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Creativity and Computing

Were you one of those kids who got to mess around on an Apple? This guy I know worked for his scientist dad for several summers, doing stuff with punch cards, and his dad rewarded him by bringing home one of the first commercially available Apple computers. He became obsessed with programming intricate games, which, unfortunately, he got no pleasure in playing because, having created them, he knew all the possible outcomes.

Fast-forward to O'Reilly Media's Mike Loukides who is talking about Google's App Inventor and contrasting it to Apple's development environment for the iPhone. Loukides says:

    "Apple is saying 'trust us, it will just work.' Google is saying 'We'll help you to be creative and make your own stuff that works for you.' There's nothing inherently wrong with either approach. Apple's approach is more appropriate for an entertainment device, more like the '60s TV, radio, or dial phone. It does more, but it's still sealed; you can't open it up and hack it. ...Google is opening up the guts and letting you create -- and taking the gamble that people who haven't been creative in the past will start."

Developers and IT pros who've been around will find plenty of reasons to inform Loukides that what he's saying is not new. But what is interesting to me is the discussion he starts, which his readers continue at the bottom of the web page, about creativity and computing. Do we have to go through a thousand ridiculous apps created by developers just to get to the killer app that will change lives? Or is there a danger that we will get so bogged down in the ridiculous apps that we'll never get to the killer-life-changing app?


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