere to have conversations about ethical consumerism and global interconnectedness.

    No, don't do that; just don't mention specifics. Since everyone is as bad as everyone else, the fair thing to do is for us all to just sit around saying "Tsk. Isn't it terrible". ;)

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    My God, I'd completely forgotten about that place, and my very first portable computer, the Casio PB100, which I had to save up for 2 months worth of paper deliveries (the Herald! Imagine!) to buy at $100. I wrote lots of lovely programs in BASIC, saved to tapes, then tragically it was stolen while I was playing Gauntlet after school one day. :-(.

    As it happens, that's where I bought my first "real" computer, back in 1983. An Epson HX-20, with a 4-line LCD display, optional minicassette backup and a built-in adding machine type printer. Set me back over $1800.

    Used it to work out animation camera moves. Gave it to a kid two years later when I bought an IBM XT. Paid for itself too, there was money to be made in that racket back then. Will burn in hell for the carbon footprint I'm sure.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I'm really sorry, Russell. Didn't mean to attack you personally, or your purchases. I'll go elsewhere to have conversations about ethical consumerism and global interconnectedness.

    Apology accepted. Sorry if I was sensitive, but it did feel a bit personal. Feel free to have the conversation.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22849 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Beady abacusser responds
    to cast gauntlet...

    Warrior needs food, badly.

    that's a cryptic clue right?
    I calculate that:
    wooden fries ardor
    is the answer

    -ooo-------
    ----ooooo-

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Warrior needs food, badly.

    that's a cryptic clue right?

    You're probably being cryptic back, but just in case... it's a phrase that was spoken during Gauntlet. I'm quite fond of it because it's one of only two English phrases outside of music lyrics that allows me to remember what it was like not to speak English. I didn't back then, so it was like a string of sounds, but casting my mind back to it now I can recall the experience of not being able to decode it - and it's not a memory I can manufacture otherwise.

    Funny how the mind works, and all that.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

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