119 Reasons The iPad Is Not For Me 1

Posted by barnoid Mon, 06 Sep 2010 20:37:00 GMT

Note: I said not for me, it might be the Bee's Pyjamas for you.

The Register is running a series called 119 iPad apps for admins, coders, and geeks. I would seem to fit this bill quite securely, the "apps" themselves however appear to be poor approximations of useful.

I obviously haven't actually tried any of them due to lack of iPad so I'm going on The Register's descriptions and information on the Apple website. I'm assuming The Register really has picked the best of the bunch, it's hard for me to tell because iTunes is in the way, but that's a whole other rant.

It starts with two glorified notepad things specially for taking inventory of computers, one of them costs $2. At work we use OCS Inventory so the computers inventory themselves, it's free. Another alternative is a pen and paper.

Oh hey, $2 for an unzipper!

Next up is an encrypted password storing app for the bargain price of $15. Great. Then a few password generators that they want money for.

The "network" section of the article includes what appears to be a copy of the DHCP RFC which they expect you to pay for. There I was thinking the iPad had a web browser.

Something for crafting UDP packets ($8).

Ah ha! Something useful: an app that does nslookup, ping and traceroute. The absolute basics of network troubleshooting, a mere $4.

They mention an SSH client which looks as if it's rather lacking in features. For me the bare minimum a useful computer/device requires is a functional SSH client, and maybe a web browser. It would at least allow me to get out to a more usable computer. I thought Apple devices had SSH better covered, but I can't tell, again due to iTunes.

$2 for a subnet calculator! Woo Hoo!

The next section of the article covers training and reference and includes a bunch of stuff accessible on the Web in one way or another. It seems to me that this is the case for many of the "apps" available for the iPad and iPhone. Apple likes to tout the huge number of apps you can stick on your shiny joy-slab, but I'd like to see numbers on how they divide up into such categories as: "truly frivolous and useless (and possibly harmful to human culture)", "reimplementations of websites that the browser could cope with just as well", "marketing drivel", "games" and "useful". I suspect the last category is by far the smallest.

As for complaining about being asked to pay for software: I'm not wholly against it, I just object to it (even if it's for tiny tiny amounts) when it's for basic functionality, worthless rubbish, or stuff that's freely available elsewhere but has been poorly repackaged and chucked out into the artificial scarcity of a walled-garden marketplace. Oh, back to iTunes then.

I know the iPad is really designed to be a web and media consuming device. For the high asking price I'd want it to do a bit more than that though. There are also a few other deficiencies in its software design that I won't go into here. Did I mention I really hate iTunes?

So, yeah, it's not for me.


Leave a comment »

  1. scribe 7 months later:

    Yup, know what you mean. The whole “app” thing is f’ing weird really - I remember when widgets et al started taking off - but really they were just as useless then. Calendar, OK. But 1000 random websites each with its own “thing”? What happened to genericity? 99% of apps are just another marketing outlet.

    It’s kind of a shame, because all the underlying stuff that makes Apps happen - mobile net, feeds, APIs, etc - is pretty amazing. Just bundling everything into discrete, downloadable, fairly disparate chunks seems backwards in comparison.

    I think the second-to-last para hits it - all these are designed to be consumption devices, not creation ones. Boring.