The people that know the concept you are learning went through the same process that you are going through – often multiple times – to get where they are today.
The actual mechanics of learning are the same for everyone: you poke around, you push the edges of what you know, you make mistakes, you do dumb things, you struggle to understand, you apply it to problems you are interested in, and knowledge grows over time.
Jamison Dance has some great points in his article on learning. He goes onto describe the techniques of a skilled learner. It’s a process of making mistakes, asking questions, getting rapid feedback, being uncomfortable, comparing what you know and continuing to learn. As we’re trying to learn, we often forget that learning doesn’t just happen at all once but over time. And during each step, learning happens… Give yourself credit for that too!
When you see trends pop up in the tech industry, it’s easy to forget the history around them or the implications of the choices we make with our buying power. The story behind .io adds context to at least one of those trends.
“Apps are a great intermediate play, a way to scale up functionality of a primitive Web, but over time they get outcompeted for all but the most complex platforms by simpler and more standardized alternatives. What will get complex will be the ‘artificial immune systems’ on local machines. What will get increasingly transparent and standardized will be the limited number of open Web platforms and protocols that all the leading desktop and mobile hardware and their immune systems will agree to use. The rest of the apps and their code will reside in the long tail of vertical and niche uses.”
If you had asked my co-workers before the holiday season which tablet I might buy, they would have all put money on the Apple iPad. After all, I’m the only one in the office with the iMac, and I’ve brought up Steve Jobs at a few staff meetings.
But I never considered an iPad. Two days after Christmas, I let go of my Apple bias and bought a Kindle Fire. Why? Several reasons:
I already have a laptop, so I couldn’t justify spending $500 for another, no matter how beautiful and useful it turned out to be.
The main reason I wanted a tablet was to read e-books, so I knew cheaper e-readers existed.
I knew I would use my tablet for content consumption above all else.
The Kindle Fire does one thing well – help you browse and consume content. The other thing it does better – direct you to buying that content from Amazon.
Easy to set up, and get going with access to your Amazon content.
Changing the appearance of type while reading books is nice.
The size is perfect.
Not a Fan of…
Silk: It’s slow, very slow. I turned the acceleration off and it sped things up.
App Store: Not even a Twitter or Facebook app, but glorified links to mobile sites. That’s ridiculous. Updates come to the Amazon App Store much slower than normal. Sometimes, it wants me to update an app, but won’t let me update the app – probably because the Amazon-approved version isn’t available.
Navigating the perils of converting e-book files back and forth proved to be a learning experience. Luckily, there’s Calibre.
In the end, the Kindle Fire gives me what the iPad could not – a supercharged e-reader with a reasonable price tag. I can read and buy books all I want, and when I need to, check websites, blogs, etc. I’m excited to see how my reading habit will change this year. In the end through, if Apple made a $200 or even $250 iPad Lite, I would have bought it instead.
“One of the things I learned at Pixar is that the technology industries and the content industries do not understand each other. In Silicon Valley and most technology companies, I swear most people still think the creative process is a bunch of guys in their early 30s, sitting around on an old couch, drinking beer and thinking up jokes. That’s how television is made, they think. That’s how movies are made. And I’ve seen at Pixar that that couldn’t be further from the truth. The folks on the creative side work as hard as any technology folks I’ve ever seen in my life; they’re just as disciplined; the process is just as difficult and disciplined as an engineering process is. The contrapositive is true, too. People in Hollywood and the content industries think technology is something that you just write a check for and buy. They don’t understand the creative element of technology. They don’t understand that this stuff is created by people working extraordinarily hard, and with passion, just like the creative talent that they have. These are like ships passing in the night. One of the greatest achievements at Pixar was that we brought these two cultures together and got them working side by side.”
Kevin works with me at The Arc as a web producer. We’re always talking tech, and today he was referring to Steve Jobs stepping down as Apple’s Chief Executive Officer.
It made me chuckle. Apple will keep chugging along, right? It had to happen sooner or later, especially with Jobs’ health issues. But once I started thinking about things – Jobs shouldn’t be known just as the visionary behind all things “i” – he’s given us more.
Matt Mullenweg thinks so. From an earlier essay, Matt points to Jobs’ willingness to step on the gas peddle, even when a product might not be ready.
“If you’re not embarrassed when you ship your first version you waited too long.” -Matt Mullenweg
You have to always push and push hard. That’s a good lesson for anyone in the tech world to learn, and it’s a sad day when you forget it.
However, the iPad might fall short of expectations because it doesn’t embrace the free/open-source mentality that’s gathering steam on the web.
I don’t think it will save the news industry. The news is no longer a commodity. Anyone can distribute news these days, so journalists still have to figure out how to make the news they gather more valuable than most.
Final Word: No technology is perfect, so the iPad won’t be the be-all, end-all some may think. It will have its fans and detractors. I’ll give it chance, but would have to try one extensively before ever buying one.