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So substance but with style too? I think you're bang on. Difficult to master both skills though, don't you think?

Jim Groom


Only you can make me want an iPad. Your voice of reason and critical acumen are always a tonic for me. Moreover, how can a screen shot from The Birds not appeal to everyone more generally? That said, the UI is important, but it is also important to be talking about stuff that moves beyond the specific edtech concerns of the gadget and education. That's always been my larger concern about the iPad, not that its useless or even unattractive, because the design is slick and the seamless aggregation through apps is valuable.

What kills me about it is the idea of the inevitable, and more than that, that it is always already the killer education app, even before it was out. It's not so much the iPad per se, but a sense of everyone bum rushing it, and quickly mocking those who wonder what an apple regulated web might look like. And there is the questions about flash, and all that, but the larger concerns for me is like everything with apple, the way things work is mytified, and mystified in a means to make you pay.

Does this make any sense?


Agree! I think it's true to say content is king, but like it or not good design (clean, clear and easy to navigate) is often what determines the success or failure of media adventures.

On a slightly different note, I find it ironic to see how many new media apps these days try to replicate "old" print media design (magazines/books on library shelves, newspaper layouts etc), the screenshot of Blogshelf above is a good example. Is this because at the end of the day we prefer things to look tactile and pickupable, or is it just retro-design for old techies? It was the other way round 10 years ago, with print media (especially mags and supplements) desperately trying to imitate the most aggressive, in-yer-face elements of what was then called "web design".

BTW, Love the mug! Used to go down the Hayes and buy me Angelic Upstarts singles in Spillers when I was a nipper. Then off down Caroline Street for chips! Nice to hear it's still resisting!

Great blog! Toodle Pip!

Ian James | @ij64

Sam Kinsley

Funny you should bring this up, we ran a conference on the attention economy only last week! http://payingattention.org/

Some would argue that attention is more fundamental than a literacy, that in fact it is something like a re-wiring of our brains (think neuro-plasticity rather than Nicholas Carr). Indeed, Tiziana Terranova argued, in her talk at the conference, that attention is, if figured as a scarce resource and thus a commodity, an issue of biopolitics: she argued that in the web 2.0 economy there is a desire to revitalise the consumer/producer's attention but an ambivalence about its value. Following Terranova, attention is the process by which the production of value is inseparable from the production of subjectivity. These are produced from the invention and diffusion of common desires, beliefs and affects. The argument is more nuanced, so - check out the website(!).

In short then(!), I agree with you -the understanding of how the processes of invention and diffusion of those desires, beliefs and affects operate is pretty important. So, beginning to unpack those issues around your use of your iPad, and how your attention is channeled/directed, should be of interest to (some) academics. It also asks interesting pedagogical questions of (us) academics too, particularly those of us who deliver courses online, for example... Or: just call all of your posts "Top 10 ways to bring traffic to your academic blog" ;-)

Terranova's talk:


@Stu - yes, but I think it's not difficult. I have bad design skills but the addition of media is easy enough and what these tools do is add a layer of aesthetics over your content - you just have to give them enough to work with.
@Jim - yes makes perfect sense! I didn't intend it to be a pro iPad piece, more about the interesting way 3rd party tools can take your content and put into a more attractive context. Suddenly my post is part of someones glossy mag (or could equally be part of their 'smug gits' collection - you can't control it). It adds weight to the argument about sharing also.
@Ian yes it is interesting. I guess it's part of that we map new tech onto old ways for a while & the magazine or bookshelf is a useful visual metaphor - as was the Desktop.BTw Spillers have moved recently into the arcade but are still going strong. As are the dodgy food outlets in Caroline St
@Sam - thanks for the link, this looks like great stuff, and a much deeper analysis than my superficial take on it. I may use some of this in my book. Need to book a visit to come & visit you

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