iPod touch on steroids

T3’s first impressions:

iPad, therefore I am… a little bit disappointed.

Is that it? After all the frenzy, the hype, the building, surging expectation? Is this what all the earnest young men of the tech blogs have been strumming their keyboards for, thrusting towards yesterday’s gadgety happy finish and the ultimate, game-changing, epoch-making techgasm?

How Steve Jobs – cruel, heartless Steve Jobs – has betrayed their innocence. For what is the iPad, at first sight, but a wet fart of meta-nothingness? A digital picture frame you carry around. A comically huge iPod Touch – it even has a 3.5mm socket. “The best browsing experience you’ll ever have,” except there’s no Flash support. An ebook reader without the e-ink that makes reading on a screen a pleasure rather than a chore.

You can smell the disappointment on the blogs, and the reason is simple. All along, it was never clear what the iPad would actually do, so the faithful had to believe there was a special purpose for it. They had to really, truly believe in their hearts, clasp their hands together in prayer and await The Rapture. For truly, Apple moves in mysterious ways, its miracles to perform.

Check out the rest of the article here.

Also, Tyler Cowen’s predictions on iPad economics:

My theory is that Apple wants to capture a chunk of the revenue in this nation’s enormous textbook market — high school, college, whatever.  Why lug all those books around?  The superior Apple graphics, colors, and fonts will support all of the textbook features which Kindle botches and destroys.  Apple takes a chunk of the market revenue, of course, plus they sell the iPads and some AT&T contracts.  There are lots of schoolkids in the world.

As Kottke says, it is a device you use sitting down.  And it fails to solve the “sunlight on your reading screen” problem/  Those both point to somewhat sedentary uses..  And it doesn’t seem to have a camera.

In the longer run the iPad will compete with your university, or in some ways enhance your university.  It will offer homework services and instructional videos and courses, none of which can work well on the current iPhone or Kindle.  The device also seems to allow for collaborative use. Can you imagine one attached to every hospital bed or in the hands of every doctor and nurse?

It will take some business away from Kindle but that will not be the major impact.  The commercial book trade just isn’t that big in terms of revenue and arguably that sector will shrink with digitalization, as recorded music has been doing. The story here is one of new markets, not cannibalization or even competition.

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The real deal

The new iPad. It’s pretty for sure, but it doesn’t seem like much more than just a mega iPhone. Thus far, everyone who’s seen it has had the same first response: iPad??

iBooks is very interesting though. I’ve never believed in eBook readers (and many others out there too); but if there’s one company that’s going to change that, it’d have to be Apple.

delayed gratification: overrated?

Walter Mischel, professor at Columbia University (then Stanford University), conducted a now famous experiment observing the relationship between impulse control and success in life. From Wikipedia:

In the 1960s, a group of four year olds were given a marshmallow and promised another if they could wait 20 minutes before eating the first one. Some children could wait and others could not. The researchers then followed the progress of each child into adolescence, and demonstrated that those with the ability to wait were better adjusted and more dependable (determined via surveys of their parents and teachers), and scored an average of 210 points higher on the Scholastic Aptitude Test.

The study suggests that there is a strong correlation between our ability to defer gratification and our success. It requires no stretch of the imagination to see why: a greater ability to exert self-restraint translates to more hard work (studying instead of watching the TV), as well as greater willpower. Jonah Lehrer elaborates in an article in the New Yorker:

At the time, psychologists assumed that children’s ability to wait depended on how badly they wanted the marshmallow. But it soon became obvious that every child craved the extra treat. What, then, determined self-control? Mischel’s conclusion, based on hundreds of hours of observation, was that the crucial skill was the “strategic allocation of attention.” Instead of getting obsessed with the marshmallow—the “hot stimulus”—the patient children distracted themselves by covering their eyes, pretending to play hide-and-seek underneath the desk, or singing songs from “Sesame Street.” Their desire wasn’t defeated—it was merely forgotten. “If you’re thinking about the marshmallow and how delicious it is, then you’re going to eat it,” Mischel says. “The key is to avoid thinking about it in the first place. In adults, this skill is often referred to as metacognition, or thinking about thinking, and it’s what allows people to outsmart their shortcomings. (When Odysseus had himself tied to the ship’s mast, he was using some of the skills of metacognition: knowing he wouldn’t be able to resist the Sirens’ song, he made it impossible to give in.)

But I wonder: Is delayed gratification overrated? Too much of what we’re doing now appears to be in preparation for the future – studying for a degree to secure a good job, joining activities to build up a more substantial CV, networking etc. When we go out to work, we typically go for the jobs that pay well (even if they do not exactly offer a healthy work-life balance), hoping to retire peacefully and enjoy the fruits of our labor then. It is almost akin to factory production: as kids, we’re put into machines with a predetermined mold; some settings are tweaked as we enter adulthood, before we finally exit as old people: the finished products. It’s the Industrial Revolution all over again.

At sixty, if we’ve managed to plough through successfully, we get to enjoy the fruits of our labor. But is that too late? By then, a good deal of opportunities would already have passed us. And by then, it’d be too late to turn back the clock.

That saying, I’m not advocating an “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we may die” mindset. I’m not even saying that our system of living is too practical and results-oriented. In fact, I do think it’s a privilege to receive education here and – truth be told – lots of us prefer staying in our comfort zone. It’s nice (and convenient) to have a third of your life mapped out for you.

All I’m saying is: it pays to delay gratification, but at times, living for the moment isn’t such a bad idea.

Yours myopically,

Tim

Norwegian Wood

“Waiting for the perfect love?”

“No, even I know better than that. I’m looking for selfishness. Perfect selfishness. Like, say I tell you I want to eat strawberry shortbread. And you stop everything you’re doing and run out and buy it for me. And you come back out of breath and get down on your knees and hold this strawberry shortbread out to me. And I say I don’t want it any more and throw it out of the window. That’s what I ‘m looking for.”

“I’m not sure that has anything to do with love,” I said with some amazement.

“It does,” she said. “You just don’t know it. There are times in a girl’s life when things like that are incredibly important.”

“Things like throwing strawberry shortbread out of the window?”

“Exactly. And when I do it, I want the man to apologize to me. “Now I see, Midori. What a fool I’ve been! I should have known that you would lose your desire for strawberry shortbread. I have all the intelligence and sensitivity of a piece of donkey shit. To make it up to you, I’ll go out and buy you something else. What would you like? Chocolate mousse? Cheesecake?”‘

“So then what?”

“So then I’d give him all the love he deserves for what he’s done.”

“Sounds crazy to me.”

“Well, to me, that’s what love is. Not that anyone can understand me, though.” Midori gave her head a little shake against my shoulder. “For a certain kind of person, love begins from something tiny or silly. From something like that or it doesn’t begin at all.”