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Form vs. Function

This is a discussion on Form vs. Function within the Motorola Xoom General Discussion forums, part of the Motorola Xoom Forum category; Before I start, I'm truly sorry if you view this post as yet another example of beating a dead horse. I tried to put a ...

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Thread: Form vs. Function

  1. #1
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    Form vs. Function

    Before I start, I'm truly sorry if you view this post as yet another example of beating a dead horse. I tried to put a different twist on an age old argument and I hope you'll have the patience to read through it before dismissing it as just an us v. them thread. Thanks in advance.
    I watched a movie last night called Objectified. It was about the way industrial design influences our decisions and it made an interesting case for how people use their possessions to define themselves. As I was watching I was thinking about this forum and others I’ve visited and contrasting what I read here with how Apple spends millions (maybe billions as their 13 week revenue was $24 billion - almost double from last year) designing their products so form becomes as essential as function - if not more so. Apple products are made to make people feel good about themselves through their purchases. This, to the point where they'll pay absurd premiums to join the club.
    On these boards you hear none of that. People talk about rooting and work-arounds - truly enjoying digging deep into their machines and figuring out what makes them tick and how to derive the most from them. It's all substance over style and backed by a fierce sense of independence and an intense aversion to having technological choice dictated to them.
    My daughters are unabashed Apple Fangirls and they could care less about the technology. They want facebook, browsing, games, movies and email. They walk around with their iPads/iPhones as if they were indeed an extension of their personalities. There is no sense of customizing them to differentiate themselves - maybe the wallpaper or cover is the only expression of independence.
    In one fell swoop I felt like I understood the reason for such animus between the two groups. The Xoom (and really Android/Honeycomb) is a thinking person’s device. It”s all about the joy of technology for the sake of accomplishing. These traits are ingrained into a personality and are represented by an innate intellectual curiosity. Fanboys can’t see it, can’t experience it and can’t see any use for it. There is literally two different languages being spoken and two different cultures clashing. I’ve seen boards where the level of acrimony makes this place look like a Geneva peace conference. The level of outrage by the Android group almost always exceeds the Fanboy emotional investment - often by a vast margin.
    The Apple folks more often then not have a smugness which pushes buttons beyond rationality. It comes off as a willful ignorance that makes Androidians (trademark?) want to pull their hair out. I don’t believe for a minute that it’s envy which drives Android rage against Apple, though many Fanboys like to ascribe it to that. I think it’s because an intellectually curious person can’t stand the notion of someone being brainwashed or duped into joining a cult and let’s face it, occasionally, the Apple thing looks more like a cult, a movement, or a true sense of superiority prompted by something they purchased. Sometimes I think Android anger borders more on sympathy than fury.
    Anyway, I find these boards refreshing because virtually every post focusses in some way on the underlying technology. When someone from my office wanted to understand what a tablet was - technically - I recommended him to seek out this site as opposed to any Apple site. I’ve enjoyed participating here and although I’m fairly new to technology and have undergone a bit of a crash course - I’m truly grateful to my neighbor for giving me this Xoom. It’s opened up a kewl new world.

    I may be dropping off the grid for a few weeks starting Wednesday as I have to travel to places with names that many of us might have trouble pronouncing.
    Best to all and HAPPY XOOMING!
    KK
    PS - will some of you hit my effing like button so I don’t feel like such an effing leper!
    Last edited by kk1000; 04-25-2011 at 10:16 AM.

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  3. #2
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    tl;dr
    bensode likes this.




  4. #3
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    I hope a few more people read this as you have managed to put into words something I have never managed to articulate even in my own head, but I think you are absolutely spot on. Apple frustrates me irrationally for all the above reasons, but you have made the irrational at least make sense. Thanks for posting.

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    If I could "like" via tapatalk I would...safe travels - we will be here when you return

  6. #5
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    The thing to note is that Apple's aim is more for the lowest common denominator user. The lowest common denominator user is just a plain old, "I want it to work" user. Those kinds of users are basically they don't care what it does, as long as it works.

    The sad thing about said kind of user, is that not much else enters their mind about what goes into it.

    The more technical types will use it because others are using it, but they will try to do more with it. I know a few Apple users who do like some of the things the Honeycomb and Android offers, also wishing some of that came with iOS, but they are also content with the iPad over the iPad 2.

    This is the one thing some people don't understand, is that while embracing technology, we shouldn't 'simplify' to the point of 'I don't care as long as it works' mentality. Yes, I'm sort of an IT elitist, but at the same time, I am the one who has to help others use their tech and I don't want it to be to the point that the IT savvy people are the only ones who 'get it'. I also don't want to be surrounded by people who think they know IT simply because they have the technical toys... Cause it is those people I have to clean up after even more and watch more problems arise because of end user IT.
    Tinninches and Kaiya like this.

  7. #6
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    A great read! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. As someone who loves technology and tweaking and playing with a variety of devices, I can appreciate this.

    M

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keiichi25 View Post
    This is the one thing some people don't understand, is that while embracing technology, we shouldn't 'simplify' to the point of 'I don't care as long as it works' mentality. Yes, I'm sort of an IT elitist, but at the same time, I am the one who has to help others use their tech and I don't want it to be to the point that the IT savvy people are the only ones who 'get it'. I also don't want to be surrounded by people who think they know IT simply because they have the technical toys... Cause it is those people I have to clean up after even more and watch more problems arise because of end user IT.
    I refer to this as "job security". My organization is filled with people like this... the ones who think they know but don't. Like the user who forwarded a virus file to "All Users" to warn them that the email was a scam. Already have several calls from people who opened the attachment even though we have told people not to open things of this nature.

    But until they can grasp the "how" not that is just "works", it won't change. And that, like has been said, it why so many people love iOS. It's so easy a caveman can do it, LOL!

  9. #8
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    If I have to rely on that for Job Security... I think I would go steadily insane.

    I worked with a programmer who decided to tell another coworker that he writes code specifically to insure he has job security. Problem with doing that, is that you also make it so you are constantly pestered or 'in contact' til the day you die, which basically is a bad design overall.

    The saddest thing of it all, is the dumbing down of things. While cars don't require a lot of 'intelligence'... There is a requirement to take a driver's test to get a license. Although it doesn't stop people from being complete and utter idiots afterwards while driving on the road.

    I will have to say... If I could charge the price Geek Squad charges per incident, I am sure a lot of people would be 'shocked' into learning how to do things the right way... I ran into a person I hadn't seen in years in a Best Buy and he found out to fix his son's computer... $200s.

  10. #9
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    I have worked with developers like that. They tend to not stick around very long... the code not being maintainable by anybody else ends up just being a big reason to get rid of them and rewrite the parts they touched if necessary. The last thing you want to do is keep them around and let them screw up more code.

  11. #10
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    You managed to convey the sentiments from two of my favorite 'practical' books: "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" by Alan Pirsig and "Shopclass as Soul Craft" by Matthew Crawford. Exactly. It's the whole debate between quality and form. Indeed, Pirsig laments that a friend of his who rode a BMW motorcycle almost had a seizure when Pirsig volunteered a shim to fix his loose throttle....because the shim was made out of a coke can. His BMW friend WANTED to pay more for an OEM shim to fix the problem even though it would be the EXACT same thing but with the BMW logo, presumably. I feel the same sort of the way towards iOSers (see what I did there?). They seem to be happier 'having' their items than 'using' them. Anyway, you did an eloquent job summing up the differences. Kudos and enjoy your trip.


 
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