iPad pros and cons

Good discussion of the iPad and Apple's brave new vision for the Web (from jim, a web developer I'm privileged to know and whose patience with me is about at an end), the .h264 vs Ogg Theoria video spec (amazing technical discussion from mark, an expert in the compression biz), and how these topics interrelate. The Ogg issue came up as evidence of Apple's tendencies to world domination (that argument was my contribution)--Jobs & Co. refused to use that standard, which the open source guys came up with, ostensibly because of the "threat of submarine patents," which is not about submarines but does involve bottom dwellers.

What I take away from the discussion is the iPad locks you, the ordinary user, out of being able to tinker with your computer as part of the general idealistic process of moving applications to the Web where they run on someone else's server (gmail is an example). The idea is we will no longer be tied to large "home mainframes" but can travel light and do our computing wherever we go, and will no longer have large caches of data and programs susceptible to viruses and other meltdowns. We are assured that Apple took the lead in developing specs for this next generation of light, mobile computing, for itself, yes, but also for The People. You will still be free to surf the web on your iPad and use whatever applications are available online.

For most people with iPhones and iPads, though, "the Web" will be what you buy in the Apple Store (media and applications for your Apple hardware), which is censored by Apple (if you can't throw a virtual shoe at Bush imagine finding an app relating to organized political protest). To me the central contradiction of the Apple apologist argument is that a company that made its money dumbing down the computer for amateurs, turning file-sharing into a safe-for-corporations profit zone, and steering people from the Wild Web into centralized databases, is somehow going to set us free.