The Macalope Weekly: Pad derangement syndrome

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Everyone’s got it! It’s the next big thing, computing reinvented, or it’s a piece of junk! Nothing more than a sized-up iPod touch!

The Macalope is pointedly pro-iPad and this week he waxes poetic again, so if that’s not your cup of tea, just close the lid of your laptop now. If you’re using a desktop computer, just angrily shove your monitor off your desk.

Corporate IT shops, of course, won’t much care for the iPad. And what about that name? Apple doesn’t even fully own it yet! Oh, the nerve! The cheek! The audacity! The other words in the thesaurus! It’s enough to give a noted technology pundit a bad case of the vapors!

Shameless boosterism

You’re going to have to forgive the Macalope. He fully admits he’s got pro-iPad derangement syndrome. Sorry, but have you seen his head? What did you expect when Apple came out with something that’s his diminutive but precocious relative?

The problem the horny one has with the detractors is they are almost exclusively arguing about specific features the iPad lacks—Flash, a camera, an SD card slot, bladdity, bladdity. “A netbook has all these things! And costs less!” It’s true! Guess what? This isn’t a netbook replacement! It’s something completely different.

Mike Monteiro sees it.

The iPad isn’t the future of computing; it’s a replacement for computing.

It’s the payoff to all the work done by multiple industries over the last 20–30 years. It’s the subtraction of 20lbs of textbooks in my son’s backpack, and the device I finally feel comfortable buying my parents.

Andy Ihnatko had a terrific analogy on the latest edition of MacBreak Weekly to a story the Macalope had heard before. Back in the 1960s, designers of the lunar lander were having terrible trouble getting the thing to pencil out within the constraints they had. The astronauts needed a clear field of view, but a sitting astronaut requires a large swath of glass in order to gain peripheral vision.

So they took out the seats. Not only did that solve the sight problem, it also solved the weight problem and the problem of mobility within the lander.

Nobody wants to give anything up, but sometimes that’s exactly what you need to do to get something back—something a netbook or a tablet running Windows 7 will never have.

And that is freedom. Freedom to work outside the constraints of everything that came before. If that sounds like Apple-booster double talk for “STEVE JOBS HAS COMMANDED ME TO PROMOTE THE IPAD AT ALL COSTS,” well, sorry. It’s a vision of technology you can either buy into or not. The Macalope’s laid down the (metaphorical) cash, but he recognizes there are those who haven’t. For you people, here’s a mouse you might like.


Any excuse is a good excuse

It should come as no surprise that corporate IT shops are unlikely to buy into this vision. Indeed, they were attacking the iPad before it even came out.

Don’t worry, dour men and women of enterprise IT! Tony Bradley’s got your back! According to Tony, the Chrome-based tablet—currently in the mockup and early concept stage—will be better for business use than the iPad.

Right. That thing that’s presently just a bunch of drawings and ideas? That’s totally better. Businesses should wait for that.

A tablet that works seamlessly with the Web would be a more natural extension of existing business tools than a tablet PC centered around iPhone apps.

Sure. All those business Web apps coded in proprietary Microsoft technology that only run in IE are a “natural” extension of Chrome.

Look, let’s just be honest, OK? Corporate IT shops are going to find some reason to tell their users they can’t use the iPad. It has an Apple logo on it. For them, that’s all they need to know. They’ve been doing this for thirty years now. Thirty years! It’s in their DNA. They can’t help themselves anymore. It’s sad, really, because they’re missing out on a lot. But there’s only so many times you can lead a horse to water before you just have to give up. And shoot it.

Maybe it’s just the Macalope, but sometimes it’s hard to take Tony Bradley’s advice seriously. Why is that? The horny one can’t exactly put his hoof on it…

[Tony Bradley can be contacted at his Facebook page.]

Oh, wait, that’s it.

What’s in a name?

The iPad certainly is driving some to fits. It apparently drove Robert X. Cringley all the way to Costco to get a whole pallet of Apple = religion gags.

Was it really only a week ago that Steve Jobs came down from the mountain bearing a magical tablet? It feels like much, much longer.

If it had been longer, one would have hoped you could have come up with a better lede.

What’s chapping Bob’s rump this week is the name “iPad,” which Fujitsu apparently lays claim to.

Of course, Apple gets special dispensation from God to do whatever it pleases (Steve Jobs is a living saint, after all), so don’t expect Fujitsu to get much traction out of the fact it happens to own that trademark.

Well, they probably wouldn’t be too concerned about that, Bob, because, you know, they’re Buddhists.

Something similar happened with the iPhone, which was a product name trademarked by Infogear and owned by Linksys after it acquired Infogear in 2000, and subsequently passed on to Cisco when it snapped up Linksys in 2003.

And we all remember the famous Cisco iPhone right?

Oh, you mean the product the company hastily Photoshopped the word “iPhone” on in a lame attempt to try to increase its perceived value of the trademark?

Three days after Jobs unveiled the Jesus phone, Cisco sued Apple.

Get it?! “Jesus phone”?! Huh?! Because people like Jesus and people also like the iPhone?! Badda-bing! This material killed at CES!

Three years ago.

Is “special dispensation” what the kids are calling “being sued” these days? Far from Apple getting some special deal, what really happened—which Cringley oddly goes on to detail himself—was that Apple paid Cisco for the use of a name it really couldn’t have cared less about until it was absolutely clear that Apple was coming out with a phone that nearly everyone had already dubbed “the iPhone.”

Really, this is penny ante stuff. Companies have disputes like this all the time. It’s 2010 and, frankly, most of the good names are already taken. If Apple pays Fujitsu for the privilege of using a name they’re barely known for, who cares? Does Cringley really think Apple’s bullying poor Fujitsu?

Technology pundits, if you have an unnatural love for overplayed metaphors, the Macalope doesn't judge, he just asks that you express that love in the privacy of your own home.

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