We should all know how things work.
Background: I wrote most of this essay about 4 years ago when the iPad first came out (here’s the original, although it will seem dated), but with the rise of efforts like Codecademy and Code.org, and my own sons growing up, I’ve been thinking more and more about technical literacy and how we can help more people understand how things work.
I’ll explain the significance of the picture later, but for now, here’s the background: it’s me, on a Christmas morning a long time ago, in the basement of the Rome, NY house where we lived. Obviously, I’m adorable, but that’s not my point right now. The more important feature of the picture is the television at the right — it’s a Heathkit, and I’ll talk about it more below.
The thing that prompted me to write this piece initially was the launch of the iPad, and the conversations that it started about whether as a culture we’re headed towards permission-only innovation or not — my friend Ben wrote a piece about how he felt about it, and more broadly how he felt about the restrictions that Apple was putting on how people could build things for it. He felt a lot of the same things then that I felt, although I didn’t agree with all of them.
But since that launch several years ago, many things have changed. Read more on Medium.