Reading for 2/19/08

February 18th, 2008

While all of the possibilities this reading discussed for using computers creatively were very interesting (if almost all perhaps already in practice to a greater extent than Kay and Goldberg imagined), the sentence that really stuck in my mind was: “One of the goals of the Dynabook’s design is not to be worse than paper in any important way.” (p. 395)

At first, I kind of though, Well, duh. Obviously you want your computer to be an improvement on paper. But then I realized that even if it’s better than paper in many ways, there must be places in which a good old-fashioned notebook/sketchbook/roll of butcher paper might still have the distinct advantage. They’re more portable, perhaps. Easier to doodle in the margins of. Less costly. Easier to dispose of. Able to be folded into airplanes. But is there anything that we can really do with paper that we can’t to some extent also do on computers by now? Anything we can really produce?

Art comes to mind immediately, perhaps because I spent this afternoon grappling with acrylic paints for an assignment in an art course I’m in. While it’s true that you can’t have tubes of paint and paintbrushes on a computer, there are still all sorts of forms of digital art. But are those digital forms lacking in something that traditional media can supply? Or is traditional media more limited?


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