College kids: Kindle blows

Students and faculty at Princeton find the Kindle “disappointing and difficult to use.” My God we are so going to destroy that poor ugly piece of plastic crap.

The really astounding thing is that Princeton gave the Kindles out free — and the kids still friggin hate them. Money quote:

“I hate to sound like a Luddite, but this technology is a poor excuse of an academic tool,” said Aaron Horvath ’10, a student in Civil Society and Public Policy. “It’s clunky, slow and a real pain to operate.”

Once again, it’s all about design — and not in the sense of making a pretty object (though let’s face it, on that front, Kindle fails big time) but in the sense of creating technology that vanishes, so that the user doesn’t have any sense of encountering technology at all and instead just experiences the magic and wonder of being able to do something effortlessly, intuitively.

Remember that old line from Alan Turing about how any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic? Kindle never came close to that. My prediction: If you own a Kindle, get ready to put it down in that shelf in the basement that you jokingly refer to as “the museum,” where you keep your old Kaypro computer and your TRS-80. Tell yourself that maybe that Kindle will be worth money someday. Or at least it will be a great conversation piece with your grandkids — the device that came along first but got wiped out by Apple.

By the way, this guy says we’re not going to name our device an iTablet. He’s betting on iPad or iTab.