a funny thing happened

I’ve had the chance to use my iPad for about a week now, and the experience has been incredibly rewarding. Aside from being just…FUN, the iPad has already changed the way i think of “personal” computing. What I think is interesting is the speed at which this change has occurred. I was naturally hesitant when I started thinking about taking on the iPad as my “primary” computer, since there were things notably absent from the final software and hardware. Interestingly enough, none of those things matter now, and I wondered why they ever really did.

I packed up my little netbook this morning to sell to a colleague of mine. In order to get the little beast ready for sale, I had to reformat the hard drive. Normally, this is a process that I’m well familiar with. What I wasn’t counting on was my reaction to the process.

“Wow,” I thought as I booted into windows XP for the last time, “this is really ugly.”

I’d like to say that I miss windows XP (or vista, or windows 7), but I just don’t. I don’t see why most people would want anything other than this experience when they’re not in front of a “real” computer. I fully understand that there are programs and “apps” that simply don’t work the way they would on a desktop, but I think that’s the point. You already have a central data point at home, complete with all sorts of computing power. The last thing you need is something to duplicate that. What I (and maybe you) want, is a computer that doesn’t need to be managed, that simply disappears. The only thing I ever think about is storage capacity, and even that’s not a problem. I did fine with 16 gigs on my netbook, so the 16 gigs I have here is plenty.

The other thing i found myself able to do? Focus. How often do I get distracted by useless things on the internet, end up spending most of my day reading news articles that have no bearing on my life or my intended future life? Too often, and I’m sure most of us could say the same. This machine creates focus, it creates connection to the material. I’m not typing right now, I’m creating, I’m thinking. A machine that allows for thought, innovation, movement. This is the beginning of where we begin to see the “interface” disappear. It’s not about finding what you want in a maze of menus and jargon, it’s about the device becoming what you need it to be. It’s about synergy.

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be here, now

we hear it all the time.

“please take a moment to silence your cell phones.”

people nonchalantly reach into their pockets. everyone is a little embarassed. people fumble in purses, pockets, coats. we pretend not to notice, but still judge, silently.

“you mean you still forget to do that?” we think to ourselves. we feel good, we’re tech savvy, we know to silence those little buggers.

settle in. page through the program. wait. a couple minutes go by. the introductions last awhile. no harm in a quick peek at the inbox, right? maybe tweet this? shoot, the [content] is starting. a shift of the hips, one leg straightens to make room in the pocket. not enough, because this is the/a(n) [crowded venue]. have to lean back a little, push off the floor just a touch to get this damn phone back in this damn pocket. seat shifts a little, squeaking. awkward. there! done. no harm in that. the open probably wasn’t important anyway.

then it starts. a little buzz. maybe it’s short. just a tickle. ignore it. this is a [type of production]! I know better than to start texting here.

another one.

and another.

all unanswered. maybe the thing in your pocket/handbag is really buzzing now. maybe it’s repeating the alerts. someone is really trying to get through. now it’s a full blown phone call. full rings. where’s the button to make it stop? try to reach it through the pants, no dice. gotta reach in again, push off the floor, chair squeaks again.

now, we have a scene. this whole thing probably lasts 20 seconds, tops, but you’re nervous for the rest of the [type of production]. you’re simply not present. time lost. experience squandered.

do yourself a favor. find that ever-present cell phone of yours and turn off the vibrate function. just turn it off. think about it, if you’re in a situation that requires you to silence your phone to begin with, having a veritable back massager in your pocket will only cause you stress.

be present. be silent. experience what is in front of you.