New Media Faculty Dev. Seminar – FA2010

"Awakening the Digital Imagination" – a Networked Seminar

Browsing Posts published by Me

Post source: publicintellectual

A bit of background is necessary before I get into my belated discussion of Turkle (which I thought I had put on timed release but did not, I suppose).

First, I love games of all sorts. One of my favorite things to do with my family has always been to play games. My brother and I used to fight over the monthly arrival of the Games magazine. We love crosswords, computer games, arcade games, car games, and any other sort of game known to mankind.

I believe that this game-centric lifestyle has warped me to no end. I constantly play games in my mind at almost all times. One of my favorites is to take things that people say and try to think of songs or quotes from movies/TV that fit or follow from this. "Come on!" almost always elicits an internal completion of "Eileen" and a subconscious break-out into "toora loora toora loo rye aye" etc. (Albeit, my version is the Save Ferris version rather than the Dexy's Midnight Runners').

Second, I did not have a console gaming system for a long, long, long time after all of my friends had one, other than an Atari 800, which was ostensibly a computer. So, Nintendo, Sega, and Playstation systems were always a bit of a fetish item for me. I did eventually buy a PS1 and a PS2 after they went down in price, but by that time, it was not cool.

This means that my sort of my gaming came a series of fits and starts that depended on what my friends had and were playing. It meant that I never got really good at any of the games that other people played and would constantly have to submit to the query of, "Do you want to have me help you through is part?"

Conclusion
Combining these, I feel a polarity that I'm not sure I see in Turkle's work, although I might see it reflected. It is that gaming, whether it was a form of social connection and/or mental expansion and challenge, was never, for me at least, a matter of this zen-like connection that Turkle observes.

For me, it was a battle with the movable parts that Turkle claims to not exist in video games, despite my battles with sticky controller buttons, high ping/lag, or have the less-than-modern mouse or joystick. it was a battle with not being able to devote the time and energy to claim some social status.

Even in the faculty seminar with the fact that I'm more gamer than most of my colleagues, I am noob of all noobs in comparison to those around me. My student toss off their kill ratios and ask me about whether I've played the new Fallout (no), and I'm left without a response. A couple years ago, I taught a mass media intro class and had a day on identity construction in video games. I brought in my PS2 and Guitar Hero II, a wonderful example of mastery and the zen-like meditation that Turkle describes, and I was pawned in ways that I'm sure you can imagine.

Fortunately, now, I can retreat to my farm and enjoy a leisurely time of planting tomatoes.




Or, better yet, I can turn down the lights and watch "Dory" mate.

-Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Post source: publicintellectual

A bit of background is necessary before I get into my belated discussion of Turkle (which I thought I had put on timed release but did not, I suppose).

First, I love games of all sorts. One of my favorite things to do with my family has always been to play games. My brother and I used to fight over the monthly arrival of the Games magazine. We love crosswords, computer games, arcade games, car games, and any other sort of game known to mankind.

I believe that this game-centric lifestyle has warped me to no end. I constantly play games in my mind at almost all times. One of my favorites is to take things that people say and try to think of songs or quotes from movies/TV that fit or follow from this. "Come on!" almost always elicits an internal completion of "Eileen" and a subconscious break-out into "toora loora toora loo rye aye" etc. (Albeit, my version is the Save Ferris version rather than the Dexy's Midnight Runners').

Second, I did not have a console gaming system for a long, long, long time after all of my friends had one, other than an Atari 800, which was ostensibly a computer. So, Nintendo, Sega, and Playstation systems were always a bit of a fetish item for me. I did eventually buy a PS1 and a PS2 after they went down in price, but by that time, it was not cool.

This means that my sort of my gaming came a series of fits and starts that depended on what my friends had and were playing. It meant that I never got really good at any of the games that other people played and would constantly have to submit to the query of, "Do you want to have me help you through is part?"

Conclusion
Combining these, I feel a polarity that I'm not sure I see in Turkle's work, although I might see it reflected. It is that gaming, whether it was a form of social connection and/or mental expansion and challenge, was never, for me at least, a matter of this zen-like connection that Turkle observes.

For me, it was a battle with the movable parts that Turkle claims to not exist in video games, despite my battles with sticky controller buttons, high ping/lag, or have the less-than-modern mouse or joystick. it was a battle with not being able to devote the time and energy to claim some social status.

Even in the faculty seminar with the fact that I'm more gamer than most of my colleagues, I am noob of all noobs in comparison to those around me. My student toss off their kill ratios and ask me about whether I've played the new Fallout (no), and I'm left without a response. A couple years ago, I taught a mass media intro class and had a day on identity construction in video games. I brought in my PS2 and Guitar Hero II, a wonderful example of mastery and the zen-like meditation that Turkle describes, and I was pawned in ways that I'm sure you can imagine.

Fortunately, now, I can retreat to my farm and enjoy a leisurely time of planting tomatoes.




Or, better yet, I can turn down the lights and watch "Dory" mate.

-Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Laurel: Where’s the Hardy?

No comments

Post source: publicintellectual

Oh, That's Right It's in the Humanities!

It's argue ably not the first approach that we've seen from the Humanities, both Nelson and McLuhan have some pretty humanistic undergirding. However, Laurel makes no excuse for her roots AND their usefulness in the realms of the digital.

It's the Story, Stupid!

Consider me biased, but I think that throughout all of the reading to date a large quantity of great ideas have been given, a lot of these ideas have been tied to potential ways of seeing the world of work and thinking in new and original ways. What has been missing, and I think Nelson was pointing to the to a degree, has been the ability to analyze and critique these stories of the digital age.

It is to here that Laurel brings her thinking and from whence that I think people like Tom Chatfield and Jane McGonigal draw their ideas for their, relatively recent TED talks, Found here, where they begin to draw out some interesting potentials for human-computer interaction.

What's It To You?
Well, to me, it's nearly everything in terms of research but also filters down to my teaching to a large degree. The concept that the interaction between agents involves their actions and also the motivations and beliefs behind those characters and actions is a powerful one. It clearly filters into any number of situations: advertising, politics, history, and even science. The structure of the narrative affects its meaning.

In almost every class that I teach, I give at least one example of how looking closely at the form of something can give us an understanding of how it works. This hierarchy, or should I say hierarchies, presents a method of analysis that not only goes beyond the efficacy of something being studied but also can contain and explore the discussion of efficacy itself.

In other words, it gives a process for both the exploration of the process but also for the reasons behind the processes that is not always available to more scientific approaches to phenomena. In this way a researcher can employ a transmedia approach to interactions that could be analyzed as narrative.

An Example?

Really? I'd love to.

Let's say, hypothetically, that you were interested in the changes in characters/agents that one might commonly call "detectives". Let's say that you want to also look at agents that seem to border on the definition of that character based on their actions, language, or motivations.

Well, traditionally, one would need to do literary analysis on the literary examples, applying film theory to the cinematic examples, and mass media approaches to the televisual sorts. Additionally, techniques might need to be formed for musical, video game, comic, and advertising examples to name a few.

Applying Aristotelian approaches to narratives and ins that we agree on as narratives is not new, but the idea of applying them to non-narrative characters and interactions is very valuable. now, we can compare the driving of a character in a 1940s noir to the use of a controller in playing Max Payne. We can unpack the agency of the characters involved and compare the different modes of thought and ethical questions behind them in a way that more resembles the ways that individuals use media and engage in narrative.

The modern human agent does not really differentiate between computer time and movie time and TV time and Video Game time. it's screen time and needs to be studied as such.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Laurel: Where’s the Hardy?

No comments

Post source: publicintellectual

Oh, That's Right It's in the Humanities!

It's argue ably not the first approach that we've seen from the Humanities, both Nelson and McLuhan have some pretty humanistic undergirding. However, Laurel makes no excuse for her roots AND their usefulness in the realms of the digital.

It's the Story, Stupid!

Consider me biased, but I think that throughout all of the reading to date a large quantity of great ideas have been given, a lot of these ideas have been tied to potential ways of seeing the world of work and thinking in new and original ways. What has been missing, and I think Nelson was pointing to the to a degree, has been the ability to analyze and critique these stories of the digital age.

It is to here that Laurel brings her thinking and from whence that I think people like Tom Chatfield and Jane McGonigal draw their ideas for their, relatively recent TED talks, Found here, where they begin to draw out some interesting potentials for human-computer interaction.

What's It To You?
Well, to me, it's nearly everything in terms of research but also filters down to my teaching to a large degree. The concept that the interaction between agents involves their actions and also the motivations and beliefs behind those characters and actions is a powerful one. It clearly filters into any number of situations: advertising, politics, history, and even science. The structure of the narrative affects its meaning.

In almost every class that I teach, I give at least one example of how looking closely at the form of something can give us an understanding of how it works. This hierarchy, or should I say hierarchies, presents a method of analysis that not only goes beyond the efficacy of something being studied but also can contain and explore the discussion of efficacy itself.

In other words, it gives a process for both the exploration of the process but also for the reasons behind the processes that is not always available to more scientific approaches to phenomena. In this way a researcher can employ a transmedia approach to interactions that could be analyzed as narrative.

An Example?

Really? I'd love to.

Let's say, hypothetically, that you were interested in the changes in characters/agents that one might commonly call "detectives". Let's say that you want to also look at agents that seem to border on the definition of that character based on their actions, language, or motivations.

Well, traditionally, one would need to do literary analysis on the literary examples, applying film theory to the cinematic examples, and mass media approaches to the televisual sorts. Additionally, techniques might need to be formed for musical, video game, comic, and advertising examples to name a few.

Applying Aristotelian approaches to narratives and ins that we agree on as narratives is not new, but the idea of applying them to non-narrative characters and interactions is very valuable. now, we can compare the driving of a character in a 1940s noir to the use of a controller in playing Max Payne. We can unpack the agency of the characters involved and compare the different modes of thought and ethical questions behind them in a way that more resembles the ways that individuals use media and engage in narrative.

The modern human agent does not really differentiate between computer time and movie time and TV time and Video Game time. it's screen time and needs to be studied as such.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Laurel: Where’s the Hardy?

No comments

Post source: publicintellectual

Oh, That's Right It's in the Humanities!

It's argue ably not the first approach that we've seen from the Humanities, both Nelson and McLuhan have some pretty humanistic undergirding. However, Laurel makes no excuse for her roots AND their usefulness in the realms of the digital.

It's the Story, Stupid!

Consider me biased, but I think that throughout all of the reading to date a large quantity of great ideas have been given, a lot of these ideas have been tied to potential ways of seeing the world of work and thinking in new and original ways. What has been missing, and I think Nelson was pointing to the to a degree, has been the ability to analyze and critique these stories of the digital age.

It is to here that Laurel brings her thinking and from whence that I think people like Tom Chatfield and Jane McGonigal draw their ideas for their, relatively recent TED talks, Found here, where they begin to draw out some interesting potentials for human-computer interaction.

What's It To You?
Well, to me, it's nearly everything in terms of research but also filters down to my teaching to a large degree. The concept that the interaction between agents involves their actions and also the motivations and beliefs behind those characters and actions is a powerful one. It clearly filters into any number of situations: advertising, politics, history, and even science. The structure of the narrative affects its meaning.

In almost every class that I teach, I give at least one example of how looking closely at the form of something can give us an understanding of how it works. This hierarchy, or should I say hierarchies, presents a method of analysis that not only goes beyond the efficacy of something being studied but also can contain and explore the discussion of efficacy itself.

In other words, it gives a process for both the exploration of the process but also for the reasons behind the processes that is not always available to more scientific approaches to phenomena. In this way a researcher can employ a transmedia approach to interactions that could be analyzed as narrative.

An Example?

Really? I'd love to.

Let's say, hypothetically, that you were interested in the changes in characters/agents that one might commonly call "detectives". Let's say that you want to also look at agents that seem to border on the definition of that character based on their actions, language, or motivations.

Well, traditionally, one would need to do literary analysis on the literary examples, applying film theory to the cinematic examples, and mass media approaches to the televisual sorts. Additionally, techniques might need to be formed for musical, video game, comic, and advertising examples to name a few.

Applying Aristotelian approaches to narratives and ins that we agree on as narratives is not new, but the idea of applying them to non-narrative characters and interactions is very valuable. now, we can compare the driving of a character in a 1940s noir to the use of a controller in playing Max Payne. We can unpack the agency of the characters involved and compare the different modes of thought and ethical questions behind them in a way that more resembles the ways that individuals use media and engage in narrative.

The modern human agent does not really differentiate between computer time and movie time and TV time and Video Game time. it's screen time and needs to be studied as such.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Post source: publicintellectual

As I prepped for teaching a course on short stories this term, I struggled a great deal with where to begin. The longevity of a "short" story is well recorded, with myths and folk tales, as is its potential to become ephemera, with "You'll never guess what happened last week." Because of the vast distances that stories both can and cannot travel, it grows difficult to ensure relevancy beyond the discipline. Sure, short stories are a form that rose to popularity with the growth of subscription publications like newspapers and magazines in the early 19th Century, but they are more than that.

Viola's "Will There Be Condominiums in Data Space" gives perhaps a perfect example of the relevance of the short story in his use of the fable at the end. While it is told as a personal anecdote, this, combined with the personification of the porcupine and the merging of the "I" with their car, has all the hallmarks of a folktale or fable.

As with many of Aesop's fables and those collected by the Grimms, the location is both described but also vague, "Late one night while driving down a narrow mountain highway." Additionally, the players, porcupine and the man/car, each take on aspects of society or human nature. The porcupine is proud, stubborn, and natural, while the man/car is large, powerful, kind, and technological. The conflict is obvious and reflects the conflicts that Viola traces throughout his writing. It is a call for progress and and acknowledgment of the limits of personal perspective, but the framing as a fable has additional importance.

GK Chesterton writes, in his introduction to a translation of Aesop's Fables,
This is the immortal justification of the Fable: that we could not teach the plainest truths so simply without turning men into chessmen....by using animals in this austere and arbitrary style as they are used on the shields of heraldry or the
hieroglyphics of the ancients, men have really succeeded in handing down those tremendous truths that are called truisms.


To us, this means that Viola's use of a nearly universal and ancient narrative form communicates and demonstrates the points about tradition and technology that he seems to point out at various places in the chapter that there is

the importance of turning back towards ourselves...The sacred art of the past has unified form, function, and aesthetics around this single ultimate aim. Today, development of self must precede development of the technology or we will go nowhere


This reminds me of some recent trends in sacred spheres to return to more traditional forms of representation in order to recombine and recreate the now, including the monastic walk/prayer labyrinth:



and the both ironic and non-ironic appreciation of religious icons:



Interestingly enough, a friend of a friend's blog gives a very simple explanation of why icons look they way they do, and its theological importance. Not unsurprisingly, it has a lot in common in the discussion of space and ideas that comes up in Viola's chapter.

Note: I somehow lost the two posts that I did for last week. I'm going to recreate them from my notes and post them on Monday and Wednesday of next week.

Post source: publicintellectual

As I prepped for teaching a course on short stories this term, I struggled a great deal with where to begin. The longevity of a "short" story is well recorded, with myths and folk tales, as is its potential to become ephemera, with "You'll never guess what happened last week." Because of the vast distances that stories both can and cannot travel, it grows difficult to ensure relevancy beyond the discipline. Sure, short stories are a form that rose to popularity with the growth of subscription publications like newspapers and magazines in the early 19th Century, but they are more than that.

Viola's "Will There Be Condominiums in Data Space" gives perhaps a perfect example of the relevance of the short story in his use of the fable at the end. While it is told as a personal anecdote, this, combined with the personification of the porcupine and the merging of the "I" with their car, has all the hallmarks of a folktale or fable.

As with many of Aesop's fables and those collected by the Grimms, the location is both described but also vague, "Late one night while driving down a narrow mountain highway." Additionally, the players, porcupine and the man/car, each take on aspects of society or human nature. The porcupine is proud, stubborn, and natural, while the man/car is large, powerful, kind, and technological. The conflict is obvious and reflects the conflicts that Viola traces throughout his writing. It is a call for progress and and acknowledgment of the limits of personal perspective, but the framing as a fable has additional importance.

GK Chesterton writes, in his introduction to a translation of Aesop's Fables,
This is the immortal justification of the Fable: that we could not teach the plainest truths so simply without turning men into chessmen....by using animals in this austere and arbitrary style as they are used on the shields of heraldry or the
hieroglyphics of the ancients, men have really succeeded in handing down those tremendous truths that are called truisms.


To us, this means that Viola's use of a nearly universal and ancient narrative form communicates and demonstrates the points about tradition and technology that he seems to point out at various places in the chapter that there is

the importance of turning back towards ourselves...The sacred art of the past has unified form, function, and aesthetics around this single ultimate aim. Today, development of self must precede development of the technology or we will go nowhere


This reminds me of some recent trends in sacred spheres to return to more traditional forms of representation in order to recombine and recreate the now, including the monastic walk/prayer labyrinth:



and the both ironic and non-ironic appreciation of religious icons:



Interestingly enough, a friend of a friend's blog gives a very simple explanation of why icons look they way they do, and its theological importance. Not unsurprisingly, it has a lot in common in the discussion of space and ideas that comes up in Viola's chapter.

Note: I somehow lost the two posts that I did for last week. I'm going to recreate them from my notes and post them on Monday and Wednesday of next week.

Post source: publicintellectual

As I prepped for teaching a course on short stories this term, I struggled a great deal with where to begin. The longevity of a "short" story is well recorded, with myths and folk tales, as is its potential to become ephemera, with "You'll never guess what happened last week." Because of the vast distances that stories both can and cannot travel, it grows difficult to ensure relevancy beyond the discipline. Sure, short stories are a form that rose to popularity with the growth of subscription publications like newspapers and magazines in the early 19th Century, but they are more than that.

Viola's "Will There Be Condominiums in Data Space" gives perhaps a perfect example of the relevance of the short story in his use of the fable at the end. While it is told as a personal anecdote, this, combined with the personification of the porcupine and the merging of the "I" with their car, has all the hallmarks of a folktale or fable.

As with many of Aesop's fables and those collected by the Grimms, the location is both described but also vague, "Late one night while driving down a narrow mountain highway." Additionally, the players, porcupine and the man/car, each take on aspects of society or human nature. The porcupine is proud, stubborn, and natural, while the man/car is large, powerful, kind, and technological. The conflict is obvious and reflects the conflicts that Viola traces throughout his writing. It is a call for progress and and acknowledgment of the limits of personal perspective, but the framing as a fable has additional importance.

GK Chesterton writes, in his introduction to a translation of Aesop's Fables,
This is the immortal justification of the Fable: that we could not teach the plainest truths so simply without turning men into chessmen....by using animals in this austere and arbitrary style as they are used on the shields of heraldry or the
hieroglyphics of the ancients, men have really succeeded in handing down those tremendous truths that are called truisms.


To us, this means that Viola's use of a nearly universal and ancient narrative form communicates and demonstrates the points about tradition and technology that he seems to point out at various places in the chapter that there is

the importance of turning back towards ourselves...The sacred art of the past has unified form, function, and aesthetics around this single ultimate aim. Today, development of self must precede development of the technology or we will go nowhere


This reminds me of some recent trends in sacred spheres to return to more traditional forms of representation in order to recombine and recreate the now, including the monastic walk/prayer labyrinth:



and the both ironic and non-ironic appreciation of religious icons:



Interestingly enough, a friend of a friend's blog gives a very simple explanation of why icons look they way they do, and its theological importance. Not unsurprisingly, it has a lot in common in the discussion of space and ideas that comes up in Viola's chapter.

Note: I somehow lost the two posts that I did for last week. I'm going to recreate them from my notes and post them on Monday and Wednesday of next week.

Some Ideas About Tech…

No comments

Post source: publicintellectual

I'm going to take a break from discussing and interacting with the readings until later this week. Don't worry, I have plenty of things to say about Nelson's "Computer Lib/Dream Machines" and Kay/Goldberg's "Personal Dynamic Media", and in some ways, I want this post to bridge between my Nelson-esque rant from last week to a discussion of implications for actual use.

All of this ties into the fact that...
I got an iPad!

This is fascinating to me primarily because I have always had to be supremely self-motivated in my technological direction. Other than my father's devotion to the sadly overlooked and under-appreciated Commodore Amiga,



most of the technology in my life has had to have been self-selected, vetted, and thoroughly argued for/purchased with my own money.

From my alarm clock to my numerous Walkmen, personal cd players, laptops, desktops, pager, cell phones, iPods, flash drives, home theater system, video consoles (PS, PS2, Wii), Kindle, and anything I might have left out, I have spent hours talking to people, checking out Consumer Reports, surfing the web, all in the service of not purchasing something that I would not get solid use out of.

This iPad gives me to opportunity to interact with a media technology on a different level, a reactive level, which has been quite informative.

I want to give one negative aspect and then a bunch of positive things.


Bad- Difficulties of Output
The abilities of the iPad to connect, combine, store, and access a wide variety of media is fabulous, but the difficulty of getting things off of the iPad. I assume that these will be corrected/simplified as things progress, but I would love a couple things: higher quality audio/video output, easier wireless printing, and data/file transfer via bluetooth/WiFi.

Yes, before you start inputting comments, I know that these all have workarounds that are ok, but for my use, as an educator who goes to different rooms with different set-ups (often of widely varying decades of equipment), I'd like to have one thing that I can carry with me with my presentations, online encyclopedia, Kindle access, gradebook, streaming audio/video, etc. all in one. Right now, I have to install Silverlight/Kindle on the computers that I use in the classroom (assuming that the priesthood allows such things), have a selection of flashdrives, and a connection to Google Docs.

I have to say that it's not bad. I like it much more than making overheads/copies, tapes, VHS, posterboard and so on that was the norm when I was learning to make presentations, in undergrad, but how nice would it be to walk into a classroom with my iPad, have the projector automatically recognize the iPad, establish a connection (with log-in), and allow me to type, draw notes, show videos, play audio, all without cords, remotes, or a big console?


Good- Community of Discoverers
One of the most exciting parts of new technologies is the growth of supportive communities towards the use and maximization/enjoyment of their use.

I remember the weekly Amiga BBS/SysOp meetings at the University of Delaware campus that we'd attend. We've all seen the continuance of such communities for longer periods too (motorcycles, HAM radios, classic cars). The iPad seems to have some potential towards these sorts of connections, and I'd like to share a couple:

One, is the TWIT network's iPad show, "iPad Today" (if the link is not active, it's because it is blocked by Websense, which is causing some problems). The Twit Network is an interesting podcasting network helmed by Leo Laporte, who I first saw 10 years ago on Tech TV. More interesting than the weekly show alone is the establishment of live, chat communities, wiki's, Buzz's, twitter accounts, blogs, and other outlets that grow up around it.

Second, is the "ideaplay" website that a friend at the tech and Ed, PhD program at Michigan State turned me on to.

These sorts of discussions and communities not only serve to teach one the rules and possibilities of the central subject, but they also test those rules and abilities. We can weigh the costs of "jailbreaking" an iPad without having to put yours at risk (not that there's really a big risk). In other words, they establish boundaries but also push against these, or at least they do in the best of potential worlds.

Mobility

The potentials to move and interact with content is really excellent with the iPad. The screen is clear, sharp, and just begs to be touched. I don't find the keyboard overly difficult to type on for most purposes, although I do wish a wider shift key and more ready access to number keys. I'm sure that different keyboards will come in time. The sheer portability and design profile of the iPad make it very easy to pop into a bag, even more so than a laptop or netbook.


Accessibility
The use of the iPad is very simplistic (overly so in some's opinion). There are a select number of apps per page arranged without much variability. Clicking in and out to single applications fits most uses on a daily basis and simplifies a work-thread in a way that might be advantageous for a creature that cannot truly multi-task.

Pure Potential
There is nothing really innovative to the iPad. As many have said, the tablet PC is not new, and others have actually done it better in some ways. What Apple provides is a a convergence and synergy that makes the iPad a potential and simple locus for almost all connection/access, in a similar way to what some Microsoft people have seen with the XBox 360 with Zune-pass.

I cannot wait to see where things go and test out trails going forward.

Some Ideas About Tech…

No comments

Post source: publicintellectual

I'm going to take a break from discussing and interacting with the readings until later this week. Don't worry, I have plenty of things to say about Nelson's "Computer Lib/Dream Machines" and Kay/Goldberg's "Personal Dynamic Media", and in some ways, I want this post to bridge between my Nelson-esque rant from last week to a discussion of implications for actual use.

All of this ties into the fact that...
I got an iPad!

This is fascinating to me primarily because I have always had to be supremely self-motivated in my technological direction. Other than my father's devotion to the sadly overlooked and under-appreciated Commodore Amiga,



most of the technology in my life has had to have been self-selected, vetted, and thoroughly argued for/purchased with my own money.

From my alarm clock to my numerous Walkmen, personal cd players, laptops, desktops, pager, cell phones, iPods, flash drives, home theater system, video consoles (PS, PS2, Wii), Kindle, and anything I might have left out, I have spent hours talking to people, checking out Consumer Reports, surfing the web, all in the service of not purchasing something that I would not get solid use out of.

This iPad gives me to opportunity to interact with a media technology on a different level, a reactive level, which has been quite informative.

I want to give one negative aspect and then a bunch of positive things.


Bad- Difficulties of Output
The abilities of the iPad to connect, combine, store, and access a wide variety of media is fabulous, but the difficulty of getting things off of the iPad. I assume that these will be corrected/simplified as things progress, but I would love a couple things: higher quality audio/video output, easier wireless printing, and data/file transfer via bluetooth/WiFi.

Yes, before you start inputting comments, I know that these all have workarounds that are ok, but for my use, as an educator who goes to different rooms with different set-ups (often of widely varying decades of equipment), I'd like to have one thing that I can carry with me with my presentations, online encyclopedia, Kindle access, gradebook, streaming audio/video, etc. all in one. Right now, I have to install Silverlight/Kindle on the computers that I use in the classroom (assuming that the priesthood allows such things), have a selection of flashdrives, and a connection to Google Docs.

I have to say that it's not bad. I like it much more than making overheads/copies, tapes, VHS, posterboard and so on that was the norm when I was learning to make presentations, in undergrad, but how nice would it be to walk into a classroom with my iPad, have the projector automatically recognize the iPad, establish a connection (with log-in), and allow me to type, draw notes, show videos, play audio, all without cords, remotes, or a big console?


Good- Community of Discoverers
One of the most exciting parts of new technologies is the growth of supportive communities towards the use and maximization/enjoyment of their use.

I remember the weekly Amiga BBS/SysOp meetings at the University of Delaware campus that we'd attend. We've all seen the continuance of such communities for longer periods too (motorcycles, HAM radios, classic cars). The iPad seems to have some potential towards these sorts of connections, and I'd like to share a couple:

One, is the TWIT network's iPad show, "iPad Today" (if the link is not active, it's because it is blocked by Websense, which is causing some problems). The Twit Network is an interesting podcasting network helmed by Leo Laporte, who I first saw 10 years ago on Tech TV. More interesting than the weekly show alone is the establishment of live, chat communities, wiki's, Buzz's, twitter accounts, blogs, and other outlets that grow up around it.

Second, is the "ideaplay" website that a friend at the tech and Ed, PhD program at Michigan State turned me on to.

These sorts of discussions and communities not only serve to teach one the rules and possibilities of the central subject, but they also test those rules and abilities. We can weigh the costs of "jailbreaking" an iPad without having to put yours at risk (not that there's really a big risk). In other words, they establish boundaries but also push against these, or at least they do in the best of potential worlds.

Mobility

The potentials to move and interact with content is really excellent with the iPad. The screen is clear, sharp, and just begs to be touched. I don't find the keyboard overly difficult to type on for most purposes, although I do wish a wider shift key and more ready access to number keys. I'm sure that different keyboards will come in time. The sheer portability and design profile of the iPad make it very easy to pop into a bag, even more so than a laptop or netbook.


Accessibility
The use of the iPad is very simplistic (overly so in some's opinion). There are a select number of apps per page arranged without much variability. Clicking in and out to single applications fits most uses on a daily basis and simplifies a work-thread in a way that might be advantageous for a creature that cannot truly multi-task.

Pure Potential
There is nothing really innovative to the iPad. As many have said, the tablet PC is not new, and others have actually done it better in some ways. What Apple provides is a a convergence and synergy that makes the iPad a potential and simple locus for almost all connection/access, in a similar way to what some Microsoft people have seen with the XBox 360 with Zune-pass.

I cannot wait to see where things go and test out trails going forward.