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Hungary Uses iPad To Draft New Constitution 157

An anonymous reader writes "Hungary is drafting its new constitution on, believe it or not, an iPad. Jozsef Szajer, a Hungarian politician and member of the European Parliament, wrote an enthusiastic blog post last week detailing how he's using Apple's tablet device to flesh out Hungary's new constitution, the country's first since 1949. Not only is Szajer using the iPad to churn out new constitutional drafts, but he's also using it to review new draft proposals. Apparently all aspects of the new Hungarian constitution are being vetted via the iPad in one form or another."
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Hungary Uses iPad To Draft New Constitution

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  • This would be news if he was using a blackberry. ;)

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Joce640k ( 829181 )

      I dunno. It must be a pretty short document if he's typing it on an iPad 'keyboard'.

      • by gyepi ( 891047 )
        Unfortunately you are quite right, it is going to be short. To paraphrase one slogan of the current right-wing government the constitution is supposed to fit on a beer coaster. They do this to eliminate the checks and balances provided by the constitutional court.
        • Apparently this approach has spread to America, and we now have a constitutional monarchy. His Royal Highness August Busch IV will be most pleased.
        • by jimicus ( 737525 )

          They do this to eliminate the checks and balances provided by the constitutional court.

          That being the case, what exactly is the point in having the constitution in the first place?

          • They do this to eliminate the checks and balances provided by the constitutional court.

            That being the case, what exactly is the point in having the constitution in the first place?

            The constitution sets out the powers of the various units of government. Clearly there is a point to doing so, whether those powers ae vast or limited.

            The US constitution doesn't explicitly say that the court system can rule on the constitutionality of laws. At one time it was very much up to debate as to whether it could or not. Would there be a point in explicitly saying that it could? Would there be a point in explicitly saying that it couldn't? Clearly there would be a point in doing so either way, as i

      • It is also compatible with the standard physical and AA battery powered wireless Apple keyboard.

    • by Blue Stone ( 582566 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @02:11PM (#35408356) Homepage Journal

      Yeah ... everyone's bored to death over these iCheerleading news stories that are simply variations of X [did something fairly normal] ON AN iPAD!

      The only one that'd vaguely raise any interest from me now would be the one that goes:

      Hey guys! Look! I just took a dump! ON AN iPAD!

      • by knappe duivel ( 914316 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @02:19PM (#35408502)
        Some people in some countries are actually very interested in the original draft of their constitution, and the medium on which it was documented. Some people rather compare it to shit.
      • by MobileTatsu-NJG ( 946591 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @02:28PM (#35408630)

        Yeah ... everyone's bored to death over these iCheerleading news stories that are simply variations of X [did something fairly normal] ON AN iPA

        Yeah, we're all really sick of it, that's why damn near all of the Apple stories in the last few days only have >300 comments. You can almost hear the crickets chirping.

      • Hey guys! Look! I just took a dump! ON AN iPAD!

        Obligatory: There's an app for that.

      • by Idbar ( 1034346 )
        All and all, yes. Slashdot news about Apple products have become more and more like when you add "in bed" to Chinese cookies. I guess "iPad" is shorter than "in bed" and perhaps editors think is closer to reality for us, the slashdot readers, have something with an iPad rather than in bed or out of the basement.

        Next: add "out of the basement" to your chinese cookies. App soon coming free with your slashdot subscription.
    • by mystikkman ( 1487801 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @02:20PM (#35408514)

      The real news will be on June 30th when Apple wants a 30% cut of Hungary's GDP. []

      • by Kosi ( 589267 )

        LOL, that was the first thing coming to my mind after reading the post.

        And then, will the Hungarian gov't be forced by Apple to let the Hungarians vote via their iPads?

    • But they've got that new iConstitution app...

    • by node 3 ( 115640 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @03:46PM (#35409908)

      "iPad is just a toy."
      "It's for consumption, not creation."
      "No one is going to buy an iPad when a netbook can do 10x for 1/3 the price."
      "Apple controls everything you can do on an iPad."
      "All the Android tablets coming out this Summer (2010) will be cheaper and more powerful, no one is going to buy an iPad."
      "Who's going to buy a small, underpowered iPad with a capacitive screen when they can buy a full-powered Windows TabletPC and run all their desktop software?"
      "Meh, they should have released a touchscreen Mac OS X computer."

      You'd think this would be the most shocking news story to hit Slashdot in 2011, it completely contradicts everything the commenters have been saying for just short of 1 year now.

      For the rest of us, it would have actually been news had it been an Android tablet.

      Don't worry though, geeks are exceptionally good at compartmentalization to avoid having to actually resolve their cognitive dissonance. They are always right, so when reality contradicts them, they simply call reality "stupid" and just keep on pretending they are right, problem solved!

      • All the above still applies. There are spectacular examples of using the completely wrong tool for the job by people in the world. Just like I could use an iPad to hammer a nail into the ground. I think it would work very well. Wouldn't work as well as using a hammer, and would probably be more costly but could get the job done.

        Reminds me of the "professional" fashion photographer who did a photoshoot on an iPhone. I put the quotes in because frankly real professionals should be above such asshattery mar
        • by node 3 ( 115640 )

          All the above still applies. There are spectacular examples of using the completely wrong tool for the job by people in the world. Just like I could use an iPad to hammer a nail into the ground.

          In other words, "I'm right. Reality is stupid and wrong."

          Why is the iPad the "completely wrong tool for the job"? Because you say so? Does the iPad have a screen? Check. Keyboard? Check. Word processing software? Check.

          The problem is that it's not the right tool *for you*. But geeks are always right, so what's the right tool for them is the Right Tool for everyone, and anyone who disagrees is stupid.

          How many typos were made during writing?
          How long did it take to write?
          What's the maximum typing speed?
          How were the ergonomics? Does the typer's wrists or back hurt?

          iPads can use physical keyboards, and some cases even have bluetooth keyboard integrated. But what does any o

          • The Post-Photoshop era is here. Look at what this guy did in Paint? []

            • by node 3 ( 115640 )

              That's pretty impressive, but not a good example of the whole "post-pc" thing. Photoshop isn't a paint program and MS Paint isn't an image manipulation program (in other words, the one cannot replace the other in any reasonable way). And if something came along that replaced Photoshop as the premier photo-faking and professional image enhancing program, it would almost certainly follow the same basic idea. It wouldn't be post-Photoshop (the idea), just post-Photoshop (the product). The idea is that the iPad

  • by Anonymous Coward

    That doesn't seem like a long time to me, how often do most countries get a new constitution? Also, what have they been using as a system of government until now?

    • They have mostly been living without one since the overthrow of communism there in '89. I just wonder what took them so long.

      • by dabadab ( 126782 )

        Actually we do have a constitution, formally it's the one from 1949 - though for all practical purposes and intents, it's a new one as it was thoroughly modified after the fall socialism (communism wasn't there since the '50s, but this distinction may be too fine for most /. readers).
        This one being written is... well, it's mostly a publicity stunt for the current governig party that got such overwhelming majority (a once in a lifetime chance) that it can modify the constitution and can ignore everyone else.

    • The Constitution adopted in 1949 was their first constitution. It was passed during the communist era, and heavily reflective of the heavy Soviet influence on Hungary at the time it was adopted. Hungary is the only Eastern Bloc nation to NOT adopt a new constitution after the end of one-party Communist rule. In 1989, they simply heavily amended the Communist-era constitution, and continued on from there. This marks the first Constitution for Hungary that's been fully implemented without Communist contro

    • That doesn't seem like a long time to me, how often do most countries get a new constitution?

      New one? The UK has had a roughly contiguous form of government since 1066 and still hasn't managed to get even one yet.

  • I hear in Romania they use a ouija board and crystal ball

  • John Hancock used Brand-X quill to draft the Declaration of Independence.

    Lets see, a tool is being used as that tool was intended to be used, to do a job. Big deal! Now, if he was doing this on a RPN calculator, then it would be news worthy.

    • by blair1q ( 305137 )

      I was gonna lament your redundifying of my post below, but then I noticed you confused a signer for a drafter.

      • by bsDaemon ( 87307 )

        John Hancock signed the Declaration of Independence, but iirc, wasn't at the Constitutional Convention at all. But to the GP, James Madison drafted the Constitution.

    • Re:Big Deal. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Noughmad ( 1044096 ) <> on Monday March 07, 2011 @01:57PM (#35408150) Homepage

      Did you miss the memo? Slashdot editors have been replaced by:

      wget -r [] -O - | grep -v bad |

      • The first thing I thought while reading this was "That question mark is going to cause problems with that command. He/she should have put that in quotes.". I'm guessing this says more about me than about your comment though.

    • Thomas Jefferson is believed to have drafted the Declaration of Independence (along with the help of Adams, Franklin, Livingston, and Sherman). He probably used quill pens that he cut to suit his writing style (as was commonly done at the time). John Hancock is believed to be the first signatory of the document (being the president of the Continental Congress at the time). The tradition is that he signed it in large lettering so that King George III would be able to read it without his glasses.

  • Who cares. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kuzb ( 724081 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @01:49PM (#35408006)
    This is such a non-story apple plug. Fuck you slashdot, bring real news back.
    • The ipad part I agree is useless trivia, but the idea that they are finally getting around to writing a formal constitution for the country is news...the 1949 one they refer to was drafted by their communist leaders at the time and their government has changed to a Parlimentary Republic.

    • by halivar ( 535827 )

      This is news because it represents how modern technology is completely changing our schemas. When I think of writing a constitution, I immediately think of twenty old white men sitting around a table scritching out their ideas on parchment paper. We associate that scene, and others like it, with erudition, social revolution, and defining epochal moments. It may be that in 200 years, millions of Hungarians will have the same feelings inspired by scenes of relatively young technophiles collaborating wireless-

      • by xaxa ( 988988 )

        Since the previous constitution was made in 1949, it was probably typed onto white A4 paper.

      • And that parchment paper was 'changing our schemas' (whatever that means) compared to a chisel and stone tablets.... On the other hand, all those tools serve the same goal, to write down something. Shock! Horror!

        The only difference is that they now have a spell checker and can email the document around.
        • by halivar ( 535827 )

          And that parchment paper was 'changing our schemas' (whatever that means) compared to a chisel and stone tablets....

          Absolutely. From cave painting to papyrus to monastic manuscript-keeping to Gutenburg to the telegraph to the modern internet. Each stepping stone had (and has) profound impact not just on how we communicate, but also on our worldviews. (Aside: a "schema" is a framework or pattern we apply to our perception of reality to help us organize and understand it. In the most general terms, it's 'how

          • I disagree, while it is different from ancient times, the difference is only in the speed at which we can disseminate data, while in the olden days we had to transcribe or copy the documents, In a sense, this is of no historical value whatsoever. The internet, however, is of massive historical importance because that is an enabler. The ipad brings nothing new to the already existing technology, and is therefor irrelevant.
            • by halivar ( 535827 )

              The speed at which it disseminates affects accessibility. Accessibility affects control.

              Back in the dark ages, only the priest class could write; therefore, information was controlled by priests. Enter the printing press, now everyone can read their own copy of the Bible, and the church begins losing control. Same with early broadcasting; you had two classes: content creators, and consumers. Consider how print newspapers are going out of business. The old masters of information are becoming irrelevant in th

              • The speed at which it disseminates affects accessibility. Accessibility affects control.

                Yes, but it is not the ipad that is allowing for this dissemination, that's the internet.The ipad is irrelevant to this.

                I'm seeing politicians collaborating with each other digitally on statecraft, and I begin thinking about how long before we have the ability to collaborate with them.

                And yes, the fact that it was on an iPad is largely irrelevant. If it had been replaced with a smartphone, or a notebook lappy, the story would still be historically important.

                Yes, it would, but not because of the tool (the ipad), but because of the global network known as the Internet, which was my point to begin with.

    • A new constitution is written, a fresh medium is used. This _is_ news.
    • This is such a non-story apple plug. Fuck you slashdot, bring real news back.

      Step 1.) Go to
      Step 2.) Take note of the number of comments each Apple story gets.
      Step 3.) Kick yourself in the ass for being part of the problem you're bitching about.

    • >bring real news back.

      I'm not going to defend this non-story, but slashdot has always been sensationalist garbage. Trolling pieces about MS or whoever is the socially acceptable IT devil today. Poorly researched opinion pieces, blogspam, and an editorial bias designed to get your goat, make you comment, and visit the site obsessively to reply to those who disagree with you.

      This formula gets pageviews. Dispassionate accurate articles don't. There's a reason why so many successful news sites have this k

    • ...along with kdawson.

      It won't remove all of the apple plugs (nothing short of carpet bombing of the Slashdot HQ would do that), but it should significantly reduce the number of non-stories you'll be seeing in the future.

    • No, you don't get it, you have to RTFA. The real story here is that they were only drinking Coke Classic during the drafting and review procedures.
  • by blair1q ( 305137 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @01:51PM (#35408034) Journal

    Try drafting one with a bird feather dipped in ink you made yourself, written on lamb skin, freehand.

    Hell, try just copying one that way.

    • by Thud457 ( 234763 )
      "Romania drafts new bill of rights on a Selectric"
      "Slovenian Prime Minister writes budget with a Bic(tm)"
      "Qaddaffii scrawls unrepentant screed in crayon"
      "Charlie Sheen dictates Dianetics II - electric jugaloo at drive-thru window"
  • That sets an ugly precedent.

  • by gyepi ( 891047 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @01:52PM (#35408048) Homepage the authoritarian tendency of both platforms.
  • This guy's iPad just became one of the world's top hacking targets.

    • Because constitutions are never released to the general public.
      • Well the summary says he uses the iPad to review draft proposals. What if you can alter an incoming proposal and change it to something more to your liking? If the original sender of the proposal doesn't find out, there's a chance your changes could make it to the final constitution. Normally it takes fighter jet money to buy that kind of influence.

        • Right, because somebody submitting draft changes for a constitutional proposal has NO interest in how the final product comes out, and will never read the drafts that have their accepted changes supplied.

          I can't wait to see the final result of all this, I predict it will look like this:

          "Hungarians are in it for the hookers, beer, and free cocaine. DOIN' IT FOR THE LULZ," followed by a big swoopy John Hancock-like signature, reading "ANONYMOUS"

  • by FlapHappy ( 937803 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @01:55PM (#35408096) Journal
    Dear Steve Jobs, How do we remove the line, "sent from my Ipad" from our new constitution? No, seriously :( -Jozsef
    • Dear Hungary, go to Settings > Mail > Signature and enter anything you want.

      We highly recommend to avoid using threats to cut off your nations Internet connection. We have recently discovered it can be very counterproductive.

  • by Schlopper ( 413780 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @01:58PM (#35408156)

    There's an app for that....

  • If they had used Microsoft Office or saved it in OOXML format, everyone and his brother would be up in arms about being forced buy/use proprietary closed software and how that is the end of the world. But if it is Apple, it is kewl.
  • by MaWeiTao ( 908546 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @01:59PM (#35408176)

    So what? Might as well say, modern technology is used to draft constitution for all the relevance this has to anything.

    How many important things have been done on a variety of computers? How many more have been done with pen and paper?

    Is this the new thing? To be a brand whore every chance you get?

  • Subversion or something similar. Why edit it on a iPad when it can be edited with history and versioning on almost any device? Give the drafting participants commit access. Allow branches for proposals. The general public gets read access for open discussion.

    Hell, do it for all laws. That way when the law is approved, you can just merge the proposal to the main branch and set a mile stone.

    You could even use blame to find out who added riders. Oh. That is why this will never, ever happen.

    • This. I would be in heaven if this happened. For the first time in history, legislation would be made clear, understandable and transparent.

      Which is probably why the will never ever implement it...

  • get a 30% cut everytime someone subscribes to the new Constitution?
  • So, at least one iPad fanboy in Hungary uses their iPad for composing documents. I wonder how the drafts and revisions are being handled.
    It seems like a throwback to the days of Thomas Jefferson: one person, one quill, limited revisioning capability.

  • by RyuuzakiTetsuya ( 195424 ) <taiki AT cox DOT net> on Monday March 07, 2011 @02:11PM (#35408364)

    can we all now shut up about how tablets are for consumption of media?

    How many stories have we seen where artists, writers, musicians, and other creative types are using tablet devices for creation of content?

    • by dabadab ( 126782 )

      If you read the original blog entry (which is in Hungarian, except for a few English sentences that ... well ... should have not been written) it is clear, that this "creation" is mostly cutting and pasting.

    • Just because you can doesn't mean you should. Type a novel on your iPad which just throws 20 years of ergonomics research out the window and then come tell us about your experience with sore wrists, max typing speed, number of erroneous keys pressed. Maybe his constitution may even end up on []

      The iPad is designed for consumption. No design elements at all in any way aid the creation of content on it. Just because some politician does something the hard way doesn't mean the device is
      • So why are iMovie, Garage Band, Pages and other document creation software available on the iPad? Those aren't third party apps mind you. Those are Apple apps. They sort of designed the thing. They don't seem to think the iPad's a content consumption device.

        The consumption paradigm for tablets is stupid. The tablet form factor can allow you to do more than just consume. Having a 10 inch multitouch display is nice when working with say, DJ gear that can interface with it and your mixing application on

        • Of course they don't. But do the people who use it create actual meaningful content? Mind you take the definition of meaningful here. The iPad is great for taking quick notes, jotting things down on the go sort of thing. Not so great for a marathon typing session. iMovie is great for cutting those home videos together quickly with your mates, but just like Windows Movie Maker has a long way to go before even remotely touching the likes of Adobe Premier.

          The key here is that these are the toys of content
          • But do the people who use it create actual meaningful content?

            The Gorillaz put out an album recently that was mostly composed on an iPad, and it rocked.

  • by SETIGuy ( 33768 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @02:27PM (#35408620) Homepage
    Apple is claiming ownership of 30% of Hungary, and demanding future payments of 30% of GDP.
    • Apple buys Hungry to promote iPad use
  • Starts off we the ipeople are Hungry

    Damn autocorrect.

    Yo Grark

  • The iPhone/iPad/ios devices can still not [] do CSS2 (1998) [] position: fixed correctly, much to the annoyance of web developers []
  • Who cares if he writes it on an iPad, a laptop or a freaking paper napkin, the tool is of no importance whatsoever compared to the document in question. Stop treating the iPad as something revolutionary, because it isn't.
  • Getting tired of how stupid ./ stories have become. STOP the iMadness. Who the f* cares if some person write something on an ipad, iphone, ifu*king device or not. It seems the kids got hold of the control of /. and the proportion of interesting/non-interesting stories has gone down a lot. Perhaps it is my time to "retire" to more interesting pastures...
  • in america, we've been scrawling ours on the back of an oil drum for decades.
  • Endless important documents have been drafted around the world on pc devices. yet, noone felt the need to make news out of it ?
  • If this guy doesn't have any hands, then I'll be impressed. But I don't see how using a device with a built in keyboard (virtual) to type a document is a big deal.

    If he wants to spend 3x as long to type a document, that's on him. And I say this as an iPad owner. In general, the consensus is correct, it's for consumption not production, bar some niche areas (of which, writing a constitution is not one of them).

  • The real question is what Jozsef Szajer is getting out of the endorsement deal?
  • by szo ( 7842 )

    Thats adding insult to injury.

  • "Guy uses computer for word processing and reading email" is news now?
  • I fail to see any news or well anything at all in this story.

    So what feature of the pad made it better than the other options?
    What role did the pad play that could not be done by any other device?

    I feel like I'm playing madlibs. (proper noun) (verb past tense) (noun) on an ipad! Report it as news!

  • I am going to have to buy one of these toys just so everything I do will become newsworthy

    First up, I'm going to eat a sandwich WITH AN IPAD!!!

    Next, I will do some dishes WITH AN IPAD!!!!

    I'll take suggestions on what I can do after that, WITH AN IPAD!!!

    (and sure, fuck right off is a valid suggestion, so long as its to fuck right off WITH AN IPAD!!!)

  • Hungary, beware of vender lock in!

  • The upside is, writing on an iPad would be too troublesome to fill the documents with legalese, making for a constitution that might actually be readable.

"So why don't you make like a tree, and get outta here." -- Biff in "Back to the Future"