I wish I could eat my ipad… (but then I would have to buy another one)

by librarianincognita ~ July 13th, 2011. Filed under: Gadgets.

I wonder what the nutritional value of an ipad is – does it have the value of fast food which is wildly popular but terribly unhealthy or that of a hearty wholesome meal that not only tastes good but is good for the body as well?

I swing between being embarrassed that I own an ipad and openly talking about it and its capabilities. Embarrassed because I dislike being lumped with the gadget crazy crowd who prides in having what the latest technology has to offer but I also acknowledge that I do like the ipad very very much. Perhaps I am being hypocritical but in my defense, I never owned an iphone and probably never will. My ipad was a gift to my father who in turn gave it to me because he didn’t know how to use it. I suspect when he discovers its full capabilities, he’s going to want it back but for now, it’s mine.

The ipad changed a lot of the way I did things and it is a great example of how the medium defines the content and in some ways supersedes it. The ipad itself is an empty shell but lends itself to be adapted for different things, whether it’s surfing the web, reading, note-taking, gaming and I would say cooking as well. I never liked bringing my computer to school because I  didn’t like typing my notes – I like to draw circles, scribble and draw maps – the ipad allows me to do all of these without pen and paper or the weight of a laptop. Reading academic papers has never been easier because I download them straight into the device which allows me to annotate them as well. Reading the news has also been easier with news aggregators that allow you to “flip” pages just as you would a physical paper.

The ipad appeals to my visual and kinesthetic self and is amazingly intuitive. I have never felt such great fondness for a computing device. I am a lover of physical books and traditional crafts but instead of competing with my interests, the ipad allows me to develop them – make lists of books while on the move, digitally draw out a new craft project, edit my photos or collect my ideas for a new piece of writing. As testimony to its intuitive nature, my grand aunt who is in her 70s is able to easily use it. Now that is what I call affordance.

I should also mention I cook with the ipad too – with youtube videos showing me how to prepare a meal step-by-step. At times like these, it is propped on the kitchen table as an aid to the terrible cook that I am.

Anyway, this is a lovely article on how the ipad has been used in different ways: How the ipad revolution has transformed working lives

Photo Note: There are 2 ipads because when there was 1, my husband and I had to squabble over it. We decided that in this case, 2 is better than 1 and now we play board games together over wi-fi.

7 Responses to I wish I could eat my ipad… (but then I would have to buy another one)

  1.   anitalychan

    Heh. I sold my iPad, but now I want iPad 2! All the fun bells and whistles aside, it’s really quite an amazing learning tool. One of our Cantonese and Mandarin-speaking librarians at VPL uses her to do one-on-one training with older Chinese patrons on how to use the catalogue. Because you can actually search using simplified Chinese characters (which are typically done searching through keystrokes), the iPad is great for not only magnifying the writing surface, but also recognizes strokes as they are about to become characters — kinda like autofill, in a sense. The iPad is so intuitive to use, 80-year-old grannies are taking to it like baby ducks in water! It doesn’t require very much technological literacy to use, which is definitely a huge appeal to older information seekers.

  2.   librarianincognita

    Wow! It can recognise Chinese keystrokes? That’s one thing I haven’t tried using it for yet. I can imagine it being used to teach library patrons how to use the catalogue – no more turning the computer at awkward angles. The good news is that ipad 2 is no longer having a supply crunch. We got ours by just walking into the Apple store at Pacific Centre.

  3.   Justin

    I keep on getting tempted by the iPad, mostly for gaming purposes, but I need a keyboard for it to be more than a toy. The sweeping swooshes may be intuitive, but if I’m putting text down, I want keys under my fingers, a luxury my netbook affords me.

    But I’m a language person, not a visual one. Watching youtube videos instead of reading, interpreting and referring to a recipe is completely foreign to the way I deal with information. I want to be able to skim and scan and don’t really care if it feels like I’m reading a newspaper.

    So I guess the differing importance of possibilities in a device/medium for different people argues for having a diverse ‘verse to play in.

  4.   adejesus

    @anitalychan the ability to write in Chinese is exactly what made me buy an iTouch years ago because the dictionary capability was the killer feature (of course, I also liked web browsing, the games, etc.).

    @Justin there are many external, bluetooth keyboards for the iPad. This one is my favourite (and the one I get when I finally cave and buy one).

  5.   librarianincognita

    @Justin I use it to play games A LOT. What a wonderful distraction. I consider myself a language person too but there are times I find the visual aids me more – especially when I’m unfamiliar with something or when brainstorming. The beauty of the ipad is that it becomes what you want it to be. The apps you choose will reflect that. I should totally get a commission from Apple for promoting it so blatantly.

  6.   Greg Ferguson

    It is the fact that it is a shell that makes it valuable and unlike any physical artifact. As the world changes, it changes. I, too love physical books. You should see my gross reaction to ebooks: stacks of leather-bound Easton Press books everywhere. I don’t think this collecting practice is a temporary thing. I want to build my ideal book library. It will cost a fortune, but I’ll spread it over decades. That obsessive addiction has nothing to do with the iPad. They are different things with different affordances, and they need not be exclusive. I like to read physical books. If I ever read an eBook, I would probably check myself into a hospital. But I also don’t like audio books. They irritate me. I don’t think I’m stodgy, I just think they’re different things. It’s like asking “What do you prefer, biting into a live cow or this cool bowl of cucumber soup?” Sure, they’re both food (in some bizarro universe); They both give you calories, but… come on. Just because both books and iPad deal with words and ideas doesn’t make them even remotely similar, and we don’t have to choose. They offer different affordances.
    P.S. Don’t eat your iPad. I’m sure it has no nutritional value and will give you heartburn at the very least! 🙂

  7.   librarianincognita

    @Greg: You make me feel so much better. =)

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