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  1.    #1  
    I came across a nice little article in the latest "Psychology Today" (November/December 2010) entitled "Endangered Arts." They are listed as follows:

    1. Meaningful Conversation
    2. The Handwritten Letter
    3. A Do-It-Yourself Mentality
    4. The Renaissance Personality

    As you likely surmised, I'm going to highlight #3 as a major factor in our love of and--despite all the action from other mobile phone/device companies--loyalty to WebOs.

    Sure, most of us don't know how to create apps and patches, but I'm betting you can relate to one of the main reasons CNET just made the argument that Android is superior to the iPhone OS: it's open source (go here for the video: Top 5 Reasons Android is better than iPhone at Videos - Free video downloads and streaming video - CNET TV) because, of course, this applies big time to WebOs.

    The Psychology Today article is worth the price of the issue for the complete discussion of all 4 Arts, but here's the skinny on #3: A Do-It-Yourself Mentality

    3. THE ART: A Do-It-Yourself Mentality

    Once upon a time we made everything by hand, growing our own vegetables, raising the sheep that provided the wool we then spun and knit into sweaters--labor-intensive pursuits most people were happy to leave behind once new conveniences came along. The "back to the land" movement of the 1970s was an attempt to right this imbalance, which today is more pronounced than ever; the outsourced global economy wholly divorces people from the origins of their products and foods. Once again, there seems to be a collective yearning for the lost art of making, finding, and fixing what you need.

    "The impulse to tend to things and repair them is really a desire to make your world intelligible," says Matthew Crawford, the author of "Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work." "There's a satisfaction that comes from getting to the bottom of things. But new devices really don't invite our intervention." [Except WebOS!]

    STATUS: Staging a Comeback

    In our increasingly digitized world, activities like refinishing the wooden door frames in your home yourself and seemingly pro forma behaviors like cooking dinner and setting the table actually restore our sense of order. From the explosion of do-it-yourself home renovation shows and books to the proliferation of knitting stores and backyard chicken coops, city dwellers and suburbanites everywhere are increasingly keen on getting their hands dirty.

    WHAT’S AT STAKE: A Sense of Calm and Self-Efficacy

    Crawford argues that the need to figure out how things work is universal, but he suspects our awareness of it “atrophies when you live in a world that so consistently thwarts your attempts to get a handle on it.” Crawford is a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia who also runs a motorcycle repair shop. Fixing motorcycles not only allows him to connect with his environment, it provides as much intellectual stimulation as does critiquing philosophical texts, Crawford argues. “Repair work thoroughly resists being reduced to a simple set of procedures. It always requires improvisation and adaptability. As a result, you feel like you’re using your own capacities. There’s an attentiveness involved; it gets you outside your own head. You have to listen, you have to smell, you have to look carefully.”

    For the grease-averse, the same benefits derive from gardening, cooking, or other domestic activities. The common denominator is an active, problem-solving orientation toward one’s surroundings.

    Making and repairing things “compensates for the fact that experience of individual agency can be quite elusive at work,” says Crawford. “If you have a problem with your boss and you’re a carpenter, you can say ‘It’s plum, it’s level, and it’s square, go check it yourself.’ But if you don’t have concrete standards like that, you’re’ never quite sure where you stand, and so you have to spend a lot of time managing what others think of you in the office.” It’s exhausting, perhaps more so than physical labor.

    Humanities professor Camille Paglia recently argued in “The Chronicle of Higher Education” that the students at the art schools where she’s taught for the past forty years—among them ceramicists, woodworkers, and jazz drummers—possess a “calm, centered, Zen-like engagement with the physical world.” In contrast, she sees “glib, cynical, neurotic elite-school graduates roiling everywhere in journalism and the media…ill-served by their trendy, word-centered educations.”

    VERDICT: We’re Slowing Down and Rolling Up Our Sleeves

    Crawford laments the dwindling popularity of (and funding for) shop classes in American high schools, and the enduring, if false, attitude that trades such as plumbing and electricity are beneath bright young people. In an era where college-educated people’s jobs can easily be outsourced to another country, guess who is still raking in business?

    Yet in the realm of hobbies, the do-it-yourself movement is clearly gaining traction. Perhaps most especially for those who are in office jobs where teams get credit for hard-to-define results, eating a salad you grew in your own yard or getting an old bike to ride smoothly once more is a sweet victory.


    O.K., before you laugh, I do realize that the production of 21st Century mobile smartphones are hardly old fashioned hobbies for the average person, but I'm proposing that the general points in this section of the article regarding wanting some ability to figure out how things work, to improvise and adapt with one's own capacities, and the satisfaction of an "active, problem-solving orientation toward one’s surroundings" applies to not just developers but those of us in the Homebrew/tweak-the-Pre/Pixi crowd.

    As for the latter, we may not understand the nuts and bolts of apps and patches, but we appreciate the ability to make things better than stock and to be able to have access to more aspects of the phone (e.g., overclocking, Internalz, etc.), not to mention the multiple ways we can personalize the device according to our preferences and needs.

    Anyway, I hope you found that worth your time, and I sure hope CES brings a super WebOS device so that I can keep my growing Android lust at bay ...(and so I have to change my "Pre"Central handle!).
  2. #2  
    Actually, for those of us that do actually write code, this mindset is one of the primary reasons we do so. Frankly, I got out of the development world, despite the enjoyment I get out of it and having a formal education of it, simply because I hate doing it for some else. It just seems to tarnish it for me, since I really only do it for my own personal enjoyment.

    But, getting back to WebOS, it's the whole reason I got a Pre. I knew I could code for it, mess with it, and hack it.
    Richard Neff

    My tutorials on WebOS development: Beyond 'Hello World!' | Getting Started - WebOS Development

    My apps: Percent Table | SierraPapa
  3.    #3  
    Yes, and I just wanted to point out that it applies to us Pre/WebOS fans who are not developers, but want more control over the device and enjoy supporting the developers so we can do more cool things with the devices etc.

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