General-purpose computers are terrible for creativity [Opinion]

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Computers are great for lots of things, but not everything.
Computers are great for lots of things, but not everything.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Computers — the iPad, the Mac and anything else where a screen is the main form of interaction — are creativity killers. They distract, frustrate and get in the way of the flow that is essential to any creative work.

That’s not to say they don’t play an important part in art, music, photography or writing. It’s just that a lot of the time, there are much better tools for the job — and they’re getting more popular all the time.

20 Years Ago, The MacBook Air’s Battery Would Have Only Lasted 2.5 Seconds

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Over at the Atlantic, Alexis Madrigal puts the enormous gains in the electric efficiency of computation (or how much power a computer draws) in perspective using the example of Apple’s new MacBook Air.

Imagine you’ve got a shiny computer that is identical to a Macbook Air, except that it has the energy efficiency of a machine from 20 years ago. That computer would use so much power that you’d get a mere 2.5 seconds of battery life out of the Air’s 50 watt-hour battery instead of the seven hours that the Air actually gets. That is to say, you’d need 10,000 Air batteries to run our hypothetical machine for seven hours. There’s no way you’d fit a beast like that into a slim mailing envelope.

When Steve Jobs called the MacBook Air magical, this isn’t what he meant, but after reading this article, it’ll be hard to look at the wafer-thin ultrabook on my desk the same way ever again.

Celebrate Earth Day With Apple’s Recycling Program [Earth Day]

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In 2005 Apple responded to mounting pressure from environmental activists by announcing a free recycling program for its iPod digital music players. Fast forward to 2010, five years later, and this wonderful program is still in existence and it isn’t just for iPods. I thought I should remind you about it, because I nearly forgot about it when my 80 Gb iPod started to act flakey last Fall after years of service.

The program is a win-win for customers, like myself, that are interested in recycling electronics (an effort to save the Earth), upgrading to a new iPod, iPhone, Mac, or iPad, and saving some money at the same time.