Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Someone asked Alan Kay an excellent question about the iPad, and his answer is so interesting that I'll transcribe here.

To his credit, he handled the questioner's faux pas much more gracefully than how RMS typically responds to questions about Linux and Open Source. ;)

Questioner: So you came up with the DynaPad --

Alan Kay: DynaBook.

Questioner: DynaBook!

Yes, I'm sorry. Which is mostly -- you know, we've got iPads and all these tablet computers now.

But does it tick you off that we can't even run Squeak on it now?

Alan Kay: Well, you can...

Q: Yea, but you've got to pay Apple $100 bucks just to get a developer's license.

Alan Kay: Well, there's a variety of things.

See, I'll tell you what does tick me off, though.

Basically two things.

The number one thing is, yeah, you can run Squeak, and you can run the eToys version of Squeak on it, so children can do things.

But Apple absolutely forbids any child from putting a creation of theirs to the internet, and forbids any other child in the world from downloading that creation.

That couldn't be any more anti-personal-computing if you tried.

That's what ticks me off.

Then the lesser thing is that the user interface on the iPad is so bad.

Because they went for the lowest common denominator.

I actually have a nice slide for that, which shows a two-year-old kid using an iPad, and an 85-year-old lady using an iPad. And then the next thing shows both of them in walkers.

Because that's what Apple has catered to: they've catered to the absolute extreme.

But in between, people, you know, when you're two or three, you start using crayons, you start using tools.

And yeah, you can buy a capacitive pen for the iPad, but where do you put it?

So there's no place on the iPad for putting that capacitive pen.

So Apple, in spite of the fact of making a pretty good touch sensitive surface, absolutely has no thought of selling to anybody who wants to learn something on it.

And again, who cares?

There's nothing wrong with having something that is brain dead, and only shows ordinary media.

The problem is that people don't know it's brain dead.

And so it's actually replacing computers that can actually do more for children.

And to me, that's anti-ethical.

My favorite story in the Bible is the one of Esau.

Esau came back from hunting, and his brother Joseph was cooking up a pot of soup.

And Esau said "I'm hungry, I'd like a cup of soup."

And Joseph said "Well, I'll give it to you for your birth right."

And Esau was hungry, so he said "OK".

That's humanity.

Because we're constantly giving up what's most important just for mere convenience, and not realizing what the actual cost is.

So you could blame the schools.

I really blame Apple, because they know what they're doing.

And I blame the schools because they haven't taken the trouble to know what they're doing over the last 30 years.

But I blame Apple more for that.

I spent a lot of -- just to get things like Squeak running, and other systems like Scratch running on it, took many phone calls between me and Steve, before he died.

I spent -- you know, he and I used to talk on the phone about once a month, and I spent a long -- and it was clear that he was not in control of the company any more.

So he got one little lightning bolt down to allow people to put interpreters on, but not enough to allow interpretations to be shared over the internet.

So people do crazy things like attaching things into mail.

But that's not the same as finding something via search in a web browser.

So I think it's just completely messed up.

You know, it's the world that we're in.

It's a consumer world where the consumers are thought of as serfs, and only good enough to provide money.

Not good enough to learn anything worthwhile.




Applications are open for YC Summer 2019

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: