Living the iPad Lifestyle, Unitasking, and why 1 isn’t always a lonely number.

I’ve been using a iPad, almost exclusively, as my personal computer for a couple weeks. There area pluses and minuses that I have noted before. But there is a real difference inthe work style. It’s been noted by a couple other sources such as Minimal Mac look at Unitasking and Shawn Blanc take on the right tool. In the past, I’ve noted the value of software such as Writeroom which made kit name on crating a clutter free environment for writing. The iPad is that clutter free environment right out of the box. This is really a powerful idea because its either a bunch of ‘us’ fanboys trying to make a vertue of a missing feature … or … the limitation of multitasking has more to with my brain than my technology.

If you accept that multitasking is really a myth, then all you do when you attempt to work on multiple, divergent tasks at the same time is preform the PC equivalent of fast-swtiching. This is when computer theory and brain theory have a little in common. Task switching takes overhead, not a lot in some cases, but enough to reduce the efficiency of a person or a process. In my mind that isn’t the biggest risk. Lack of focus, leads to loss of ‘resolution’ meaning that little things can slip.

Eventually you discover the missed bit of info and loop back, voiding a large chunk of work, and do it over. Or worse, you accept a level of garbage in your output. In computer talk, this problem also occurs when you attempt parallel processing (failed branch prediction). For the rest of us, it amounts to “there’s never time to do it right but there’s always time to do it over…” If unitasking helps me focus, and it reduces the ‘do overs’ then I’m a happy guy.


Leave a Reply