Saturday, July 11, 2009

The iPhone ate my homework

Why I Hate the iPhone: [...] I hate the iPhone for irrational reasons related to the number of times I get emails like these:

F, I know you want me to send you the text and you should have it in your hands soonish but I'm stuck sending things from my iphone.

[...] For me, the sentence "I'm sending this from my iPhone" does not instill a sense of awe and techno-envy but instead I get a sinking feeling that I'm not going to see a certain draft or a certain figure for a while yet to come. (Via FemaleScienceProfessor.)

The iPhone here is just a popular proxy for the whole class of smartphones; I remember first feeling that way about those "sent from my BlackBerry" signature lines. But there's a deeper issue here: much our work is still stuck where we can't get to it easily from a smartphone. It's a human factors problem — reading and writing are difficult on small screens and keyboards; it's a software problem — technical writing and technical data rely on software that typically does not work on a mobile device or on the cloud; it's a systems problem — much of our data is on machines with restricted connectivity for technical and security reasons. I'd love to stop carrying a laptop everywhere, but it's unlikely that I will be able to in the foreseeable future.

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