Fighting Stupidity with Stupidity

1 minute read

Cory Doctorow wrote a piece on why he won’t be buying an iPad (which extends to why you shouldn’t either. I don’t agree with his article, but the vehement arguments against some of his have been equally asinine.

Joel Johnson wrote an otherwise brilliant piece that says:

So what if you can’t make iPad programs on an iPad. I don’t complain I can’t make new dishwashers with my dishwasher.

Doctorow doesn’t outright call this out as an issue, but it fits with the theme of what he wrote. The problem is this is analogy is flawed. Let’s see if you can tell the problem with it if I put it in mathematical format.

iPad programs : iPad :: dishwasher : dishwasher

It becomes rather clear, doesn’t it? It’s essentially saying that iPad programs are iPads unto themselves. Let’s make it even worse.

Apologies to Dan Jalkut (I love MarsEdit; don’t hate me), but this gem is even worse.

“You can’t write apps for the device.” Yeah, and you can’t publish a book with a book. Or write a pen with a pen.

Joel’s analogy almost worked because he started talking about appliances. It goes wrong from there, but the groundwork is there. The above is just wrong from the get-go.

This isn’t to say I agree with the concept. Is it important to be able to develop iPad applications using an iPad? No. The ability to create content for a platform using the platform itself isn’t important. It’s really not. Computers are one of the few (if only?) devices that do this extensively. Let’s use some other (slightly more valid) analogies to argue against this idea.

You can’t make PS3 games using a PS3. You can’t make movies using a Bluray player. It’s easy. I’m sure you can come up with some as well.

The fact is that for consumer devices (which the iPad is), it’s not important to be able to develop content for it with the device itself. I agree with you. But I’m also begging you all to stop using bad analogies to argue this truth.