Road thinking

A picture named hippieVan.gifI’m listening to podcasts on this trip, and of course doing the kind of thinking you can only do with hundreds of miles to drive every day, and the day after, and the day after that.

My friend Evan Paull, who I spoke with a couple of days before leaving, said he didn’t understand how I could do this cross-country drive. He doesn’t even like driving to L.A. or Santa Cruz. Me neither. But those drives are different. Every few miles another town. Traffic getting on and off. Stop and go. Your mind has to be engaged fully in the driving. Not like driving across Wyoming (yesterday) or Nevada (the day before) or Nebraska (tomorrow). Just endless miles of straight road. A mountain range 60 to 90 miles in the future, a pass, a downgrade, a big valley, and you do it again. In the Great Plains there aren’t even the mountain ranges! smile

So I figure stuff out.

Like the iPad. I was listening to the Slate podcast about the iPad. They had allocated a whole half-hour to unboxing and using it. First impressions. I snickered cause I knew what was coming. I won’t spoil the surprise, but let’s say it wasn’t the initial (amazing) out of the box experience they were hoping for. They spent the whole half-hour talking about how they didn’t get what the thing was saying to them. They got stuck where we all get stuck but don’t want to admit it. Click on the link if you want to spoil the surprise. smile

Their complaints about the product echo mine, but after reading JLG’s excellent piece, and thinking about it, I realize they didn’t get what Apple is doing, and neither did I. I mean I did get it in a certain way, it’s a start-over. Let’s try to recreate the Mac, but do it based on what we have learned since 1984. Gassee explains why Jobs doesn’t want Flash. No least-common-denominator software here, says Steve. We are not part of a cross-platform strategy. Okay, I thought about it, not sure I’d play it that way, but I understand why they are.

To be clear — the future iPad has a keyboard and word processing software. They’re going to roll out all the features of the Mac, one step at a time, bud this time they’re going to avoid the pitfalls. Their ace in the hole — if they don’t like how something is going, they have the power to nuke it. Adobe is the first BigCo to get the message. Everyone who follows will get the same message.

Another thing that shook up my assumption is that they approved Opera for the iPhone. Hmmm. Maybe they aren’t trying to kill the web after all. But.. I wouldn’t put all that work into developing an app, I couldn’t, realizing they could cancel it any time, at will. And throw my investment in the trash. I’ll take the judgement of the market, but if Steve changes his mind, or if I’m not reading the tea leaves correctly, that’s not a reason for a product to die.

You gotta wonder why Steve didn’t say what JLG said. That introduces doubt.

But then again, maybe they wouldn’t reject a programming environment that didn’t have any UI tools in it? One that just allowed me to write custom workflows that involved a tablet that communicates over wifi. After all their excuse for not allowing user programming of AT&T’s cell network doesn’t work if my iPad is wifi-only. See that’s the part of the Jobs “I am sincere" pitch that does not compute. He lies boldly. Now tell us again why we can’t write our own tools for the thing? I can’t believe the Unix gearheads inside Apple don’t want to. Sheez, I can’t believe they don’t share scripts among themselves that run on the iPad.

We need an open source tablet that comes as close to the iPad as possible.

Switching gears…

We also need an open source Twitter client, so we can build it out the way we want it to go, not subject to the fears of app developers trying to be nice to Twitter Corp. As Barack Obama said in his acceptance speech at the DNC in 2008 — “Enough!"

Twitter’s newly-announced business model was not worth the wait. I have big plans for the realtime news system. I can’t believe all that is on hold so Twitter could put freaking ads into search query output? Yeah things look a little different when you’re inbetween the coasts driving slowly across the country.

More later.

From Laramie, Wyoming..

Your correspondent..




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