Elsewhere: Mark Pilgrim’s “Tinkerer’s Sunset”

January 31, 2010

Usually when I mention Mark Pilgrim, it is with a dismayed tone that is meant to paint him as a dastardly villain who is elbow-deep in foul rituals meant to permanently stain the reputation of the HTML5 effort; an implication is made that he is resurrecting some great beast that will swallow the earth whole and enslave our souls.

What I’m saying is that, on average, I’m not a fan of his work.

However, his recent blog post “Tinkerer’s Sunset” clearly states the case of why the direction the iPad is moving the market is a sad affair. A man who learned his craft on an Apple IIe, he’s dismayed at the thought of the next generation of tinkerers, who will have to pay a fee or commit crimes in order to look under the hood of their own computers.

Many claim the iPad represents what the future of computing will look like: tailored, “safe” devices with little room for modification or customization (unless you plan on spending some time in court). Maybe that’s how it’ll be, and there’s little to be said or done. But Mark helps illustrate why that future will be a sad one. Go read his post.

Respond To This Post

Share This Post With Others: |

Category: Tidbits, Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

3 Responses to “Elsewhere: Mark Pilgrim’s “Tinkerer’s Sunset””

  1. I can sympathize with his longing for nostalgia, but that’s all his article is about. I also miss the days when Photoshop didn’t have layer effects, where creating a simple drop shadow required calculating two separate images. But what matters? Technology is meant to make things simpler and easier for the majority. Just like how you don’t have to be a mechanic to operate a car these days.

    The tinkerers will keep on tinkering though.

  2. I’d say you’re 90% right but missing a detail. If it was illegal for you to open your car hood and tinker with your engine, then that is what the trend is here. I begrudgingly admit that the computing experience being streamlined is good for your Average Joe. But if your Non-Average Joe wants to get elbows deep in the workings of the system, it shouldn’t be something that is a criminal act to do with your own machine.

  3. On the one hand, it’s wonderful that I don’t have to muck around with RAM timings. On the other hand, I really wish there was some sort of Debug Mode or something where I can set a global variable so that the OS and applications suddenly show a million features that are hidden from basic consumers.

    When I get the message, “There was a problem. Talk to your Administrator,” I just feel like my intelligence isn’t appreciated.

    I do think we’re on the verge of a new generation of computers, though, where the OS is relatively static and ‘programming’ means making web apps.

    And throughout all this, we should remember that Linux (et al.) will be around for as long as we want it. I’ve dabbled around, programming my Nintendo DS, of all things; which, we all accept, sounds fairly like a closed system. I’ve got a port of Linux on mine.

    Actually, I wonder if Linux has been ported to HTML and JavaScript—and if not, why not?
    I’m going to do some searching around!