Tag Archives: open source

That Freaking iPad

I swear. I don’t have any Apple products, but that’s more of a “I’d rather pay less for a less slick interface” decision than a political manifesto (though my wife has quite a different stance). But everywhere I turn I’m reading more about iPads (Twitter! Blogs! The issue of Wired in the basket on the toilet!) and, I admit, I’m drooling a bit at the possibilities, even as I grow sick of the hype.

Two worthwhile perspectives amidst the madness are:

Cory Doctorow’s “Why I won’t buy an iPad (and think you shouldn’t, either.” One quote:

The way you improve your iPad isn’t to figure out how it works and making it better. The way you improve the iPad is to buy iApps.

And Steven D. Krause’s descriptively titled “Anybody who says that the iPad is the end of user-generated content or the internet does not know what they are talking about.” One quote:

The iPad has some pretty cool apps for actually making content as it is. Pages and Keynote are both pretty slick, and when it comes to layout, the touchpad might make it easier for novice artists like me to move around images and stuff by just touching them instead of dragging them with a mouse.

Instead of actually writing commentary, here’s how I commented on Krause’s piece:

Great points, especially with the specifics of what people *can* create on the iPad.

You’ve probably seen Cory Doctorow’s piece on this issue? (http://www.boingboing.net/2010/04/02/why-i-wont-buy-an-ipad-and-think-you-shouldnt-either.html) A lot of his problem is that the apps and software that let you create content all have to be produced by (or at least vetted by, sold by, distributed by, etc.) Apple. He’d rather see a tablet that encourages you to open it up both physically and in terms of software, so that anyone who wants can create new hardware to plug into it and anyone who wants can move beyond the App Store distribution model.

While I tend to agree with him about how exciting that model is, I also appreciate your reminder that we stay down-to-earth in our rhetoric about all this–that we not scoff at apps just because they come from the App Store. Thanks!

Meta-question: part of me likes that I tend so often to see a middle ground, and part of me is sick of that quality in myself. Thus: it’s both annoying and pleasant to see myself doing so again. Bleah/Yeah!

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Open Sourcing Social Media Consulting

Of late, I’ve been increasingly surprised and impressed with the variety of disciplines I’ve been tiptoeing into–a natural side-effect of reading about intellectual property, remixing, and the changing face of writing. It’s great fun . . . but I also get the impression that we rhetoric/composition folks dip into our friends’ pools more than others drop by to swim with us and see what we have to say. Is that just me? Not to get all defensive or anything. . . .

This morning, for instance, I found myself for the first time at Harvard Business Publishing’s “Conversation Starter” blog, thanks to my Google News alert for “intellectual property.” (It wasn’t really that long ago that, as an undergraduate English major, I would push my ponytail aside and scoff into my espresso if people told me they were studying business.)

I was directed to a stellar post, “Will Social Media Consultants Practice What They Preach?” by Alexandra Samuel, CEO of Social Signal, a social media consulting firm. (“Hey business X! Be hip! We’ll help!”) Basically, she’s announcing that she’s tired of social media consulting firms touting the importance of freedom, openness, sharing, etc., without actually stepping up and being free and open themselves. To that end, Social Signal is going to start giving away their intellectual property under Creative Commons licenses, sharing their ideas and previous work for free, as long as people agree give credit, not turn around and sell it, and use a similar license if they post it at their own site.

What I especially like here is the group admitting how terrifying a process this can be, but going ahead and doing it anyway. I mean, look at me, a graduate student in (at least at my university) a subdiscipline of English studies. I’ve never had the need for social media consulting, but all of sudden, because of this choice of theirs, I firmly have their company’s name hovering in my brain. The first time I come across someone needing this kind of service (and my wife, working in the nonprofit arts sector, surely knows lots of groups who could use some serious consultations), Social Signal will come up in the conversation. This business move is a recognition of the natural way ideas move; it’s not a replacement for making money, but a more real way of making money. I love it.

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