Tablets computers threaten participation (and real work?)

Jonathan Angel recently explained very well, in a piece about the IBM PC’s birthday’, something I realized the first time I saw a tablet computer, that is the main reason why I will not limit myself to any device like that, and suggest nobody does. Here’s that reason, expressed with two quotes from Jonathan’s piece, which I do suggest you read in its entirety:

  • Smartphone and tablets make it easier to sit and consume, not participate in any sort of detailed expression
  • awkward text entry = less democracy (because awkward text entry = less text entry = less active participation)

Does it make sense, in a world still founded on the written word, to rely only on devices that don’t make text entry as fast as possible?

I confess there’s another part of what Jonathan wrote that I love. It’s when he says (synthesizing) “I wonder what some people don’t understand about the definition of the word “work.” If twenty-somethings don’t want to work with personal computers [because they like tablets better]… there are plenty of older workers who need jobs”.

Two pleas against electronic voting

Two of the three urgent pleas from Sheila Parks of the Center for Hand-Counted Paper Ballots in Down the Rabbit Hole With Democracy are against e-voting:

SECOND URGENT PLEA: Please pay attention to those of us who educate, write, investigate, litigate, legislate and talk about the rigging of our elections by all electronic voting machines. The putsch with electronic voting machines is a more devious way of murdering us.

THIRD URGENT PLEA: We need secure hand-counted paper ballots (HCPB) elections now. That each of our votes is counted as cast is the bedrock of democracy.

The pleas are motivated with plenty of examples. I have made similar arguments in my Family Guide to Digital Freedom, in the chapter titled: Is E-Voting a solution? To which problem?

What do you think?