I like my iPad, leave it alone!

A few days ago, I had the joy of going on a short coach journey. Now, for all the quips we have against public transport, this was definitely a trip and a half. We had a beautiful Mercedes coach and the sun was shining as we drifted across North Wales.

But the banta was the best. The great thing about coach travel, is that not driving, your mind is free to go over other things, thus stimulating some interesting discussions. We started by talking about mountain biking, concluding we should have a race down the A55 North Wales Expressway, then we set the world to rights, talking about how wind turbines take 30 years to pay themselves back before they actually produce renewable energy. We debated whether we’re really running out of oil or not, and then ending up resolving the problem with solar energy.

And then on the way back, something happened. My head became explosively large. This actually relates to apple products. There are a certain group of people, who like to buy iPads, iPhones and other bits and pieces, and then consider themselves higher up than others, for their new possessions. It’s a bit like some BMW drivers. When I bought my iPad, I told myself, I would not become one of them. But suddenly, a guy on the bus told me I was stupid for having bought an iPad, called me an apply fanboy and said I only thought it was best because I hadn’t seen the alternatives.

No no no! I retorted. I tried the Samsung galaxy tab in the shop, and I have an android phone (all-be-it a Motorola) which is rubbish. I want to choose against android. Then he told me I should get the Acer tablet, because it doesn’t need expensive custom leads, and that with apple the structure of getting app’s is too rigid. And he showed me the photo quality on his Samsung galaxy. When I told him I had the iPad 3, with its high-res display, he thought I was an even bigger idiot. And at that point something switched itself.

My response: yes I know that the iPad is astronomically expensive, and that I could buy a small country for the cost of hooking it up to my TV. And I know that to make an app you have to pay apple copious amounts of money and have them bug check it. And I know that someone somewhere claims to have a more responsive keyboard on their touchscreen, and that nothing with it is properly compatible with anything else, but the simplicity and use of its user interface are perfect, and mean I don’t have to worry about things not working as they should. And maybe it is robbing me of my computer literacy skills, but I don’t care. I have an iPad and I love it!

Seeing that I was getting a little bit exasperated now, he persisted. So I pulled out my scriptures, and with Holy writ as my basis, shared inspired words about putting your faith in what you most believe in. Now please don’t misunderstand me here. In saying that I do not mean to mock that which is most important to me. I know that my Heavenly Father is he in whom I most believe, and my source of life and joy. But my experience with my iPad shows me it is a very good piece of equipment, which serves its purpose very well. And I do put confidence in it to accomplish many day to day roles.

So where am I going with this? Am I saying that iPad owners aren’t smug, they’re just driven to it by the quips of others? Or just simply that we should go on more coach journey’s with buddies? Or is it that we all just start saying things we don’t mean when we get carried away, but who cares, since we had our fun?

All I can say is that none of it would have happened had I gone in the car. Which takes us right back to peak oil again. Ugh.

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Chromebook vs. Notebook

I have a weakness, and it’s to do with technology. Allow me to explain this in more detail. When manufacturers bring out a new product, I get quite excited, and really want to get one. To draw from a recent example of this, let’s talk about the Apple iPad. I find it an amazing piece of kit, it looks the business, does loads of cool stuff, and I really wouldn’t mind having one. Except the biggest reason I want it, isn’t really because its features are going to improve my life and bring lasting happiness, its because I want to play with it, experiment with it and admire how cool it is.

This last couple of weeks, I’ve been thinking about how I could justify getting one, probably for University. Apple do say it will revolutionise everything, including education, but as of yet, I can’t see how. The one place where I could see an advantage, would be in note-taking. If you were using a laptop to take notes, the iPad is a lot smaller and thinner, and only 2 dimensional, which makes it a bit more natural. Or if your walking along, and need to note something down quickly, its easy to put out and write into. But I don’t use a computer for taking notes – for educational purposes at least. It is accepted that writing your notes with a pen and paper will help you recall more effectively what you’ve learnt. Moreover I have terrible experiences, having tried to use a computer to take notes before, drawing diagrams, for instance. And then lets come on to doing some real work. While an iPad may be fine for writing in text, and dropping in some pictures, it feels restricting in what more it can do. It is definitely not a replacement for a laptop.

So what is it good at? It’s a very good tool for executives to use, in meetings, to say “my company’s got more money that yours”. It would be the equivalent of parking their BMW behind their chair in the boardroom. In other words, it doesn’t seem to do anything, that something a lot cheaper cant already do.

And then once I’d shaken that off me, along came a web-ad for the new Google Chromebook. Getting excited I clicked on it, thinking; “a laptop that is small, and does nothing more than browsing the internet, that must be really cheap”. But little did I know, I was going to be sorely disappointed, since the Chromebook costs at least £350, or £400 if you want it with 3g. That’s very ambitious of them, to say that it costs almost as much as an iPad, and does much, much less. The Chromebook boats being able to boot in 8 seconds, and giving you access to all of your web services, and your documents through the cloud. In my eyes, the iPad is what it’s competing with.

But this casts light on another problem. Where does all this end? There’s a lot of emphasis right now on products that allow you to play work on the go, yet products that are currently hitting the market are becoming increasingly less productive. Yes the iPad can implement stunning graphics in to documents, but if my dad, who is by trade a Quantity Surveyor, wanted to get some work done, he couldn’t. And the Chomebook looks like it will be great for writing essays and essays of text, but when I come to prepare it for publication, I’m going to be strangled.

Nope, I fear that all we have here are a fleet of over glorified V-techs, that claim the way forward is to spend more money in exchange for less. For me, I’m going to spend less than an iPad costs, on a fully functional computer. And if it be that I need access to something I can write on within 8 seconds, we’ll I’ll cross my fingers that my notepad doesn’t crash.