Aye, Paddy — She’s Not Quite Ready for the Enterprise, Captain

Alice in Wonderland

(not the only one to photograph their child with the ipad)

As I write this I’m sitting next to the iPad, ’tis true. Not using the iPad — sitting next to it.

I had no idea an iPad would be arriving at our house on Saturday, April 3, the very first day they became available (my wife needed it for her Web QA and usability business, so my first experiences with the iPad were blissfully unprepared and unanticipated).

While reports of the iMugging in the iMission near where I live were later corrected as a hoax (or at least, not quite as topical), with the first shipments of the promised devices hitting the town on Saturday, the whole city seemed nevertleless under its spell the entire weekend.

Though I have yet to overcome my primary association with iPad as introduced by MADtv, I did actually get to touch and poke and swipe and use it fresh out of the gate during the weekend. I should correct that slightly: my daughter used it the most, and I watched (and I am far from the only one standing by patiently with my kid using the iPad).  My snap judgment is that I generally concur with these first reviews that talk about how kids — or those thinking like kids — “get it” more immediately than adults. As my 5-year-old daughter exclaimed, “someone left a ginormous iPod TV on the stairs” – “getting it” instantly – and immediately all our other mobile devices are rendered instantly miniaturized, Alice-in-Wonderland “drink-me”-style.

In my (granted limited) hands-on exposure, my thoughts are that it’s BINGO for entertainment. We spent the most satisfying time watching (HTML5) videos – even already successful on (non-Flash) YouTube – as well as episodes seamlessly, instantly, and beautifully streamed via Netflix. News also stands to get a boost by this device: sites like the Times and ABC – both “printed” and video – render beautifully and perhaps, as my neighbor suggested, this will revitalize the ‘printed’ newspaper. For books however? Not an immediate replacement for the Kindlers out there – the backlit screen is still too harsh with which to spend that kind of novel time.

Leanne (faithfully testing applications as is her job) says many of the applications that are righteously hyped on the iPhone, notably including Twitter interfaces best known for being minimal, have not yet re-written their interfaces to capitalize on the extra screen real estate.  Other applications did fill up the whole screen, but awkwardly.

What I also found noticably odd from a physical perspective was being able to tune into the online – and hence tune out the offline (that means “the real world”) – seemingly more places inside the household than ever before, and more adeptly than with the more conspicuous mobile smartphones. Why did I really need to try to shop online for those shirts on Easter Sunday on the living room couch when I could have been talking with my family? Since the device is larger, though, it does lend itself to more “social viewing” within groups of people than does the smartphone.

In short, I felt it seemed great for pulling information and content – especially socially and severally; but for pushing it back — which for me is the important thing about the mobile generation of devices: not so good. No camera, no mobile carriers (yet), apparently some sensors, but no video. And the keyboard? The iPhone keyboard doesn’t work for me yet, so I hardly could have expected it from the iPad despite increased size, and I threw my hands up in defeat rather than type into all the fields required to finish my iShopping spree on the iCouch during iEaster.

Most profoundly for me at present, the “human as sensor” revolutionary element that we’re finding so key in worldwide civil rights demonstrations and current events seems apparently missing with this nevertheless-take-anywhere device. So, iPad, are you a mobile device or not? Are you a bit more like an interactive take-anywhere but still push-only TV?

Granted, perhaps my hands have yet to pull the Darwin in the right direction to adapt to the keyboard, but I’m a little surprised at folks who are already foreseeing giving up their laptops in favor of the iPad. Have they done a lot of typing on the ‘pad already?  I feel the major hurdle is still going to be digitization of text – perhaps the key will be in the evolution of usable speech-to-text.  Leanne says we just have to hook up the keyboards in the meantime — but I think it’s really a keyboardless and mouseless paradigm ahead.

For THAT enterprise-readiness — and we geeks remember when Scotty walks up to the computer in Star Trek IV and says “Computer?” — we’re not ready for prime time.  Maybe when my daughter is my age.

The Original iPad: MADtv ca. 2006

The Perils of the Long Tail, or How I Singlehandedly Started the Jicama Allergy Rumor

It’s come to my attention that my top-visited post is not my daring stand back at Charla Bansley, nor my complete wraps of various Web 2.0 conferences, nor even my frank socialization of flight anxiety. No, it’s my random post about Jicama.

It’s not even a post about Jicama, but about a vague attempt at isolating the source of a mysterious and recurrent allergic reaction by listing Entirely Everything I Ate That Day. It was also a long time ago. And it was via blog import from an old blog, that in fact used to be private. And yet, that single post “could I be allergic to JICAMA?” gets views EVERY DAY.

Sure enough, I ventured to check on Google, entering ‘jicama’ and  ‘allergy,’ and I turn up FOURTH.

Please take note of this cautionary tale about the beloved “Long Tail.” When two words appear SO infrequently on the same page together in the Whole Wide World of Web (and mostly accidentally) such that my random hypersensitive rave about what food I could possibly be allergic to shows up top-tanked, it’s a rumor, not a fact – but one that I fear has substantiated many a “jicama allergy.” (There, I did it again.)

Just for the record books, to be clear, let me come out about this now: I am not aware of any kind of allergy to Jicama and mean the delicious crispy juicy root no discredit.

Now that you’re here anyway, I welcome you to take a look around at my other random musings — or run along to the other top-ranked results. Either way, good luck with your mystery allergies! (I never have figured mine out).

Wardrobe Wrap of the Web 2.0 Summit

Seconds away from writing a serious post on the Web 2.0 Summit last week in San Francisco, my head aches, I have a meeting in way less than an hour and a different project or three to manage, several other writing assignments, and I decide what’s important for the moment is to instead cover the wild whimsical wacky wardrobe world that was this year’s Web 2.0 Summit. Why do I feel compelled to do this? I have no idea. (If I don’t get that serious post up by the end of today, I’m probably abducted by aliens). And yet here I go.

Erin McKean's Tetris Dress

Erin McKean's Tetris Dress

First and foremost in any wardrobe wrap has to be a gigantic shout out to Wordnik’s smart and sassy CEO and co-founder Erin McKean who pitched a great high-order bit on the excellent Wordnik as well as their newly launched API for the English Language, ALL in her hand-made Tetris dress.

Then there’s John Battelle, who always looks particularly natty in his blue jeans, dangling this teaser of a surprise Google spot and entreating us to guess who it is based on the shoes alone. To which my handy Twitter-mate @UberShoeDiva (who does indeed have the UberShoes) responded thusly: “What is he *wearing* on his feet?? Those can’t be shoes. I hope not. I really hope those are just some edgy socks.”
(Those by the way are Sergey Brin’s Vibram Five Fingers )

And actually I’d have to say John Battelle came in tied for first place for best jeans this year – and you’ll just have to scroll through this really excellent session on Humans as Sensors to see why (catch Mobilizy’s Markus Tripp in his excellent jeans – or you can just get a hint of them here).

Brady and UberShoeDiva (AKA Jaimee Clements)

Brady and UberShoeDiva (AKA Jaimee Clements) cut it up

In the same video, know that no wardrobe wrap would ever be complete without a mention of @brady’s gorgeous purple shirt, green plaid pants, and blue shoes. Once again this goes not unnoticed by UberShoeDiva.

One out-of-character note for himself and for the summit was Mr. Tim O’Reilly — who was constantly seen sporting a SUIT, making you wonder if he or we all had been abducted by aliens.

Contrast this with the baggy-jeaned teens – at least the one who uses Blackle instead of Google (to save energy) – from the excellent What Do Teens Want? panel – and you get an idea of why I really love the Web 2.0 Summit among all other conferences.

"the Zappos guys"

"the Zappos guys"

And I simply cannot ever forget @lwaldal’s commentary of the “Zappos guys:”I’m sitting in the 3rd row and pretty sure that josh, liam, maynard and john onstage right now are all wearing the same shoes.” This observation even made Industry-Standard fame.

And finally, though what it has to do with wardrobe or what wardrobe has to do with anything I’m not sure, thanks to @lwaldal for pointing out “a chandelier for balloon boy” in this shot of how the Ballroom was decked out:

"A Chandelier for Balloon Boy"

"A Chandelier for Balloon Boy" - @lwaldal

The conference was jam-packed and a lot of fun but tiring, so this shot perked me up just when I needed it.

And now with that off my chest…