Penny Arcade (by Kate Beaton)
Kate Beaton is, among other things, an organism - and she’s good at it. That is to say, she’s good at being. She’s got a ton of autonomous processes that regulate her operation, and this leaves the higher order functions free to pursue her noble endeavors.
She may also be a PERVERT.
It’s rare that I have the kind of time it takes to wait in a gadget line anymore, but with both sets of parents in town we were able to negotiate some leave. I’m of the opinion that these lines are their own form of good, I am a proponent of their gentle society and only moderately restrained mania. I would attend such a formation even in the absence of desire to purchase, so unique is its social configuration. I can say without equivocation that I enjoyed the line as much, if not more, than the iPad itself.
The arc of my association with Apple has shifted perceptibly over the years, from nemesis to diplomat, and then from diplomat to a true dual-citizen. But I have never subscribed to that humming thread of inevitability people seem so willing to grant them. By way of example, reviews of the device had (at the launch of the product) been the exclusive domain of fucking lunatics. I urge you to avail yourself of Gizmodo’s robust matrix, marking the names of those responsible for these idolatries, and vowing to calibrate their future statements with reality.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that the device was largely unusable the first day. This is why special people are granted them early, before the rush, allowed to take a crack at the stocked buffet before the gammas arrive. Partners like Netflix were swamped as well, and their “client” is little more than a hack. The iPhone has a well established milieu by this point. What it means to be an “iPad app” is still somewhat wooly.
As an eReader, the iPad doesn’t match a dedicated machine for comfort. The iBooks narrative is strong, “does what iTunes did for music,” but that’s purely aspirational and doesn’t recognize just how late they are to the table. They are like Pink suggesting that the party has not been a party prior to their arrival, they’re wrong, and for a company of their vision and scope it’s embarrassing. With the Kindle and Barnes & Noble apps, it might make a nice secondary node for your digital library even if it doesn’t match the simple prowess of the specialized device. It’s almost perfect for kids, as you can see, but I already know which animal is the one with the trunk. Where I can see myself making use of it is with periodicals - affairs which trade on presentation as much as content. I availed myself of the most recent issue of Time, savored the novelty, but quickly ran aground on strange glitches and required orientation shifts and other shit which does not factor into my pleasure reading equation. They’ll figure it out, because they have to. The Marvel comic reader could very well make me a comic reader. But for long-distance, Endurance Reading, no. No, no, no.
As for everything else, you already know it. It’s a large, heavy iPhone that can’t make calls. Everything the iPhone excels at, this excels at also, and that includes the acquisition of human grease and filth. Every extended interaction with the device leaves it coated with smears of unknown provenance, like a stripper pole. From a narrative perspective, they’ve gone the wrong way: they’ve made a large, less general purpose device after a smaller, perfect one. You come out with the big one first, and then when you make the one that fits in your pocket, there is a gasp from everyone in the room. You may sense this also, upon using it: the sense that time has begun to flow backward.