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15.02 09:21 - Content creators and content users or dreaming for a rollbook.
Автор: valio98 Категория: Технологии   
Прочетен: 138 Коментари: 0 Гласове:

The new iPad is out but there are no iStores near Cerro Paranal, where I am in the middle on my two week long turno right now. I can"t write about a gadget I haven"t even seen yet (but I have played with the iPod), and in fact, I want to write "about something completely different". The iPad and the discussion it caused just triggered my fingers...

In my opinion, there are two modes of using the web. The vast majority are silent readers. This is not to say that they do not post short blog messages, comments, twits, or never write an e-mail (this will be important later on). But most of their time they just read, watch or listen. The web gave these people a great opportunity to access what others have created: the latest songs, maps, any book, hundred year old newspapers, you name it.

The second group are the content creators. The classical ones are the writers who write those books, the composers who write those songs and the singers who sing them, the journalists who filled in the pages of those newspapers, etc. The moderns times brought us bloggers, iReportes, amateur garage bands that posted their music videos on Youtube, end so on.

Of course, the separation between these two categories can be mucky at times, but let"s consider them for the sake of the argument.

I don"t have numbers to back the next statement, so I honestly state that it is a speculation: my guess is that the amount of the content that the users access these days on the web is probably (nearly) __equally__ split between the one by content creators (both old and new styled) and the one by content readers. The "readers" may be only writing short stuff but there are many of them, and often the comments to a blog entry or a magazine article are much longer (and some times more interesting) than the original piece itself. Furthermore, the comments tend to provide social feedback on the issues, and different points of view. The latter is particularly important, because people often tend to enclose themselves in the "sphere of comfort", turning only to like-minded sources (this is probably true for all mass media, not only for the web). Comments are the ones that may break the personal borders and introduce us to contradictory opinions.

* * *

So, where does the iPad comes in here?

It seems to be an excellent tool for content access (a definitive improvement over the iPod) but poor too for creating content. For me the main issues are not even the evil (I am not jocking here) and useless DRM, that stand on the way of a normal user, or even the locked down architecture, or the lack of a camera, memory card slot and a USB port, etc.

I find the the marketing success of an access-only devise disturbing because it is an embodiment of a tendency towards getting the users used (forgive the tautology) to live in a restricted world where expressing their own thought is hampered by technology.

The technology was supposed to improve our lives, to make the communication simpler, to help express ourselves, to make ourselves heard easier! I may be asking for too much, but that is the world I would like to live!

* * *

To be correct, I should add that it is not all too bad. Yes, the iPad may be DRMed to death, with closed architecture, etc. But this only gives Apple some measure of control over the device, not over what we do with it. And if a few people use it to browse the web on the train (someting that they hadn"t done before, say because of the cumbersome laptops or notebooks) and learn about Linux and about the open source and creative commons license, this is excellent! It is a different question altogether if gaining the knowledge this way is worth 500-800 USD.

* * *

I am looking forward to going back to the civilization in a week time, and trying that touch keyboard. May be it is not so inconvenient, after all (but an USB port for one of those foldable keyboards certainly would have helped). A few years ago I described in a SF story (http://phantazm.net/fiction/unstable-atmospheric-circulation/science-fiction.htm) my dream computer: it had a soft screen that could be rolled into a neat cylinder with a sticky back so it could be attached to any surface. The keyboard was wireless and foldable. I called it a "rollbook". The tablets on the market are not quite there yet.


Това е едно от изтритите съобщения, първоначално публикувано на 3.04.2010 г.


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Автор: valio98
Категория: Технологии
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