I’ve said it before but want to reiterate that Pandora + iPad have made a deeper impact on how I live my life more quickly than any other technology change. And in some ways that change is more ‘SciFi-ish’ than any other change I have experienced.
Don’t get me wrong other things have had more impact but they were much more profound in and of themselves.
- Smashing my ankle
- First Car
- First Real Job
- First House
- Getting Married
- First Child
- Second Child
- First Child going to college….
How can I even compare two pieces of Triviachology like the iPad and Pandora you ask?
Well I have worked from home a significant amount of time since 1997 and I have very consciously tried to limit the amount of paper I generate and find ways to get information in electronic rather than paper form. I have felt that the eReader was going to reach takeoff eventually and while the pundits always poo poohed it I saw a steady decrease in the Paper load in the engineering world probably a leading edge in the utilization of information that had made it paper heavy for a very long time. When the piles on young and not so young engineers desks began to collect dust I figured it was because they weren’t shuffling through them so often any longer because the primary sources were in electronic not paper form. The paper was for reference and for making notes on (BtW Paper / print / writing / reading is a fantastic intricate and powerful technology if you stop for a moment to think about it.)
Now I can carry around a single small compact rugged and handsome slab of Al and Glass that is book, magazine, note taking device (typing or hand writing, I take copious ‘ink’ notes on my iPad, Check out the Penultimate app if you want to try it.) calculator with some of the calculators capable of solving and displaying very complex systems of equations (MathStudio or SymCalc HD) and I do some quite complex artwork for fun and other purposes using ArtStudio. I load a lot of papers and other tech pups (pdf) onto my iPad (iBooks) so I can read them at my leisure.
Now the iPad is no replacement for a laptop (for me.) But unlike many commentators I do not see that as anything but a special case. It is a fabulous adjunct, extender, even amplifier, but I see it as a reasonable laptop replacement for certain users, especially those who are more interested in consumption than creation. To be honest I think the combination of an iPad and a smart TV may be all that an even larger cadre of users need. But that does not denigrate the iPad as a consumption device, it’s an adjunct amplifier to your digital life, that can be a replacement under certain limited circumstances.
So…there you go the iPad as significant life changer, what about Pandora?
Well here my story is a bit weaker and it’s really the combination of Pandora and the iPad and to an extent Netflix streaming service. And let me tell you right now that I hate TV’s in the bedroom and my wife is addicted to the BBC versions of many US TV procedural cop shows..and insistes on watching them (on her iPad) late at night if she can’t get to sleep……I must have been bad in a very twisted way in some previous life…! Anyway Pandora in itself was a revelation, as I have said before it mix of being able to select music you like and then let it go off and find things similar in ‘feeling’ has opened me up to huge swaths of music I had never heard before. Add that to the ability to have that music with me most of the time with the iPad and one can feel a bit like one is living in a movie with your own sound track, though I found this soundtrack doesn’t do a good job of foreshadowing the next scene. And even though I curse Netflix fairly regularly it is nice to be able to browse in ‘the long tail’ of shows, see things I never had a chance to watch, like BBC’s Primeval, or some Nova or History Channel programs.
So while those two services are not responsible for as profound a change as the iPad is in itself, added to the iPad they are a very profound change in my and my family’s habits…and as one would expect not always for the good.