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July 24, 2011 - Ron Flaviano
I have been a tech-junkie since I was a little kid. My fascination with all things electronic is a direct result of my dad's infatuation with electronics. In fact, one of my very first toys as a small child was an AIWA portable reel-to-reel recorder. My dad had bought 2 of them when he was in the Air Force, and shipped one of them home to my mom (his fiancé) and his mom so they could send audio messages back and forth from Europe to Niles, Ohio. After he got out of the Air Force, and married my mom in 1966 there were two recorders at hand. I came along in 1968 (and my sister in 1969 - exactly a year and three weeks apart.) At the age of about 2 and a half, I was allowed to use one of those recorders. I can't imagine teaching a two year old to thread a reel-to-reel, but somehow my dad taught me. I remember listening to Carpenters and The Fifth Dimension on those tapes, and making silly stories with my sister as we got older. I also had a very cool red portable record player. As time went on, I progressed to using the 8-track recorder, the large reel-to-reel recorder and many other electronic/audio devices that my dad would often acquire.
Well, in any event, I was hooked on electronics - which eventually lead to computers, Macs and pretty much all things Apple.
The point of this story is that there is one device, in all of the devices that I have owned or used that is just simply amazing. The Apple iPad 2. It is astonishing. At first, when Apple branded it as "magical", even I thought they were stretching their advertising message. But since I have had mine, I whole-heartedly agree. The way it integrates with iTunes, iPhoto and iMac is totally transparent to the user. You plug it in, and it works. Simple as that. Apps for the iPhone port over, but the true magic is in the thousands and thousands of apps created specifically for the iPad.
A lot of people say "it's just a big iPhone", and I kind of thought the same thing when the first iPad came out. I looked at it, and thought it was cool, but didn't bite. When the iPad 2 was announced, adding the front and back cameras, faster processor and was actually thinner and lighter, I decided that I needed to get one.
Now, after about 2 months of using it, I can honestly say I have never used anything so intuitive, so fun, so useful and so cool! Even after working on computers all day at Morning Journal, I actually look forward to using the iPad 2 at night.
The iPad 2, and the tablets from other developers are changing the landscape of technology and publishing. Although I still prefer a printed book, reading them on the iPad is an enjoyable experience. In addition, books can now incorporate video and audio in addition to the color and black and white images.
In any event, as I teach myself to write apps and design e-pubs for the iPad, I contemplate on what the future holds for technology. I imagine I will never tire of the latests devices. I only wish my dad could be around to see all this cool stuff, he would have loved all of it.
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A portable AIWA reel-to-reel recorder, similar to the one I used as a child.