When Is the Truth Wrong?

Answer: When it is missing the point.

Spoiler: This ends up being about the iPad.

I’m afraid I’m at odds with the Pope. I think relativism in all it’s forms is the greatest contribution to human culture so far.

Our first family car was a Series III Jaguar XJ6. It was the most elegant and beautiful sedan ever made. When our first child was still young, we traded it in for a Ford minivan. Piece of shit. We were mad at the Jag and its notorious failures and for having its air conditioner die in traffic in 100 degree heat. Within a year or two, the entire fucking engine on the Ford would be recalled. But before that, before I realized that we had made a fool’s choice — the same engine in the XJ6 was produced without recall for 40 years — I was trying really hard to be practical. The Ford minivan didn’t have power sliding doors. Why would anyone need that?! The Ford didn’t even have any left-side sliding door at all. But be reasonable! Do you know how many children get killed coming out of the left side of a car! (Half of them?) Do you have any idea how many kids get pinched in a power door that do not, somehow, get their fingers stuffed into a manual car door?

I hadn’t yet learned to read from The Book of Crap, but the Ford was a lesson.

By now you have observed, or some pundit has observed for you, that the iPad resembles its smaller sibling. That’s correct, but it’s not The Truth.

Overheard today: “The iPad is not a larger iPhone. It is a smaller touchscreen display.” Everything I believe about direct-manipulation interfaces is going to come to pass on the iPad.

You can look at an iPad and think it’s no different than an iPhone. You can look at the pad’s specs and think it’s no different than the various slates and tablets that are out. You can look at direct manipulation interfaces and think that you don’t need that. All true, and all wrong.

About Stearns

Howard Stearns works at High Fidelity, Inc., creating the metaverse. Mr. Stearns has a quarter century experience in systems engineering, applications consulting, and management of advanced software technologies. He was the technical lead of University of Wisconsin's Croquet project, an ambitious project convened by computing pioneer Alan Kay to transform collaboration through 3D graphics and real-time, persistent shared spaces. The CAD integration products Mr. Stearns created for expert system pioneer ICAD set the market standard through IPO and acquisition by Oracle. The embedded systems he wrote helped transform the industrial diamond market. In the early 2000s, Mr. Stearns was named Technology Strategist for Curl, the only startup founded by WWW pioneer Tim Berners-Lee. An expert on programming languages and operating systems, Mr. Stearns created the Eclipse commercial Common Lisp programming implementation. Mr. Stearns has two degrees from M.I.T., and has directed family businesses in early childhood education and publishing.

Comments are closed.