Computers & Networks

Holiday with an iPad

morreale Saturday 07 of January, 2012
Last xmas (2010), I ended up setting up and using a Kindle 3 with WiFi and 3G. I bought it originally as a gift for my 80+ year old father thinking that it would be a good way to get him Internet access. He said "what do I know about computers". I end up with the kindle and use it way more than I expected. I've read so many more books last year (a personal record of like 5). My main disappointment with the Kindle is that you need a computer to manage it. It can't be use standalone so it's not appropriate for someone that lives without computers.

This xmas (2011), I set up an iPad 2 for a 80+ year old family member. Someone reported that the iPad 2 has the same computational power as a 1985 era 8 processor Cray supercomputer with more than 1.5 GFLOPs of computing power. This is very impressive for it's small size and it's so easy to use. Now, imagine my surprise to learn that you need a iTunes account and a computer to manage it from. This is a pretty serious limitation. It gets worst, however, the browser does not support flash and Java. This means no YouTube, lectures, or TED conference videos. I could not run things like FETtoy at the nanohub.org, for example. FETtoy is an online simulator that calculates the ballistic I-V characteristics for conventional MOSFETs, Nanowire MOSFETs and Carbon NanoTube MOSFETs with a Java interface.

So, my request to mobile platform designers: treat these as primary computational devices that can stand and work on their own. Then build in the ability to work together in clusters to combine computing power.

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