Tuesday, July 06, 2010

I Want A Job (And I Want An iPad)

Since getting my iPhone earlier this year I have become addicted to it. I check it last thing at night to catch up with any e-mails or texts and switch it on first thing in the morning to scan the news. The Good Lady Wife mildly complains that I am always gazing into that "ridiculous little machine", and even The Lad thinks there is something not quite right about my latest infatuation with technology. I ignore such comments and go in search of another App.

I downloaded iBooks the other day and immediately bought Andrew Marr's "The Making of Modern Britain" to test it out. I have dabbled with digital readers before and never been converted by them, but this time I have become a convert. It is partly that the iBook reader (even on a tiny thing like an iPhone) is instinctive and well designed. It is partly that Marr's book sits well on the digital screen. But I have a feeling that it could sit so much better.

On Saturday there was a fascinating article in the Guardian by the mathematician Marcus du Sautoy, in which he speculated on the future of "the book" in the new age of information technology. Now I know it is an old argument and people will immediately start incanting phrases such as "it will never have the feel of a real book" or "how can you snuggle up in bed with a machine", but I don't intend to enter into an argument about it  (I am too busy listing to my MP3's and watching re-runs on YouTube). Anyway, what Sautoy was talking about was not the digital mimicking of traditional books but a whole new interpretation of information delivery which makes use of delivery mechanisms such as iPads and the like. The convenience of the page (and a page from a thin book) with the possibilities of almost limitless interactivity.

Reading in the article about what people are doing with texts such as Alice in Wonderland (or the more contemporary Wolf Hall) made me want to take Marr's fascinating history of the first 40 years of the twentieth century and to turn it into something suitable for the iPad generation. The text would be there (in all its stylish simplicity) but so would the ability to seemlessly browse contemporary newspapers, watch newsreel clips, see the art, listen to the music, gather the evidence, and rebuild the work to reflect our own individual conclusions. I want the job. If the publishers of Marr's book are reading this, please note that I will do it for nothing. I will dedicate the next year of my life to the task. If Steve Jobs is reading this, send me an iPad and together with Marr's text I will create something new which will redefine the way we consume information.  All the BBC and/or Apple need to do is to leave a comment to this post and send the iPad to my home address. 

You never get anywhere unless you ask, do you?


  1. oh yeah! give me an ipad!

    it's a funny thing, many of my contemporaries think my internet addiction is weird in the extreme and here are you, nearly as old as my mother, and you might be worse :)

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  3. You are more pro-tech than I! I do hope the right people are reading your proposal. -J

  4. Great post, Alan! I agree totally! And you know, Adobe's been doing that full multi-media presentation of documents in Acrobat for years now. There are a couple of magazines who post online in Acrobat that are simply amazing.

    And of course, you realize the amazingly funny but unfortunately late Douglas Adams had a quip for just this situation:

    "1. Anything that is in the world when you're born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
    2. Anything that's invented between when you're fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
    3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things."

    Of course, Douglas was the geek's geek (and like me, a Mac fanatic!).

  5. LOL, Alan! As my mother always used to tell me, "Nothing beats a try but a failure." You don't have the iPad now...so if you don't get it after asking, you wont have lost anything. But you might just get it. Now wouldn't THAT be grand?

    AngelMay (Kindle user)

  6. A friend of mine is a senior lecturer in 'creative media' at a University in our region. He has been seriously considering a PhD in precisely what you suggest. There's a tremendous amount of development in progress just now and some surprises in store, no doubt.

    Have you downloaded Kindle to your PC or Mac? You can do so for free. You can also browse Project Gutenberg for free downloadable texts.

  7. If you do that project, I'll buy myself an iPad!

  8. I still need to be convinced about the techno-book idea, but you are indeed very convincing.

  9. Maybe you should just do it and get the recognition later..

  10. Oh my you are a lost cause..poor good wife

  11. Good call there, Roy, on the Adams' quote.

    Go for it, Alan! You know Mr. Jobs is panting for the senior market!

    (Omigod did I just type that?)

  12. ha. hope he reads...perhaps you should tweet it as well to draw his attention...smiles.

  13. In Canada the other day, the Queen was thrilled to receive a new Blackberry (her second). The idea that cutting edge technology is the exclusive property of the young and youngish is a myth. (I do, however, have a problem with a 2-yr-old having his own iPad...)

    Alan, if you can wrap your brain around new apps for the iPad, I say more power to you! Keep us posted!

  14. I think for now there's room for both. We've just started using ipads in leiu of reams of papers at board meetings makes good ecological sense. Good luck with your proposal. I actually have a friend who makes a LOT of money testing electronic gagetry and reviewing it on his blog, they should take you up as an inspiration and marketing link for seniors. Personally, I prefer to flick the written page. iPad won't fit in my handbag!

  15. Hi Alan,

    I think we both got our iPhones at around the same time and I know what you mean about the last thing you see before you go to bed and first thing you look at when you wake up, then all day long it is nearby or in my hands. If I leave the house and forget it, I will drive back home to get it. It has turned into a major accessory for my clothing. I have an Otter Box holder and it does attach to my hip and since hubby says it is attached to my hip then I try really hard to not make him a liar.

    Every few days I look for apps and have 12 pages already. I try to get as many free apps as I can and I try to watch for when they do their specials and will have some paid apps for free for a few days and if you are lucky and find out about those days then you can get a lot of them for free. I have found some that just have a trial period but that is okay because if I like it enough and it is not too expensive then I might buy it. Mostly I have just bought the 99cents ones. Only a few have been higher. Let me know which ones you might want to buy if they go on sale and then if I catch them going for free or on sale then I can notify you.

    Oh and thank goodness we can just transfer and add these to the iPad when we get one. I thought about the iPad and have decided to wait until they get the one that will allow us to add additional memory to it. I am not sure if this one lets us use a flash drive but I want one that we can just had another chip and it stays inside and not hanging on the outside. Although I would like to be able to use a flash with it too. Plus I want to wait a while until I know they have worked all the kinks out of it. I expect to pay over a thousand dollars for the one I want because I want one with a 4G network so that I can take it anywhere with me. I am not sure when they are going to release the one with the added memory but I am patient and can wait. Although next year I may possibly trade my 3GS for the 4G iPhone. But for now I love my iPhone and 16GB is a lot of memory.

    It is funny how only other iPhone owners understand why they become attached to us at the hip. If the iPad could be a phone also then I might would have to get a bigger hip. LOL

    We need to talk about which apps we have and which ones we use and which ones to stay away from. Let's start an iPhone apps club. I've not seen one out there but I am sure there is one, but we can start our own. Let me know what you think. Or we can do a day of iPhone apps day blog. That one sounds good too.

    Gotta go.

    God bless.

  16. High tech obsessions, I love it.


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