Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 6th Aug 2013 17:55 UTC, submitted by MOS6510
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

In product lore, high profile gadgets that get killed are often more interesting than the ones that succeed. The Kin, the HP TouchPad, and the Edsel are all case studies in failure - albeit for different reasons. Yet in the history of those killings, nothing compared to the Apple Newton MessagePad. The Newton wasn't just killed, it was violently murdered, dragged into a closet by its hair and kicked to death in its youth by one of technology’s great men. And yet it was a remarkable device, one whose influence is still with us today. The Ur tablet. The first computer designed to free us utterly from the desktop.

'First' is debatable, but this was definitely an interesting product. It was far too complex though, and the simpler, more focussed Palm Pilot then showed the market how mobile computing ought to work - something Apple took to heart a decade later with the iPhone.

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RE[5]: Comment by tupp
by kwan_e on Wed 7th Aug 2013 01:58 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by tupp"
kwan_e
Member since:
2007-02-18

Rather than using words like 'invention', a word that invites pedantry and the obsessive search for the proof or disproof of any claim of innovation, I think it is better to use metaphors drawn from the study of ecological systems, evolution and natural selection. Then one can start using terms like significant mutational events that create a pedigree of change that cascades up the evolutionary tree. Richard Dawkins has a great term, he often discuss what makes a 'good ancestor' and by that he means what speciation event, what mutational event, founded lines of new species which led to large scale and significant new lines of change and evolution.


You keep getting it backwards. What you're basically saying is:

"Rather than using objectivity, which leads to an obsessive search for facts, we should choose the line of reasoning which best fits with my a priori conclusion".

I've read a lot of Dawkins, but I don't remember the context of what you claim he said. From my own rudimentary knowledge of biological/ecological systems, though, your ancestor criteria doesn't work because complex animals do not exchange genes easily.

However, ideas, like those built on technology have a lot of cross-polination, which happens very frequently in bacteria and is a main reason how drug resistance spreads that purely generational inheritance cannot achieve in time.

Technology simply does not evolve by sexual reproduction, and so you cannot limit the discussion such that you can only consider ideas when they originate within one company's products.

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