Apple iPad Lands

Apple's new iPadThe reaction to Apple’s iPad has been extremely polarized. It’s either the Jesus Tablet or a waste of time and effort. My friend Jack called me right after Jobs’ presentation to say why he was so disappointed in it.

“You can spend $299 on a Windows 7 netbook and do all that AND have a camera,” he said (or words pretty much to that effect).

“So,” I said. “That’s Windows and crappy netbook hardware.”

“Well, I guess they’re selling the ‘Apple Experience,'” he said, finally making sense.

The iPad is not, in a feature-wise sense, the be-all, end-all computer for everyone. It DOESN’T have a camera for video conferencing, etc. That’s not a big issue to me, as I don’t do that much, and I have a camera on my desktop if I need to. But, for people like Jack who do video chats, it’s a deal. I wonder if we’ll be able to get a webcam that will attach to the iPad for people like him?

But Jack is a geek (me, too). On the MacBreak Weekly podcast, they talked about whether it’ll appeal to the mainstream, with mixed opinions. But, I got a good taste of how it’ll appeal to the mainstream last night.

As soon as I got home, I pulled up the iPad video on the Apple website and cajoled my wife into watching it. The Wife isn’t a Luddite, but she’s not far off. She reads the newspaper every morning to get her news, she doesn’t read blogs or even know what an RSS feed is. She doesn’t Twitter or, if you can believe, even use Facebook. Her cellphone makes phone calls. It can send and receive text messages, but she won’t send them because it “takes too long to type them out on that keypad.” So, if I want to text her from my iPhone, I have to pretty much send messages that don’t require a response or can be answered with “yes” or “no” (usually typed as “y” or “n”).

But, when watching the iPad video, she said “wow!” no less than six times. More importantly, when it was over, she said, “That’s exactly how I use the laptop now, only it’s more comfortable.” Then I told her about the iWork apps for the iPad and she said, “That would be the perfect computer for me.”

So, selling her on eBaying the MacBook to get an iPad was easy-peasy (as she would say).

I think the only question now is how I’m going to afford a second one, since it’s going to be difficult to get the first one away from her.

LEGOmania

So, The Boy and I are deep in the grips of a serious LEGO addiction. Surprisingly for anyone who knows my background, I didn’t get that involved in LEGO as a kid. Seems like a perfect fit, but it just never happened. I guess I spent all my money on Star Wars figures. But, now that The Boy is old enough (more or less), I get to live out the LEGO life I didn’t as a kid.

The interwebs are a great place for finding LEGO info, LEGO toys themselves, and communities of people dedicated to making cool stuff with LEGO. My favorite LEGO-related blog is Brothers Brick. They’re plugged into all sorts of LEGO stuff, and they post a lot of the best new LEGO MOCs.

We’re starting with the recent (2007/2008) LEGO Castle series, often dubbed “Fantasy Castle” because it’s got dwarves, undead (skeletons, anyway), wizards (good and bad), and trolls/goblins/orcs as well as humans. There are hints Elves are coming soon, too. This, of course, ties into my lurve of the D&D as well. I like to build and The Boy likes to play with them, though there’s overlap in both directions, of course. I think I’ll use the minifigs as miniatures in my new D&D 4E game, too.

In any event, there will likely be images of LEGO we’ve made here or at my Flickr site (see above row of pics). It’s good clean fun for boys of all ages. Girls, too, probably, though our girl’s not so interested.