1998: A revolutionary, lovable Apple PDA with little squareish icons, on-screen keyboard, common icons across the bottom, single-tasking, and the best compact keyboard of the decade, complete with an ungainly but functional fold-out case. The Newton.
2010: A revolutionary, lovable Apple PDA with little squareish icons, on-screen keyboard, common icons across the bottom, single-tasking, and the best compact keyboard of the decade, complete with an ungainly but functional fold-out case. The iPad.
Apple does not explain its strategy. But my interpretation of what it’s thinking goes as follows:
The first two decades of the World Wide Web have been a huge mistake. The Internet is not a philosophy. It’s a distribution mechanism. The laws of physics did not change when the airplane was invented, nor have the laws of economics changed because the Internet exists. You make money on the Internet the same way you do everywhere else—by having something that people want and forcing them to pay for it. There is a reason a circus takes place inside a tent, and it’s not to keep you dry when it rains. They want to charge you to watch the big show.
|Run, Cromwell, you fool! Run!!!|
No Vulcans-drink-with-James-Cromwell moment for us 3rd Rock dwellers, according to Stephen Hawking:
Hawking claims in a new documentary that intelligent alien lifeforms almost certainly exist, but warns that communicating with them could be “too risky.”The 68-year-old scientist says a visit by extraterrestrials to Earth would be like Christopher Columbus arriving in the Americas, “which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.”
He speculates most extraterrestrial life will be similar to microbes, or small animals – but adds advanced lifeforms may be “nomads, looking to conquer and colonize.”
Maybe that crazy-ass, racist Arizona immigration law will come in handy after all. Soon, all those space aliens will be taking hard-working Americans’ jobs.
Prayer doesn’t work because someone out there is listening, it works because someone in here is listening. I’ve paid attention. I’ve pictured what I want to happen in my life. I’ve meditated extensively on my family, my future, my past actions and what did and didn’t work for me about them. I’ve looked hard at problems and thought hard about their solutions.
See, I order my life by the same mechanism that I use to build things. I cannot proceed to move tools around in the real world until my brain has a clear picture in it of what I’m building. The same goes for my life. I’ve tried to pay attention. I’ve tried to picture the way I want things to be, and I’ve noticed that when I had a clear picture, things often turned out the way I wanted them to.
I’ve concluded by this that someone is paying attention—I’ve concluded that it’s me. I’ve noticed that if I’m paying attention to those around me, to myself, to my surroundings, then that is the very definition of empathy. I’ve noticed that when I pay attention, I’m less selfish, I’m happier—and that the inverse holds true as well.
So consider this: 10,000 of us reading the same Kindle book, each of us highlighting and taking notes. Would the aggregate of this not be illuminating? If I want to publicly share my notes with fellow Kindle or iBooks readers, shouldn’t there be a system in place to do this?
Show me the overlap of 10,000 readers’ highlighted passages in a digital book. This is our ‘Cliff Notes.’ We don’t need Derek Sivers’ brilliant summaries anymore (sorry Derek!) — we’re collectively summarizing for each other as we read and mark our digital copies.
Show me a heat map of passages — ‘hottest’ to ‘coldest’. Which chapters in this Obama biography should I absolutely not miss?
Let Stefan Sagmeister publicly share the passages he’s highlighted in the new Murakami Haruki novel. This is something I want to see. And I bet you do, too.
When I’m considering buying a book, show me how far the average reader gets. Do most readers get through the whole novel or give up halfway? How many notes do they take? How many passages do they highlight?
These can be intimate signifiers of the worth of a particular text. And signifiers that, until books became digital, were invisible — or at best, estimates. Systems should be in place to capture, aggregate and allow access to this data. And this access should be seamlessly integrated with our e-readers.
Mandy says she would be afraid to go back without some proof that you are sincerely disposed to treat us justly and kindly; and we have concluded to test your sincerity by asking you to send us our wages for the time we served you. This will make us forget and forgive old scores, and rely on your justice and friendship in the future. I served you faithfully for thirty-two years and Mandy twenty years. At twenty-five dollars a month for me, and two dollars a week for Mandy, our earnings would amount to eleven thousand six hundred and eighty dollars. Add to this the interest for the time our wages has been kept back and deduct what you paid for our clothing and three doctor’s visits to me, and pulling a tooth for Mandy, and the balance will show what we are in justice entitled to.
Please send the money by Adams Express, in care of V. Winters, Esq., Dayton, Ohio. If you fail to pay us for faithful labors in the past we can have little faith in your promises in the future. We trust the good Maker has opened your eyes to the wrongs which you and your fathers have done to me and my fathers, in making us toil for you for generations without recompense. Here I draw my wages every Saturday night, but in Tennessee there was never any pay-day for the Negroes any more than for the horses and cows. Surely there will be a day of reckoning for those who defraud the laborer of his hire. In answering this letter please state if there would be any safety for my Milly and Jane, who are now grown up and both good-looking girls. You know how it was with Matilda and Catherine.
I would rather stay here and starve, and die if it comes to that, than have my girls brought to shame by the violence and wickedness of their young masters. You will also please state if there has been any schools opened for the colored children in your neighborhood, the great desire of my life now is to give my children an education, and have them form virtuous habits.
P.S. —Say howdy to George Carter, and thank him for taking the pistol from you when you were shooting at me.
Jourdan Anderson, 1865
When people talk about the charms of powerlessness in the face of nature, part of what they are saying is that they don’t want to be bothered with facing up to what humans can do, and to what they might have at risk. The business of looking after a planet requires being bothered in advance—and not just about little matters like volcanoes.