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Shall We Call It "Curated Computing?" 331

Posted by kdawson
from the art-it's-not dept.
medcalf writes "Ars Technica has an opinion piece by Sarah Rotman Epps on the iPad and other potential tablets as a new paradigm that they are calling 'curated computing,' where third parties make a lot of choices to simplify things for the end user, reducing user choice but improving reliability and efficiency for a defined set of tasks. The idea is that this does not replace, but supplements, general-purpose computers. It's possible — if the common denominator between iPads, Android and/or Chrome tablets, WebOS tablets, and the like is a more server-centric web experience — that they could be right, and that a more competitive computing market could be the result. But I wonder, too: would that then provide an incentive for manufacturers to try to lock down the personal computing desktop experience as well?" And even if not, an emphasis on "curated computing" could rob resources from old-skool computer development, as is already evident at Apple.
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Shall We Call It "Curated Computing?"

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  • Like a museum (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mujadaddy (1238164) on Friday May 14, 2010 @11:54AM (#32208028)
    "It's very cold, and very beautiful, and you're not allowed to touch anything."

    Sorry, I'm more of a hot-rodder than a passive consumer.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 14, 2010 @12:06PM (#32208190)

      Just like my ex-wife!

    • There is no reason why the both markets should not coexist. When it comes to my rig at home, I am definitely more of a hod-rodder myself. There I want total control, the freedom to tinker around. When it comes to my phone - not so much. I want the thing just to work without me caring about anything at all. Specific tools for specific purposes.
      • There is no reason why the both markets should not coexist.

        Except economies of scale. In some fields, the balance has already shifted from general-purpose machines to appliances.

        When it comes to my rig at home, I am definitely more of a hod-rodder myself. [...] When it comes to my phone - not so much.

        What about the rig that you carry on the bus or carpool to use while you commute? The iPad is supposed to replace low-end laptops.

        • by toastar (573882)

          The iPad is supposed to replace low-end laptops.

          yes, that's why it uses OSX instead of the IPhoneOS.

          • iPhone OS is a fork of Mac OS X, just with mouseover replaced with multitouch and verification of code signatures made mandatory. The idea is that while other laptop companies have a netbook (running XP), a mid-range laptop (running Windows 7), and a desktop replacement (also running Windows 7), Apple has iPad (running iPhone OS), MacBook (running Snow Leopard), and MacBook Pro (running Snow Leopard).
    • by Itninja (937614)
      Not quite:

      "It's very beautiful and very cold, and you're not allowed to touch anything."
      But full point for effort!
    • by Abcd1234 (188840)

      Sorry, I'm more of a hot-rodder than a passive consumer.

      So, wait, presumably that means you believe "passive consumption" is somehow a bad thing? That, say, looking at art pieces at a museum, or watching a great film, is somehow a negative thing? Interesting.

      • Re:Like a museum (Score:4, Insightful)

        by tepples (727027) <{tepples} {at} {gmail.com}> on Friday May 14, 2010 @12:36PM (#32208568) Homepage Journal

        So, wait, presumably that means you believe "passive consumption" is somehow a bad thing?

        No, exclusive passive consumption is a bad thing. If it costs orders of magnitude more to make than to consume, the population will get segmented into two warring classes [wikipedia.org] of haves and have-nots with respect to ability to make.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by H3lldr0p (40304)

        Sorry, I'm more of a hot-rodder than a passive consumer.

        So, wait, presumably that means you believe "passive consumption" is somehow a bad thing? That, say, looking at art pieces at a museum, or watching a great film, is somehow a negative thing? Interesting.

        If you do nothing more than passively watch, then yes, it is a very negative thing. That means the artwork hasn't touched you. It has failed to be art.

        If it otherwise inspires you to create, discuss, or otherwise think about the world around then no, that is not passive and, in IMHO is the point of art.

        That aside. I hate that word used in this context. I "consume" nothing when I listen to music, see artwork, or watch a file. All of those things are left in their previous state, not changed in the least. It'

  • by iamapizza (1312801) on Friday May 14, 2010 @11:55AM (#32208034)
    Please just bite the bullet and call yourself an Applogist. (Geddit, Apple Apologist?)
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday May 14, 2010 @11:55AM (#32208038) Journal
    It's a "managed freedom institution".
    • by sznupi (719324)

      And hey, we already have "Curated Gaming"

    • By that definition every society is a managed freedom institution: you have a certain amount of freedom you have to surrender in order to obtain a certain amount of security. I surrender the freedom to punch someone in the face for no good reason in exchange for the security from being punched in the face by them for no good reason.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tepples (727027)

        By that definition every society is a managed freedom institution: you have a certain amount of freedom you have to surrender in order to obtain a certain amount of security.

        At least modern western society has few restrictions about what you can do when you are alone on property to which you hold title.

  • an emphasis on "curated computing" could rob resources from old-skool computer development

    That doesn't necessarily have to be true. It's not like developers are en-masse converting to develop for mobile platforms. There is an ecosystem in the desktop software that has to be maintained however the market for that is pretty much saturated. This means that new developers will probably lean towards mobile computing because that market is new and pretty much open. As more people get these devices, that market wi

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by tepples (727027)

      It's not like developers are en-masse converting to develop for mobile platforms.

      Major video game developers have already en-masse converted to develop for game consoles.

      • by The End Of Days (1243248) on Friday May 14, 2010 @12:15PM (#32208308)

        I can't imagine why they got tired of catering to whiny pirates who refuse to pay for anything and turn every game into a cheating contest. That must have been such an awesome market to serve. How could anyone voluntarily give that up is beyond me.

        • by tepples (727027)

          I can't imagine why they got tired of catering to whiny pirates who refuse to pay for anything and turn every game into a cheating contest.

          Or it could be because the major labels grew tired of competing with smaller independent video game developers for gamers' dollars.

        • by s73v3r (963317)
          Its not even that; developing for a console is much easier. One (maybe two) set(s) of hardware to develop against, instead of a complete and total mismash of hardware.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Draek (916851)

        And minor and independant game developers have already moved in to cover that niche.

        Chances are, if developers start moving en-masse to mobile platforms, the same will happen to the desktop market. Neither market will be killed, there'll just be more developers overall than before.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by tepples (727027)

          And minor and independant game developers have already moved in to cover that niche.

          And how many gaming PCs do you see hooked up to the family TV, vs. how many consoles?

    • Yeah, that's the thing I don't get.

      I have an iPhone. I use it to make phone calls, email, listen to music, do light web-browsing, take pictures. That's about it. Sure there are other niche things I use on it, but for the most part those are the big 5 I use it for.

      My laptop, I use for everything else.

      Why do people think these "niche" devices have to be everything to everyone? They aren't. Here's your car analogy:

      People commute in cars to work every day. They also use those cars for various other travel reasons. If they want to store a LOT of materials in the back of their car, they're limited to either making several trips, borrowing a truck from a friend, or something else. If they were moving a lot of materials constantly, it would make more sense for them to use a truck.

      In short. Trying to force the idea on the public that having one of these devices will render any other computer obsolete shows a serious lack of critical thinking. (Just like my car analogy does)

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by tepples (727027)

        Why do people think these "niche" devices have to be everything to everyone? They aren't.

        Until they're everything to almost everyone. At that point, if you're not in the class of "almost everyone", then the record industry, movie industry, and business software industry will assume you to be either A. an employee of an established, licensed, and bonded company, B. a student training to be an employee of such a company, or C. a pirate.

        • by medcalf (68293)

          At that point, if you're not in the class of "almost everyone", then the record industry, movie industry, and business software industry will assume you to be either A. an employee of an established, licensed, and bonded company, B. a student training to be an employee of such a company, or C. a pirate.

          And this differs from today because? Oh, I see, because today they consider option B and option C to be identical.

        • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Friday May 14, 2010 @12:42PM (#32208664)

          Until they're everything to almost everyone.

          Why do people here on slashdot have this crazy notion that slashdotters are everyone? They're not. They are the minority. Most people couldn't tell you the difference between GPL, BSD, xfs, and X Windows. And they don't care. You give them a device and the first thing they care about is how do they do [some function]. The shorter the learning curve, the more they'll think it's some sort of magical device.

          Technology intimidates most people. Think of your average grandparent. They like the TV. They like radio. They have DVD/VCR players that have the wrong time. They hate computers. Why? Because they only want to learn just enough for them to use [some function]. They don't need to program the time on the VCR/DVD. They know to put in the media and press PLAY.

          There are products designed for slashdotters; Apple doesn't however design products for slashdotters. They design consumer products for the average consumer. They design professional products (MacBook Pro, Mac Pro) for the design professionals (graphic artists, photographers, musicians, film makers). Even their server line is designed for specific users. None of these are designed for geeks like you and me.

          The iPad is a limited device. It is not designed to replace the desktop. It is designed to be an extension of it. It is designed to consume media with limited ability to create. It is not for me but this fits for most consumers. They check their email and surf the web; they don't code.

          • by jedidiah (1196)

            > The iPad is a limited device. It is not designed to replace the desktop.

            Tell that to all of the gleeful Apple fanboys hyping this thing as the second coming.

            They're hoping/clamoring that it will wipe away the last usurper and bring forth a new walled garden utopia.

          • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Friday May 14, 2010 @01:25PM (#32209330)

            More and more I find my self in the "everyone else" category. Sorry, but I no longer have a desire to build a machine and spend all weekend hacking something together. I want something that just works. Apple's products do that for me. After I bought my Dad an iMac, I've spent exactly 2 hours in 3 years upgrading his computer to OS 10.6 last christmas. Before when I went to visit, it was 3 - 4 hours of me fixing his PC. Which usually meant formatting and reinstalling everything.

            Honestly, I look to replace the iMac with an iPad 3G for my Dad next year. All he does is check email, track his stocks, read the newspaper online and that's it. Maybe a video from Youtube from time to time.

  • Oh good (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    As a 30 year old man I love having big brother make all the decisions for me as I never grew out of a child like mental state and can not possibly make a choice by my self

    • Here is another device that I cannot afford to buy. Are these people just borrowing or throwing money away that they should be saving? Young people are just spending money they really can't afford on more gadgets that just saturate there lives with crap they really don't need.

      Stop the insanity!
      • Are these people just borrowing or throwing money away that they should be saving?

        If you save your money, inflation will erode its value. Savings account interest fails to beat the Consumer Price Index nowadays.

  • Hmmm, that'd be news to me, and to various people I know.

    If she means to say that a tablet would be better for the bathroom than a laptop, though, she might have a point...

  • by daveime (1253762) on Friday May 14, 2010 @12:02PM (#32208130)

    Can't Slashdot editors find ANYTHING newsworthy that isn't about Apple ?

    Fucks sake, the content of this article boils down to "Apple's latest iDevice is equivalent to a gold plated toaster, where user choice has been minimized, but leads to a better overall toast experience".

    It might be gold-plated, but it's still a turd underneath, and no amount of iHype or Apple apologists will change that.

    Bye bye karma, see you again sometime.

    • Can't Slashdot editors find ANYTHING newsworthy that isn't about Apple ?

      It's not just about Apple. It's also about Microsoft, which uses the same App Store structure for Xbox 360 indie games and Windows Phone 7 apps. (In fact, Apple appears to have copied much of the structure of the iPhone developer agreement and App Store from Microsoft XNA Creators Club and Xbox Live Indie Games.) And it's also about Nintendo, which was the first to require that all apps be approved by the device manufacturer.

      • by medcalf (68293)
        And HP, which bought WebOS and immediately announced killing off their Win7 tablet to build a WebOS tablet, built along similar lines to the iPhone ecosystem.
    • To be honest, in the latest Apple related stories, the Apple apologists have been the ones being carpet-bombed with troll mods lately. I agree, however, that the whole Apple thing seems to be the current method of choice for our esteemed slashdot overlords to gather site impressions by keeping the flamefest running. Well, at least it is not climate change this time. Where's that gasoline? Gotta fuel the flames! Burn, iBaby, Burn!!!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Culture20 (968837)

      Can't Slashdot editors find ANYTHING newsworthy that isn't about Apple ?

      Well, I heard that BP's next move with the oil spill in the gulf of mexico is to shove a bunch of Apple iPads into the pipe.

    • by bmo (77928)

      Article choice seems to be lackluster these past few years. We got a link to a nutjob calculating the end of the world with regards to the gulf oil disaster instead of like... well.. a link to NPR.

      http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126809525 [npr.org]

      However, I do cruise on by here every so often in the vain hope of a good story. The firehose method of "voting for stories" sucks.

      ObT: Yeah, Apple is a walled garden, so what? Some people can't handle anything else and to decry walled gardens as evi

      • It's better to live in a walled garden when you're entirely incapable of defending yourself from the barbarians at the gates.

        Alternatively, we can recognize that no one has to choose one of those options and live with it for the rest of their lives with no hope of ever moving back and forth between the two as their own personal needs dictate. We might also want to drop the reductio ad absurdum rhetoric that ends with the entire world forced at bayonetpoint to use iTunes to conduct all commerce.

        • by jedidiah (1196)

          If iTunes is the only option left due to our old friend vendor-lock then it won't matter if it's a bayonet or not.

          The effect will be the same.

          That's the whole problem with unnatural monopolies. You get the choice of going along or being amish.

      • by medcalf (68293)
        I know that this is offtopic, but you do realize that you can vote submissions up and down for inclusion, right?
    • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Friday May 14, 2010 @12:23PM (#32208392) Homepage

      It might be gold-plated, but it's still a turd underneath

      Why? If users like the experience and it let's them get things done, what makes it a "turd", exactly? Granted, it may not be your kind of turd (I'm more of a Linux guy, but god knows it can be a shitty experience sometimes), but that doesn't mean it's a poor product. It's just not marketed to you, that's all.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I switched to Mac about a decade ago. Primarily because I needed a new laptop and was tired of trying to get things like sound cards to work on Linux at the time. Apple gave me a Unix laptop that also happened to have commercial software support like MS Office. And I've been sold ever since. My time is worth something to me, especially now. I deal with technology at work all day. Last thing I want to do when I get home is get on or fix another computer. Same when I go visit my Dad, hence why I got hi

    • The mobile market is ON FIRE. We are seeing all the big players shuffle and shove each other to give birth to the appliance internet. This is why we see Apple stories every day, because they have a HUGE mindshare in this arena at the moment. The iPad is only a turd if you were wanting a full-on x86 tablet.
    • by gstoddart (321705)

      Can't Slashdot editors find ANYTHING newsworthy that isn't about Apple ?

      Slashdot is reporting on what other people are talking about. Everyone is talking about the iPad, and in case you haven't noticed, Apple's track record with very successful consumer technology is hardly something you can ignore -- iPod and iPhone and iTunes have generated huge sales.

      It might be gold-plated, but it's still a turd underneath, and no amount of iHype or Apple apologists will change that.

      What, specifically, makes it a turd?

    • by Duradin (1261418)

      If this article wasn't here you couldn't be seen hating on it and if I didn't see you hating on Apple I might just start to wonder if you actually really did like Apple. You don't want people to start thinking you like Apple now, do ya? Better get that hate on!

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday May 14, 2010 @12:03PM (#32208132) Homepage Journal

    Walled gardens have obvious benefits and drawbacks. But more relevantly to this story (or summary, heh heh) this terminology already exists [wikipedia.org] and no new phrasing is required.

  • The key distinction is: Are you buying a hardware? Or are you buying a hardware encumbered with license restriction that effectively says you cannot "hack" where "hack" is whatever the vendor deems undesirable?
    • Economies of scale (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tepples (727027) <{tepples} {at} {gmail.com}> on Friday May 14, 2010 @12:12PM (#32208264) Homepage Journal

      The key distinction is: Are you buying a hardware?

      The fear expressed in a lot of these articles is that the popularity of "curated", "walled garden", or "hobbled" devices will erase the economies of scale of hardware that you buy outright. A "PC" will likely become a niche product used only by established publishers. It has arguably already happened in some fields, such as games, where the major couch-multiplayer titles are either console exclusives or multi-console with no PC port.

      • by DeadboltX (751907)
        So called 'couch-multiplayer' titles can stay on consoles. There are enough bad PC games without bad console ports, I don't need more noise to filter through when deciding my next PC game purchase.

        I do think this curated computing problem occurs when your software and your hardware come from the same place. It doesn't matter if the software is developed by third parties if you're still forced to go through a store regulated by the company also producing the hardware.

        I have an iPhone and I enjoy it. I
    • Do the 99% of the people who are buying an iPad or iPhone care about not being able to hack their device? I'm pretty sure that's a resounding no.

      • Do the 99% of the people who are buying an iPad or iPhone care about not being able to hack their device? I'm pretty sure that's a resounding no.

        Your estimate of 1 percent interest in jailbreaking is off by nearly an order of magnitude. It's closer to 7 percent [justanothe...neblog.com], at least among users of apps using Pinch's library.

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        My iPad fan bought me an iPhone specifically so I would jailbreak it and then jailbreak hers.

        Also. The question isn't so much do the want to "crack their phone" but do they want to do something that Apple won't allow.

        Even relative n00bs occasionally come across the idea to do something their "appliance" doesn't let them.

  • Locked Down (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Friday May 14, 2010 @12:07PM (#32208202) Homepage Journal

    ``Ars Technica has an opinion piece by Sarah Rothman Epps on the iPad and other potential tablets as a new paradigm that they are calling 'curated computing,' where third parties make a lot of choices to simplify things for the end user, reducing user choice but improving reliability and efficiency for a defined set of tasks. The idea is that this does not replace, but supplements, general-purpose computers.''

    That's fine and dandy, but we don't need *locked down* devices for that. You can make the choices for the end users just fine, without taking away their ability to make different choices. Ubuntu is a good example of this: you can get the streamlined desktop experience that Canonical provides by just going with the defaults, or you can adapt the environment to your liking, starting with things like changing desktop backgrounds and installing packages from the main repositories, and continuing all the way to running a custom kernel and third-party software completely independent from the repositories.

    By contrast, many of the 'curated computing' providers will sell you a device where you are prevented from doing many things, all _in the name_ of making things easier and more reliable for you. But really, that's a false dichotomy - your ability to deviate from it does not impact the ease of use and reliability of the default configuration.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Em Emalb (452530)

      I would posit the average end user DOESN'T want a lot of choices. I'd say wanting to do whatever you want with a device is pretty much in the geek realm. (Overall) I'm not saying I agree with it, just saying that your average end-user doesn't care that they can't run a specific version of some (for example) SSH program on their phone. Hell, 99% of the world doesn't know what the hell SSH is.

    • Re:Locked Down (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JustinOpinion (1246824) on Friday May 14, 2010 @12:20PM (#32208370)
      This.

      It's a false dichotomy to discuss "streamlined user experience" versus "user freedom" as if one is completely at odds with the other. To provide a streamlined experience simply requires good design and sensible defaults. You don't have to lock-out the user from changing those defaults, accessing the full capabilities of the device, or repurposing the device entirely.

      Of course it makes sense that vendors of locked-down solutions would spread this misunderstanding. They want to enforce consumer lock-in to their product/services stack. By convincing customers that the lock-in is actually to their benefit, they now have people effectively begging to give up their user freedoms. What bothers me is that media outlets seem not to have generally caught on to this lie. Instead they repeat the false dichotomy, as if it were a fact of nature. I guess it is because computers are still fairly misunderstood by the public at large. (By comparison, most people would not buy it if they hired an electrician who installed locks on their fusebox, telling them that they'll have to call/pay him when the fuses blow... because only then can he guarantee a proper "electrical user experience"...)
  • "curated computing"?

    We already have a word for that, is dumbification.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday May 14, 2010 @12:09PM (#32208226) Journal
    I think that to focus on the "curated" aspect really misses(or obfuscates) a critical and ugly point.

    Consider the following analogy: You want your house to be aesthetically pleasing and pleasant to use; but know fuck-all about color matching and picking furniture. So, you hire an interior decorator. They "curate" your space and emit a list of suggestions. You can then make it so, or not. On the other hand, if you go to a museum, the curator's decisions are not suggestions, and they are generally tailored to fit the desired audience as a whole, not necessarily you. You cannot add, remove, or substitute anything. Your only choice is to attend the museum or not.

    In computing terms, the "interior decorator" situation is basically equivalent to the OEM providing a set of sane defaults, chosen for some mixture of security, ease of use, power, and cost. You can pick your interior decorator and, if you wish, you can deviate from their suggestions.

    The "museum curator" option, on the other hand, is the iDevice/carrier lockdown situation. You can either take it or leave it; but if you take it, that's it. the OEM retains cryptographic control over "your" property forever.

    The big difference is whether your "curator" is providing a list of suggestions, or a list of orders. The former, frankly, is something that OEMs(particularly the wintel guys) really ought to do a lot more and a lot better. Sane, secure, usable defaults are a good thing. The customer shouldn't have to blow the stock image to hell and rebuild from scratch just to get a desktop worth using. However, any set of defaults that doesn't include a "screw this, I'll do it myself and take the consequences" button, somewhere, that allows you to reject advice and do your own thing is ultimately invidious and will inevitably be used as a tool of rent-seeking(as in consoles, where the OEM extracts a tithe for the privilege of being allowed to sell programs that run on the hardware, or as in the App Store) and likely censorship and all sorts of other fun stuff.
  • by decipher_saint (72686) on Friday May 14, 2010 @12:10PM (#32208240) Homepage

    So, here's a question. Does the "average" user who picks up an iPad expect it to be capable of more than what it does out of the box?

    This is something I just don't know, I bought a Netbook last year and even with that I could install whatever would run on it reasonably, I know I don't like the feeling that I'm limited to what I can run not because of hardware limitation but because of a conscious designer-driven decision (but that's just me.)

    • Does the "average" user who picks up an iPad expect it to be capable of more than what it does out of the box?

      "There's an app for that." But then people run into the limitations of what Apple allows in an app and complain to other people. For example, a device with iPhone OS 2 or 3 can run Safari and iPod at once, but not Safari and Pandora at once.

      I bought a Netbook last year and even with that I could install whatever would run on it reasonably

      Same here. I use my netbook as the low-end laptop that it is. Of course, the danger here is that laptop companies will stop making netbooks in favor of "curated" or "walled" tablets if they see far more profit in the latter.

      • I guess the thing that is on my mind is, when someone buys into the "walled garden" will they see its limitations, turning it into a temporary market/fad?

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        Same here. I use my netbook as the low-end laptop that it is.

        But I don't see an iPad as even being in the same category as a low-end laptop, certainly not a replacement for it. This seems more like a device which is intended to be used differently from your existing devices, and quite possibly in conjunction with them. You sync your iPad with your main machine, and load up the media you want on it, plus you can surf on your wireless (or even 3G if you buy the fancy one).

        Of course, the danger here is that

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          This seems more like a device which is intended to be used differently from your existing devices, and quite possibly in conjunction with them

          It would be great if these devices worked in conjunction with the other devices in my home, but the sad fact is the more 'curated' they are, the less able they are to do so. My iPod touch talks to one machine at a time in my home, I need to be physically connected to that machine, and I need to use a specific application on that machine. That's it! How boring.

          Sure if I want to I can load an app that uses some anonymous server that is in some anonymous location as long as it is approved by Apple but i

  • Kiosk Komputing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by microcars (708223) on Friday May 14, 2010 @12:12PM (#32208270) Homepage
    I thought it was a better term. or maybe Consumption Computing?
  • "moderated computing." Someone other than you decides what you can and cannot do. Good idea from the point of view of end users, people who really couldn't care less about the technology itself, only what it enables them to do. But terrible idea for the rest of us. How long until general purpose computers become a niche application or a hobby like ham radio? And of course become a "boutique" item costing orders of magnitude more than "consumer" toys?
  • Inevitability (Score:5, Insightful)

    by danaris (525051) <danaris @ m a c . c om> on Friday May 14, 2010 @12:14PM (#32208290) Homepage

    Let's face it. We are geeks. We are always going to like the freedom and power to do whatever we want with our computers.

    But we are not the majority.

    Most people don't really care if their operating system allows them to recompile their kernel, write a new text editor, or even install arbitrary software. They would be happy enough to be able to install the stuff their friends have, not have to worry about viruses, and surf the web and chat with the aforementioned friends. And do some occasional work.

    Some of this stuff is still Not There Yet on the iPad. And maybe the iPad itself will not be the dominant device of its type once things settle down in a few more years. But I think it's foolish to expect that the completely-open, easily breakable, general-purpose PC is going to be the only, or even the primary, computing device that most ordinary people use in 10 years.

    PCs will certainly still be around. Business applications, by and large, will always be a poor fit for the iPad and similar devices. So will programming. So will some types of games (but not all!). And, heck, at least for the time being, the iPad requires a computer with iTunes on it for managing it.

    But for the vast majority of people, a fully-featured PC is overkill for what they want to do. We're entering a period of transition—and, I would say, moving further toward the maturity of the computer age. As many people have pointed out in previous discussions, in the 1950s, if you owned a car, you more or less had to know how to do a bunch of basic maintenance tasks. Now, many of the parts you had to maintain no longer exist (such as the carburetor, as I understand it—I'm not a car person), and most of the others you can't maintain on your own: you have to take it to the dealer or an authorized service center, or void your warranty. Computers today are just starting to move past where cars were in the 1950s. It's no longer absolutely necessary to know how to perform maintenance tasks, but it still makes things run much more smoothly. And with the iPad, not only do you not need to do those tasks—you can't.

    For some people, that will always be a dealbreaker. And you know what? That's OK. Apple doesn't care if everyone buys an iPad, any more than they've ever cared that not everyone buys Macs. The world will go on, but changed: instead of just computers, we'll have computers and "curated computing" devices.

    Dan Aris

    • Let's face it. We are geeks. We are always going to like the freedom and power to do whatever we want with our computers.

      Some Slashdotters are computer geeks and want all that freedom and power - some of us are other kinds of geeks and we just want our computers (desktop, smartphone, whatever) to just bloody work. For the first kind of geek computers are a toy, and for the second kind computers are a tool. It's important to recognize the difference, not only between kinds of geeks but how computers are vi

    • by Culture20 (968837)

      Most people don't really care if their operating system allows them to recompile their kernel, write a new text editor, or even install arbitrary software.

      I was with you until "install arbitrary software". People _expect_ this, and are rankled when a device that (despite looking like an oversized iPhone) is universally recognized as a computer won't install Mac software they already bought. Insult to injury: they have to pay $15 or more for the privilege of using the same type of productivity software on the iPad that comes free with their usual OSes.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by medcalf (68293)

      I think part of it is simply product maturity. To extend your car analogy, there are still car people. They are insane people who do things like fiddle with the software for their brakes (just to tie back to an earlier slashdot story) and program their fuel injectors and add new power sources. The average "car guy" of the past has been left behind, either to become today's super-geek car guy, or to become an average user of the cars he owns.

      The same thing seems to be happening in computers, where the averag

  • We won't be calling anything "Curated Computing", but remember we can't all be famous phrase coiners.

  • The word (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spatial (1235392) on Friday May 14, 2010 @12:17PM (#32208350)
    The word is 'appliance'.
  • by Assmasher (456699) on Friday May 14, 2010 @12:22PM (#32208388) Journal

    ...between reducing user choice but improving reliability and efficiency myself.

    Why do non technical people believe the words that pour out of Jobs' gob? The man, and Apple's advertising, is infamous for saying things he knows are not true. Hell, my favorite recent example of this was when he bashed Flash about being designed for PCs as one of the reasons not to use it on the iPhone/iPad when his company makes you use Objective-C! LOL. Guess what Objective-C was designed for?

    • Guess what Objective-C was designed for?

      Unapologetically MVC systems where data and different types of user interaction can be entirely divorced from another while not screwing up the overall program logic that would be unchanging regardless of platform?

    • by medcalf (68293)

      Guess what Objective-C was designed for?

      We don't have to guess. It was a proper superset of C for NeXT workstations, which were oddly enough quite a bit less powerful than today's iPhones.

  • by Animats (122034) on Friday May 14, 2010 @12:25PM (#32208412) Homepage

    "My friends, each of you is a single cell in the great body of the State. And today, that great body has purged itself of parasites. We have triumphed over the unprincipled dissemination of facts. The thugs and wreckers have been cast out. -- And the poisonous weeds of disinformation have been consigned to the dustbin of history. Let each and every cell rejoice! For today, we celebrate the first glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directive! We have created, for the first time in all history, a garden of pure ideology, where each worker may bloom secure from the pests of contradictory and confusing truths. Our Unification of Thought is a more powerful weapon than any fleet or army on Earth. We are one people. With one will. One resolve. One cause. -- Our enemies shall talk themselves to death. And we will bury them with their own confusion. -- We shall prevail!" -- Apple, 1984. That's the copy from the famous Apple ad with the guy speaking to an audience of people in grey from a big screen.

    The Apple fanboys hate that paragraph (and will mod it down to "Troll" in about 30 minutes). But that's a clear statement of Apple's "walled garden" approach. They even use the same terminology: "A garden of pure ideology, where each worker may bloom secure from the pests of contradictory and confusing truths". As for the "Information Purification Directive", see the the EFF's analysis of the Apple iPhone Developer Agreement. [eff.org] Apple tries to keep the Developer Agreement secret, but they accepted a NASA app, which made it subject to a FOIA request, and now anyone can read it.

  • by molo (94384)

    Am I the only one who thought of the removal of Gnome UI customization when reading the description?

    -molo

  • Curated Computing sounds like a bad idea to me, because those third persons are making decisions without actually knowing my needs and habits as a user. Therefore less choice is very likely to lead to less relevance as well. This is the kind of computing you get in a big company where a central IT department sets policies and standards for everything, and it generally drives people who try to develop something new or display some creativity into raging fury -- even if the choices that are being made for you

  • over the last 10 years home laptop sales have outpaced home desktop sales. but in the end most people still do the same basic things on laptops. Internet, email, youtube and a few others.

    this is where tablets come in. they are supposed to be good at the basics with the iPad having other software allowing you to do some other basic computing tasks. The reason Win7 doesn't work in tablets is that the install is 15GB and with 16-64GB SSD sizes it's too much lost space for the OS. iphone OS, Android and WebOS a

  • So far tablets have been "meh" - they have been around for almost a decade now and have gained no traction. Then Apple comes along and sells a million in a month without even trying. Is it a "power" device - No, it isn't. But, it fits a niche. It sent HP and Microsofts attempts at reinventing the tablet into a tailspin and caused them to be scrapped. But what niche will the iPad fill? I have one and love it, for a few reasons - but I see it more of a device for my grandparents. They have no real need for
  • This statement alone is enough to disregard the entire article.
  • ...where you choose a vendor who will make your computer be reliable.

    Gimme a break.

    Apple weenies (and a bunch of slashdotters too) need to let go of that aged-out belief that Windows isn't reliable, or that an unreliable app makes the whole platform unreliable. You don't need to switch vendors...you just need to stop using the bad app(s).

    Apple users are going to great lengths these days to rationalize the fact that they have chosen a platform with somewhat limited choices. The fact is that they have chos

  • by fermion (181285) on Friday May 14, 2010 @12:37PM (#32208570) Homepage Journal
    First, this is a trend. There was a time when I hacked by computer by soldering, when components are big enough for me to fix things in my own home. You don't here people complain about not being able to solder a computer. That is no longer the expectation. Now people get upset because they can't upgrade a computer, as if removing four screws and pulling a cable gives them any great ability. But that is what the kids calls freedom. Freedom to go to the store and buy a part. Now most computers are laptops, and hacking is downloading programs and installing them, maybe opening them up and putting in new hard disk or memory. Apple is a villain because you can't add a battery. And then we get to the silliness of a phone, a device that my any manufacturer is closed wall garden. I don't see anyone building rougue cell towers at their home to get better reception, or to redirect calls to the landline. Maybe they are.

    And hackers think they are cool because they change the background image or download a naughty application. I am with them. There was a time when I thouhgt putting the Bill&Opus motif on my mac was the end all, I thought I was hot. But that is really an adolescent rebellion against anything that is forbidden, not any kind of technical issue. For most of us we have things we hack and things that we need to work. The PC is every office because it can be administered and locked down in a way that few other OS can. No one cares about hacking it because that is not it's purpose. The same goes for the iPhone and iPad. How many people complained that they could not hack their Razr. It was a good phone and that is all we cared about.

    If one wants to fiddle go and buy a copy of Make. What we don't need to do is think that Apple or whoever all of sudden violated some basic human right. Most of us don't care that we can't pull out the water pump from our car, and do car that we only have to see the mechanic once a year instead of every week. Most of us don't care that our televisions can't be repaired, but are happy that they give us a few years of good service then die so we can upgrade. Most people don't want a phone or a computer that they continuously have to fiddle with and upgrade. Those who do have cheap ones they can buy. Just not the iPad. Which is ok, because if one is a really a cool hacker, one does not need to show off with an iPad.

  • A better Answer (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Friday May 14, 2010 @12:40PM (#32208634)

    Clearly most Slashdot users prefer more choices over someone making choices on their behalf when it comes to computing. That's because we're computer geeks. The average person, however, is getting real benefits from having a group of experts with more control over the device on their behalf. They also get real negative consequences, such as some applications they want never making it to the device they use and less ability to migrate devices without losing one's investment in apps.

    Okay, we know all that already, right? So now we come to what people are doing about it. Half the venders are ignoring the benefits Apple has provided, secure in the knowledge that Apple's innovation will lose in the market. Half of them are emulating Apple, betting Apple is right. What none of them are doing, that I've seen, is innovating. Is there really no way to create a system that provides both the benefits of their "curated computing" while not bringing about the drawbacks? Can't someone build a central marketplace for apps that are vetted, and hosted by any and all comers? Can't a phone or series of phones be built where there is a guarantee that the apps will be portable between those phones and have been vetted for security and performance concerns so the user can make informed decisions? I've long advocated that the average desktop user doesn't have the information they need or the OS level control they need to effectively know what apps to run and how much to trust those apps. I've long advocated that the only way to get proper unbiased information is to build into the OS a way to get greylists of what apps are trusted from multiple sources, weigh them, and then take good, automated action on behalf of the user while providing them the details they need. It's easier to put all this power into the hands of one company, but then you end up having to trust a single party (be it Apple or MS). So who's going out making a better solution? Come on Google, I'm looking at you.

    Using an app store should be a process of getting data from many parties. "Three out of four of your security feeds say the battery performance of this app is unacceptable and should be avoided". "Warning: this app only works on this phone and has no vendor promise to allow you to support other AndroidCert phones going forward. Be sure to take this into account." "Warning: this app is rated as malicious by two of your four security feeds. You will need to change your app settings to download it. This is not recommended." In addition, devices should be doing the right thing in the background, sandboxing apps and severely restricting ones that have not been vetted... maybe even refusing to run unsigned apps by default.

    It is not impossible to create a decentralized app store using data and servers from a variety of companies... a personalized store that only shows users the apps that meet their security, performance, and compatibility requirements; or at very least makes the needed data available to the end user. People complain about the Apple iPhone App Store, but complaining is not really very useful. Who's making something better? Who's making something that is going to take hard work, but which will make a store that gives users all the benefits of Apple's store and freedom besides?

  • by fantomas (94850) on Friday May 14, 2010 @12:41PM (#32208654)

    "...a new paradigm that they are calling 'curated computing,' where third parties make a lot of choices to simplify things for the end user, reducing user choice but improving reliability and efficiency for a defined set of tasks."

    How about "censorship" instead?

    Ok, I know I am playing devil's advocate but if the slashdot headline was "China develops computing model where users have reduced choice but increased reliability, with the choices made by the State Education Department", I know the word censorship would be bandied around pretty quickly.

    Depends on who you want to make the decisions for you and of course a big question is how much opportunity you have to affect those decisions if you'd like to get involved in the process.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Ok, I know I am playing devil's advocate but if the slashdot headline was "China develops computing model where users have reduced choice but increased reliability, with the choices made by the State Education Department", I know the word censorship would be bandied around pretty quickly.

      There's a difference between censorship and choosing what to sell. When the government says you can't sell Catcher in the Rye, that's censorship. When Barnes and Noble decides not to sell Catcher in the Rye, that's just choosing what they want to sell. The former is an act of the government and the latter is just competition on what to carry. You can always go to another book store. You have no right to force a non-monopolist to carry a given product. When they don't do so... that's not censorship. To be pe

  • Once a human is involved, all computing is curated, by definition. Because people don't usually talk binary, but computers do. To resolve this inherent human / computer interface problem, there first were programming languages like assembly. Then there were high-level languages like Fortran or Basic. There were OS commands and command-line interpreters. All of these were curated interfaces; they hid the underlying structure and provided the user only what they needed for a specific task.

    I remember whe

  • How is this new? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by LoudMusic (199347) on Friday May 14, 2010 @01:24PM (#32209306)

    How the hell is this new? Because Apple did it? Have none of you been aware of game consoles for the past several decades? How is an iPad particularly different from a Nintendo DS or Sony PS3?

The trouble with opportunity is that it always comes disguised as hard work. -- Herbert V. Prochnow

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