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Kindle for kittens

  [vote for,

In week 2 of weaning and rearing an abandoned kitten, I could really use a Kindle she can download her kind of stuff to. She enjoys patting things and watching screens so I think she'd cope and it would mean I could type 2-handed again.
Phrontistery, May 19 2012

Game for Cats http://www.ipadgameforcats.com/
iPad only; sorry, no Kindle version. [ytk, May 19 2012]


       This is just a front, to try to convince us you're not a seasoned one-handed typist, right?
UnaBubba, May 19 2012

       I was under the impression via the idea header that you wished to set fire to kittens.(At first.)
skinflaps, May 19 2012

       Wrong user, skinny. I like the idea. I saw a viral video of a cat playing with an iPad. So it could be done. But what would make this different than just getting your kitty a regular Kindle, and calling it theirs? Meow?
blissmiss, May 19 2012

       Welcome to the HB, [Phront]!
MaxwellBuchanan, May 19 2012

       There is a documentary about snow leopards that gets played on public television every so often; the last two times it aired, one of our cats sat at perfect attention and gazed at the screen with what I can only describe as awestruck admiration--for the entire hour! Nothing drew her eyes from the leopards. Even when no cats were on the screen, she was glued to the set, awaiting their return. Never have I seen an animal more entranced by a television screen. Similar programs about other big cats entirely disinterest her.   

       Make of this what you will.
Alterother, May 19 2012

       The iPad is not scratchproof, but you can buy nifty-keen replacable screen protectors that are totally invisible.
Alterother, May 19 2012

       $17.50 for a 2-pack at b3$t bu¥. My current one has lasted seven months or so and is barely scratched. If that's what you consider expensive, I'd hate to live on your budget.   

       What is your real problem with Apple, anyway? Are you opposed to things that work properly and are easy to use, or are you just one of those PC die-hards who're offended by the idea of an OS you can't frig around with?
Alterother, May 19 2012

       I did not know that.   

       My inquiry was based purely on curiousity, BTW. I use both Windows and Mac products and find that they meet my needs quite well, though my life is not particularly computer-oriented. I pretty much only use MS Word on my PC and use my iPad for internet purposes, except when e- submitting work to publishers. I do that about once a month, transferring my work via flash drive to a different PC (I've intentionally disabled the wireless hardware on the computer I use for writing, and never hook it up to the Internet); if I was doing that everyday, I'd probably feel the way you do about the limitations of Mac computers.   

       Informative answer, thank you.
Alterother, May 19 2012

       I would comment that what you find // restrictive and dictatorial // about Mac OSs is rather more comforting to people like my mother, who uses her Air all day, every day whilst running a regional hospital ER. Unlike you and I, she did not grow up with computers and does not have the strangely innate general understanding of them that many of our generation seem to posess, so a rigid, immutable, and above all simple process that she can't get lost in is perfect for her. You and I can (and need to) tailor our machines to suit our individual porpoises, whereas she needs one that won't let her inadvertently make the same kinds of changes, which she then cannot reverse. So there is a definite role for things like Macs.   

       So far, none of my family's four iPads or two MacBooks have ever had anything go wrong, so we haven't run afoul of the customer service shenanigans. I'll remember what you've told me about that.   

       More on topic: Jenny got one of our (her) cats playing some iPad game, probably Angry Birds. It was hilarious for about two minutes. So, yes, paws work quite well on iStuff touchscreens.
Alterother, May 19 2012

       Sound logic, but I can't answer; I wasn't involved in the purchase. She's very happy with it and has yet to fuck anything up, so all's well, I suppose. My Mom has always seemed to be incurably confounded by Windows, but the Mac OS is a breeze for her.* Maybe that's why.   

       *I know, they're practically the same; it doesn't make sense to me, either.
Alterother, May 19 2012

       //I'm offended by the idea of being told whose music I can and cannot listen to//   

       Huh? You can listen to any music you like on either OS X or Windows. I don't get what your beef is here.   

       //and I'm offended by the idea of not being able to 'frig' around with something I paid so much money for.//   

       I don't know where you get your information, but OS X is far more hackable than Windows, due in no small part to its Unix underpinnings. On a bone stock OS X install, I can sit down and start writing a Bash, Ruby, or Python script to automate nearly any task on the system, and run web, SSH, and VNC servers—without installing a single piece of additional software. And by installing the free dev tools, you can compile and run practically any Unix software out there. Windows, not so much. It's about as hackable (and functional) as a Fisher-Price toy.   

       //And 'easy to use' is an awfully subjective term. Windows is 'easy to use' if you know wtf you're doing, and MacOS is no different.//   

       OS X makes it easy to do things that are very difficult or impossible on Windows. It also requires less maintenance, and is far easier to fix when it breaks. I speak as someone who has done tech support in a mixed Mac/Windows environment (specifically, a university). The Macs had far fewer problems, and when they did it was usually a simple matter to troubleshoot them over the phone. God help you if you got a call for a Windows machine, though. Odds are you'd spend at least half a day trying to fix it. Thankfully, there were relatively few of them. If the school had been all Windows, we would have needed a tech support team at least triple the size that we had.   

       //IOS is even more restrictive and dictatorial than MacOS.//   

       iOS is annoyingly restrictive and dictatorial, to the point where it actually does offend me. That's why I've jailbroken every iPhone I've owned.   

       //Why would someone pay MORE to get LESS functionality?//   

       They're not. As I said, Mac OS X is way more functional than Windows. Don't confuse easy to use with less functional.   

       //For half the price of the Mac Book Air, she could've gotten a Windows laptop with more memory and processing power//   

       What, exactly, would she do more RAM and processing power? Do you suppose that grandma is out there crunching DES keys, or perhaps doing a bit of 3D rendering? Computers today are pretty much all "fast enough" for most purposes. Besides, it would be a much bulkier, lower quality computer. I've seen a lot of laptops from other manufacturers, and they're simply not up to snuff in terms of quality (particularly at the price point you're suggesting). The keyboard is usually a hateful, plasticky mess that's painful to type on, the trackpad is poorly designed, and they're just ugly, clunky pieces of garbage.   

       I've considered at various times buying a cheaper laptop to install OS X on (yes, you can do this—the machine I'm typing on right now is a "Hackintosh") and every time I've gone and looked at them I haven't been able to justify the cost savings over an Apple branded machine. Perhaps when you get up into the higher end from major manufacturers, but at that point Apple is actually pretty price competitive, and you save a lot of headache that way.   

       //and paid a Geek Squad guy at Best Buy//   

       Yeesh. You'd have to be crazy to let those idiots touch your computer.   

       //to lock it down for her (maybe set her up with a guest user account for limited access) so she can't get lost in the menus.//   

       And then she'd just have to have a virus scanner installed and set to run and update regularly. And have all of the applications she'll ever need pre-installed. And make sure to keep up with critical security updates—don't forget about Patch Tuesday!   

       I'm not even an Apple fan in particular. The company itself actually annoys the hell out of me, for a lot of reasons. But I recognize a good product when I see one, and more importantly, I recognize a crap product like Windows when I see one as well. I've only been using Macs regularly since maybe '98 or '99, a bit before OS X came out. I used Windows regularly since 3.0 (so what, 1990?) and all the way through XP, when I finally dumped it for good. Along the way I've used, to various extents, a wide variety of different operating systems: FreeBSD (still run it on a server), OpenBSD, Linux (great for laptops), BeOS (the "cool" factor was high, but no software support), OS/2 (my main desktop OS for a couple of years, until they killed it off after Merlin), and probably a few others I can't think of right now. So I'd say I've got a pretty decent perspective when it comes to operating systems. And it really, honestly amazes me that people continue to torture themselves into using Windows.
ytk, May 19 2012

       Thank you.   

       The truth is, I'm tired of Windows, even though I don't have any problems with it. I'm a Mac Fan. The next computer I buy, and every computer I will subsequently ever buy, will be a Mac.   

       But while I have big brass balls that clank when I walk, I definitely do not have the level of computer knowledge to take this to the mat with [21Quest]. But, I knew that if I primed the pump enough, somebody would come tag me out.   

       So thank you, [ytk]. Those were precisely the words I would have said, had I the education to say them.
Alterother, May 19 2012

       I used to hang out in the M$ Millenium help forum.   

       There was a guy there who kept championing the idea of a "98 Gold Edition" ie: fix Windows 98 and sell it. I can see the attraction.
FlyingToaster, May 19 2012

       //Would've been nice if Apple thought to include a virus scanner, actually. They've always had this idea in their heads that their products are virus proof and that bubble burst a few weeks ago. Don't you read the news?//   

       Nobody said they're virus-proof. But, no, you don't really need a virus scanner on a Mac. There simply aren't that many viruses out there, and the ones that exist are addressed relatively quickly through simple software updates. Literally hundreds of new threats appear for Windows every week. This is largely due to the joke that Windows calls "security".   

       //Regarding what programs the 'grandma' is using and what her processing requirements are, I don't know what programs it takes to run a hospital ER (which is what it was said that she using it for) but you can store a lot more in terms of database information on a modern Windows laptop than you can with only 120 MB, and that's the higher end for the MacBook Air.//   

       120GB, not MB. And the internal drive size doesn't matter a bit. Databases are generally stored on a server, and that would absolutely be the case for a hospital. You should know that, if you really know your stuff. I think you don't.   

       //That's the 1100.00 version. The 900.00 one has 64 MB, and the lack of a CD drive is simply inexcusable.//   

       That's what they said about floppy drives back in the day. The lack of a built-in optical drive is far from "inexcusable". Quite the opposite—it's perfectly reasonable. Making the laptop unnecessarily bulky because you might occasionally need to read a CD (although I can't recall the last time I used the optical drive on my laptop) would be ridiculous. Just get the external drive if you really need it, and throw it in your laptop bag. And if you don't need it all that often, and don't want to spend the extra money for the drive, you can share an optical drive from another Mac over the network. Piece of cake.   

       //That's almost (but not quite) less forgivable than refusing to allow expandable memory on IOS devices.//   

       *Shrug* I've never cared that much about having expandable memory. 64GB is more than enough for me. Everything is moving to the cloud anyway. You may have heard about that.   

       //Regarding hackability, you've gotta be joking.//   

       Umm, nope.   

       //There is simply no way in hell Mac OS X is easier to hack than Windows and that's all I have to say about that.//   

       So you concede the point then? Or else tell me how to do any of the stuff I just said you could do on the Mac on Windows, without installing any third party software whatsoever. To recap:

- Run Bash or an equivalently powerful shell with full scripting support (if you can't write Tetris in it, it doesn't count) with full access to the standard Unix toolset or equivalent (this includes things like grep, sed, cat, find, less, tail, sort, ps, and even vi and Emacs).
- Write and execute Ruby, Python, and Perl scripts (not the "functional equivalent", the actual languages)
- Interface programmatically with nearly any application on the system, and even those that may be installed in the future. On the Mac you can do this through AppleScript, UI scripting, or a combination of both.
- Run a full featured web server, like Apache
- Run a SSH server, or allow remote command line logins in some way
- Run a complete remote access server, including a true VNC server

       I don't know whether you have the depth of technical knowledge to appreciate the significance of these features, but I assure you, any system that supports those things out of the box is extremely hackable, and any system that supports none of them is pretty much a joke in terms of hackability. Remember, this on a bone stock, out of the box, freshly installed Mac. You can't really do a lot of that stuff on Windows even with additional software, let alone out of the box. And in terms of configuration, don't even get me started on what a clusterfuck the Windows Registry is...   

       //In my (albeit limited) experience with Macs, it can be a real pain in the ass if you have a problem.//   

       Funny, because anyone who has an in depth understanding of computers should be able to figure out how to fix a Mac without much trouble. Remember, I did tech support professionally for both systems, and I never had to spend nearly as long on the Macs as on the Windows computers.   

       //Oh sure you can take it into an Apple store, if you can find one. Good luck with that. Until about 2 years ago, the nearest Apple store to me was in Seattle, over 300 miles away.//   

       Or call Apple and they'll talk you through it over the phone. If it's a hardware problem, and there's not an authorized service center nearby, they will ship you a prepaid box that you place your computer in and send it back to them, where they fix it and send it back to you at no cost if you're covered under the warranty. I've done that a couple of times with laptops over the years, and the turnaround time is usually three to five days. Couldn't be easier.   

       //Conversely, you can't swing a cat by its tail without hitting an authorized Windows repair center.//   

       There's no such thing. Computer repairs are handled by the hardware manufacturer, not Microsoft. Availability of such repair centers is highly dependent on the brand of computer you buy.   

       //I've never dealt with Mac support over the phone, but Apple's iPhone support team is a joke. See my earlier anno about their shady business practices.//   

       Yeah, that wasn't exactly true. Yes, they were fined (not ordered to pay restitution as you stated) based on their warranty sales practices, but it's not that they were selling unnecessary warranties that duplicated existing coverage. The warranty requirement in the EU states that if a defect is discovered within two years of the consumer receiving that product, AND that defect existed when the product was manufactured, the manufacturer is required to fix or replace it. So defects that arise after the product is shipped aren't covered. A part that breaks due to normal wear and tear wouldn't be covered under the EU requirement. The EU requirement mostly pertains to widespread product defects, such as when many people have the same problem with their laptop due to a specific component that was defective. And historically, Apple has been very good about fixing these problems when they occur, often extending coverage for such issues to four years or more, regardless of whether you purchased the extended warranty.   

       The "deceptive practice" in question wasn't selling the extended warranty, but not adequately informing consumers of the nature of the EU mandated coverage, which is actually pretty narrow. The fine was roughly $1.2 million all told—basically, a slap on the wrist for a relatively minor offense. Referring to this as "shady business practices" is disingenuous. If you really want to go down that road, shall we get into Microsoft's anti- trust issues, hmmm?   

       //Windows support, OTOH, is a breeze. I've only had a problem with my PC that I couldn't fix myself once, and that was over 4 years ago. I called HP, who not only walked me through fixing the problem in less than 5 minutes but waived the out of warranty service fee (it was over a year old), as well.//   

       You admit that you've never dealt with Apple's tech support, and then claim that HP's must be better? Well, huh. I could tell you all about the nightmare I had trying to get IBM to fix a recurring problem with my girlfriend's computer, or the time that all of the Windows computers in the house got a virus that literally destroyed the BIOS, requiring the motherboards to be replaced—which wasn't covered under warranty, of course.   

       You don't have to believe me, though. Check Consumer Reports. Apple is consistently rated among the best—if not THE best—among computer manufacturers in terms of tech support.
ytk, May 19 2012

       What [Skinflaps] said …   

       While the above discussion is informative, rational, and in the right place entirely laudable, we feel obliged to point out that it is more than a little "off-topic", and we are more interested in the original idea, particulalrly when we get to put kittens on small piles of dry, highly flammable material and apply an ignition source…
8th of 7, May 19 2012

       Being cool is always recognised, but hard to describe. Apple = cool. Windows = what do you think?
xenzag, May 19 2012

       //Ytk, say what you want but there's a reason most hackers choose Windows or Linux over Mac.//   

       You say that like you actually believe it! Dead wrong. Hackers overwhelmingly choose Mac or Linux over Windows. No geek worth his salt would be caught /dead/ running Windows by choice. It's really just not a good hacker OS. As ESR (you know who that is, right?) put it in his well-known text on how to become a hacker (you've read it, right?), "Trying to learn to hack on a Microsoft Windows machine or under any other closed-source system is like trying to learn to dance while wearing a body cast."   

       (I assume you mean real hackers as opposed to crackers/skript kiddies. They DO choose Windows generally, and that's fine—let 'em have it. That's where all the viruses come from.)   

       //Can you dual boot a Linux distro from a CD on a Mac?//   

       Um. Wow. Yes, yes, you can. And Windows. And any other operating system that can run on x86_64.   

       But [8th] is right. This is getting too far off topic. And it's become increasingly clear that honestly don't have the technical (or cultural) chops to defend your position, [21Q], and I find your continued insistence that you have the slightest clue what you're talking about when it comes to "hackers" a bit culturally offensive. Putting this debate to bed.
ytk, May 20 2012

       Yes, but remember above all this debate, the only two things cats want to watch are the Animal Channel and porn.   

       Okay, and maybe Formula One racing.
normzone, May 20 2012

       //the only two things cats want to watch are the Animal Channel and porn//   

       I think for cats, those are pretty much the same.
ytk, May 20 2012

       21 - too much anger over computer platforms. [see Britemac A.M.C. idea for your salvation] :-)
xenzag, May 20 2012

       // Okay, and maybe Formula One racing. //   

       Another of our cats (not the one who loves the snow leopard show) has been enamoured with televised open- wheel racing since kittenhood, earning herself the name Danica. When we still had a television feed, we'd find a race and put it on for her with the sound muted, and she'd watch it for one- to two-minute periods all day. Conclusion: cats love to watch stuff move. Individuals have their preferences, of course, but I think the world already has enough options for them to choose from.
Alterother, May 20 2012

       What was the idea again? Ah! Burning kittens. As you were.....
gnomethang, May 20 2012


       **Some kittens were singed in the preceding flames**
UnaBubba, May 20 2012

       // Burning kittens //   

       "The cat that burns twice as bright, burns half as long .... "   


       #include <EOSSACR.H>   

8th of 7, May 20 2012

       As always, for [8th]'s tedious anti-cat rant.   

       Acta est fabula, plaudite.
UnaBubba, May 20 2012

       //#include <ESOSSACR.H>//   

       Would that be “Everybody Should Own Several Sweet Adorable Cats, Really!”   

       Or maybe we just need to reboot the Borg again... I'm starting to think it may be actually getting to be time for a "nuke and pave". Well, I guess that's what we get for running Windows on the Borg...
ytk, May 20 2012

       (A)bort, (R)etry, (I)gnore ?   

       Current drive is no longer valid>
8th of 7, May 20 2012

       I'm pretty sure [8th] is a Unix model.
UnaBubba, May 21 2012

       //I'm pretty sure [8th] is a Unix model.//   

       Is that like a bikini model? 'Cause I could definitely do without that image, thanks.
ytk, May 21 2012

       Unix / Eunuchs... There's a difference?
UnaBubba, May 21 2012

       Yes, one can do a wide variety of useful tasks but has no balls whatsoever... and the other one is a great big fat guy who was castrated in early puberty.   

       <high-tails it for the bunker>
Alterother, May 21 2012

       //Yes, one can do a wide variety of useful tasks but has no balls whatsoever//   

       Correct. Unix systems, like sports cars, should /always/ get a girl's name.
ytk, May 21 2012

       Having reluctantly been using windows for about two months, I can see why I've avoided it for three years.   

       One feature that does works 100% is when it realises I'm checking me email before going to bed, and it does the "do not turn off or unplug, updating" routine and have to hang as it does the "...53% updated..."   

       Windows is crap, and you have to pay for it. Ubuntu is differently crap and it's free. Not a very tricky decision there.
not_morrison_rm, May 21 2012

       I'm guessing it's no coincidence that this Phrontister gave us such a fitting term of venery.
Elvira, May 23 2012


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