Monthly Archives: February 2010

Well, since you asked…

I recently joined the Contact North Training initiative which is hosted by their new Chief Innovation Officer, Stephen Murgatroyd inside the social networking space, Ning.

Stephen posed the question about our thoughts on Apple’s new iPad. Of course, in the past week, it’s been impossible to not view a million different opinions.  So, thank you for asking, because this time, I think I actually do have an opinion on this.

Here’s my response:

I love the aesthetic of Apple as much as the next person. The iPhone really changed the way people do things (my brother constantly calls it a “game-changer”) and I love my mac laptop, however, I am not ready to pre-book my iPad just yet.

There’s an organization called Defective by Design and they are dubbing the iPad the “iBad” because of the way Apple handles Digital Rights Management (DRM). Basically DRM puts locks on content.

I have recently watched RiP: A remix manifesto on the National Film Board of Canada’s website and it reminded me the importance of why content needs to be free. The first key point in the manifesto: “Culture always builds on the past”. Throughout the history of humanity, we have built on the knowledge from those before us. Yet in this past century, we have found ourselves allowing corporations to take ownership of our content. Not creators but corporations are locking us out of our own culture.

Now you don’t have to wake up every morning and sing the Free Software Song or be a card carrying member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation to see the value in free and open content.

The iPad is not designed for content creation. It is designed for content consumption. It shifts back to “read only” from the read write web.

This is the beginning of what some are calling the dawn of the Splinternet, where more content is moving behind logins and password.

BBC News summarized this best:

“At the heart of this and many other fights lies an attempt to limit the ways in which the network and the computers connected to it can be used, and to do so in ways that serve the interests of corporations.
These interests may sometimes be aligned with those of the wider public, but that alignment is conditional and contingent and cannot be relied upon, which is why it must always be challenged.”

So, personally, I’m going to take the advice of all these wise folks’ blogs I’ve been reading.

I’m going to choose my devices carefully and I’m going to let vendors know that DRM is not okay.

I’m looking for a device that is elegant and open, usable and free. If Apple takes the iPad in that direction, then I’ll be happy to jump on the bandwagon. UPDATE: <hypocrite>I couldn’t resist, I jumped on the bandwagon and got an iPad. </hypocrite> *sigh*