Do I really want to touch my computer all day?

03Feb10

This concept video has been doing the rounds following a brief showing on Tech Crunch.

It looks like a tablet interface you could do work on but I have to wonder if that’s a way of working that I’d even really want. For better or worse we’ve established a way of working with traditional documents and while I can type pretty accurately on a touch screen with spelling correction for say a text or a short e-mail I don’t think I’d be up for writing an essay on it. Chances are I’m more accurate or would report a less frustrating experience when questioned if I just did the task in the usual way.

That said I’m also aware I’m a dinosaur. No one has grown up with this technology yet so perhaps the sponge like brains of the children who will grow up with this tech will mean that they adapt to using it as easily as those of us in our (very) early thirties did growing up with a mouse making it the norm. You know some of us only had one button growing up?! I know!

The Chrome mock up is not a complete as a vision yet. As a friend pointed out to me today.

Real artists ship.

The Apple focus on shipping means that they think about how they will present the whole experience to consumers. They show a device in use in the home, surely the only environment that this first version makes sense. They show people using it to do the things you probably wish you had more time to do. They make it aspirational and easy to understand. “I get that, I could use it to do such and such …”

In the Linux world there’s no such thing as a simple story. We don’t have the same control of the whole process that they do and that means that it’s impossible for us “sell” that same complete overview. I’m not sure what the solution to this is. Microsoft’s timing was great. The industry needed a single OS in order for the PC to take off. 30 years on and the world is different and while Linux can and will offer a compelling and beautiful experience I still don’t know how you easily tell people what they can and can’t mix and match in terms of hardware and software.

Answers on a postcard to this address :)

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2 Responses to “Do I really want to touch my computer all day?”

  1. I think there’s a big opening for someone with a real vision of what’s wanted. Most distros are really too big for their own good. Ubuntu’s original vision (Warty 4.10) of just the best-of-breed apps on a single CD was a breath of fresh air. The supported system needs to be small enough that all the kinks and inconsistencies can be worked out, then that basic system can be tailored for various devices like the tablet or UMPC.

  2. “We don’t have the same control of the whole process that they do and that means that it’s impossible for us “sell” that same complete overview.”

    Wait a minute? Didn’t Google’s Android do something like that?

    How about Intel’s Moblin?

    The problem isn’t with doing it, it is with a simple lack of vision. Trying to do something for everyone instead of focusing on solving a particular audience’s need. Not the a single developer’s vision or some half cracked ‘guy-who’s-footing-the-bill”s vision. One audience. One specialized project at a time.

    The future is in diversity, not homogeneous presentations. And in the utterly spiraling complexity of a diverse system is where Free Software will thrive because the proprietary offerings _cannot_.


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