Thanks, John, for sending me this link.
Smart phones are great. But I’m not going to blog on my Blackberry. Reading texts from my mom is easy, but I’d rather not read a New Yorker story she emails to me on a 1.5”-by-1.5” screen. The ability of smart phones to do pretty much everything doesn’t mean they obviate other tools — the same way owning a Swiss Army Knife doesn’t obviate a better corkscrew or pair of scissors. For my money (literally) netbooks are here to stay. —The Atlantic
A netbook is high on my gift-to-myself list, but also high on my wife’s I-can’t-believe-you’d-spend-money-on-that list. A full-size laptop gets heavy in my shoulder bag when I’m on the road, but if I want to blog a conference, I really need the full keyboard (and access to a power outlet). I think I can adjust to the smaller keyboard (and longer battery life) of a netbook.
My Palm PDA was cutting edge when I bought it in 2003, but I am not a heavy phone user. That will likely change as my kids head into their teenage years, but for now I’m happy using my TracFone in place of a long-distance service, and a landline for local calls. When an Apple rep came to our campus a month or so ago, he admitted that the iPhone wouldn’t be a great purchase in our area due to the spotty 3G coverage, so if I were to upgrade my PDA it wouldn’t be to a smartphone, it would be to an iPod Touch.
I very much enjoy my new Kindle, but when I use it, I’m sometimes conscious of thinking how much better the experience would be on a color touch screen. When I read for work, I still prefer to mark up the pages with a pencil, and that means when I’m reading on the Kindle I am in a relaxed mode — reading to satisfy my intellectual curiosity, reading for pleasure, or to re-familiarizing myself with a classic text just before I teach it. But the Kindle is not designed for note-taking or two-way interaction, so it doesn’t fill the gap a netbook might occupy.
I’ve been resisting writing anything about the rumored Apple tablet, since all I can find online are simply rumors. I’m not sure I would want a slate if it didn’t come with a keyboard attachment — hunching over to use a virtual keyboard on a completely flat tablet would hurt my shoulders. If it consisted of two hinged screens, like a book, with one of them serving as a touch-screen virtual keyboard, that might be a Kindle-killer, and it would do things that a smartphone can’t. But as Nick says in The Great Gatsby, “Reserving judgment is a matter of infinite hope.”