iPad vs Kindle

OK, I realize that these are only comparable on one plane, and that is reading books. Aside from that, these are two completely different and independent products. But I have thought about it, used both, and have come to the decision that even though the iPad has so many amazing features, and is such a cool and fun product, perhaps in this case less is more for me. Let me explain.

With the iPad, you can surf the web, write emails, look at photos, watch movies and live TV, listen to music, play games, read the news, read books, and the list goes on.

With the kindle, you can read books, and read magazines.

If I purchased either device, I would want it for mostly the reading experience. I spend enough time at work and on my desktop and laptop at home surfing the internet and staying up with technology and news. I feel the desire to do more recreational reading rather than recreational surfing/playing/watching. And when it comes to reading, I truly would prefer to read and be distanced from the noise of the internet.

As far as reading goes, the Kindle’s E-Ink display is amazing. It looks great, and is not so contrasty that it hurts my eyes. It looks good in broad daylight and in general just is a neat technology. The iPad has a great LED display that looks good in many lighting conditions, however the bright display has been shown to perhaps cause insomnia. This happens because our bodies naturally release melatonin as the sun sets to help us get into sleep mode. Light however has been shown to keep that from happening which can mess up the body’s natural sleep rhythm.

Another thing I have noticed is that glossy displays, such as the newest iMacs, and iPads give me headaches. They are harder for my eyes to focus on, and produce glare that can be quite distracting and annoying. Luckily, the iPad is so small and light that it is easy to adjust it into a location where there is little to no glare. This still doesn’t change the fact that the display is hard on my eyes (and my eyes aren’t getting any younger). The Kindle’s E-ink display is so easy on my eyes and never has glare issues which is a real plus in my book. (Did you see the pun?)

In general, I suppose it also goes back to my philosophy of specialized devices. It is better to have multiple gadgets that are the best at each thing rather than one device that is kind of good at many things. The Kindle isn’t as flashy as the iPad (did you see the other pun?) but provides what I think is a better reading experience, and at this point in my life, that’s what I care most about.

I’m done with Facebook

Social networking has risen to be the premier method of communication among our generation. Even our parents are getting involved in “Facebooking” and “tweeting.” Recently Facebook became the most visited site surpassing Google in number of hits per day. People like the Facebook approach to communication for many reasons. Some enjoy being in pseudo-contact with old friends without the need to be actively communicative. For others it is a convenient method of sharing thoughts, videos, and pictures in a single location. Lastly, it has a user interface that doesn’t require any real internet-savoir.

I however have issues with Facebook that have lead me to a decision to abandon my account, and risk the ostracism of my friends and colleagues by not being accessible by social networking.


As I have used Facebook, I have had concerns with privacy. I am not particularly a security-freak, but I am at least security conscious. Facebook is a wonderful location to share information with your friends, as well as with strangers. Zuckerberg, Facebooks founder/creator, has openly stated that he regrets allowing privacy settings when he initially created Facebook. It seems that he would prefer to live in a world where all information is public. Sharing information with the entire world can be a dangerous prospect. Identity theft is increasingly common, and Facebook can lead to more occurrences of that. Unfortunately, many online passwords allow retrieval by security questions (ie: favorite pet, first car, etc.), and many of these questions can be divined by a scan of a person’s profile. A lot of personal information such as Birth Dates and Home Towns are left visible for all to see by default.

Additionally, many people will talk about plans (ie “I’m going to Vegas for the weekend,” or “Going to Fro-Yo tonight, meet us there at 8”). These are easy ways to get stalked and burglarized. Yes, I know this sounds paranoid, but it frightens me even more as I move closer into parenthood.


The second reason that compels me to leave Facebook is the nature of the culture that has arisen due to the ability to say what is on one’s mind to an audience at any time. Surely this is a good thing to express one’s self? Unfortunately, it breeds a society of individuals who are more interested in expressing themselves rather than conversing with others. It feels as though the content I face each day dwindles as I hear about bejeweled, farmville, and people’s exploits and purchases. It’s nice to know people are having fun, but getting one way conversations blips from hundreds of people talking about themselves gets old. Perhaps I’m old fashioned, but I’d rather talk to the people I care about in person.

Data Collection

Another reason that makes it so I cannot trust Facebook is Facebook’s habit of data storage. They consume all the data we throw at them, but have no way of removing it. Sure we can remove information from our profiles, and delete photos, but the information will forever reside on their servers. For what purpose? I don’t know, but I don’t like it.

Manipulative UI

Lastly, Facebook makes it very difficult to remove information from the public. They use bad UI techniques in order to trick you into not deleting or not hiding your personal information. Many check-boxes that remove privacy are clicked by default, very well hidden, and not advertised in any way (such as the “Show Friend List to Everyone”). Have you ever tried deleting an account? It’s not easy. In fact, for a long time, I thought “deactivating” an account was as much as one could do. It turns out that if you finagle your way through the account options enough there is a way to delete an account. Of course, you have to answer lots of questions and get through lots of pages begging you to reconsider. This opposition to the users to actually control their personal information is just more reason to not put your life in Facebook’s controlling hands.

Basically I find that Facebook, although convenient, is a redundant and too-open method of social communication in our technological society. I am happy with using phone, email, jabber, and blogs to communicate and share ideas with my friends. I realize the role that Facebook fills in today’s society for many people, however I no longer wish to be a part of it.

I find it quite an interesting coincidence that while I was writing this post I came across the article, Top Ten Reasons You Should Quit Facebook. At any rate, I apologize for this strongly opinionated rant. I do not mean to discount other’s appreciation and love of Facebook, but to give reasons as to my rejection of this tool.

Old Apple vs. New Apple

In the last decade, Apple has successfully risen to the forefront of consumer technology. During this transformation from obscure computer company to leader in consumer and media technology we have seen the death of the hobbyist community and the rise of an icon of fashion and design.

The Old Apple

When Apple was more obscure, it was difficult to be a fanboy. Growing up I would be ridiculed at school for using a Mac. The other kids would spout off the typical argument that the “Macs suck” (such a well structured argument…) Whenever I would find another Mac User, we would have an instant connection and friendship. Being in the minority automatically created a sense of community. We were enthusiasts. We looked forward to Mac World and tinkering/fixing/upgrading our machines. We had to endure the persistent rumors that Apple was going out of business (for reals this time).

The lack of acceptance of Apple in the world lead to that cult-of-the-Mac following that Apple became known for. Most Apple users fit into that category of “round pegs in square holes” that the infamous “Think Different” campaign exemplified. Those were truly the golden days of Apple Computer for their loyal users.

“Here’s to the Crazy Ones! The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things.”

The New Apple

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1998, he turned the company around. He revolutionized the way that consumers looked at computers. He realized the power of marketing to women and the power of aesthetics in computer design. Once computers became an icon of design and beauty, they also became a symbol of class. Today, many individuals purchase computers based solely on the fact that they are “stylish” or “popular.”

Now, when I see a Mac user, and I randomly go talk to him or her, I am no longer greeted with the enthusiastic “You’re a Mac user too?” which was once so prevalent. Now I get weird stares, or realize that they are using Vista on that beautiful machine. People are no longer loyal to the computer, nor the ideology, but the idea of being one of the social elite.

The computers these days are much more beautiful and elegant that the old beige computers of yore. OS X is rock solid and gorgeous compared to the relatively simplistic Mac OS 5-9. Yet, part of me still longs for those days when we really were a group that stood apart from the crowd.

© 2007-2015 Michael Caldwell