My favorite iPad feature

Tap Left Margin -> Next Page; my favorite feature of the iPad. This means I can comfortably read while drinking tea and not worry about which hand holds my iPad.

The majority of the time I’m reading a book I just want to go forward. It always felt clumsy to swipe with my left thumb. Advancing with just a tap means the device never breaks my flow.


Maybe these different standards are because the contexts are so different: magazines, newspapers, and TV all feel cheap, since they’ve shat on consumers to make a few more cents for decades, but the iPad or a well-designed website are clean, high quality, and customer-centric.

Or maybe it’s just me. I just don’t feel comfortable paying for an iPad or web publication, no matter how good it is, and then having ads shoved down my throat. It makes me feel ripped off: what did I pay for?

Marco Arment – Double-dipping.

Steve Jobs and the Eureka Myth

Decisions, not options.

This is what I think when I see Samsung shipping five or six different sized tablets. It’s not that Apple didn’t try a bunch of different form factors — it’s that they tried them internally, figured out which one was best, and only shipped that one.

John Gruber – Steve Jobs and the Eureka Myth.

We just want to read

How many people are subscribers to The New Yorker iPad app that don’t actually read for whatever reason? If the app were easier to use and quicker to access, then you’d have users, not just subscribers. And users tell their friends about the recent article they read; users read the app in front of their co-workers during lunch break; users actually get invested in the app. If you can garner the attention of your subscriber base, and not just their money, then your road to growth gets significantly easier.

Shawn Blanc – We just want to read.

Construction of space in computer labs

I was reading this article about online courses on the MindShift blog today. It starts off with this image.

What a horribly depressing vision of a computer lab. While it is how the lab in my high school and those at Whitman were set up it nevertheless seems like such an utter failure at creating a place where students can collaborate around digital content.

In addition to the great firewall problem of web access in schools perhaps a large reason why online courses and digital initiatives fail is because they are forced into spaces like this.

This is what makes me most excited about the role iPads could play in schools. The opposite of a desktop machine, an iPad would allow students to engage with content without having to sit in straight rows with nothing in front of them but a monitor.

If a school could create socially designed spaces for their computers they might be surprised by the type of learning that happens.

Paperworks / Padworks

Difficult to pull just one quote from the recent Mark Pesce article but this is my favorite:

we need to think of every educator in Australia as a contributor of value.  More than that, we need to think of every student in Australia as a contributor of value.  That’s the vital gap that must be crossed.

The article is one of the clearer statements of what we can do in education by incrementally changing ourselves.