The Coming Death Of The Reading Web

I’m reading this Slashdot discussion thread — iPhone SDK Rules Block Skype, Firefox, Java … — and …

No, let me amend that: I’m trying to read it. No, was trying.

Because I had an epiphany and ran over to do this post about it.

I realized that so much of the comment-battle going on over there would be best presented visually. In other words, by video.

I don’t intend to single anyone out except as examples to make the above point.

Look at this example:

Your comment is a great example of the disconnect between some Slashdotters and real users about the iPhone. Your example must-have feature is an obscure technology that a small minority of people would ever use. You toss the iPhone a “very pretty UI” line, but how many of your “phones designed by checklist” have a 320×480 screen and a big enough battery to power it for hours? The N95, while much-praised by irrational Apple-haters*, is only 240×320. Doesn’t everything we know about computing tell us that large, quality displays are critical for real-world end-user productivity? And you’d toss all that away with “very pretty but doesn’t have XMPP/MMS/PEBKAC protocols that I, for one, use daily”? Why was Nokia wasting time on MMS so people could send each other pictures of themselves when they should have been figuring out how to put a decent screen on a device and have it still fit in your pocket?

Well here we go. To present this argument, show the iPhone versus an N95. Show the haXXor-level stuff the general public doesn’t primarily use (and in many cases, doesn’t even know about!). Show how the iPhone does something versus the N95.

Here’s one I’d really like to see as video:

Bah, you’re so far off it’s not even funny. I’m running a native terminal on my iPhone. It’s got Ruby, Python, and (horrors) Java running on it – each with Objective C bridges (except Ruby). I have root on my phone, for the first time ever. So, yeah – the iPhone does not officially support the hacker/tinkerer ethic – so fucking what? Unofficially supporting it is good enough for me – it is by far the best *nix based phone on the market (oh wait, it’s the *only* *nix based phone on the market – that actually works).

The 2.0 software may break the current jailbreak methods, but again, so what, I’ve already got 3rd party apps on my phone.

I’m no coder. Nor are most people. So I really have no idea how to visualize what he’s talking about because it’s just so outside my personal frame of reference (hello! in the early 1980s, I was surprised to find out that Commodore’s programmers didn’t use the C=64 to create programs for the C=64; they had actual development machines).

Another one:

Which phones are you referring to?

With the exception of Verizon, who does a similar lockdown deal with BREW, most phones have a J2ME VM on them and are quite capable of running just about anything.

I’ve got Gmail/Gmaps/Opera mini among others running on my plain old (non-smart) phone. They were all free and the only way my carrier impeded my installing them right over the air was with a single warning screen about installing 3rd party apps.

OK, but what’s the size of that phone’s screen? And what’s the user experience versus the iPhone?

Even something as obscure as this would be better presented as video:

I find that the Azureus client for BitTorrent, while slow to launch, does a fine job of helping me pirate video, audio and software. A victory for Java!

Especially since I don’t know if he’s talking about a desktop or cellphone program! And what does “slow” exactly mean? (A jillion years ago when I was doing DTP, I was showing a client how PageMaker flowed text through a template; it was on a poky Mac SE30 — by that time there were far faster Macs — and told him it was a bit “slow.” But he was impressed as all hell by its speed! So, some terms have relative meanings!).

At some point in the future, when bandwidth is far faster and far cheaper than right now, people aren’t going to bother to present their arguments with words on a screen. For some things, that’s simply inadequate. But I don’t think YouTube is precisely the future. It’s not really good at presenting a hierarchy of debate.

Maybe this is a chance for the Slashdot crowd themselves to start designing that future?

Explore posts in the same categories: Tech - Apple, Tech - Other, Video - Online

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