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Author Topic: Which is more important: the gadget, or the software and apps that runs it?  (Read 11219 times)
zridling
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« on: May 25, 2011, 11:21:51 PM »



Which is more important: the gadget or the software and apps that runs it?
Let me explain. It seems we are on the edge of either gadgetopia (wunderbar!) or gadgetphrenia (oh damn!), pulling us away from the desktop as fast as they can to the cloud where mega-corporations can soon charge us for every click, swipe, or tap. There's android, iOS, and Windows, among others. With ereaders you have broad fragmentation as the market and the industry is racing to find ways to charge as much as possible -- in as many creative ways as possible -- for content, device, and its features. Amazon announced a discounted ad-supported Kindle this week. (The ads will only gain you a 17% discount, however.) Every week brings a new ereader, but I'm still on the fence until they're open devices running on open formats.

Therefore, does the device/gadget win you over or is it the software/apps that run it?
« Last Edit: May 25, 2011, 11:24:17 PM by zridling » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2011, 01:14:04 AM »

That's easy: Applications.

I've been stalling on getting an e-reader just because it's (nearly) a single-function aparatus, in favor of a decently sized tablet that can run (almost any) other stuff too, besides being an anything-reader. It's most likely not going to be an iPad though Cool
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Renegade
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« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2011, 01:30:40 AM »

That's easy: Applications.

I've been stalling on getting an e-reader just because it's (nearly) a single-function aparatus, in favor of a decently sized tablet that can run (almost any) other stuff too, besides being an anything-reader. It's most likely not going to be an iPad though Cool

+1

Hardware tells you what is possible, while software operates inside those limits to actually do something. A CPU is useless unless it's powered up with software.
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« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2011, 02:28:41 AM »

I sort of disagree.  It really depends on the perspective.  If I am the creator of the device, then the gadget does.  If I am the creator of the content, the content does.  If I am the creator of the app, then the app does.  The problem with the question as I see it is all three have to come together for the consumer to answer that.  In the end, it is the content that matters, the rest is just a delivery mechanism.  However, content providers make choices that directly affect those choices.  The good news is that apps (and hence the content) are much more easily designed to work on different gadgets than it is to design a gadget that works.
 

Okay, now that I finished with that hyperbole, I agree, it is definitely the content that matters.  It is the only consumable that you care about.  How it is delivered is irrelevant as long as it IS delivered.  That is, unless you are making money on the delivery tongue
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Edvard
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« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2011, 02:37:25 AM »

Double-edged sword.

Lackluster software running on awesome hardware is frustrating and puzzling at the least, and plain stupid at worst, though the hope then remains that the software can be updated or apps developed to take advantage of the hardware's capabilities.

Great software attempting to run on under-powered hardware is downright painful.

So... I'll have to disagree.
+1 for hardware.
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Renegade
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« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2011, 02:49:40 AM »

What is more important?

The stone, or the Thinker? The stone, or David? Venus de Milo?

Iron? Or the Eiffel Tower?

Canvas? Or Sunflowers? Mona Lisa? A Starry Night?

Windows? Or Guitar & Drum Trainer? cheesy (Ok, maybe it's not really good example there, but I had to get in some kind of humor for those that get it. smiley )

The medium/platform isn't as important as "what you can do", which is entirely dependent on the software running on the platform. So, while "Windows" may not be the most important, and GDT isn't either, the fact that you can learn to play cool new music definitely is much cooler if that's what you want to do.

It's what you can "do" that's the important thing.

I see platforms as unmoulded clay, waiting for an artist to come along and paint something wonderful on it.

Different platforms, in the painting analogy, are just oil paints and water colors. They're different. Oh, and then there's edible finger paint / Mac. tongue
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phitsc
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« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2011, 03:37:25 AM »

Definitely the gadget!

Most of the time, I'm not actually using any apps. My gadgets just lie here around me. I look at the little cuties and I'm happy. The apps just suck. They don't do anything useful. They freeze my gadget or crash. They look ugly. They suck the precious juice out of my gadgets; even when I'm not actually using them! Then I need to put my lovely gadgets on a leash, and they don't like that. Some of the apps also make my adorable gadgets angry (I know that, because they get so hot).

I really think me and my gadgets would be better off without these stupid apps Cool
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« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2011, 04:40:08 AM »

@Renegade
Try running Windows 7 on a Pentium II and get back to me. tongue

I see everyone's point, the quality of the software available is a prime consideration when adopting any platform.
It's just that if your hardware isn't there, all the zippy software in the world is not going to help.
You're not going to paint the Mona Lisa on a paper towel.
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Renegade
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« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2011, 05:29:09 AM »

@Renegade
Try running Windows 7 on a Pentium II and get back to me. tongue

The way I see it is... Try building a Pentium II out of Jell-O. smiley

Windows 7 is meant to run on a PII in the same way a PII is meant to be built out of Jell-O. Or perhaps Flintstone chewable multivitamins.

You're not going to paint the Mona Lisa on a paper towel.

Which seems to me to be saying that paper towels aren't prerequisites for great paintings. Or, that you need the proper prerequisites to be met.

I simply see good hardware as a prerequisite. That doesn't diminish the value of the hardware, because without it you're screwed. But what I'm really interested in is getting things done, and the software is the primary enabler.
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« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2011, 06:15:26 AM »

To me, an app is just another device built with software rather than hardware.

Many people talk about virtualization as something new. But we've been doing it ever since the first program was written to emulate the function of a purely electronic or mechanical device. Word-processing programs were probably the first 'virtual device' products the public became generally aware of. Much to the chagrin of Wang and IBM as they watched their lucrative Wang Office and DisplayWriter businesses get devoured by programs like PC-Write, Scriptsit,  and (ultimately) WordPecfect.

But none of that would have been possible if personal computers weren't around to run these programs first.

So which is more important - the device or the apps it runs?

Since it's a synergistic relationship, my answer would have be a simple "yes."  smiley

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« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2011, 06:42:41 AM »

So which is more important - the device or the apps it runs?

Since it's a synergistic relationship, my answer would have be a simple "yes."

While I do understand Renegades point, I can totally see my self going here with the answer (hehe).

However, speaking of points...
Therefore, does the device/gadget win you over or is it the software/apps that run it?

The original question says to me; what is more important to the consumer. Not what's more important philosophically. Uber slick hardware (speed), or what you can do with it at that speed (the apps).

Given that there's not much point, fun, or reason to drop the extra cash on a Quad Core to playing Pong. For the end user, I'd say, it's a matter of what can be done with. The apps are a means to an end. That end being to access the content. Which also makes the apps the Pivot Man for the content. A bad app can waste the hardware capabilities, and ruin the content consumptions experience.

So I'll say that the most important make or break point is the apps. Because a well written app, even on old/slow hardware can still rock ... If it plays well with the user.
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cranioscopical
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« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2011, 07:01:10 AM »

Wetware beats all  Wink
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Chris
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« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2011, 08:40:03 AM »

Wetware beats all  Wink

Wow! I think you may have just created the 'geek version' of "Rock, Paper, Scissors"  Grin

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Renegade
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« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2011, 08:45:56 AM »

Wetware beats hardware.
Hardware beats software.
Software beats wetware.

hehehe - cute.
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« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2011, 09:02:42 AM »

^Software does a lot more than just beat Wetware. Those two have a full blown sadomasochistic relationship going. And we're talking the "lifestyle" variety here.  tongue
« Last Edit: May 26, 2011, 09:09:14 AM by 40hz » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2011, 09:39:19 AM »

Since it's a synergistic relationship, my answer would have be a simple "yes."  smiley

mine too
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« Reply #16 on: May 26, 2011, 09:44:00 AM »

^Software does a lot more than just beat Wetware. Those two have a full blown sadomasochistic relationship going. And we're talking the "lifestyle" variety here.  tongue


Do tell~! tongue Grin
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« Reply #17 on: May 26, 2011, 11:42:20 AM »

^Software does a lot more than just beat Wetware. Those two have a full blown sadomasochistic relationship going. And we're talking the "lifestyle" variety here.  tongue


Do tell~! tongue Grin

Yeah! I want pictures ... i think...  undecided
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« Reply #18 on: May 26, 2011, 11:48:06 AM »

Alright (damn you guys - now I'm stuck trying to figure this out.) If I understand this correctly:

When HardWare encounters WetWare, it ends up being SoftWare in less than an hour.


Right?
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Edvard
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« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2011, 02:03:03 PM »

...

I simply see good hardware as a prerequisite. That doesn't diminish the value of the hardware, because without it you're screwed. But what I'm really interested in is getting things done, and the software is the primary enabler.

I agree with you 100%, I was just saying if I go shopping for a gadget, I'm going to be looking at the slickest hardware first, which won't guarantee great software, but less hardware constraints make for a better software environment.
"Build it and they will come"

Alright (damn you guys - now I'm stuck trying to figure this out.) If I understand this correctly:

When HardWare encounters WetWare, it ends up being SoftWare in less than an hour.

Right?

*facepalm*
« Last Edit: May 26, 2011, 02:06:45 PM by Edvard » Logged

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« Reply #20 on: May 26, 2011, 02:15:46 PM »

Neither. smiley

Which is more important, the tool or the product?  Without the tool, the product would not get built.  Without the product, the tool has no purpose.  Either without the other (or some permutation of 'the other') doesn't really do you any good, now does it?  If you have the idea for GDT, and no computer to build it on, aren't you a bit FUBAR?  And the same the other way around... if you want to use your computer to help with your mad guitar skills, but don't have any software to do so, your computer's pretty useless at that point...
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zridling
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« Reply #21 on: May 26, 2011, 04:43:44 PM »

Wow, great discussion. Let me clarify a bit based on what's been said.

Right now, would you choose to buy the device based on its beauty, elegance, and hardware specs, or is the platform more important in your purchase decision?

(1) Your current computing background might have a say. For example, if you're a Windows person, and you use Windows Live/365, etc., you might likely decide a device (tablet or ereader in this case) running Windows is a more consistent and safe option for you. If you lean toward Linux/Android, then you might side with Google's Chromebook, which under Google's Bookshop would double as a convenient reader. And if you're a Mac person, then there's no discussion: it's iPad period.

(2) The problem I'm having -- as an open source guy -- is that each of these devices limit my choices. If I go with Google, then Amazon locks me out. If I go with Amazon, then they've shown they have no problem deleting your purchase if they need to. If I go with Apple, then I've gone to a dark, dark place where no one ever comes back, where Steve Jobs chokes any choice right out of your soul.
_____________________________
Given this state of affairs, I think I'd have to go for the hardware and hope everyone eventually supports ePUB files. I can't let a corporation control the format of my files -- especially ones I'm purchasing! -- ever again.
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« Reply #22 on: May 26, 2011, 05:15:13 PM »

FWIW, I do tend to look at what's available for a platform first. So I guess you could say I am influenced more by available software than hardware because I'm more interested in immediate usefullness rather than technical potential. I figure I can always switch or upgrade hardware if I have to. And there are distinct financial and technical advantages to a reasonable "late adoption" strategy when it comes to hardware. Less so for software, which doesn't usually see price drops due to increased unit sales like hardware does.

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superboyac
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« Reply #23 on: May 26, 2011, 05:21:46 PM »

So which is more important - the device or the apps it runs?

Since it's a synergistic relationship, my answer would have be a simple "yes."  smiley
EGG-zactly.  I'll keep insisting this point: the problem is not the OS or the device or the apps.  The problem is that all the big boy companies insist that choosing one of these things limits your choices in another category.  if I choose this device, I can only use this program.  if I want this OS, I can only pick from these 2 devices that I don't care for, but my favored device can't run that OS.

It's all these restrictions that annoy the shit out of me.  And we have the ability to be free.  All I want is each category to be independent.

Windows vs. Mac OS (this is a legitimate choice)
Windows vs. itunes player (??  makes no sense)
ipad vs. Android (?? makes no sense)
ipad vs. Galaxy (legit)
ipad vs. Android (stupid)
iOS vs. Android (valid)
EEE tablet vs. Verizon contract (AHH!!  shoot me now!)

Wouldn't you love to see all the devices on the table and be able to say:
I want THAT tablet,
with THIS OS,
without a cellphone contract,
with THESE apps.

Now, the only valid linkage between categories to me is apps and OS.  That's not fake or a gimmick.  but even now, there are enough cross-platform languages out there to make apps work on all the OS's.  Still, at least it's not simply a superficial barrier to trick you into a contract or a particular device.
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« Reply #24 on: May 26, 2011, 05:39:11 PM »

Wow, great discussion. Let me clarify a bit based on what's been said.

Right now, would you choose to buy the device based on its beauty, elegance, and hardware specs, or is the platform more important in your purchase decision?

(1) Your current computing background might have a say. For example, if you're a Windows person, and you use Windows Live/365, etc., you might likely decide a device (tablet or ereader in this case) running Windows is a more consistent and safe option for you. If you lean toward Linux/Android, then you might side with Google's Chromebook, which under Google's Bookshop would double as a convenient reader. And if you're a Mac person, then there's no discussion: it's iPad period.

(2) The problem I'm having -- as an open source guy -- is that each of these devices limit my choices. If I go with Google, then Amazon locks me out. If I go with Amazon, then they've shown they have no problem deleting your purchase if they need to. If I go with Apple, then I've gone to a dark, dark place where no one ever comes back, where Steve Jobs chokes any choice right out of your soul.
_____________________________
Given this state of affairs, I think I'd have to go for the hardware and hope everyone eventually supports ePUB files. I can't let a corporation control the format of my files -- especially ones I'm purchasing! -- ever again.
I've been thinking about this a lot lately.  I quickly get sucked into a philosophical vortex when I do.  I blame the global financial system for this stuff.  But I won't commit to it because once you start thinking that globally about it, you can attribute it to so many human characteristics.  I can blame it on greed, or other such things.  But since I'm a little obsessed right now with the economy, that's what I'm thinking.

See, the world is so connected now, not only communication-wise, but especially with money.  Any investment we make (mortgages, pensions, insurance...basically anything that is Wall Street-ish) goes directly into the global economy.  This is a very new and unique thing historically.  Before, things were way more compartmentalized (like before deregulation).  Not to get too much into it, but because of this, it makes it virtually impossible to provide mutually beneficial solutions to people as a whole.  Someone MUST get screwed in the process.  Why?  because our global economy is basically a Ponzi scheme.  It's afloat right now, but it's gonig to collapse eventually.  Maybe not in my lifetime, but this can't be sustained.  And we've crossed some kind of line recently too, I don't know how to describe it.

So who's going to get screwed?  Well, not the big boys.  So the "American Dream" small business people are going to suffer.  Why?  Because the small business people, they desire to provide actual solutions that people NEED and WANT.  It's mutually beneficial.  Sure, I'll give you $10 for a program that will autonumber lists for me.  I'm happy, you're happy.  Yay!  But no...the small business owner has to pay all sorts of fees just to get the business going.  Then fees for all the services he needs from the big companies.  Then fees for mortgages, or rent, homeowner's association...all of these HUGE costs for stuff like that.  Phone bills, cell phone service, ISP.  So now, the programmer can't charge $10 because it's such a small market AND his living expenses are crazy.  So he has to give up, and join a larger company so that he gets paid a salary doing spin-the-wheel type work.  So his innovation is lost, and his time and effort is spent doing things that make this fucked up system keep churning.  In the end, there's just mediocrity at best.

Then, when a guy like Madoff gets caught with a Ponzi scheme in the economic crisis, he is vilified and sent to prison.  Good, right?  (I'm not defending him, I'm using this as an academic example).  However, when AIG or the government does the EXACT SAME THING, what happens?  We print more money and dump it into the top of the pyramid.  And that's the "right thing to do".
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