An iPad is not a computer.

Have an honest-to-gosh iPad in the home for the first time (we’ve reached the stage where dad just had one lying around and another Zoom box is useful)

My snarky-but-honest social media ready thought:

“Stop being impressed that your child can use one. Be troubled that the thing is exactly calibrated for minds working at a child’s level.”

But will focus less on that — was recently regaled with an ad for the iPad Pro, and pleased to see a point that Apple and I agree on: An iPad is not a computer.

Let’s go ahead and lean into this distinction because, hardware notwithstanding, I think it’s a good one to use. An iPad is not a computer, nor is an iPhone. Also not computers: Android devices neither. Mac and Windows laptops and desktops generally are, at least for now. Linux (lets be pedantic for a sec, GNU/Linux) computers absolutely are and will likely will be forever.

The main distinction in a general form: You own and control computers – which are *general purpose machines* — and have at least the option of great deal of control in their operation and underlying systems. The other things are limited use appliances – in which (despite being made of computer parts) the owning company has deliberately disabled “general use,” partly to make them easy to use and partly to retain a great deal of control over them.

Going further – every household needs at least one computer, on which you save the stuff you care about, OUTSIDE of “the cloud.”

No excuse for most of you. You can perhaps use a Windows or Mac machine (less safe) or get a Raspberry Pi. (very safe and cheap).

Further, then. Every household should have at least one computer — on which you save the things you care about, outside of “the cloud.”

The Mac and Windows machines are okay for this — but even better is a Linux machine. The very-cheap Raspberry Pi is a great candidate for this; get on it.