Form Factor: 8×11

Nope, this isn’t about grading assignments while drinking beer, though that practice clearly deserves a blog entry/study of it’s own. This one is about a unexpected discovery I made last Sunday when I needed to get away from my domicile and plant myself at a local pub to watch a day of NFL goodness. Of course having 10-page student papers to grade wasn’t going to stop me. Now, because access to a power-outlet was in doubt and previously the wifi was iffy at best, I took the unusual precaution of actually printing out all of the assignments and choose to read through and make notes on these pages before uploading the comments onto my laptop. I’m pretty fanatical about NOT printing out things, so I can’t remember the last I graded something in the dead-tree version. But I have to tell you that it was remarkably convenient to quickly flip through the pages, mark them up and then move on. And from the perspective of my small table in the bar, it was a lot less conspicuous and I wasn’t looking over a screen to see the TV(s). Weird. It was just amazingly natural to work in an 8×11 form factor.

How much more efficient would it have been if I had some device, roughly 8×11, where I could have marked up the documents (in their native electronic form), that could run all day on a single charge and had access to the Internet even when there’s no nearby wifi. Hmm. No, I guess I could make the notes on the text with my finger, but a stylus works too. I doubt it’ll have a stylus, but I have to wonder if Apple’s upcoming announcement next Wednesday will include the announcement of a device that fulfills this content creation need. The announcement better not be just a rev of the iLife suite. Ack.

image by Joe Bustillos