This is quite a personal subject but, I, like many, am something of a tool obsessive. For me tools have both the potential and the capacity to express skill, owning a tool can extend your ability to achieve…sometimes… othertimes the skill step requires practice. Take some of my favourites:
Claw Hammer, Clutch pencil, Mole grip wrench, King dick adjustable spanner,Gorilla grip Allen set, Theodolite, Telecaster
Each one has a skill related to it and each one has a function that lends it a purity of form. I look at them and they cry out to be used. However the tool I use more than any other is not so straight forward as the raw ‘man has rock, man bash with rock’ examples: the computer. At my age I don’t pretend I’m a digital baby but I can’t do what I do without one!
A new tool in the form of the iPad seems to offer a real step forward in using a computer on the move, the weight alone of my traveling kit really made me stop and think hard about trying the iPad.
I need to be able write, draw and sift photos. On the face of it the iPad will let me do these things for less money, less power and less weight than my trusty tablet PC. The reality is another story. Although it has the slickest tablet interface I have ever used …… and I have been hammering tablets since the GRid St 1910 model ….it seems to be a triumph of style over substance.So as a long term tabet user I think I have a fair view of what makes a good tablet and the iPad is a remarkable step in the evoloution of the device that started out with IBMs ThinkPad idea from the ’80s. (Or maybe from Startrek even earlier!)Here’s why I think the iPad is a pain, it’s defenders will laugh heartily, I have heard much praise for Steve Jobs’s ‘iron wall’ software philosophy but if this thing’s going to be more than a toy I need to be able to live with it….and it’s very hard to!
Why can’t I copy files on and off it with a memory stick?
Why doesn’t it support flash?’
Why does the keyboard not character backspace, and why does it insist on capitalising when I don’t want it to?
Why do Apple shove really big OS changes at me without asking first? They disabled my screen lock switch without a word.
Why is it so painfully slow at hacking pictures off my camera and where on earth does it put them?
Why do I have to pay for a 3rd party flickr uploader when I already have a pro account?
Why no tab key?
Why no ‘save as’ in most aps ? This is part of the ‘trust us, we know best’ attitude that seems to pervade the device.
Why on earth do I need to communicate with the device through iTunes, this, more than any other feature seems to mark it out as made for consumption of media rather than creation.
Why do I find myself drawn toward ‘jail breakers’ to get close to what I want to do with the thing?
Why no bluetooth? Even my phone can do that!
So how can such an attractive looking and feeling tool be such a failure? Is this a case of a device built for entertainment rather than employment? Are we expecting too much from a £500 device?
I took a risk and left my tablet Pc at home on a recent trip, this would really test the Ipad as a workhorse….it failed horribly, I struggled to sort my photos, blogging was very slow, adding correctly sized images via Photoshop express and WordPress aps was painful and the crunch was to discover that Keynote wrecked my presentation by destroying video footage with automatic compression of mp4 which rendered image quality to mush….fortunately I had an uncorrupted PowerPoint back up on a memory stick but the expense of the VGA connector and Keynote ap was wasted!
Posted (almost all of it..the pictures had to be added on the PC ..anyway) from my iPad.
I think the worst of this was when I found myself cursing out loud on a crowded train at the thing when I was trying to place the pictures in this posting…people stared!