Month: January 2010

Fear of a Pad Planet

There’s been a certain reaction to the iPad from some quarters of the tech-inclined community, inspired by the belief that the device signals a shift towards a new form of computing that old people can finally understand. That reaction has been fear and apprehension. It begins by looking at the iPad as a better personal computer for the majority of people. After all, it surfs the web, does email, plays games, and that’s what most people do with their computers most of the time, right? Better yet, it does all of those things without a long boot-up sequence, viruses, and confusing computery concepts like a filesystem, administrator rights, directories (recently renamed ‘Folders’ for these same users), registries, multi-step installation procedures, and the list goes on. Parents will finally stop calling us for help with strange error messages, and we will forget that it was ever hard. But if people start to prefer the iPad and its descendants to ‘real’ computers, so the argument goes, then we will have robbed the next generation of a basic …

Alex Payne on the iPad

Alex Payne, in a widely-linked article, wrote today that: The thing that bothers me most about the iPad is this: if I had an iPad rather than a real computer as a kid, I’d never be a programmer today. I’d never have had the ability to run whatever stupid, potentially harmful, hugely educational programs I could download or write. I wouldn’t have been able to fire up ResEdit and edit out the Mac startup sound so I could tinker on the computer at all hours without waking my parents. The iPad may be a boon to traditional eduction, insofar as it allows for multimedia textbooks and such, but in its current form, it’s a detriment to the sort of hacker culture that has propelled the digital economy. As far as I can tell, Apple never intended for young Alex Payne to access the Mac’s startup sound any more than they intend for a future programmer to hack an iPad’s filesystem and do some tinkering of his own tomorrow. Sure it’s harder with DRM and encryption, …

The Causes of iPad Disappointment

Letdown. Disappointment. Anticlimax. These words have appeared in nearly all the first articles written about the newly unveiled Apple iPad, barely a day old in the world. The reasons are not entirely important in the long run, but many of these stories themselves will admit that expectations were raised beyond reasonable levels, that Apple had no hope of impressing everyone the way they did in 2007 with the first iPhone. This environment of fanciful conjecture and presumptuous theorizing was the result of an industry’s decade-long fascination with getting the idea of a tablet computer to stick – seemingly against the wishes of the consumers meant to buy them – and the belief that Apple can succeed where other companies embarrass themselves. They’ve done it before, after all. It never helps that Apple says very little about what it’s got until it’s got it. The veil of secrecy provides theatrical levels of entertainment at every event; charged affairs where people whoop and whistle from the moment Jobs takes the stage. As press conferences go, they overdeliver. …

The Colonial Bar

That much of the building’s history has been recorded and can be found online without too much trouble. I’m trying to assemble a better picture, mostly from anecdotal information offered by the neighborhood’s older residents, who’ve stopped by to check out the newly-revived icon, as told to the bar’s current staff. My assumption is that the Colonial’s current claim of being “established in 1924” is accurate, as it must have existed in some form to serve patrons such as the governor. Whether or not it continued to operate up until the Japanese Occupation of World War II is uncertain. During the occupation, I am told the Ellison Building was commandeered by the Japanese army for use as one of their headquarters, which would make sense, given the proximity of the place to the Jalan Besar Stadium where the infamous “Sook Ching” screenings and executions took place. My knowledge of this period in history is regrettably weak, not having been fortunate enough to watch any of Channel 8’s many Chinese drama serials set during the war (2). …