The time is right for my favorite program to make a comeback.

Image of the HyperCard home stack is from the C.V. page of Robin Siberling

One of the things that gets my nostalgia fired up like no other is HyperCard, which I consider to be one of the greatest pieces of software ever made for a personal computer. No exaggeration. Neck-and-neck with PhotoShop in terms of significance, as far as I’m concerned, and definitely more mind-altering in terms of thinking about how computers work and what they can do.

I can and will go on at great length about how great HyperCard was, at any opportunity, but the design firm smackerel.net has put together a terrific retrospective called “When Multimedia was Black and White” that can do a better job than I could.

Ever since I made the switch back to Macs, I’ve been looking for a HyperCard successor. There’ve been several pretenders to the throne: SuperCard was the highest-profile, but it tried so hard to be a superset of HyperCard that it lost most of what made the original so cool. I keep checking in on Bento every time they announce a new release, but it’s becoming clear that a simple development environment just isn’t the market they’re after. Runtime Revolution, has been trying for years to be a direct successor, but I’ve never been happy with it — it seems like an attempt to recapture the multimedia authoring platform that HyperCard turned into, instead of consumer-level software.

There are still pockets of loyal HyperCard fanatics out there, still holding on to floppies full of HC stacks like mattresses stuffed with Confederate money. But over the past few weeks, I’ve been hearing HyperCard mentioned more and more often, even by sane people. For instance John Gruber on his Daring Fireball site about entry-level development environments, and in speculation about what the future of authoring multimedia content is going to be like.

What’s re-sparked interest in HyperCard is, of course, the iPad.

Why The Time To Act Is Now

Any fit of HyperCard nostalgia gets shut down pretty quickly when you look at it in a modern context and are forced to realize that it died for a reason. Bill Atkinson himself has acknowledged that its biggest flaw was focusing on local storage instead of taking advantage of networking. Most of what it could do was superseded by the World Wide Web. Later, Director and then Flash came in to take over the rest and become dominant.

But back then, there was little reason to believe (unless you were particularly prescient) that networking would become so huge outside of business settings. Personal computers were still very application-focused. Like the iPad is.

On OS X, a replacement HyperCard seems less necessary once you realize how many HyperCard remnants are scattered throughout the system. Much of HyperTalk remains in the AppleScript language. The rest of HyperCard’s coolest features live on in Xcode. Using Interface Builder, you can drag-and-drop interface elements, draw connections, and create a fully functional (if basic) UI without having to write any code. Databases are handled by the Core Data library, again without any code. But Xcode doesn’t (and definitely shouldn’t) exist on the iPad.

On the iPad, there’s no way to get apps except through the App Store, no way to develop them except through Xcode, and there are restrictions on what Apple will allow developers to do, for fear of interrupting a cellular network, or fear of ruining a user’s end experience (and by extension, as Gruber points out, their brand). A controlled development environment could “fix” much of that, giving Apple the control they want while allowing developers to make things more powerful than web apps but with less investment than the iPhone OS SDK.

Flash turned into the dominant platform for multimedia authoring, and even it got corrupted into a glorified interface for delivering streaming video. But — and I don’t know if anyone’s mentioned this yet — the iPad doesn’t support Flash.

The excuse that Apple’s defenders are using for the lack of Flash support is that open standards like HTML 5 are preferable to a proprietary format owned by Adobe. Streaming video support is a whole other issue, but what about “basic” Flash: games, presentations, or even banner ads? We keep seeing demos that show what can be done using only HTML 5, CSS, WebGL and the like, but there’s still no consumer-level authoring platform that’s as straightforward to use as Flash. (Which might sound odd to anyone who’s used Flash, but dragging and dropping keyframes on a timeline is still more accessible than writing code in a text editor). If they want the content to take off, then there needs to be a better tool for people to create that content.

People need something like HyperCard; it’ll sell more iPads. There’s a glut of special-purpose apps on the App Store for stuff like keeping wine lists or golf scores or, of course, making fart noises. That may help with the 150,000 available apps claim, but it doesn’t make the device itself seem more useful. Especially if you have to pay one or two dollars a pop instead of just making a simple app yourself. And Bento just isn’t cutting it; it tells you up-front exactly everything you can do with it, and if your application doesn’t fit right into that narrow selection of templates, then no sale.

And it’s more of a minor point, but it’s possibly the most important and least “selfish” reason to do it: it would help keep the iPad from being perceived as purely a device for consuming media, and let Apple reassert itself as the company that makes things for creative people. HyperCard was uniquely Apple, and it fit so perfectly into the Apple philosophy: giving you only the complexity you needed and only when you needed it, and making the act of creating things feel like fun instead of like work.

What’s more, people will get it now. Back in 1988, much of HyperCard was devoted to trying to explain what it was, exactly, and what kind of stuff you could do with it. In 2010, people just naturally understand hyperlinks and pages and multimedia.

How Apple Should Do It

I do believe that if an iPhone OS-centric successor to HyperCard were to happen, it would have to come from Apple. And that’s not because of my devotion to Apple or some naive or high-minded philosophy, but for very practical reasons:

  • It has to be ubiquitous. A huge part of HyperCard’s influence was due to the fact that it was included on every Mac. If you have to go looking for it, then you’re probably not going to bother. Especially if it’s not clear to you what it does, exactly.
  • It has to run interpreted code. It’d be a lot better if Apple just relaxed its rule against letting apps run interpreted code, so that there could be all kinds of rapid application development available. But until they do, any attempt at a HyperCard replacement would be hopelessly gimped and over-simplified.
  • It would compete with the App Store. Being able to create your own stacks (or whatever the new metaphor is) would be of little use unless you could distribute them. Even back before the internet took off, people traded stacks on floppies at User Group meetings and over BBSs. If Apple allowed that kind of distribution for one third-party developer, they’d have to do it for all of them, and I see that as being highly unlikely.
  • It’d probably have to use private frameworks. Any app that ran these stacks would have to be doing runtime configuration that I just don’t believe is possible with the public frameworks. (Or I just haven’t dug deep enough into them).
  • Apple is already so close to having a finished version.

That last point is what got me excited about the potential for HyperCard on the iPad. It began with the “Getting Started” document that’s the first thing you see when you start up Pages for the iPad.

The Pages tutorial is, in a word, totally sweet. You can move images around and see the text flow around them, insert graphs and charts and edit them in place, and assign borders and other effects using simplified pop-up windows. Using Pages on a desktop or laptop, and you get the sense I’m using a simplified entry-level word processor. Using it with your fingers on an iPad, and you think this is how all page layout software is supposed to work.

Now, one of the iLife applications that seemed to have a ton of potential, but just kind of fizzled out, was iWeb. (I don’t know its actual success, of course, just that I’ve never actually seen a website that was created with it). It makes one hell of a first impression, but after using it for a while, you quickly run into its limitations. And you realize that it’s not the best way to make a dynamic website.

It would, however, be a fantastic way to make a HyperCard stack, or an iPad app. You can drag all of the page elements around and edit their properties in place. You can set up connections between buttons and other elements on the site. There’s already a notion of static content (e.g. a blog page) vs. dynamic content (e.g. individual posts). It’s got a media browser, as well as several built-in widgets.

iWeb has to do all kinds of tricks to get the pages you make with its editor to look as nice when they’re rendered in a browser. (The most obvious is how it has to generate big, web-unfriendly images when you rotate them or add borders and drop shadows). But it wouldn’t have to if they weren’t targeted for a browser, but were intended to be viewed in the app itself. Or even if it were targeted for Safari and WebKit only, instead of any browser.

And again, while using iWeb-type controls to resize, rotate, and add effects to pictures is pretty cool with a mouse, it’s really cool when you’re dragging and pinching stuff directly.

For the kind of fairly simple databases that a HyperCard stack would require, the Core Data system should be plenty sufficient. Core Animation already has all kinds of fancy transitions that can just drop into multiple contexts.

For assigning functionality to the visual elements, Apple’s already got a library of candidates. Dragging links between elements in InterfaceBuilder is a natural. There’s also QuartzComposer, which lets you sequence effects by drawing lines between boxes. And there’s the Automator app, which puts a visual front end on AppleScript. On a desktop, visual programming environments, including Automator, invariably seem clunky and limited. It almost always seems faster just to type it out in a text editor. But on the iPad, dragging and dropping is much more natural than typing. Eliminating typing altogether would just make the whole thing useless, another Bento that relies too much on templates without allowing enough configuration and customization. But minimizing the typing makes more sense on the iPad than it would on a desktop or laptop.

I dunno, maybe the idea is completely counter to what Apple’s trying to do. But it seems like it makes so much sense, and it would address so many concerns, and it just fits in with everything they’ve built up to now. All the iWork and iLife apps feel to me like HyperCard is lurking there in the background, waiting to come out. On the iPad they’ve finally got a good reason to let it loose.

Remembrance of Computers Past

Looking back at the rest of Apple’s product line helps explain why people think the iPad is such a big deal. Also, kind of a review.

iPadHello.jpgOut of all the billions of articles that have been written about the iPad over the past few weeks — previews, reviews, essays, tirades, counter-tirades, hands-ons, first impressions, updates, and general grousing — the best is still Stephen Fry’s article for Time magazine. Fry’s an unabashed Apple fanboy, but the article does exactly what it needs to: explain why this is such a big deal to some people. And it gets rid of the white background and just asks the Apple guys directly, “What’s so great about this thing, anyway?”

Not that they gave a compelling answer, but it was still nice of him to ask. And he didn’t really need to, anyway, because Fry covered that himself. The best part of the article is when he describes his and Douglas Adams’s excitement over the original Mac:

Goodbye, glowing green command line; hello, mouse, icons and graphical desktop with white screen, closable windows and menus that dropped down like roller blinds.
[…] I would pant excitedly. Douglas’ wife Jane would point with resigned amusement to the stairs, and I would hurl myself up them to swap files and play. We were like children with toy train sets. And that was part of the problem. It was such fun. Computing was not supposed to be fun.

Douglas Adams’s enthusiasm for the Mac was pernicious and infectious. It’s been about 20 years (!) since I read the Dirk Gently books, but I can still remember the frontispiece of each one explaining how it was written on a Mac, listing the software used. And I can vaguely remember a long passage in one of the books describing a character using a Mac, written to make it sound as wondrous as any of the more fantastic elements of the book.

So Long, and Thanks For All the PICTs

I don’t know for sure whether reading those books is what set me on the course to Mac fanaticism, but whatever started it, I was hooked. I would buy issues of MacUserjust for the pictures. Everything seemed so much cooler on a Mac; the control panel had a picture of a rabbit and a turtle to set your keyboard speed, and even the error messages had pictures!

When I finally got a Mac Plus as a graduation present (that my parents couldn’t quite afford, but knew how much I wanted it, presumably because I wouldn’t shut up about it), I loved it. Doing even the simplest things was more fun, and I saw nothing but limitless potential in the computer because it was so enjoyable to use.

It didn’t quite “exceed my capacity to understand it,” and it definitely didn’t “just work.” The Mac OS had already outpaced my system’s memory, so it was constantly spitting out disks and asking me to insert a new one. (The sound of the Mac ejecting a disk probably haunted my college roommates for years). Even my Commodore 128 had color, but the Mac was still low-resolutely black and white. Back then, the Outsiders would make complaints that sound hauntingly familiar today: “You can’t open it.” “It’s a toy computer.” “There’s not enough software for it.” “You could get a much more powerful machine at that price.” I eventually fell for that, and “upgraded” to a machine that I liked just fine. But I never loved a computer like that one.


And nostalgia couldn’t possibly be driving all of the hype around the iPad, but I do believe that the idea of the first Macintosh is a huge part of it, even for people who never owned one. And I believe the iPad is the closest Apple has come to realizing that philosophy since the first Mac.

After all, Windows may have copied the “look and feel” of the Mac, but it never quite got its soul. It wasn’t even until Windows 95 that they managed to get a consistent, unified personality at all. But you can’t blame Microsoft too much, since Apple lost it as well. As the personal computer got to be more ubiquitous and more general-purpose, it somehow got less personal. It got more functional, but less fun.

Using an iPad, I don’t just feel like I’m in the future, as I expected to. The part in that Time article that resonated the most with me was when Fry laments that Adams never got to see his Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy made real. Every new “mobile device” I’ve tried out, back to the original PalmPilot, I’ve subjected to the Hitchhiker’s Guide test. The iPad comes closer than any I’ve seen, it’d probably be even more uncanny if I’d gotten the 3G model. But more than that, I’m reminded of using my first Mac.

The iPad is obviously a direct descendent of the iPhone and the iPad, and it’s being described by tech writers and by Apple both as being a reaction to netbooks. But I believe you can trace the idea behind it all the way back to the Mac Plus.

The form factor is that of a magazine, sure, but it has a hint of the original Mac in there as well: just the screen when held horizontally, and the whole thing when in portrait mode. You can’t open it, but it doesn’t even seem like something you’d want to open: it feels like any time you’d spend configuring it is time that’d be better spent using it.

It’s got a few of the standby apps already installed and ready to go. MacWrite is no longer free, and it’s called Pages now, but it’s there if you need it. MacPaint has been made obsolete by digital photography, apparently, and the spreadsheet in AppleWorks now goes by the name Numbers. The desktop is still the realm of powerhouse applications with tons of features, but the iPad can comfortably support powerful apps that are simpler, more accessible, and more fun to use.
Continue reading “Remembrance of Computers Past”

Walled Garden Party

Passing the interminable waiting time by reading the hilariously over-the-top preactions to the iPad. Warning: very long and somewhat angry.

Tomorrow morning, as you know, is The Dawn of a New Era in Personal Computing. The Coming of the iPad will bring about a magical age where people are directly connected to content, and they will become mindless consumers tied to an unchecked corporate overlord, and also it will flop and no one will buy one. All at the same time. It’s just that special.

I was pretty skeptical of Apple’s marketing at first; I thought the claim that it was “magical and revolutionary” was a bunch of flowery nonsense. But now I’m convinced. Somehow, even before its release, the iPad has taken what was once a disparate group of strangers with internet access and magically turned them into thousands of experts, better able to tell me how I should spend my money than I’d be able to by myself. And it’s going to bring about a revolution (which won’t be televised in widescreen format, apparently) in which everyone suddenly finds himself unable to think for himself or create anything of value.

All across the web are the brave souls documenting the downfall of society. It’s been a little bit disheartening watching Nilay Patel of Engadget make the transition from his initial guarded optimism to having to mention the lack of printing and the App store’s rating system in only tangentially-related posts. I actually can’t tell if he’s being serious, or if he’s just been worn down by the thousands of commenters just plain losing their shit over the idea that a gadget blog would cover a new piece of consumer technology. Stay strong!

It’s a little easier with Marc Bernardin’s post on io9, a sarcastic but pleasant enough little piece about the ability to read comic books on the iPad that gives an overview of what apps are going to be available and what it means for distribution and oh my god we’re all gonna die where the hell did that come from all of a sudden?

With Ownership of Media Comes Great Responsibility

But the best of all is Cory Doctorow’s manifesto on Boing Boing, helpfully entitled “Why I won’t buy an iPad (and think you shouldn’t, either).” It’s certainly no surprise that the guy who’s appointed himself lead internet spokesperson against the evils of digital rights management would choose to write a tirade against Apple; the only surprising thing is that he waited this long. John Gruber wrote a response that was more even-tempered than I could be. And, frankly, more even-tempered than Doctorow’s post deserves.

I should make it clear that I don’t have anything personal against Doctorow; for all I know he’s a fine person, albeit one I’d probably hate getting stuck talking to at a party. But it seems that the iPad (and its media coverage) has magically turned him from an amusingly passionate and occasionally irritating anti-DRM evangelist, into full-on sputtering douchenozzle. On the plus side, his post makes Annalee Newitz’s rant on io9 (which tried to say exactly the same thing, a month earlier) seem reasoned and thoughtful by comparison. On the negative side: everything else.

First he rails against the assault on comic books:

I mean, look at that Marvel app (just look at it). I was a comic-book kid, and I’m a comic-book grownup, and the thing that made comics for me was sharing them. If there was ever a medium that relied on kids swapping their purchases around to build an audience, it was comics. And the used market for comics! It was — and is — huge, and vital. I can’t even count how many times I’ve gone spelunking in the used comic-bins at a great and musty store to find back issues that I’d missed, or sample new titles on the cheap.
So what does Marvel do to “enhance” its comics? They take away the right to give, sell or loan your comics. What an improvement. Way to take the joyous, marvellous sharing and bonding experience of comic reading and turn it into a passive, lonely undertaking that isolates, rather than unites. Nice one, Misney.

Haha, way to stick it to The Man, C-Doc! Because as we all know, Disney is a pure representation of Evil Multinational Corporation that stifles creativity, since it’s still 1994 and all of us had our emotional and intellectual maturation stopped when we were sophomores in college. Also, MEAT IS MURDER! Ever since tiny upstart mom-and-pop operation Marvel Comics got bought by their new corporate overlords, they’ve stopped publishing single issues. Even worse, they’re stifling kids’ enjoyment of comics by making them available on every single digital platform in existence.

I, too, am a comic-book grownup. And as a grownup I would prefer to have hundreds of comic books on a one pound, half-inch high device instead of in the boxes and stacks that are overflowing my closet, bookshelves, romantic-encounter-inhibiting stack beside my bed, and my parents’ basement. If I want to share them, then holy shit they’re now on a device that’s the same size as a comic book! I can hand somebody else the iPad, and it’ll even flip over to let them read it! Also the last time I shared a single issue of a comic book with anyone was when I was 18!

The comic book thing is just the first sign that Doctorow has become the worst kind of Old Guard: the Old Guard who believes he’s still cutting-edge counter-culture. The kind who believes that putting a picture of Steve Jobs upside down or using epithets like “Misney” is anything more than a lazy substitute for bonafide insight. What he’s done here is conflate two things: his pet cause of “ownership” of media, and the joyous magic of sharing. It’s selfishness disguised as generosity. If I start buying comics on an iPad, then I’m every bit as free to go “spelunking” through the online catalog for back issues — I could buy, right now, the first 10 issues of X-Men and read them immediately and individually; they’re not to the best of my knowledge in print as single issues. I could share my collection with anyone by sharing my iPad.

What I can’t do is take someone else’s work and sell it. That is not, however, “sharing.”
Continue reading “Walled Garden Party”

Our Browsers, Ourselves

Using the healing power of blogging to rationalize an expensive and unnecessary purchase.

As one of the idiots loyal technology enthusiasts who bought an iPhone on day one, I was a little disappointed by the anti-climactic iPad pre-order event. In June a couple years ago, I was standing in line outside an AT&T store for an hour, chatting with the other saps fine people, only to be told at the last minute that they were sold out of the version I wanted. That led to my driving all over Marin county, eventually finding myself at an Apple Store, where I was welcomed by a double line of smiling Apple employees escorting me to the demo phones on display at their all-white tables, then putting a gentle hand on my back and leading me to the back of the store where they could take my credit card info. It was exciting and not at all creepy.

With the iPad, though, I just hit a button on a web form. Where’s the excitement? Or the exclusivity? It’s been over a week, and you can still order one online! You can even have it sent to your house, and miss out on all the energizing and totally not cult-like atmosphere of the Apple Store. I used the online form to reserve a pick-up at one of the stores in San Francisco. Conveniently, the very same form let me schedule a time and place outside the store to get mugged and have my iPad stolen from me.

I chose the WiFi 32 GB model, and I chose Darrel as my Forced Redistribution Representative. I figured that even the 64 GB model wouldn’t hold all of the music and video I’ve amassed over the decades, and the iPhone is a better music player anyway, so 32 GB could easily store a couple weeks’ worth of video and books until the next sync. And I liked that Darrel is a methadone addict who plans to re-sell the thing on Craigslist, so it felt like I was giving back to the community.

Now, I put a good bit of effort into talking myself out of wanting one of these things, and then calmly and rationally going through the pros and the cons, so that I could make an informed purchasing decision by the morning of the 12th. Apple ruined all that, by apparently having enough supply to meet the demand, but I hate to see all that thought process go to waste:

Cost-Effectiveness: When I moved into this apartment, I bought a couch for $600. It’s green and very comfortable. I also bought a chair from Office Depot for around $80. It’s oddly tilted and is bad for my back. When I get home after a grueling day of watching other people make videogames, I spend anywhere from two to four hours at my desk, reading news feeds and forum messages, starting and abandoning web posts such as this one, and obsessively checking Google for mentions of the game I’m working on. If it’s “Lost” or “Castle” night, or the day after “Community” and “30 Rock,” I might spend an hour on the couch in front of the TV. This means that every second I spend at my desk, I’m losing money that I spent on my couch. Being able to browse the web while reclined isn’t only more comfortable, it’s the right thing to do.

Productivity: Whenever I’m sitting in this uncomfortable chair reading the internets, I invariably run across a recommendation of some Flash game that I end up playing for longer than it’s worth. The iPad doesn’t support Flash. Big win.

Literature: I’ve still got all these books piled up from back when I used to intend to read things. But what a hassle! Those pages! Finding a light source! All the opening and closing! On the floor of my apartment, I’ve got a big stack of unread books just sitting there, mocking me every time I sit down to play a videogame or watch a movie. Just think of all the space I could save if I could have all those books on a single device that’s a half inch thick, and not read them there!

Health Concerns: The books that I do still read are comics, and reading comic books means leaving the apartment to take a bus down to the comic book store. And that means exposing my body to unhealthy UV radiation. In the perfect world of 2010, I should be able to buy comic books without going outside. And without waiting for the trade paperbacks to come out.

My Concern for You, The Readers: The one thing the best writers all have in common is that they have a singular voice, a defining characteristic. The one thing that all my writing has in common is that there’s a lot of it. If I can make blog posts from a touchscreen keyboard with the iPhone OS’s auto-correction, then I’ll be encouraged to keep it short and sample.

The Lamentations of Bloggers: There have been several bloggers calling out the iPad for representing the Evils of Closed Systems, writing post after post decrying the “walled garden” of the App Store and Apple’s unfair business practices. They suggest that consumers are complicit in the death of open software, lured by the status of an Apple logo and a bright shiny piece of electronics instead of getting a more powerful and more user-empowering computer. So I’m buying an iPad to make a statement. And that statement is: “Fuck you.” With the additional statement: “I know what I’m doing, and how I spend my money is my own damn business. If Windows or Android or Linux or HP or LG or whoever had beaten Apple to the system with a superior product, then I would’ve bought that instead. So suck it.”

Research: There are plenty of other e-book readers and personal media players and netbooks out there already; I believe that the new thing that the iPad will bring to the market is genuinely social computing. As in: a direct, tactile connection to the content displayed on screen; and real, face-to-face communication with another person while sharing the contents of the screen. Apple mentioned both aspects during the iPad keynote, but the “sharing” part was kind of an afterthought. I believe that’s were it’s going to make a real difference, though. (It’s also what the Microsoft Surface project has been all about, but they got locked into the mindset of a big-ass table. Instead of a portable device, which they always tried to turn into just another Windows machine). Apple mentioned showing off pictures with an iPad, but I think that’s because Steve Jobs feels about games the same way George Bush feels about black people. Board games and card games are just a different experience than playing single-player or even multiplayer games online, and it’s an experience that I don’t think computers have been able to replicate yet.

I do honestly believe that there’s going to be a subtle shift in the way people think about computers once more of us can show someone else a web page or a photo or a video simply by handing them the screen. But I think the most exciting stuff on the iPad is going to come from two areas: online magazines, and social games. (And hopefully, we’ll be able to take the term “social games” back from all the people making Facebook games).

Continue reading “Our Browsers, Ourselves”

Sometimes When We Touch

My heavily-biased review of the HP Touchsmart tm2 Tablet PC

touchsmarttm2.jpgI’ve wanted to get a Tablet PC for years; in fact, thanks to the internet, I can tell you exactly when I started jonesing for one in earnest. Apparently, it was November 11, 2002, when I read this Penny Arcade entry and realized that it was actually possible for real humans to draw directly on a magic screen with millions of colors and infinite storage and a way to instantly undo any mistakes.

They’ve always been out of my price range, though, and I never could rationalize getting an expensive new computer instead of a $10 pad of drawing paper and some colored pencils. And I was certain that Apple would eventually release one — a real one, not a third-party mod that charged $1700 to take away your keyboard, so I could wait a few years. This year there was finally a perfect storm of incentives: first Apple let me down and made it clear they just weren’t into they stylus in that way, and a decent-powered tablet finally broke the $1000 price barrier. So I decided to take the leap, defect from OS X, and order a HP TouchSmart tm2.

Spoiler alert: I ended up returning it. I couldn’t find a demo model in a store, so I had to order one to try it in person; being able to get some hands-on time with one would’ve saved me and HP both a lot of time, money, and effort. That Mobile Tech Review site has a lengthy review and three great video reviews of the computer, but they’re comparing the machine to other Tablet PCs, and they’ve already gotten used to the quirks of tablets and Windows laptops in general. (Plus, even video reviews as exhaustive as the ones they made can’t give you a perfect idea of what it’s like to actually use one).

I’d been hoping to find a review of the computer written by someone with closer to my background — a longtime Mac devotee and amateur artist wanting to take a stab at drawing on the computer but too cheap to shell out for a Cintiq. Hopefully, this will give more info to anybody else who’s in the same boat. For the record, the specs of my machine, straight from the order form:

  • Intel(R)Core(TM)2 Duo SU7300 (1.30GHz, 800MHz FSB) w/512MB ATI Mobility Radeon(TM) HD 4550 Graphics
  • 4GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
  • 500GB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive
  • 12.1″ diagonal WXGA High-Definition HP LED Widescreen (1280×800) with Integrated Touch-screen

Continue reading “Sometimes When We Touch”