March 9th, 2013

"What if I just don't want to be online?"

There've been a number of articles written about the dichotomy between the "computer-as-computer" (and its user) and the "computer-as-internet-terminal" (and its user). This is one that particularly speaks to me:

'In part the resistance of the PC to apping-up is historical. Unlike mobile and tablet, the PC has long appealed to the sort of person who views a computer more as a power tool than a content-consumption device. Programmers like having power at their fingertips, the sensation that – if they really needed to – they could dig deep into the internals of the machine code and rewrite the kernel. They dislike barriers, and new-fangled smart devices are all about barriers. Your average power PC user can see how that sort of thing is all very well for the muggles, but feels that he doesn’t need training wheels.

Moreover there is a political sentiment (as expressed by Cory Doctorow for example) that the general-purpose-if-complicated computer represents an important tool for liberation. It’s important for a slew of reasons, from settling the larger issues of copyright to encouraging revolutionary thinking, that the PC style of computing endure. Without our messy machines, the risk is that the Internet becomes as dumb as television. ...'