Mature Computing?

Mature Computing?How do we know when computing has matured? Many years ago, professor Don Norman answered that question for me by looking around his book-cluttered office and saying that computing will have matured when we are surrounded by computers and not aware of it. By comparison, we were sitting amid many kinds of printing and not really aware of it. His books, notes and papers on his desk, and memos posted on the wall all surrounded us covered with printing. Even the writing instruments themselves had writing on them.

Printing is mature. When he made that statement, computing was definitely immature.

But now when I drive my car, I am now surrounded by about twenty computers and not really aware of them as such. My telephone is more powerful than the computers that went to the moon. Even my watch can update itself by listening to WWV automatically. These computers are all doing their jobs without much input from me. When flying in a modern airplane, one might be surrounded by up to a thousand computers — and that does not include the ones being carried by passengers.

Another aspect of computing maturing is the change in activities of people who use them. A few years ago a PC users club I attend had about 130 active members with presentations sponsored by vendors. Now a large meeting would attract 25-30 members, and the nature of the presentations has changed. This evolution seems to have been driven by the maturing of computing rather than a lack of leadership in the club. Attendance of this seniors-oriented association varies from raw neophytes to professionals, but they all seem to share an interest in computer applications rather than computer mechanics. In the past, much more emphasis was placed on learning how the machines worked and how to hot rod them. Now the emphasis in on what you can do with them.

That emphasis is shared with the more modern concerns of security and privacy.

Could this change in activities result in the decrease in attendance of the club? That is, we do not have clubs formed by people to learn how to write with a pen — or make pens and keep them working correctly. But we do have clubs dedicated to helping members become better writers in the sense of being better able to construct a story.

Cars clubs are usually organized around a topic such as preserving old cars, customizing cars, hot rodding and racing cars, etc. Perhaps in the early days, there were clubs formed by people who were simply interested in cars. I suspect they spent a lot of time talking about the automotive equivalent of the BSOD.

Devices that are mature and used by everyone do not require or attract club activity. How many toothbrush clubs have you seen? Computing has not reached that level of maturity, but it is changing.

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  1. Mark Dalton says:

    im not optimistic for the ipad getting a retina display ever, a higher definition display? yes but retina would be too expensive and apple want to keep costs down to remain competitive

  2. Anonymous says:

    I would have been interested, but I don’t think I can afford it. What I said last year, I know.

    I’m tempted to check out second hand iPad 1 prices…

  3. Anonymous says:

    Yes, the Apple Digital AV Adapter will work on older devices, but it won’t do 1080p and mirror what’s on the screen like the iPad 2. It will only do 720p on the older devices. Also, it will only work on slideshows and movies, which is the same as the current AV output for the older devices. From the Apple website:

    “Use the Apple Digital AV Adapter to mirror whatever’s on your iPad 2 screen — apps, presentations, websites, and more — on your HDTV or HDMI-compatible display in up to 1080p HD (movies play at up to 720p).

    Watch slideshows and movies on the big screen in up to 720p by connecting your iPad, iPhone 4, or iPod touch (4th generation) to an HDTV or HDMI-compatible display.”

  4. iColorado303 says:

    are you joking, you can sell your ipad 16GB wifi only Ipad 1 for $365 to, so your $200-$300 difference figure is quite off

  5. Bill Houle says:

    If the iPad2 had no camera(s), then I’d agree with your “spend time transferring the footage” iMovie comment. However, I believe their intent is that you *take* the footage from the iPad, and then edit it right there. Ditto for stills in Photo Booth.

    I agree with your assessment in general. If I needed FaceTime (or iMovie), I’d be lining up to upgrade. As it stands, I don’t _need_ it, but am nonetheless fighting a strong urge.

    BTW, I think one upsell is exposing PC users to Mac mainstays like Garage Band and iMovie, and lure more to the Apple desktop/laptop platform – the halo effect, but now via the software rather than the hardware.

  6. AJH says:

    I’m not at all impressed with the iPad running iOS. I think it should run a stripped version of OS X, including Safari, Dashboard, iCal, Photobooth, Facetime, iTunes, iChat, and the app store. Also have the pop out keyboard and about two USB ports.

    This is a pet peeve of mine, but it’s not $500 / $600 / $700. It’s $499, $599, and $699. There is no .99 cent charge. They’re 499, 599, and 699 dollars even.

  7. Oday Yousif says:

    I’m not trying to hat and I don’t know if your an anti Apple person or not but it just seems to me anyone who hates Apple and/or the iPad will always finding something bad to say about their products.

  8. Angelo Carosio says:

    Is anyone going to shoot video with the iPad? It feels like it would feel really really silly to carry it around to record video with.

  9. Vk507 says:

    I completely agree with you, it’s dower have enough “newness ” to upgrade.

  10. CMS Expo says:

    Fair enougn, Chris. I think you’ve got a point for the folks thinking of upgrading. The real sales will come from folks who were waiting for 2nd gen before buying their first tablet. Me? I’m keeping my iPad AND getting an iPad2. Gonna hinge ’em together into an iPadwich.

  11. Sunny Singh says:

    And what’s wrong with that? Apple is not perfect, and their products aren’t either. Angelo is simply voicing their opinion, and that perhaps the iPad 2 is not as great a leap between itself and the original iPad. Any good company (and its users) will want great feedback and criticism like this to improve. You want a better iPad, don’t you?

    I’m also not trying to hate, but many Apple fans tend to say something bad about any product not made by Apple.

  12. EHawthorn says:

    One word: Verizon iPad. OK that’s two words.

  13. Anonymous says:

    The hdmi dongle only mirrors ipad2 and it only plays audio and video on select apps on all other devices.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I was afraid what you stated is true. It would have been nice to mirror iPhone 4 and get hulu and angry bird like games on big screen

  15. Anonymous says:

    Dam you apple! I want to mirror iPhone 4

  16. Erik says:

    I couldn’t agree more. The IPAD2 is a great device and I was jealous if you will, that my Pad would be left out with some of the new features such as the Safari upgrade and the HDMI hook-up. However, now that you clarified this, and that it will be available for the IPad 1st Generation – I am even more sure that I will wait to Generation 3 to upgrade

    Let me also point out a few things that concern me about the IPAD 2:

    1) The Speakers: Yes, they are better but they also have been moved. They have been moved to the lower back of the unit. Now, if you are like me and OCD, and have to have a case for every bit of tech I own, having a case is must. Now, they may come out with them but once again, it’s just another item I have to sell. Otherwise we would have a lot of muffled speakers. the same goes for the front camera …any Ipad case out there now would be useless for the new IPAD2. Not to mention that because it’s thinner, which is great, many cases might as well be tossed away.

    2) The Smart Cases: I am really unsure about these. They are very cool looking and seem to be very useful but what on earth will they protect? If the unit falls, this case won’t do a thing. So you will not only need a smart case but another case to go over it, in my opinion. I may get one for my IPAD, but I just have to see them in person. Also, the magnetic clasp – for me, this looks a little “iffy” as it is a guaranteed “scratch” maker. Metal on metal?

    I agree. My opinion would be for existing IPAD owners, to wait until the next Generation, that is unless you really would get a lot out of Facetime and the cameras in general.


  17. Dizzle31477 says:

    Wait until new apps come out that are only compatible with faster ipad 2. Then write about how you will not get one and that it isn’t worth it.

    im not an apple fanboy, nor do i like the idea of apple products becoming obsolete within months of release. I just take the early impressions about the products with a grain of salt. So many naysayers (some i know personally) claim they will NEVER own the recently announced products. Then end up having them and loving them.

    Also, in technology… If you wait for the “next best thing” to come out before buying, you will be waiting forever.

  18. Drift says:

    Personally I just got my iPad and this came out? Not thoroughly impressed… I’ll wait for the 3rd gen iPad. Not worth the upgrade.

  19. clozeone says:

    Found this article by chance. I just wanted to say, Garageband works on the iPad 1. Checked it myself.