iPad Creationism
June 26th, 2012 by ravi

Every now and then someone makes a claim that the iPad is great and all but really not intended for “creation”. Within the hour a host of Apple aficionados respond with incredulity, pointing to various acts of creativity achieved on the iPad. Here is an example from John Gruber in response to Nick Bilton of the New York Times (edited for relevance):

Nick Bilton:

The iPad, for all its glory, suffers from one very distinct flaw: It’s very difficult to use for creation. The keyboard on the screen, although pretty to look at, is abysmal for typing anything over 140 characters. There isn’t a built-in pen for note-taking, either. Of course all of this is intentional by Apple. Although there are hundreds of third party products available, Apple doesn’t seem to want the iPad to be a creator, but more of a consumer.

Bilton is smarter than this. I really thought we’d retired the whole “iPad is only for consumption” thing.

The idea that a dedicated hardware keyboard or a stylus is necessary for creation is ludicrous. […] I’ve seen people who type faster on an iPad than I type on a hardware keyboard. Watch a teenager type on an iPad.

Arguing that the iPad is only for consumption today is like arguing that the Macintosh was a toy back in the ’80s.

In the above, Gruber links to a post by Dan Frommer titled “10 Ways People Are Using The iPad to Create Content, Not Just Consume it”. He then follows up with a post pointing to Patrick Rhone who has written an “entire draft manuscript” of a book using software on the iPad.

So, who is right?

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The ethics and lessons of Readability
June 16th, 2012 by ravi

Good chunks of the web today are an unreadable mess. A fair bit of blame for that lies with poor design (print publishing was a well honed craft in lieu of which today we have been given Comic Sans and CSS gimmicks). The other major culprit of course is advertising. Smearing a web page with garish and intrusive graphics pitching products, happens to be the only way to make money writing for an audience brought up on the “free as in beer” model bequeathed by the dot-com bubble. And cash is much needed. While blog posts like this one can be churned out by the dozen and transmitted worldwide at little expense, real reportage and analysis requires feet on the ground, fact-checking, and these days, a robust legal department.

To repeat, two issues lie at the heart of the problem: publishers of content need to make money, and readers need to be able to read the content without losing their sanity.

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Google bouncing Google
June 14th, 2012 by ravi

Below is a bounce message that Google sent itself! The context: the original mail was a notification from Google Plus sent to a Gmail account, which triggered a vacation message back to Google Plus, from Gmail, which Google Plus then bounced.
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Kid, you can eat your muscle memory
June 4th, 2012 by ravi

Horton Hears A Who

You must know of Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel). Perhaps you read him as a child. Or you now read his books to your children. And no doubt you find him fascinating. If I were to ask you what endears him to you, I suspect you will speak of the mesmerising wordplay and the improbably delightful storyline and illustration. I would agree wholeheartedly.

But there is another reason my wife and I love his books, and that is the message in each – an introduction to some ethical or psychological question in a way that is simultaneously thoughtful and light-hearted. For that reason, high on our list of favourites from the Seuss collection are Horton Hears a Who and The Places You'll Go.

No suprise then that my first emotion as I started to read Dalton Caldwell's blog post was a sense of affinity with what he writes:

As a parent, I spend a great deal of time reading my son various books, but during this dark time, there was one specific book that came to hold more and more meaning to me as I read it. That book was Dr. Seuss' “Oh, the Places You'll Go”.

As I regularly read the book to my pre-lingual son, I began to take notice that it captured Truth about life. To be completely honest, during this difficult period, I got to the point where I had trouble reading the whole book to him without choking up. Sure, laugh if you want.

I understand that feeling.

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