>>> I'm not thinking about it at all like a math problem
The thing is, not even a mathematicien thinks always about math that way. In mathematics, one needd to distinguish between a phase of exploration, where you work along a fuzzy, intuitive process, and a phase of justification, where one try to prove one's conjectures. The second part is math-as-a-formal-system, the cliché of mathematics. So it's not a problem of definition, it's a matter of accepting mathematics as a complex process, practiced in various ways and different for each mathematician.
I think there's an important misconception about Victor's works and ideas. Augmenting human intellect is not only about visualization, it's about gathering and merging symbolic, interactive and visual representations in a single tool. He brought this point in this conference†, quoting research from Jerome Bruner ††. He shows the example of an electric circuit. Increasing some value on a resistance and seeing the change reverberating on all the plots is equally symbolic, interactive and visual.
This is also a huge concept in Mindstorms, a book sharing many of the same goals as Victor, a stated influence. Here the idea is to expose children to tools for thought ambivalent to their form. Papert's experience is part visual and part formal linguistic—he built LOGO.
The article doesn't mention the fact that most Apple mouse have terrible ergonomics, but it contains a great anecdote on serendipitous design:
>> According to an interview by Cult of Mac with a former Apple ME, Abraham Farag, the Pro Mouse’s design was born unintentionally. During a design review, Steve Jobs was shown six different models of mice to evaluate. But Jobs was instead drawn to a seventh design, an unfinished model with the buttons yet to be built in. Jobs thought the buttonless design was brilliant, and the design team played along, pretending that it was their intention from the beginning. This unfinished design became the foundation of future Apple Mice.
I really hope they keep the 13" Macbook Pro around.
The Macbook Air is a fantastic machine but being able to stick a reasonably priced SSD and 16GB of ram into my work 13" MBP has improved my output dramatically.
I wonder how long it will be before Apple prevent after purchase customization at all.
The 13" Retina should persist for some time. That model's entry price is only $100 more than the non-Retina 13" MBP entry price. I don't really see the appeal of the non-Retina version at this point. The Retina display is really great and worth the extra $100, in my opinion, and I think the MBA offers much better value.
It has a slightly faster processor (don't be fooled by "1.3GHz", the MBA's top CPU speed is 2.6GHz) but there's a 500GB non-solid-state hard drive, it's heavier, the graphics are older, and it has a lower-resolution screen. Why would anyone want it?
It's probably a diminishing use-case, but I personally still need an ethernet port. There's a surprising number of times when I visit somewhere (offices, universities) and they can't figure out how to get me logged onto the guest wifi, but I can just plug in to the wired network without a problem. Also some hotels have only ethernet, though that's getting less common.
I think the reason Windows and Linux seem to behave awkwardly with Thunderbolt is that Thunderbolt is actually PCI-Express, and they're not exactly used to hot-plugging PCIe devices! But that's just speculation on my part.
"Oh, you want to hook your Firewire drives up to it? That's another adapter. Oh, you want to play or burn CD's? You need to get an external drive then. You want to use your old Magsafe power bricks? Sorry, we changed the connector. You want to lock up the computer while it's at your desk? Sorry, there's no Kensington slot anymore."
At which point the SSD and Retina display sound nice, but that other stuff seems like it's going to a pain in the neck on a daily basis.
I'd second the thunderbolt recommendation but I would question the concerns about USB – until upgrading to Thunderbolt, I had no problems with daily heavy usage (along with several coworkers). The main drawback is that the USB devices can't go over 100Mb.
I think for a lot of people the issue is storage. Most don't know the difference between an ssd and a mechanical hard drive and don't want to have to pay an exorbitant sum to get to 500+ gb. They have lots of pictures and music and other things they want to keep around, even if they rarely access them.
Yeah. They go in to the Apple Store and the salesmen says that SSD is faster. But the buyer has heard that computers will be faster a lot in their lives, and usually it's only a 10-25% performance increase, which isn't that noticeable. So they don't put much stock in that. We're all so used to SSDs that the huge performance gains don't surprise us anymore.