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GUI Portables

Shall We Call It "Curated Computing?" 331

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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  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> 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 [] and no new phrasing is required.

  • 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.

  • by decipher_saint ( 72686 ) on Friday May 14, 2010 @12:10PM (#32208240)

    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.)

  • 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?
  • 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 Draek ( 916851 ) on Friday May 14, 2010 @12:29PM (#32208466)

    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.

  • I like it (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 14, 2010 @12:34PM (#32208532)

    This kind of experience is great for people who want to use a computer without the hassle. Obviously this wouldn't be a primary computer for us geeks but it would be great for people who are completely techtarded or just have a few specific uses for their machine. It would certainly save ME a lot of time not fielding tech support questions from friends and relatives! I can see it being useful as a second (or more than likely third) computer for enthusiasts as well. I love my PC and the near unlimited things I can do with it, but sometimes I just need a single screwdriver and don't feel like carrying the whole toolbox.

  • 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.

  • Re:Inevitability (Score:3, Interesting)

    by medcalf ( 68293 ) on Friday May 14, 2010 @12:49PM (#32208792) Homepage

    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 average computer geek is being left behind. Those who are left will be super geeks on the computers, who actually know how to build their own circuits or use an iPad to transfer software to an Apple // or write code to modify locked down devices; most of the rest will become average computer users.

    I don't see this as a bad thing.

  • 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?

  • 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.

Always leave room to add an explanation if it doesn't work out.