Thursday, February 19, 2009

Commentary for WIRED: March09

Yesterday my internet was down for a good hour or so, so I put my butt (well, stomach) on the bed and started reading my new issue of WIRED that came in the mail today. I really love that magazine because it kind of runs the gamut of subjects when it comes to articles.

They had one on netbooks - tiny little laptops that are truly just bare bones - and how they could take over the computer industry. First developed for the program One Laptop Per Child, these little things are meant to be sturdy, long-lasting, and able to perform basic functions (read: internet). Here are some sample specs for you computer nerds (these are of Dell's Inspiron Mini 9 Netbook):
  • Intel Atom N270 Single Core 1.6 GHz processor
  • Ubuntu Linux 8.04 OS
  • 512 MB System Memory
  • 4-GB solid state drive storage
  • 8.9 inches, 1024x600px screen
  • 802.11b/g wireless
  • 299$
Basically, the perfect on-the-go laptop, and WIRED speculates that it could possibly overthrow the more powerhouse notebooks. Why?

Because you could do all the basic functions right on the internet.
Word processing? Google Documents, and a slew of other free processing sites.
Picture storage? Photobucket, TinyPic, Flickr... pictures don't even need to stay on your machine for too long.
Music? Well, WIRED says you can just listen to them all online via places like Youtube and imeem and, but if you're one for collecting and keeping all your music, a little netbook isn't probably going to be enough.
There are even online photo editors that could replace a lot of peoples' need for Photoshop! FotoFlexer and Picnik allow users to adjust photos online easily, doing enough to suit most peoples' needs (hue/saturation adjustment, dodge/burn, etc). If you need to do some seriously sophisticated work though, or Illustrator, you'd obviously need a heavy-duty computing system because little Netbooks just don't cut it.

Oh, and that's why they call them Netbooks: all you pretty much do is use the Internet, in all its glory. You can stick it in your smaller messenger bag, pull it out and update Facebook, check your email, etc. Crazy, right? I don't know how I feel about a lot of programs being moved into depending so much on the Internet, though. It's great and all, but I do like keeping my own files where they are. The Internet seems to nebulous to me, and I feel like anything can go wrong in a place that could be hosting all my documents or pictures. I like the security.

Another article detailed the making of the upcoming Watchmen movie, which I am honestly so retardedly excited for. They didn't actually go into production and stuff, rather just the Watchmen movie's journey. As an idea it had been kicked around a lot, and a lot of critics agree that it's just something that shouldn't be made into a movie because it has so many elements that won't fit into such a neatly chronological thing like a movie. The original was really going to be over three hours long, and it pained the director (Zack Snyder) to have to cut it down to two-and-a-half hours. Damn.
I'm excited, I'm so so excited.
I don't even know what else to say I'm so excited, I can't go and tell you how I hope this part will be filmed or that, because then I'd be spoiling it!

LAST WIRED ARTICLE I WANTED TO COMMENT ON had to do with design, and designing inside the box. Something you hear a lot is to "think outside the box," but in fact, you grow by thinking inside of it. I've always felt this way, but now I have WIRED to validate my feelings. :P

Limitations and rules serve to set designers on a certain path to solve a problem, because that's what designers are: problem solvers. You don't ask a designer to "do whatever you want" when they're designing a logo for a whole-foods market, and even if you do, the designer will be inclined to set limitations. First of all, it's a whole-foods market, so nothing on like sports products. Second of all, what's the image of the whole-foods market? Down to earth and for everyone? Gung-ho on going green? A lot of thinking goes into design, and when there are limitations and walls blocking you from doing whatever you want, the only way to go is up.

We succeed when limitations are set upon us. This is also why I believe that having more options as a teenager growing up in modern day isn't necessarily the best thing. Our parents didn't grow up with limitless options, and so they had to be resourceful and clever and rely on their own talents and strengths to pull them up to where they want to be. We can get a lot of things handed to us on a silver platter, and while everyone says they want that, do they really? Do you really?
So it doesn't just apply to design, but the way we work. It applies to strength-through-adversity, weathering the storm, and being the best. It's letting your mind work and letting your character really show through in the context of your situation.

I was actually going to blog about something else in addition to this, but I'd like to keep it self-contained. This should be enough for ya'll ;)


Brent said...

It's your fault, now I want one! D: I didn't even think about that.. we do basically use the Internet for everything now. Although occassional Photoshop and Finale is nice. I was surprised that they're not all that expensive, although I'm definitely not able to shell out for one soon.

"retardedly excited" LOL

Chelsea said...

Near the end of your entry, I started getting images of Wall-E the movie, where everybody just sort of wandered around in an idiodic state, not caring.

I have NO IDEA how often my mom has said these words :When I WAS YOUR AGE....

We really do have it easy.

I think that mini laptop is amazing. It's true that we don't need Microsoft Office to run a computer, we could easily delete these programs from our computers now and just use the internet. But, like you said, there's the security issue. I like the internet, but it bugs me that one password guess, one TOS change, one slip on my end, and it could be in someone else's hands.

Very interesting future indeed.