Wired magazine’s article, Gestures of War, got me thinking: one of the main issues with e-content by the traditionalists (or pulpists as I call them), is that they like the tactile feel of the book in the hands. It’s the turning of the page and the intimacy of printed books that make them superior to anything they have seen on screen. I am inclined to agree with them; coming from a Yeshiva (Jewish seminary) world, I love printed materials (book smell ranks #2 on my list, ahead of gasoline, vanilla, and snow). But in a connected, mobile, digital world are we just being nostalgic about the only experience we are familiar with?
The battle over touch-based computing now raging between Apple, Palm, and others cites IP rights to gesture descriptions used in patents to interface with the device. Wired posits these gestures are ones that “humans have been making since we developed opposable digits.” It would be impossible to develop competing technologies without using some of the same intuitive gesturing that makes Apple’s iPhone such a pleasure to use (this is similar to Microsoft’s failed attempt at holding onto an IP monopoly on cascading windows). As gesture-based computing goes mainstream it will change the way we feel about the intimacy of our e-content. Similar to mothers no citing the health benefits of Wii and seeing their chunky little monsters get up off the couch, gesture-based computing may garner the acceptance e-content needs to become the standard in education.
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