Tag Archive for Design

Where Will It Lead

“Design Outside the Box”, a talk by Jesse Schell.

The iPad

You can search all over the Internet and find out about the specifications and tons of opinions on it.  Here are mine.

First, I think the name is silly.  The people guessing that Apple was making a tablet came up with dozens of better names.  Does no one at Apple have access to Google?  It would have taken less than five seconds to search “iPad” and find the years old MadTV skit.

Next, I am not impressed.  They showed nothing in their presentation that made me want to have one of these over a netbook.  However, I see potential.  To me, the ultimate success of this device will depend on two things:

  1. What applications get designed to fully use this device.  The best idea I’ve seen floated so far is a “cash register” type application since one of these plus a couple of peripherals is cheaper than most computer registers.
  2. The next revision of the hardware.  Apple is notorious for withholding features.  They like to put just enough in a product to make people want it, but hold back enough features to be able to also make revision two, three, and four worth buying too.  Expect the next version to have the front facing camera most people feel is missing, and more memory.

Lastly, I think they priced it almost perfectly.  The only way it gets better is if AT&T subsidizes the price of the 3G version in exchange for a 2 year contract.  Personally, I wouldn’t want the 3G, so it is priced right as it is.

To me, at the moment, the deal breaker is the keyboard.  The virtual keyboard looks like it would only be comfortable using if I can manage to have the device at a 45 degree angle allowing me to type and see the screen.  This means that I’d either have to be hunched over the device, or to be lounging on the couch with my feet propped up allowing my lap to hold it up at a usable angle.  But that’s because the biggest feature of a portable computer for me is writing, and the iPad seems to be aimed more at people who are more interested in reading and watching.  This could be saved if someone makes some sort of clip on keyboard and screen protector (i.e. – the keyboard folds up over the screen, kinda like the clam shell design of a laptop).  But it would also have to more than double the weight of the device because you can’t have the screen be heavier than the keyboard in that sort of design.

Another missing element for me that I don’t think will ever make it into the Apple design is the ability to use a stylus.  I like to do digital art (doodling more than anything) but I don’t like doing it with my finger.  Perhaps, if the iPad sells well, Wacom will decide to make the Cintiq into a full blown art tablet.

Overall, as I said before, I see potential, I even see this as being a device that plenty of people could put to good use, but just not me.  And that’s okay.

Evolution

It looks like they are at it again… Evolution versus Creation. Although now, the creation side of the debate has come up with the theory of ‘Intelligent Design’ which is basically Evolution except that its not random, God planned it this way. I shrug when I think of this fight, because to me there just doesn’t seem to be much place for an arguement. I mean, if the religion side were asking only that evolution not be taught as a random series of lucky genetic combinations and focus only on the scientific evidence of DNA relations between species that indicate an evolving path, that’d be fine. But they always seem to want to take that extra step and make the schools teach God.

Its hypocritical… they say Evolution teaching is against their and their children’s beliefs, but they want to replace them with teachings that will be against other parents and children’s beliefs. The class is science, its about what you can prove and what you can theorize from what you can prove. We can prove DNA similarities between species. We can theorize an evolutionary path. Done. Why ask the schools to speculate on the nature of God? We can’t “prove” that God exists, nor do we have proven facts that point toward God as a theory. God is speculation. God is faith.

Plus, this is elementary school, middle school and high school. And if they are going to teach God, then I demand they teach all the other religions too. By the time we are done, public education will look like a comparative study of theologies. And really, I wonder if these people fighting evolution would like the school to teach other religions… I doubt it.