Nick Sweeney is (1) one of the cleverest and most astute people I know and (2) doesn’t post anywhere near often enough. Fact Number Two is probably connected to Fact Number One.
In the comments to his post on the iPad, which you should go read right now, he more ably puts the argument against Cory’s anti-iPad screed than I possibly could:
“I am so over the idealistic belief that every computer user is a latent hacker-maker-coder who just lacks the right tools. I am so over the idea that access to the cornucopia of creative and insightful and useful stuff that’s available online requires either a boatload of foundational computing skills or extensive hand-holding. While I have no objections to those battles being fought out in the computing space I inhabit, I am personally done with this guild-mentality shit.”
And then, as if that wasn’t enough, he adds this:
“What particularly annoyed me [about Cory's post] was his image of a purported user as a passive, bloated ‘consumer’, as if the only makers that matter are the ones assembling crochet-covered Arduino-powered companion cubes to sell on Etsy. Well, bollocks to that.”
I argued with Cory about this on Twitter earlier, bailing out mainly in deference to the fact that I know Alice would tell the pair of us off for converting her Twitter stream into a slanging match.
But before I let Cory have the last word, it became pretty apparent to me that Cory’s point conflates creativity with coding, and prizes hacking over any other kind of creativity. So what if the iPad enables more people to do more creative things – to write, to paint, to communicate, to play with pictures, to learn. None of that matters, because you can’t write code for it (unless you pay Apple $99 and accept the hegemony of the App Store).
This just seems wrong to me. It places the primacy on geek-creativity, at the expense of every other kind. That is a remarkably narrow world view.
My position is the same as Nick’s, which he ably-explains:
“If the iPad truly abstracts away the whole ‘using a computer’ bit of using a computer, it will make me very happy. If another device comes along that does the same thing without DRM or developer lock-in, then like Andre I’ll embrace it. (Before anyone chips in: no, the Archos is not that device.) If that kind of lock-in comes to OS X proper, I’ll resent it, resist it and reject it. But it’s been nearly 30 years since I received my first home computer, and it’s about time everyone else got to play without it requiring informal training, monthly VNC sessions, and every family gathering turning into onsite tech support.”
Until the open-platform people step up to the plate and make an open machine that matches this, I, too, will be using an iPad.
The ball is in their court.