Saturday Suggestions: Ipads without keyboards, the friend zone, online breakups and Gypsies are stealing blonde children

During the course of the week I come across a lot of articles that I think are worth reading about but don’t blog about. This can be because I don’t have anything to add, don’t know enough to write about the topic or just run out of time. So as an experiment here’s a post bringing together things I’ve seen that are worth recommending.

If Tablets Are Replacing Computers, Why Doesn’t the iPad Have a Keyboard? by Will Oremus (Slate blog)

So Microsoft is banking on people replacing laptops with tablets, and Apple is banking on people continuing to buy both.

Here’s an idea: They’re both right. Tablets will replace computers, but only for people who can’t afford computers. As the global masses continue to come online, they’ll increasingly use Surface-style hybrids for both work and entertainment. (Whether Microsoft can actually capture that market is a question for another story.) But the world’s wealthy will reject the tradeoffs that those devices require. Instead, they’ll continue for the foreseeable future to own at least three devices: a desktop or laptop for work, a tablet for mobile applications, and either a smartphone or smart watch for instant communication. And they’ll continue to largely prefer Apple’s finely honed products to those of its less tightly focused competitors.

The downside for Apple in that arrangement is that its iPads will never conquer the world. Indeed, as the Statista chart below shows, iPad sales growth has tapered sharply in the past year, and the iPad Air may not change that. But this fits with the approach that Apple took earlier this year when it declined to produce a really cheap iPhone. The upside is that Cupertino gets to keep its grip on the high end of the global marketplace, with all the fat profit margins that entails. And if Apple can’t make its next fortune selling tablets to people who can’t afford multiple devices, maybe it can make it selling smart watches to people who can.

6 reasons the “friend zone” needs to die by EJ Dickson (Salon)

Even if the friend zone did exist, there would be no reliable way to get out of it. Look, friendships are hard, and relationships are even harder, so wanting to have a relationship with someone you’re friends with is obviously the worst. As someone who has been both the friend zone-r and the friend zone-ee on numerous occasions, I can say that both positions are, for lack of a better term, shitty; where one side can be whiny and self-pitying and sexist, the other can be equally callous and contemptuous and cruel. What makes the friend zone even worse is that I’m pretty sure there’s nothing you can do to get out of it: most studies show that interpersonal attraction forms in the first few seconds after meeting someone, and without that initial, incontrovertible tug toward another person, it’s unlikely that it’ll ever develop, no matter how many shopping trips you go on or Gchats you have or John Hughes movies you watch. The only way you can make a friend a lover, or a lover a friend, is to be nothing less than completely honest about your intentions, and wait for them to melt in your arms or run screaming toward the nearest decontamination facility.

The Breakup Email Is Not a Dick Move by Amanda Hess (Slate)

I’m not convinced that breaking up electronically is more traumatic than experiencing it in person. Getting dumped sucks, no matter the medium. We can blame technology, but the problem is usually a lot more human. Walansky’s essay is ostensibly about the pain of losing someone over email, but she lost her boyfriend well before he hit send: “Last year, I nearly died and he didn’t visit me in the hospital,” she wrote. “When I expressed my hurt over it, he accused me of ‘playing the death card’ to manipulate him and we didn’t talk for weeks.” (Talk about burying the lede). Walansky went on to write that the email breakup robbed her of her ability to communicate her own feelings about the situation to him, and “that’s possibly the worst part of all.” But airing your opinion to your all-of-a-sudden-ex in person doesn’t guarantee that he or she will actually listen—and if you’d still like to have that experience, you’re free to send off an email of your own.

Conversations about email breakups often focus on the feelings of the dumped, but dumpers have feelings, too. Cowardice is just one interpretation for why a person might prefer to put it in writing. In the context of some strained relationships, it’s perfectly reasonable to refuse to be alone with a person who you expect may become very angry at you in the near future. And even in more conciliatory breakups, it can be ultimately helpful for both parties to give the dumper a chance to fully assemble his or her thoughts in a message window before contending with the dumped’s demands and appeals. Having a breakup in writing can also help establish clear closure in the moment, and it can stick around as a useful artifact for reflecting on past relationships in the future—no matter who started the thread.

The Gypsies are stealing our children by Jonathan Calder (Liberal England)

I also wonder if this story tells us something about the slender intellectual base of social work. Twenty years ago the idea of satanic ritual abuse moved rapidly from the wackier fringes of American Christianity to the heart of the profession. Today they are looking for children stolen away by the Gypsies.

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