. .


Paging the Past

January 31, 2010 20:32:15.774

While I understand what Mark Pilgrim is on about in this post, I have to say, it made me chuckle:

Once upon a time, Apple made the machines that made me who I am. I became who I am by tinkering. Now it seems they're doing everything in their power to stop my kids from finding that sense of wonder. Apple has declared war on the tinkerers of the world. With every software update, the previous generation of "jailbreaks" stop working, and people have to find new ways to break into their own computers.

Why am I chuckling? Consider the car tinkerer of the 1950s, transported in front of a modern car. I rather suspect he'd say a whole lot of the same things. Have we lost something since then? Maybe, but then again, cars are safer, simpler, and more reliable now. I think we'll be able to say the same thing about computing devices, too.

The computer sector, like audio systems (back in the 20's) and cars (up until the 50's or so), is moving past the tinkerer stage. It's less something to rage against than it is something that just is...

Technorati Tags: ,

posted by James Robertson


Re: Paging the Past

[W^L+] January 31, 2010 22:47:58.081

I think you're forgetting that no one believes that auto mechanics are the key to our future. The auto industry is clearly on the downslide. If reliable public transit was available nationwide, car sales might be zero.

On the other hand, everything, even the toaster in your kitchen, has software underneath it. And while no one expects to tinker with toaster software, without somewhere to tinker, people won't learn.

On the other hand, I think Mark Pilgrim thinks that the next generation won't find somewhere else to tinker. They might not ever be able to make a living with it, but tinkerers tinker. It is part of their nature.

I tinker incessantly, but the first time I got motor oil on my chest, that was it for cars.

Re: Paging the Past

[James Robertson] January 31, 2010 23:10:17.076

First, this is a natural progression. Second, no modern tinkerer is going to do what Pilgrim is pining for. Instead, they would work with JavaScript, HTML5, maybe OpenGL - in a browser. Third, VPS systems are cheap now. For a low monthly cost, you can get full admin access to a full Linux or Windows system, and reset it easily.

For the kinds of tinkering that any new person interested in software wants to do, times have never been better. Pilgrim simply can't see it, because he's living in the past.

Re: Paging the Past

[Byron] February 1, 2010 2:09:16.916

Pilgrim has it completely wrong. Hacking is emphatically not about ANYTHING of the things he's talking about. Hacking is about doing something cool within the constraints of your equipment. Since equipment will always have constraints, there will always be hacking.

If anything it'll get better since the things are getting cheap enough to have several lying around so you can still do stuff (Self on the iPad?) when you've bricked the rest.

Re: Paging the Past

[Arden] February 1, 2010 9:09:37.742

I agree that cars are far safer and more reliable today than 30 years ago. But simpler? Just the opposite, they are vastly more complex, which is the main reason they are harder to tinker with or fix today.

 Share Tweet This