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Alan Kay Says iPad Betrays Xerox PARC Vision

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the and-so-it-goes dept.

GUI 387

harrymcc writes "Over at TIME.com, we've published David Greelish's interview with Alan Kay, the famously quotable visionary whose Dynabook proposal has provided much of the inspiration for advances in mobile computing for over 40 years now. Kay talks about his work, laments that the computer has failed to live up to its potential as an educational tool, and says that the iPad betrays the vision that he and others created at Xerox PARC and elsewhere in the 1970s."

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Fanboy attack (0, Offtopic)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about a year and a half ago | (#43336743)

in 3...2...1....

Bing! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43336761)

And... you're already here.

Never said a fanboy of WHAT...

Re:Bing! (1, Informative)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337297)

I'm typing this on a Linux Mint netbook with a Galaxy Note 2 next to me whilst watching a TV show on my PS3 and I have an iMac upstairs. Fanboy I am not.

Re:Fanboy attack (1, Insightful)

falcon5768 (629591) | about a year and a half ago | (#43336899)

Actually looking at his gripes, and they are so far and away from legitimate that there is a very valid argument to be made that he's full of shit.

The interesting thing about this question is that it is quite clear from the several early papers that it was an ancillary point for the Dynabook to be able to simulate all existing media in an editable/authorable form in a highly portable networked (including wireless) form. The main point was for it to be able to qualitatively extend the notions of “reading, writing, sharing, publishing, etc. of ideas” literacy to include the “computer reading, writing, sharing, publishing of ideas” that is the computer’s special province.

This has been absolutely done by the iPad and other tablets. People love to make the claim you can not create content on the iPad but its been proven time and again for the most part to be false beyond a few exceptions you can create just fine. People code on them, people write blogs or even books on them, people record and perform music on them etc. They are still a Gen 2 device atm though regardless of the marketing speek (or maybe Gen 3).

Isn’t it crystal clear that this last and most important service is quite lacking in today’s computing for the general public? Apple with the iPad and iPhone goes even further and does not allow children to download an Etoy made by another child somewhere in the world. This could not be farther from the original intentions of the entire ARPA-IPTO/PARC community in the ’60s and ’70s.

Even this is disingenuous because Apple doesn't in any way prevent a people from creating a good app uploading it to the store for free and let people download it for free. It shows a blatent misunderstanding of the app store, and reasons behind it. It also shows a 60/70's naïvety toward how nasty our computing world has become toward attacking other users for personal and political gain.

Re:Fanboy attack (0, Troll)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337009)

Your post is total fanboy rubbish.

Tablets are awkward at best for work and the level of control Apple exerts over the platform is artistically stifling as well as being an unnecessary financial burden.

We understand all too well.

Re:Fanboy attack (1, Troll)

falcon5768 (629591) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337043)

The only "fanboi" rubbish here is yours, I record my music and administer my servers in SSH perfectly fine on my iPad, and have done the same on my Android.

Re:Fanboy attack (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43337115)

so when you say administer your servers, you mean you have one? Because typing on a tablet, especially technical typing such as using non-alphanumeric characters is quite the pain in the ass in my experience. I can never remember they key to do a tab either so I have to manually type everything or look up what the tab key is. And having to administer multiple servers would make me curl up into a little ball and cry if it had to be done on a tablet.

Re:Fanboy attack (2, Informative)

Americano (920576) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337301)

It's strange, typing on a tablet is identical to typing on a laptop or a desktop for me... don't they have bluetooth keyboards where you live?

Re:Fanboy attack (4, Funny)

marcello_dl (667940) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337409)

This is like saying: "riding an unicycle is easy, because you can put its wheel into a bike and ride that one instead".

Re:Fanboy attack (3, Insightful)

Americano (920576) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337553)

No, it's like saying "riding a unicycle is hard, if you need a vehicle to get around, why don't you put a second wheel on it, and stop whining about how hard it is to ride a fucking unicycle?"

Why not buy a bike in the first place? (4, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337669)

Or "if you're going to be always adding a second wheel, why not buy a bicycle in the first place?"

Re:Fanboy attack (2)

StuartHankins (1020819) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337725)

It's actually more like saying, "buy a Bluetooth keyboard and it's practically identical to your desktop typing experience". If you're doing that much typing I can't imagine NOT having a dedicated keyboard.

Re:Fanboy attack (0, Flamebait)

click2005 (921437) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337051)

Tablets are a tool for consumption not production or creativity. They can be used for it in the same way I can stir my coffee with a pen.

Re:Fanboy attack (1, Insightful)

Pope (17780) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337187)

Tablets are a tool for consumption not production or creativity. They can be used for it in the same way I can stir my coffee with a pen.

You clearly have no idea what you're talking about.

Re:Fanboy attack (2)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337721)

Indeed, everyone knows you stir coffee with a pencil!

Re:Fanboy attack (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43337743)

That's not a pen, it's a penis. At least you got it out of your mouth for a bit.

Re:Fanboy attack (1, Insightful)

fuzzybunny (112938) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337197)

That's a condemnation of Apple's methods, not of the tablet format itself.

The iPad was not technologically revolutionary - but it is hugely significant in that it's ingrained the idea of tablet computing in the mind of the average user vastly more than any product before it. It's essentially set the stage for Android and others to follow on.

Re:Fanboy attack (2, Informative)

Specter (11099) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337663)

I think what keeps being over looked here is what Apple brought to the scene with the iPad; an actual tablet computer. Prior to the iPad tablets were laptops without keyboards: heavy, buggy, hot, slow, clumsy, kludges that kept trying to force a desktop UI into a pseudo-touch/stylus interface.

Apple broke away from that and their success in being the first to understand what a tablet needed to be and _finally_ getting the rest of the world to understand what tablet computing _should be_ can be seen not only in their sales but also in their imitators. Every other single tablet on the market now is merely a variation on Apple's success without any additional innovation in the concept.

Re:Fanboy attack (1)

StuartHankins (1020819) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337547)

So don't buy one, and don't use one. Build your own or whatever. Really, we don't care.

Re:Fanboy attack (3, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337021)

They don't?
Please show me were I can upload applications for free to the Apple store and without restrictions.

My application is a wireless network monitoring tool, which my understanding is that they are totally banned.

Apple is very successful at turning computers into something their owners do not control.

Re:Fanboy attack (5, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337085)

Yes, I think the objection is not that you can't install a text editor on an iPad, but that the ecosystem is mainly aimed at one-way retrieval of content via Apple. As Kay notes, it's not just that you can't get your content into the App Store easily, but by default you can't even install something your friend made who's sitting right next to you— there's no way to install apps from your friend unless either you jailbreak your device, or your friend gets it into the App Store.

Provisioning (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337337)

by default you can't even install something your friend made who's sitting right next to you

Your friend with a Mac and an iOS developer license can provision several dozen testing devices on his developer account, including yours.

Re:Provisioning (3, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337419)

Doesn't the fact that you need a developer 'license' tweak something in your mind about the DynaBook ideals?

Re:Provisioning (1)

Trepidity (597) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337491)

And also a regular computer!

Re:Provisioning (1)

ah.clem (147626) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337731)

And also a regular computer!

Touche'!

Hypercard stacks and sharing (3, Informative)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337551)

People used to be able to make actual useable software on their own as Hypercards stacks which they could then share freely (or for cost) with others. There was no restriction on how to share or requirement for approval and okey-dokeys and blessings from the Mother-ship in order to be allowed to do so. You could install software from whatever sources you wanted. It's that type of freedom to tinker that I believe Mr Kay is talking about and not seeing in the way the iPad money-sucking and "closed up" walled garden which is specifically designed by Apple.

Re:Provisioning (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43337623)

Your friend with a Mac and an iOS developer license can provision several dozen testing devices on his developer account, including yours.

Sure, for the low low price of $99 per year. Every year. For the right to load software onto the device you own.

Re:Fanboy attack (0)

sribe (304414) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337411)

...there's no way to install apps from your friend unless either you jailbreak your device, or your friend gets it into the App Store...

Not true.

Re:Fanboy attack (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337459)

Totally true.
Unless you think your friend should have to tithe to Church of apple each year.

Re:Fanboy attack (1)

sribe (304414) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337555)

Totally true. Unless...

In other words, not true.

Re:Fanboy attack (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337593)

No, I am saying it is totally true.

The unless part means you assume something that is not the case. Meaning you are twisting the truth using that.

Re:Fanboy attack (1)

Selfbain (624722) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337627)

Well technically it's not true. If the friend has a developer account he can add your device and then deploy to it. It's not a great solution though.

Re:Fanboy attack (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43337263)

If you spent 10% of the effort developing and marketing that app for Android that you do bitching about iOS and their restrictions here on Slashdot, you'd be a millionaire.

Money talks, bullshit walks, son. You don't like Apple's policies? Show them that those policies are harmful to their own interests by making a mint off Android and their friendlier policies. When Apple sees that the app ecosystem and users are leaving their platform, they'll plot a new course fast, quick, and in a hurry. Until then, you should probably struggle to understand that for the vast majority of iOS device purchasers, the "safety" of the walled garden is a feature,, not a problem.

The relatively small number of people who DO care about this policy already have iOS Dev licenses and can put whatever the fuck they want on their own iOS devices for testing and dev purposes, and do ad hoc distributions if their friends absolutely "must" have the hot new app they've developed.

Re:Fanboy attack (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337405)

Take a deep breath.

I am an android user and very amateur dev. This is exactly why I don't bother with iOS.

You mean wardriving? (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337391)

My application is a wireless network monitoring tool, which my understanding is that they are totally banned.

BasilBrush and other iOS advocates on Slashdot are under the impression [slashdot.org] that nobody needs wireless network monitoring tools. Wireless network monitoring tools are primarily useful for intruders trying to enter someone else's network without permission.

Re:You mean wardriving? (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337483)

Tepples, I think you mean they believe this.

Wireless network monitoring tools are primary useful to those who deploy, secure and integrate wireless networks. It is very handy to be able to see at a customers site that his wireless speeds suffer because all this neighbors are on the same channel.

Re:Fanboy attack (5, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337093)

"This has been absolutely done by the iPad ..."
not on the iPad. You need a middle man.

Tel my how I can write an app on the iPad, and then share it with whomever I want. How do I just send it to my friend across the table?

"Even this is disingenuous because Apple doesn't in any way prevent a people from creating a good app uploading it to the store for free"
You are missing his point.

"d does not allow children to download an Etoy made by another child somewhere in the world. "
he is correct. It has to go through Apple. I needs to meet Apples arbitrary corporate 'standard'; which includes many subjective things, such as 'we thing there are enough apps of this type'. Plus, creating an app on an iPad has a much higher barrier to entry then other systems.

Codea (0)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337457)

Tel my how I can write an app on the iPad, and then share it with whomever I want. How do I just send it to my friend across the table?

Did you try going to the App Store and looking for Codea?

Re:Fanboy attack (5, Informative)

_xeno_ (155264) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337145)

Even this is disingenuous because Apple doesn't in any way prevent a people from creating a good app uploading it to the store for free and let people download it for free.

You either have a different definition of "for free" than I do, or you're purposely using misleading language.

In order for me to start "uploading it to the store for free" I have to pay at least something like $1100 for specialized hardware and the developer account in addition to the tablet. And, yes, I'm counting the cost of a bottom-end, cheapest, entirely unsuitable for development work MacBook in this, because the PARC vision allows you to do development on just the tablet itself.

So, no, I can't just create a good app and upload it for free. I can upload it for $1000+$100/year, and allow other people to download it without cost to them, but if I want to create an app, I have an upfront cost of at least $1100 on top of the cost of the original tablet.

And that all assumes Apple doesn't simply reject the app for no particular reason.

Re:Fanboy attack (1)

taskiss (94652) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337447)

There are other ways to share applications outside the Apple App Store. HTML 5 and Javascript apps aren't restricted in a manner inconsistent with their programming paradigm, best I can tell.

Just because you don't get what you want doesn't mean lions are getting frisky with lambs somewhere.

Apple intentionally blocks HTML5 features (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337531)

HTML 5 and Javascript apps aren't restricted in a manner inconsistent with their programming paradigm

Yes they are. Apple intentionally refuses to let HTML5 applications use WebGL; iAds can use it but not anything else. Apple refuses to allow the user upload any object stored on the device other than pictures and video through <input type="file">, and even that didn't work for the first five years of iOS. Nor does Safari implement getUserMedia or any similar API to use the device's microphone and camera. This appears odd especially in relation to the fact that when introducing iOS 1 on the original iPhone, Apple intended to make web applications the only kind of application that one would need. How would a barcode scanner work without support from Safari?

Re:Fanboy attack (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43337191)

"Apple doesn't in any way prevent a people from creating a good app uploading it to the store for free and let people download it for free."

other than sitting in the middle of the whole thing and using state of the art cryptography and software armouring to make sure only that happens from now until eternity, if AAPL shutdown so do all of their customers products functionality, you have to trash it, so perhaps he's pissed because up until the 90s "engineering" used to solve "engineering" problems, now it solves perpetual greed ones.

So fuck Apple, Microsoft, Google and everybody elses patented, trademarked, copyrighted walled garden chinese slave-made shitfest and shame on the developers who enabled it to happen, we will remember you well.

Re:Fanboy attack (2)

SoupIsGood Food (1179) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337205)

It also shows a 60/70's naïvety toward how nasty our computing world has become toward attacking other users for personal and political gain.

Yeah, mitigating modern malware techniques, particularly trojans, is a non-trivial problem. Apple's solution, the walled garden, is probably the wrong one, but no-one has come up with another credible security model that works as transparently or effectively for the end user. This is really an area of OS research that needs a ton of attention and effort that it's not getting - anti-malware applications are not cutting it. The solution needs to be baked-in, not bolt-on, and pro-active rather than reactive.

Bitfrost (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337589)

Apple's solution [to trojans], the walled garden, is probably the wrong one, but no-one has come up with another credible security model that works as transparently or effectively for the end user.

The proper solution is to model what damage a trojan can do, figure out what privileges it would need to do that damage, and make sure that a program lacks those privileges without the user's knowledge. OLPC Sugar implements this using Bitfrost, and Android implements it using the permissions framework. Yes, I'm aware that Android's model needs refined. For example, the "phone state" privilege to read whether or not the application should stop playing audio because the phone is ringing is conflated with the privilege to read certain personally identifying information such as the IMEI, and the "Internet" privilege can't be limited to a set of domains.

Re:Fanboy attack (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43337207)

You obviously don't own a tablet. While they're excellent content consumption devices, they're poor content creation devices at best. Fat fingers can't make up for a keyboard and mouse in precision or accuracy. Yes, it's possible, just it's not very enjoyable.

Re:Fanboy attack (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43337339)

"simulate all existing media in an editable/authorable form" soooo... i can download an ebook from iTunes and edit it?

Re:Fanboy attack (1)

mrex (25183) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337379)

This has been absolutely done by the iPad and other tablets. People love to make the claim you can not create content on the iPad but its been proven time and again for the most part to be false beyond a few exceptions you can create just fine. People code on them, people write blogs or even books on them, people record and perform music on them etc.

I have to respectfully disagree with this to a significant degree. Coding natively on an iPad, for example, is just not feasible - there is no compiler, no debugger, no IDE available for any language. We can't even write shell scripts on un-jailbroken devices. I think that's a big part of what Kay is advocating for: a core focus on easily-developed applications, devices that encourage users to develop the technical skills necessary to create advanced content.

I think the notion of the tablet as a consumption-only device is overblown, but not totally unfounded. It is much more difficult than it "should be" to create many forms of content.

With that said, hopefully Kay will share more specifics on the fundamental choices OS developers could make to increase the security of their products without sacrificing usability.

(Posted from my iPad)

Codea (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337609)

there is no compiler, no debugger, no IDE available for any language

Not even Lua? When you bought Codea and tried it, what did you find lacking?

Re:Fanboy attack (3, Interesting)

Reapman (740286) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337417)

You can code on the iPad? This is news. Whats the environment you use? Not talking about scripts or a text editor with basic syntax highlighting tho. I'm talking about being able to code a full project, with all necessary files, and preferably being able to compile it too - but that can be worked around.

I tried this with the Asus Transformer when it came out. Was... KIND OF... doable, but in the end it was a LOT easier to just use a 13" laptop and code on that. No sacrifices were required, completely compatabile with my revision controls, etc.

Also, this is the second time I heard you could write and release iOS apps for free - can you share how this is doable? I admit I don't follow iOS much anymore since I didn't want to spend $100 a year just to write hobby level code, so this change is quite exciting. Unless this post is a day late, then Fool on me...

Re:Fanboy attack (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43337635)

There are several IDEs for javascript and Lua. Thye vary in quality, and aren't nearly as full featured as a desktop IDE. However that apears to primarily be a reaction to the market (people don't want to pay for an IDE on the iPad).

Re:Fanboy attack (1)

RobbieCrash (834439) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337423)

Even this is disingenuous because Apple doesn't in any way prevent a people from creating a good app uploading it to the store for free and let people download it for free.

Doesn't Apple charge a developers license fee of ~$100USD/year?

Licensed C64 Emulator Rejected From App Store (3, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337477)

People love to make the claim you can not create content on the iPad but its been proven time and again for the most part to be false beyond a few exceptions you can create just fine. People code on them

Several years ago, Apple pulled a Commodore 64 game from the App Store [slashdot.org] when it was discovered that the user could reboot the emulated Commodore 64 into the BASIC prompt. Apple didn't want a BASIC prompt because users could key in programs that Apple had not approved. What caused Apple to change its mind and allow things like Codea?

Apple doesn't in any way prevent a people from creating a good app uploading it to the store for free

How are a Mac and a developer license available "for free"?

and let people download it for free.

Of course it does. If your application falls into one of the banned categories [pineight.com] , which you're not even officially allowed to see until you've already bought a $650 Mac and a $99 per year developer license, Apple won't let you distribute it.

Re:Fanboy attack (1)

StuartHankins (1020819) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337533)

I had to go look up what he was talking about by "EToy". It wanted to install a plugin. I didn't install it. He seems pretty bent out of shape about the whole thing. If you want something different, you're welcome to build it or pay to have someone else do it for you. All this whining gives me a headache.

Re:Fanboy attack (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43337667)

Copyright etc. are a bigger threat to this vision than Apple's "walled garden".

Not Sure I Understand the Post-PC Concept (5, Insightful)

The Cat (19816) | about a year and a half ago | (#43336765)

Sometimes I wonder why we are so quick to discard the PC. I certainly hope it won't become a symbol of lost opportunity.

Re:Not Sure I Understand the Post-PC Concept (2, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#43336863)

iPad is shiny!

Re:Not Sure I Understand the Post-PC Concept (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43336895)

Shiny shiny trendy shiny! Happy trendy shiny shiny!

Re:Not Sure I Understand the Post-PC Concept (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337171)

Shiny happy people?

Re:Not Sure I Understand the Post-PC Concept (3, Interesting)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#43336869)

well, all the industry pundits who want to discard the pc are the one's that would be keeping pc's to create stuff for the replacements...

Re:Not Sure I Understand the Post-PC Concept (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43336949)

Because for the vast majority of iPad/other tablet buyers, they're either:

1) Using tablets as a secondary device, and continuing to use their PC (I have a tablet, a laptop, and a desktop. No plans to do away with my "computer", though I expect the somewhat old desktop and somewhat old laptop may converge into a single modern laptop with a dock & dual monitors when it comes time to replace them.)
2) Basic users who have zero need for the features of a PC.

Choice is good. Just because somebody else chooses something that's not appropriate for your needs doesn't mean they're "wrong" - they may have different priorities, and different uses for the tool.

A PC offers more room to grow (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337253)

Basic users who have zero need for the features of a PC.

A PC offers more room to grow. Eventually a basic user is likely to become no longer a basic user and will need to spend a significant chunk of change to upgrade from only a tablet to a tablet and a PC. If this no-longer-basic user is a child under legal working age who has been using a tablet that he had received as a gift, it becomes even more difficult to find the money to buy even a used PC. Owning only an iPad is more likely to convince the user that the limits of only an iPad are reasonable, just as a lot of American kids who owned only a game console and not a PC during the third, fourth, and fifth console generations never got the chance to try their hand at learning what makes a game tick by coding a simple game themselves.

Re:A PC offers more room to grow (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43337485)

Eventually a basic user is likely to become no longer a basic user

No, they're really not "likely" to become more than a basic user. The standard tasks that most people use their home computer for - browsing the web, sending emails, watching a video, etc. - are not likely to suddenly prompt those people to decide that they need to hack the Linux kernel.

just as a lot of American kids who owned only a game console and not a PC during the third, fourth, and fifth console generations never got the chance to try their hand at learning what makes a game tick by coding a simple game themselves.

Why do you thick fucks make the assumption that this is something MOST people would want to do? There's a reason most of us grew up as social outcasts: OUR INTERESTS ARE NOT SHARED BY THE VAST - OVERWHELMING - MAJORITY OF THE OTHER PEOPLE AROUND US. Playing a game leads to "I'm gonna program my own game" about as often as driving a car leads to "vehicular homicide." Stop projecting your interests on the rest of the population - I can guarantee you that they're not shared by the vast majority of the people you're assuming will magically become Linux kernel hackers if you just hand them a computer with a bash shell on it.

As far as "upgrading" a tablet? Buy a $30 bluetooth keyboard, and you've got yourself a netbook. I just saved you two grand - you're welcome.

Re:Not Sure I Understand the Post-PC Concept (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43337381)

Not like they stopped making MacBooks just because they might compete with iPads. Tablets just happen to be a more convenient form factor for consuming content, even if they're ill suited for creating it. But if you want to write that blog, whip together some webpage, or whatever, all while on the go, then why not just get a laptop even if it's bigger and stop being stupid about it?

Re:Not Sure I Understand the Post-PC Concept (2)

psnyder (1326089) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337075)

For a long amount of time, a very large amount of people have only used PCs for the same functions that you can now find in any mobile device (emails, checking news, entertainment, etc). The rest of the "opportunities" a PC provides are unused bloat for many people.

But a "Post-PC" era isn't coming anytime soon (unless you count today as a "Post-TV" era).

Humans move forward in reliability and access (4, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337121)

Sometimes I wonder why we are so quick to discard the PC.

Because the PC is a nightmare in terms of reliability. Here I am using PC in the generic sense; this statement applied not just to Windows but also OS X or Linux or any desktop app compared to a tablet. In every case they are much harder for people to keep running well over time.

The "Post PC" era is a term probably overused at this point but at the core it basically means simply: computers that non-technical users can have over time without someone to help them maintain.

More technical users see this as limiting, but non-technical users see the ability to not rely on technical people to help them as freeing.

And it's not like PC's, or anything like them, will ever vanish. Those threatened by a world where normal people can use a computer too should just chill out and be happy for them.

Re:Not Sure I Understand the Post-PC Concept (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43337155)

Sometimes I wonder why we are so quick to discard the PC

Because 99% of the time all people need is a display and an input device connected to the interwebs. The big box sitting under/on the desk is not actually adding any value. Since we've stuck to 1080p for so long, miniature devices can now handle video decoding, so the only task left for PCs that a significant number of users engage in is gaming, and that has been slowly shifting to consoles.

Post-PC doesn't mean no keyboard&monitors. It doesn't mean no high-end desktop workstations. It just means much fewer traditional PCs because we don't need them.

40+ years later, PCs still haven't gotten it right (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43337505)

If you're ever worked in a computer lab, tech supported a parent or your boss etc.you'll see that the PC is s still very complicated for most people. People don't know what browser they use.... because a lot of us just rename the shortcut to "internet" and their outlook (or whatever) icon to "Mail" so they would stop calling us and asking which does what. PCs get viruses. People don't really understand folder hierarchy. People would come into the lab, put in their thumb drive... hit save on a paper they've been working on... take out the drive and the file isn't on it. They don't realize the file isn't on it because they keep sitting at the same machine every day. Sometimes photos save in my documents, sometimes in my photos in my documents, sometimes in the folder of the crapware on their computer. Installed programs like to take over everything and compete with each other. Stick a CD in the drive? 8 programs want to do something about it.

And it doesn't mean they are stupid... my boss runs a multi-milliondollar company which requires some smarts... yet if I tell him to go to whatever.com he still types it in the search bar in google (which makes me nuts).

On the iPhone/iPad etc. the photos are all in "photos", the music is in "music" the mail program is called "mail" and so on. All of their program icons are right there in front of them. It doesn't get virused. It practically updates itself. Their stuff is backed up into the cloud for them. (ask a family member if they backup their PC, they'll stare at you blankly) My gf has a pc at work, but at home only is using the iPad now. She has no interest in doing any kind of "computing" when she gets home from work. I got my mom a Kindle HD and she hasn't called me for tech support since. It can do email, web, I put a weather app on there and she can read books and skype the grandkids. Done!

tl;dr: 40+ years later, PCs still haven't gotten it right.

Re:Not Sure I Understand the Post-PC Concept (4, Insightful)

Specter (11099) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337715)

...because it's a hot, power hungry, big, buggy, malware ridden, unreliable, overcomplicated, expensive, time consuming pain in the ass for almost everyone who isn't a computer geek (and that's nearly everybody).

I don't think it's 'discarded' (3, Insightful)

Junta (36770) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337749)

I don't even think it's really doing much to displace PCs. People shortsighted enough to think solely in terms of new sales certainly feel that way, but it ignores reality.

Basically, PC market with or without tablets was destined to plateau. PC sales for a couple of decades were driven by more demanding applications and use cases. Now, the products have, largely, caught up to the applications people use. A new purchase was formerly driven mostly by the current owned product being 'too slow'. Now a new purchase is driven more and more by when the thing wears out beyond warranty rather than new capability not previously available.

Tablet and mobile are really a distinct market that PC didn't really penetrate. Sure, occasionally you'd see someone pretty dedicated lug around a laptop out and about, but those were pretty rare. Most everyone that had a PC 3 years ago still uses their PC, even if they have no need to buy a new one.

WELL DUH !! 1970S ?? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43336783)

Of course the 70s' vision has blurred to the point that the iPad betrays it !! This ain't your grandfather's Atari !! It is his Oldsmobile !!

Re:WELL DUH !! 1970S ?? (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year and a half ago | (#43336875)

Yeah ... 'cuz ... screw ideals. What losers those guys were.

Re:WELL DUH !! 1970S ?? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43336941)

Yes those guys are losers. There was nothing successful that ever came out of PARC.

DIY Education. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43336809)

Wasn't the Raspberry PI suppose to be the educational tool? Or was that the OLPC? So hard to tell.

Re:DIY Education. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43337057)

"Hey third world kids - us first world rich kids are going to give you laptops! Well, not real laptops, that might let you actually learn skills that will help you get out of poverty and better your life. They're these tinkertoy bullshit things that you won't really get much use out of... but they look so modern and plastic! And really, it'll help us feel good about ourselves for "doing something," mostly. But we'll console ourselves by telling the world that it's going to 'help you learn how to learn and give you access to the works of Shakespeare,' or some shit like that."

In essence, first world people misunderstand the needs and wants of third world people living in abject poverty, and give them gifts that demonstrate that misunderstanding. I know I'm shocked by this development - aren't you?

I, for one, can't wait to see the Open Source Refrigerator designed for use by native tribes living above the Arctic Circle! And I hear RMS is working on a new brand of super-absorbent white cotton gloves, just PERFECT for protecting your hands while eating ketchup popsicles.

Thank you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43337141)

Spot-on post about bullshit efforts like OLPC.

Re:DIY Education. (1)

kullnd (760403) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337313)

Wish I had mod points --- Why would you post this AC? It is spot on and correct - There is not many organizations that are actually doing anything in the 3rd world that will make a difference in the long term for even one person.

Betrayed? (3, Insightful)

Dog-Cow (21281) | about a year and a half ago | (#43336839)

What a stupid idea. The iPad was intended to be a portable screen for viewing content. Virtually every app (outside of games) is for viewing pre-generated content of some form or another. The iPad was never intended to be a "dynabook" or to co-opt the idea, so how can it be a betrayal?

I have an idea for Kay... build your own damn hardware and write your own damn software. Don't rely on publicly-traded, for-profit companies to execute your "vision".

Re:Betrayed? (2)

Motard (1553251) | about a year and a half ago | (#43336901)

Was following Snooki not a founding ideal of the dynabooks? Ooops, sorry.

Re:Betrayed? (4, Insightful)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337211)

I have an idea for Kay... build your own damn hardware and write your own damn software. Don't rely on publicly-traded, for-profit companies to execute your "vision".

Seconded. Also, stop bitching that someone else didn't execute your vision.

Re:Betrayed? (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337387)

stop bitching that someone else didn't execute your vision.

His complaints remind me of a Repo Man quote: "...and, yet I blame society."

Locked Installs (4, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year and a half ago | (#43336843)

As you might expect, his problems with it is the major problem many have with iOS devices:

Apple with the iPad and iPhone goes even further and does not allow children to download an Etoy made by another child somewhere in the world.

The solution is obviously to stop buying devices you don't truly own, but it's difficult when many applications are targeted for that platform first.

But that statement is incorrect (2, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337065)

Apple with the iPad and iPhone goes even further and does not allow children to download an Etoy made by another child somewhere in the world.

Even ignoring the fact that Android doesn't seem like it has any limitations that matter in this regard (and to me the question was more "do we have a dynabook yet" rather than "is the iPad a dynabook"), the statement is incorrect when applied to the iPad.

That's because you can share "eToys" within the context of an app. Codea [twolivesleft.com] for example, is an app for creating programs on the iPad - you can export code for a game you develop there, and send it to someone. That is in fact doing exactly what he said you cannot do - share an "eToy" you created.

Basically he has fallen into believing the myth that tablets are for consumption and not creation, ignoring a great lot of creation occurring all over.

May as well give it up. (2)

sidragon.net (1238654) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337371)

These people are trapped by their own make-believe assumptions about the technology, refuse to acknowledge that apps like Codea exist, and are convinced that using an Apple product somehow takes away their freedom. What freedom? Oh, you know, that freedom that lets you go in and modify the kernel source code to suit your own needs. Or that freedom to use whatever software you like. Or to create new content. Yeah, Apple totally destroys all that and keeps kids from learning! The iPad sucks! Fuck Apple! I want my freedom!

Re:But that statement is incorrect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43337565)

Apple with the iPad and iPhone goes even further and does not allow children to download an Etoy made by another child somewhere in the world.

Even ignoring the fact that Android doesn't seem like it has any limitations that matter in this regard (and to me the question was more "do we have a dynabook yet" rather than "is the iPad a dynabook"), the statement is incorrect when applied to the iPad.

That's because you can share "eToys" within the context of an app. Codea [twolivesleft.com] for example, is an app for creating programs on the iPad - you can export code for a game you develop there, and send it to someone. That is in fact doing exactly what he said you cannot do - share an "eToy" you created.

Basically he has fallen into believing the myth that tablets are for consumption and not creation, ignoring a great lot of creation occurring all over.

Will Codea let me do so without "jailbreaking" and without an Internet connection? Can I send it over a wired cable or a wireless but not internet enabled wifi network? How about even just blue tooth?

If yes, then you win, if not, then no, you're still an Apple apologist.

Re:Locked Installs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43337109)

As you might expect, his problems with it is the major problem a bunch of neckbeards who would never buy an Apple product anyway, but who love to have something to bitch about have with iOS devices:

FTFY.

The average consumer does not give a SHIT that you can't "download an Etoy made by another child somewhere in the world." They want an "Etoy," they go to the App Store and download it.

Piano in every classroom (1)

jader3rd (2222716) | about a year and a half ago | (#43336881)

I love his idea of a piano in every classroom. Now we just need a way to get the music out of it.

sold it all off (4, Interesting)

CheshireDragon (1183095) | about a year and a half ago | (#43336977)

Funny thing is Xerox sold a lot of their stuff to Apple in the 70s.
Seems to me that Xerox got out of the market 40yrs ago and has no right to complain about its path now.

Re:sold it all off (2)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337359)

This is a good point. How can you have "betrayal" as the journalist in the interview claims in the absence of any sort of obligation?

So. Fucking. What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43337061)

What a self-important twit. Why the hell should his "vision" rule what Apple wants to sell 40 fucking years later?

I'm about as far from an Apple fanboi as anyone, but Jesus H. Fucking Christ that's lamer than a Thalidomide dachshund.

Re:So. Fucking. What? (2)

sribe (304414) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337497)

What a self-important twit. Why the hell should his "vision" rule what Apple wants to sell 40 fucking years later?

Kind of reminds me of Ted Nelson complaining about how lame the web is because it doesn't live up to his vision for project Xanadu ;-)

Remember the quote "Real artists ship"???

...but Jesus H. Fucking Christ that's lamer than a Thalidomide dachshund.

Jesus Fucking Christ, that comment alone packs 1,000 more humor than all of yesterday's April 1 stupidity combined...

Of Course... (1)

ambidextroustech (2597091) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337067)

Of course it betrays his vision. The reality is is that the market is a battle field, and to have a monopoly in the education sector, you'd better not be making much bank off of it. Are either Apple, Inc. or Microsoft Corp. non-profit? No. The next contender could be Google, Inc. but they're not non-profit. Last time I looked at the trading tickers, Google was making more bank than Microsoft.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation is the only one that could deliver on his vision, but it's based in the UK and it's for the UK.

This is the USA. Do we make much sense anymore?

Most brilliant part lost in noise over iPad (4, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337185)

In the middle of the interview is the most brilliant thought of the whole article:

One way to think of all of these organizations is to realize that if they require a charismatic leader who will shoot people in the knees when needed, then the corporate organization and process is a failure. It means no group can come up with a good decision and make it stick just because it is a good idea. All the companies Iâ(TM)ve worked for have this deep problem of devolving to something like the hunting and gathering cultures of 100,000 years ago. If businesses could find a way to invent âoeagricultureâ we could put the world back together and all would prosper.

This is exactly right. Modern companies are NOT modern companies, they are generally companies as companies have always been. I think in smaller companies we are seeing experiments that show tiny examples of truly different ways to run a company, but I don't know of any that have been able to scale that to thousands of people yet.

News Flash (5, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337199)

Tonight's top story: An old guy complains that the future doesn't match what his vision of the future was back when he was young.

This, and the rest of the news, coming up at 11.

Re:News Flash (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43337673)

Oh thank God someone said this.

Are we going to have to listen to 20 years of George Lucas armchair quarterbacking what comes next for Star Wars?

Seriously, Gene Roddenberry (if he were alive today) would have more relevant things to say about technology.

I just don't understand why we keep listening to irrelevant people like Steve Wozniak, Lindsay Lohan and Karl Rove?

Lol (2)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337281)

Just like society fails to (thankfully) live up to expectations set 2000 years ago in the bible.

I mean really, we are supposed to adhere to a 40 year old vision of the future? I mean, where is they Dynabook today? Yes, that's right, its back in history where it belongs.

Also Apple nearly went bankrupt several times back in the day. Obviously the original vision failed to sustain both Xerox (as an innovative company today) AND Apple until Steve Jobs had another vision for the future.

If you have a vision that fails, then you failed to deliver your vision, it's nobody else's fault.

The problem with PARC (0)

RocketRabbit (830691) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337293)

PARC has an incredible legacy, but the problem is that there wasn't much follow through. Through the short-sightedness of Xerox, they sold off everything they had that was worth making money with.

Back in the early 1980s Smalltalk was be seriously pursued by Xerox and about a dozen computer companies in partnership, as the next generation platform / OS / language. Programs would be portable across architectures without any special effort, the user / programmer paradigm would blur, and we would all be in control of our machines.

Meanwhile Alan Kay has been giving speeches about the good old days, working at both Disney and Apple as a research imagineer, and while he did manage to release Squeak 25 years too late, the cathedral nature of its development process made its progress go very slowly. Thankfully it has been forked which kicked the Squeak dev team in the pants. Anyway Kay had his chance.

Well... duh... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43337429)

That's why steve jobs is burning in hell..

He had the chance and the tools to change computing for the better. To improve the world in a major way.

Instead he turned out to be yet another a crazy money grubbing asshole who sold the world disposable plastic crap made by slave labor for high prices...

If theres any kind of final judgement in the universe... Hes one of the epic failures.

Different Visions (1)

SwashbucklingCowboy (727629) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337559)

He had his vision, others had different visions. It doesn't mean he's right and they're wrong.

"Insecure OSes" (2)

theurge14 (820596) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337695)

FTA:
"Apple with the iPad and iPhone goes even further and does not allow children to download an Etoy made by another child somewhere in the world. This could not be farther from the original intentions of the entire ARPA-IPTO/PARC community in the ’60s and ’70s.

Apple’s reasons for this are mostly bogus, and to the extent that security is an issue, what is insecure are the OSes supplied by the vendors (and the insecurities are the result of their own bad practices — they are not necessary)."

How is it an OS issue if a user downloads an app and grants an it full access to an iPhone and the app takes a copy of the contact list and the entire archive of phone calls and messages and beams them to a host somewhere in Russia without any further user interaction?

If the answer is the user must act as the software warden, how is a child supposed to guarantee this Etoy won't do any harm to the machine he or she is using?

In short, if the wall garden isn't the app curator then who is? The OS? The app developer? The child?

SteveJobs said computers are bicycles for the mind (1)

WillAdams (45638) | about a year and a half ago | (#43337707)

Evoking a poster which graphed efficiency / speed of locomotion for various animals --- humans are in the middle of the pack, until one puts the human on a bicycle, then they move way out and up.

It kills me that I've yet to find a computing environment as elegant and as productive as a NeXT Cube running NeXTstep w/ Altsys Virtuoso, Lotus Improv, NoteBook.app, TeXview.app, TouchType.app and WriteNow.app (though WordPerfect gave the latter a good run for its money). While LaTeXiT, LyX and TeXshop meet most of my document-processing needs (and InDesign is pretty nice as well), I'm dreading the day when my Mac at work has to be replaced by one which can't run Mac OS X 10.6 and Macromedia FreeHand/MX --- even so, Services integration isn't as nice, I've never found a replacement for poste.app, &c.

Sadly, the next best environment I could put together now would be a Microsoft Surface Pro running Macromedia FreeHand MX and a bunch of other programs. Things I'd miss, and which I really wish the iPad had:

  - Display PostScript
  - PANTONE licensing at the OS level
  - movable main menu, tear off sub-menus
- Command= in any app to get a definition in Webster.app rocks
- having all of your man pages, the sysadmin refs, and the works of Will Shakespeare and anything else you wish to add in Digital Librarian ensures one can look up what one needs at will.
- Being able to improve the functionality of _any_ app by installing a Service or an app which provides a Service provides a synergy one doesn't get in Mac OS X where it's hit-or-miss whether or no an app supports Services (Cocoa apps do, Carbon and Java apps have to be specially coded)
- having total control over the screen (you can drag off-screen and hide all but one pixel of the vertical menu, one tile of the Dock)
- The vertical menu makes tear-off sub-menus make sense, which allows effortless customization of one's working environment for a given task w/o inscrutable toolbars
- the pop-up menu means that the menu for the current app is always instantly available --- some commands can even become gestural in one's access to them, e.g., ``Punch'' in Altsys Virtuso, right-button-menu click, down a bit and straight over and release
    - TeX provided by default and supported by the nifty TeXview.app
    - inspector-provided sort options for Miller-column filebrowser view
    - re-sizeable Shelf which can store multiple file selections as a single icon
    - nifty apps which made use of Services and Display PostScript like beYAP.app, Altsys Virtuoso, poste.app &c.
- Dynamic run-time binding means that installing a filter service affords said capabilities to any other app, w/o recompiling.

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