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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kwan_e
Member since:
2007-02-18

kwan_e,

"Normal people wouldn't have used Dynabook in the way Alan Kay imagined either. They'd probably use it the same way as they do an iPad."

Nobody anywhere produces as much as they consume, some would still produce very little by choice, and that's ok. The problem with respect to the ipad is that apple has taken form of a dictator. That's a nasty turn in computing, and that's what Alan is criticizing.


That's hardly "worse" than what Alan imagined. What Alan imagined, however glorious, was a pipe dream, and the whole symmetric production and consumption of media IS what he envisioned - which is a point you said you agreed with. Like it or not, someone needed to get the tablet thing started, for greater penetration of powerful mobile computing.

What we have now is better than what Alan's time had, or 10 years ago. I'm not a fan of Apple or its select worshippers on this site, but let's get some reality check. Alan's criticisms are moot because it's obvious that Dynabook isn't going to come about in one big step. However, it is obvious that we're heading there. The technology is already beyond what we need. The policy limitations are the hurdles here.

You can't criticize the [class of] device for being under the control of its designer[s].

Reply Parent Score: 3

tidux Member since:
2011-08-13

You goddamn well can. They should be under the control of the USER, not the fucking designer. I don't care what some penis in a turtleneck thinks I should do with my computer, I'm root and I'll act like it.

Reply Parent Score: 3

hhas Member since:
2006-11-28

Hey, it's your computer and if you're willing and able to accept the broad range of liabilities in exchange for the narrow set of benefits that being root provides, that's your choice. For the vast majority of computer users, however, being root provides them with zero benefits while still exposing them to all the liabilities. (In fact, it's even more dangerous for them than you, since they don't have your knowledge or experience to identify those dangers and know how to avoid them.)

So why are you whining about a platform that is manifestly designed for them and not you? Are you jealous because they're getting the shiny new toys, or upset that once they all abandon the PC platform you won't have anyone left to feel superior to?

A home user of a vendor-curated internet-connected tablet is fundamentally no different to a work user of an IT-curated intranet-connected company PC. Both systems are de facto locked down to prevent their users from screwing up either themselves or their systems. Would you argue that IT should unlock everything and let users do as they like? Or should they lock everything down as standard, and only ever open up individual services where a valid business case can be made? Heck, even sensible geeks won't run with admin rights (never mind root) as standard, because they appreciate that 'freedom' is a double-edged sword, and a lot less freeing once you accidentally lop your arms and legs off.

You want a nerd-oriented tablet platform to compliment your PCs? That's fine; just build yourselves one. Then everyone - nerds and non-nerds alike - can use what works best for them, and everyone's happy and nobody has to spend endless hours ranting on the interwebs all because the universe doesn't rotate sufficiently around them.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

kwan_e,

"That's hardly 'worse' than what Alan imagined."

How so? He had a vision of what these devices could do way back before anyone else was working on them. Now that the technology has become feasible, it's a real shame that many implementations are programmed with device restriction policies that make indy creations subordinate to the company. That's the problem, the ideal software platforms would have everyone equal footing and let the market compete openly rather than under the control and taxation of corporate overseers.


"What Alan imagined, however glorious, was a pipe dream, and the whole symmetric production and consumption of media IS what he envisioned - which is a point you said you agreed with."

Everything's a pipe dream before it's time. Once it's arrived, it's no longer a pipe dream. Just as he said, many of his ideas have been spinoff into mirads of commercial products, and even those that haven't just need time and investment.

"The technology is already beyond what we need. The policy limitations are the hurdles here."

Why are you telling me this? I know, and it's clear that Alan does too.


"You can't criticize the [class of] device for being under the control of its designer[s]."

I can, and I will continue to. I shudder to think where we'd be if desktop PC platforms had been shipped with ipad-like restrictions against indy developers and users. If you take openness for granted, or keep apologizing for those who take it away, then pretty soon we'll all loose it.

Reply Parent Score: 2

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

"You can't criticize the [class of] device for being under the control of its designer[s]."

I can, and I will continue to. I shudder to think where we'd be if desktop PC platforms had been shipped with ipad-like restrictions against indy developers and users. If you take openness for granted, or keep apologizing for those who take it away, then pretty soon we'll all loose it.


Then your criticisms are irrelevant, because I can pretty well argue we already have had Dynabooks in the form of PCs and laptops. They have the power and the openness. That leaves your criticism only applicable to a certain form factor and thus largely superficial.

Really then, I was right before that we've already surpassed Alan Kay's vision because general purpose computers do more than a Dynabook does.

Reply Parent Score: 3