Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 2nd Apr 2013 21:06 UTC
In the News "Kay says that some gadgets with superficial Dynabook-like qualities, such as the iPad, have not only failed to realize the Dynabook dream, but have in some senses betrayed it. That's one of the points he makes in this interview, conducted by computer historian David Greelish, proprietor of the Classic Computing Blog and organizer of this month's Vintage Computer Festival Southeast in Atlanta (the Festival will feature a pop-up Apple museum featuring Xerox's groundbreaking Alto workstation, which Kay worked on, as well as devices which deeply reflected his influence, including the Lisa, the original Macintosh and the Newton). Kay and Greelish also discuss Kay's experiences at some of the big outfits where he's worked, including Xerox's fabled PARC labs, Apple, Disney and HP. Today, Kay continues his research about children and technology at his own organization, the Viewpoints Research Institute." A great interview with this legendary man.
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RE[2]: History
by Alfman on Wed 3rd Apr 2013 13:57 UTC in reply to "RE: History"
Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

Savior,

"I think the emphasis is on the word more. As I understand, his main problem is that today's gadgets provide less, compared to what he envisioned."

Insightful!

Unfortunately it's not that the state of technology isn't catching up to what he envisioned, it's much worse than that. These gadgets aim to provide less *by design*. Mobile computing technology is becoming rife with artificial policy restrictions that empower corporations to exert their control over end users and developers.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: History
by kwan_e on Wed 3rd Apr 2013 15:23 in reply to "RE[2]: History"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

So was the World Wide Web not the Memex when it first started out. And then it evolved and became better than probably what Vannevar Bush had imagined.

Or are we really arguing that today's technology is at it's peak and will never ever ever get better?

As much as I don't personally care for tablets, it's obvious that today's state of affairs is not forever.

Furthermore, if you read the article, the lament is about the policy limitations of the devices, NOT the technical capability.

His dream was about symmetric production and consumption of all forms of media. The roadblock is not the technology.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: History
by Alfman on Wed 3rd Apr 2013 16:20 in reply to "RE[3]: History"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

kwan_e,

"Or are we really arguing that today's technology is at it's peak and will never ever ever get better?"

"Furthermore, if you read the article, the lament is about the policy limitations of the devices, NOT the technical capability."

Is this directed at me? I don't understand what you read into my post, aren't we saying the same thing? The technology has advanced by leaps and bounds, the shortcoming of these modern platforms is when they try to impose DRM which tells owners what they can and cannot do with the devices they buy.


"His dream was about symmetric production and consumption of all forms of media. The roadblock is not the technology."

I'm not sure why you thought I'd disagree, but no matter. I had never heard of Alan Kay, it's interesting that we share so many common thoughts. I think his answers were right on.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: History
by hhas on Wed 3rd Apr 2013 20:28 in reply to "RE[2]: History"
hhas Member since:
2006-11-28

Mobile computing technology is becoming rife with artificial policy restrictions that empower corporations to exert their control over end users and developers.


And PC technology is rife with contrived complexity and utterly unsafe by design. Mobile tech may be a double-edged sword but don't pretend PC tech isn't. Self-serving Apple/Google/MS machinations aside, mobile platforms are far closer to being true consumer OSes than traditional desktop systems. Don't kid yourselves that ordinary users are somehow throwing away freedom for captivity when all they're actually doing is swapping one prison for another.

If geeks and FOSS types honestly cared about ordinary users, they'd be building them a genuine consumer OS unencumbered by either corporate or geek self-interest. But I think the ugly truth is that too many geeks like having the old status-quo, a preening elite sitting atop a vast contrived mountain of techno-crap smugly looking down on all the hapless lusers below them with their malware-riddled PCs and neverending struggles with baroque, arcane desktop applications, casual data loss, and all the other long-established brain-dead faults of that half-baked platform.

To be blunt, I cannot help wondering just how much of the concern is over users trading some abstract 'freedom' for concrete safety and productivity, and how much is just butt-hurt spite that common users are no longer willing to play the game by the geeks' own rigged rules? Because once all the common users abandon the PC platform for something that actually fits their needs and doesn't punish them for every innocent error, who then will the geeks have left to look down on?


Personally I hope for a future where the vast majority of ordinary users have their day-to-day computing activities met by a safe, curated platform optimized to their particular needs, and the only folk left using PCs are those that genuinely need them. Not only will it mean less malware and usability problems for the non-geeks, but also for the geeks: a far smaller, more skilled PC market will be a less desirable target for scammers and can focus all its attention on meeting power users' needs.

As to any slimy, manipulative corporate activities such as platform lock-in and loss of privacy, welcome to the real world. That sort of behavior inevitably goes hand in hand with any large, highly competitive for-profit exercise. And it's something the geeks and FOSS types rightly should be directing their attention at and building better alternatives to, instead of endlessly, pointlessly whining about the Evil Evilness of Change.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: History
by Alfman on Wed 3rd Apr 2013 21:00 in reply to "RE[3]: History"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

hhas,

"And PC technology is rife with contrived complexity and utterly unsafe by design."

That sounds like an overgeneralization, the linux + repository model has been used successfully on desktops long before the model was used in mobile. But, linux, unlike say an ipad, gives the user the option to install from sources outside of the repository. It's a great hybrid model incorporating the best of both worlds.


"If geeks and FOSS types honestly cared about ordinary users, they'd be building them a genuine consumer OS unencumbered by either corporate or geek self-interest"

Say, have you heard of linux? The biggest obstacle by far is overcoming the defacto monopoly held by microsoft.


"But I think the ugly truth is that too many geeks like having the old status-quo, a preening elite sitting atop a vast contrived mountain of techno-crap smugly looking down on all the hapless lusers below them with their malware-riddled PCs and neverending struggles with baroque, arcane desktop applications, casual data loss, and all the other long-established brain-dead faults of that half-baked platform."

I assume your talking about windows. I'm honestly not a big fan of windows, but if we're being honest the malware situation is improving there too. I haven't been affected by windows malware in recent years, not anywhere like it used to be. It used to be that windows could get infected just by leaving it on.


"To be blunt, I cannot help wondering just how much of the concern is over users trading some abstract 'freedom' for concrete safety and productivity, and how much is just butt-hurt spite that common users are no longer willing to play the game by the geeks' own rigged rules?"

It is genuinely a concern for freedom, both ours and normal users. My opinion may not be worth much to you, but it's not a lie.




"Personally I hope for a future where the vast majority of ordinary users have their day-to-day computing activities met by a safe, curated platform optimized to their particular needs, and the only folk left using PCs are those that genuinely need them."

This tells me that you don't have experience with linux, because that's exactly how the linux app repo's work on the desktop. You choose what you want installed from the repo's, and the system installs everything automatically and safely.


Edit: Haha, it looks like I'm trying to sell you on linux, but actually I only mention it over and over again because it's a perfect counter example to each of your claims.

Edited 2013-04-03 21:02 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1