Personal Dynamic Media

posted Mar 5, 2012, 10:16 PM by Nick Bader
Kay and Goldberg's 1977 publication reads so much like a description of what we do (in 2012) that it seems routine to read it.  I suppose I should comment on Kay and Goldberg's prescience, but frankly, everyone we have read has been prescient so I don't need to harp on that.

I am interested in something else about the article - what is the next step for the "Dynabook"?  You can go through the article imagining the laptop computer as the 2012 incarnation of the Dynabook, but you can equally well imagine the iPad or one of its cousins.  This is interesting because the strong streak of "do-it-yourself" attitude I see in this article is not currently possible on the iOS platform.

A case in point is Kay's (and Goldberg's) programming language Smalltalk.  Kay and Goldberg repeatedly credit innovations built by people using Smalltalk, including the 12-year old girl who designed a painting program using the language (!).  But no programming language, Smalltalk or otherwise, can work on the iOS platform as it is currently structured.  Will devices like the iPad be forever relegated to the role of content consumers, but never sophisticated content creators like "regular" computers?  Or is this a temporary state of affairs while we re-assess the meaning of "regular"?

I think I should call up Kay and Goldberg to find out.