Counting down.

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

On an evening where the embargo on talking about the iPad was lifted (and a great spewing sound was heard throughout the series of tubes), we have thus been inundated with reviews and screenshots and semi-childish squealing, I find myself waiting with quiet anticipation. They’re selling this thing on Saturday, perhaps you’ve heard?

Mortally-wounded tree edition.

Monday, March 8th, 2010

To celebrate a Sunday that showed some signs of pulling out of the greyness that this winter has been, I went out early-ish and picked up a dozen bagels and, almost as an afterthought, a six dollar copy of The New York Times, which some of you may not know is an actual newspaper, published on big ol’ soy-ink chugging presses nightly from a couple of dozen offset printing plants around the country.

Yes, we bought the paper. Now, for someone who went to journalism school and contemplated life amidst the ink-stained before being seduced by the blue crackly glow of television, this may not seem that surprising. But truth is, as much as I love the idea and honor the history of newspapers, reading the news on newsprint is amazingly unsatisfying, as if I’m pawing through two-day-old printouts left in some newsroom’s recycled bin. It feels, old, stale, expired. Didn’t we see that Style section story on the web on thursday? Where are the Times blogs breathlessly updating the story of the Cablevision-Disney battle that threatened cable viewers’ view of the Oscarcast?

I’m not one who believes that when magazines and newspapers make the switch to iPad-like delivery, they should become some sort of multimedia animation-fest. in fact, I think they’ll do just fine if they avoid discarding a handful of things:

  • Layout matters. Columns, headlines, callouts, color, and big photos will look superb in a tablet. You really don’t need to go much beyond the classy approach you’d see in the print Sunday Times Magazine.
  • Ads in context. Part of the charm in paging through the NYT Arts and Leisure section on Sunday always was (and remains) seeing the huge ads for moveis and shows interspersed with the editorial content. Again, if they’re NOT flashfests or blink-monstrosities, they’ll get noticed and appreciated for what they are…advertising wrapped around some of the world’s most prestigious content.
  • We always will welcome and find ways to pay for well-edited, carefully sourced, copyedited, and corrected content. Shovel dross at us and we won’t care how much it animates…it’ll be dead to us.

The upcoming iPadThingie can be my BBC Newspad, perfect for reading whole eating mysterious earth-tgoned puddings in zero gravity, or accompanying fresh-made bagels on an Atlanta Sunday morning.

Magic: we’ll be the judge of that.

Friday, March 5th, 2010

jcbpad.jpgThe Apple folks have announced the day-it-shall-be-buyable of the iPad, and, for the wi-fi only versions, it’s April 3rd, a mere 8 days before my birthday (in case you need any last minute gift ideas).

I continue to be intrigued by the paradigm-shifting possibilities of the device, especially for those out there who, truth be told, don’t really need a computer in their lives…they need a fancy doohickie that reads email and surfs the web and shows photos and plays games. For those people, if they never see a filesystem, they’re fine with that. If they never have to mess with another preference file or repair permissions, their lives will be that much better.

And I want to see as many of those folks as possible with these in their hands. But I also want this as a hackable, playable, messable-with device for folks like me, and it remains to be seen how completely this fits into that paradigm.

But there is one thing I’ve heard quite enough of. I’m looking at you, Apple marketing and PR weasels. You know that whole “magical and revolutionary product at an unbelievable price” thing you keep saying over and over and over again? The Steve Jobsian thing to do would be to put this device out there and let us be the judge of that. There’s gotta be a law somewhere where you can’t call your own innovation “magical”, and you’re violating it again and again.

Let us buy the thing and take it around the block and we’ll let you know. Even if the verdict is “yep, magical,” it’s for us to say, and you to smile and count our cash.