prusik: Newton fractal centered at zero (Default)
[personal profile] prusik
Like I've said, the portable computing device that I'm currently ogling right now is the OQO Model 02. Doing the web search, there is this very weird dust up over whether it is pocketable or not. Its dimensions are approximately a double thick moleskine pocket notebook. This takes into account that you can't really get two moleskin notebooks flush against each other. The binding expands. The dimensiions are 5.5x3.5x1in more or less

The dust up is weird because there have been several video blogs where the blogger demonstrates putting the device into his pocket. You can see a clear outline, the way you would when someone puts a wallet into his front pocket. (I avoid the thick wallet by using a thin billfold made of spinnaker. However, I also carry a moleskin pocket notebook in the same pocket.) I think it's questionable whether you'd be able to pull it out of your front pocket while you're sitting. However, if you really wanted your computer with you at all times, carrying it in your pocket looks like a possibility, if you're willing to make a couple compromises.

This hasn't stopped people, who have seen the videos, from proclaiming that the OQO Model 02 is not pocketable. One even goes so far as to declare that no UMPC will ever be pocketable. Given that computers used to take up whole rooms, I'm not so quick to discount miniaturization. The people that do this are extremely insistent. They carry the banner at every possible chance (presumably as an antidote for the gulled masses or something.)

This really confused me until I realized that we're dealing with two different definitions of the word "pocketable." I had been reading it as "able to be placed in a pocket." In that case, the video blogs should have settled the dispute. It fits in a pant pocket, albeit snugly. The reason for the dust up is that people actually mean "to be such that one would want to place it in a pocket." So, for example, an unwrapped Hershey's Kiss is not pocketable.

I've run into this before with the word "hummable." That is, the old canard that Stephen Sondheim's music is "unhummable." The traditional retort is "well, if it can be sung, it can be hummed." Of course, people who say that Sondheim's music is "unhummable" do not mean that they are literally unable to hum the music. What they mean is that Sondheim's music is such that they would not want to hum it.

I like the literal definitions better. I mean, is there any other use for the other definitions besides to express your opinions in factual sounding declarative statements? (e.g., "Sondheim's music isn't hummable." Not "I don't find Sondheim's music attractive enough to hum." "The OQO Model 02 is not pocketable." Not "The OQO Model 02 fits too snugly for me to carry in my pocket practically.")

Are flammable objects things that you want to burn? (i.e., if you don't want to burn them, they cease to be flammable.)

So is the OQO Model 02 pocketable? Yes. Would you want to? Well, that's up to you. Would I want to? I have no idea. (Keeping it in pocket may work better in theory than in practice.) I just find how we define -able words interesting.

Date: 2007-06-15 10:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bmlg.livejournal.com
So how many behaviours really are intolerable? Would it have to mean that you are compelled to go out and smite the people who perform them?
-Barbara

Date: 2007-06-16 12:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] prusik.livejournal.com
D'oh! You have a point. (However, I suspect that leaving the room is an acceptable alternative to smiting.)

I will, though, invoke the fig leaf that I was thinking of words where the literal meanings are that one can clearly demonstrate. e.g., either it fits in a pocket or it doesn't. Either someone can hum it or he can't. The complexities of human behavior hadn't occurred to me. (It strikes me as quite hard to demonstrate intolerance of behaviors since volition has to get into it. So how do you tell the difference between "unable to tolerate" and "unwilling to tolerate" without some serious mindreading?)

I find lactose intolerable, but, again, that's something I can clearly demonstrate, although I'd rather not. I note, though, that there are people who hear me say "I'm lactose intolerant" and they think, "Oh, he just doesn't want to ingest dairy products." One person even accused me of being racist because I, obviously, had something against white food. It doesn't occur to them that what I'm saying is "My body doesn't produce enough lactase to process non-trivial amounts of milk sugar." i.e., what I want doesn't have anything to do with it.

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