opusculus: Black hole (Default)
[personal profile] opusculus
So, I got an iPad as a belated Christmas present! And I really kind of embarrassingly love it. It's shiny and useful and has all these neat bells and whistles and it's pretty and fun to read things on and. Yes. I am kind of a dork don't judge me.

But one of the things that was going through the back of my head when browsing through the app store was "...This thing is designed to be a prosthetic brain." And that requires a bit more explanation! One of the things I've noticed when dealing with a few people I know who have smartphones and tend to use them to their full capacity is that they basically use them prosthetic brain. They use them to store vast quantities of information and allow them to look it up at the drop of a hat, without having to burden their brain with storing it. My brother is particularly bad about this, to the point where if I eat dinner with him, he's grabbing it out to support his point at least three times during it.

But smart phones aren't really designed for this! They're stuck in the form factor of a phone, and that's not really the ideal form factor for this. Both the phone factor and the brain prosthetic aspect are hurt by this. I can't figure out how to answer the average smart phone in the time it takes to ring. (I am, admittedly, REALLY BAD with phones.) And they look awkward to use and I just don't really see the appeal. But they're also not really the best form factor for a prosthetic brain device either. I can't even count the number of times my brother's told me to look at a picture of something on his cell phone and I've gone "Uh, bring it closer, can you turn the brightness up" etc. And trying to do anything for more than ten minutes...it's just too small. I can't imagine ever feeling comfortable.

Meanwhile, netbooks lose out from the other direction. They're not intuitively designed for one, but more importantly they take a lot longer to boot up. When you're grabbing out your prosthetic brain device to bolster your argument or show someone the perfect couch, the last thing you want to do is wait. And they're pretty much designed around the "browse the internet" model which is a lot of what people want out of something like this, but it's not all of it.

And you can tell just looking through the app library that that's where a lot of apps are going directly towards. You can track your period on your iPad. There's multiple software designed for personal information management database type stuff. There's maps, there's encyclopedias, there's Spanish lessons, there's medical reference stuff, there's weather stuff - it's all the information you want to keep track of but can't organize or can't remember or can't fit it all into your head.

Reading through the press on this, its brain information access utility seems to have gotten somewhat overlooked. Those who go near the topic dismiss it as "but since it's too big to carry in pockets, it'll never be a replacement for my smartphone." To which I say, dude, if you haven't noticed, probably fifty percent of the population carries around bags all the time. (It's amazing how many tech writers are men, really.) If you're already carrying a purse around, suddenly the iPad's form factor makes a shitload more sense. I mean, I'll be thrilled the day they have a flexible screen that can be folded into your pocket, because I don't really like purses that much myself. But that doesn't mean that something this size doesn't make a shitload more sense for most smartphone uses than the average smartphone.

So basically the only way this could be more awesome is if you could directly implant it into your head and access all this information in your brain. I'm totally waiting for the cyborg revolution, guys.
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opusculus: Black hole (Default)
opusculus

January 2012

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