I Lied

Beacons of Comfort

I really meant to quit. Cold turkey. Chuck it. Nuke it. Get it over with. Sayanora Baby. Bam.

I’d been going through one of my episodes of self-doubt and low self-esteem. Then I began to feel a bit better and realized that I like writing Silver Bullets. Besides, “Silver Bullets” is engraved on my iPod Touch. I can’t let down my iPod, can I?

So, first thing to talk about? Well, the iPad, of course. The press conference is finally over, we know what Apple’s latest gadget is, and now the questions begin: is this thing another industry shaker?

My first impressions of the iPad are ambivalent. The technology looks gorgeous. It will support Apple’s BlueTooth wireless keyboard plus a docking keyboard. It’s open enough that I expect to see a lot of third-party accessories for it. For reading certain kinds of e-text, it looks splendid. Colour illustrations and maps could scarcely be reproduced better. It, smartly in my opinion, supports the ePub e-book format.

So I ask myself, why am I not excited?

I think the main thing that strikes me, aesthetically, is that the slab looks awkward to use. It weighs too much to hold comfortably in one hand for reading. Unless you purchase the protective carrying case with it, it doesn’t have any kind of built-in tilt. As a writer, why would I want something that lies flat on the table? How is this thing better, overall, than my Dell Mini 10v netbook?

To me, the most disappointing part of the iPad is that it’s nothing more than the iPhone / iPod Touch OS with a larger display. I offers no multitasking, no easy task switching. Why limit it so? Why not put in an embedded Mac OS X and really open it up?

I’ll admit, I may just not understand it. It may turn out to be the hottest consumer electronic device of the year. Experienced IT people are often the last to grasp a paradigm shift. I certainly wish it well.

But I’m feeling a sad sense of disappointment about the iPad. The kind of letdown I feel sometimes when a book by a favourite author isn’t as good as I thought it would be, or a movie with a great cast turns out to have a feeble, undermining script.

I’ll be tracking this one to see if Apple has hit a home run, or has connected for a long foul ball, just missing the pole.

9 thoughts on “I Lied

  1. Welcome back. I was more than a little surprised to see the announcement of your retirement from here and very happy to see you changed your mind.

    iPad? It will be 2 or 3 generations before I consider getting one. My hope is that they will be hugely successful and the effect will be to lower the price of things like netbooks which I can’t justify owning at the current price point.

  2. Gene

    If you have the time, come on over to the AlphaSmart group on Flickr where there’s a discussion going on about the iPad. The discussion thread is called The Apple Tablet Thread.

  3. Gene –
    Glad to see you’re back. I’ve always enjoyed your “Silver Bullets” blog … and your pictures. Now I have them to look forward to again!

  4. Whew!! I REALLY didn’t want to remove the “Wilburn” from my bookmark toolbar. 🙂

    I seems like these “self-doubt” and “low self-esteem” moments might just be useful pressure relief valves that force us to slow down a bit and reconsider what we’re doing or where we’re going.

    Regarding the journal-to-book idea, I’m thinking of doing the same with my photographs…. a collection of the ‘best of’ 2009, etc.. You’re right about seeing yourself in a book. It puts a nice ‘ribbon’ around all that effort.

    Welcome back Gene!

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