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WHO KILLED THE PC?

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 6, 2013

BRYCE ON TECHNOLOGY

– It certainly wasn’t me.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Nobody actually. However, I’m getting tired of hearing about the PC’s demise every few years. I think such statements are designed to sell magazines as opposed to having any validity. I read about the latest version of the death scenario in a computer trade rag and I think it was written by another prepubescent with little experience in the field, and swallows everything the vendors tell him. In the latest version, the PC’s demise is attributed to the advancement of the tablets and smart phones. I’m sure such devices have had an impact on traditional laptops, but I cannot imagine them having a significant impact on traditional desktops.

I like the “look and feel” of my desktops, not just the bigger screens, but the mouse and full keyboard. I’ve never been able to acclimate to small flat screen keyboards, particularly when writing voluminous documents. I can probably type 140 words a minute with a normal keyboard, but I feel tremendously restrained when trying to type on a tablet or smart phone. Not surprising, I think of desktop computers as “industrial strength” as opposed to the smaller devices which are useful for smaller and less important tasks. There is no doubt we are a mobile society, but if you need something of substance done, you need a desktop computer. This is why I believe the announcement of the death of the PC is bit premature. Consider this, if the PC is truly dead, the business world would be forced to shutdown as just about every network is dependent on it, as does small business.

Over the years I have also heard of the demise of the web browser (e.g., Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari), but somehow they show no sign of abating. Then there is the supposed death of certain programming languages, particularly COBOL, which was primarily used on mainframe computers. Interesting, it is now over fifty years old but still keeps on truckin’, as are other programming languages and data base management systems. If you are a COBOL programmer, you’ve got a job for life as nobody will dare fire you in fear their legacy systems will somehow implode without you.

True, our technology changes rapidly, but I don’t think anything completely dies in the computer industry. We may not use punch cards much anymore, but I’ll bet there is an ample supply of card readers still out there “just in case”, as are archaic tape drives and other hardware/software devices.

No, the PC isn’t going to die any time soon. There is simply too many people imbued with the technology. I am also sure this will not be the last time we hear of its demise, particularly as other vendors want to promote an alternative technology. We should always be a little skeptical when we hear, “The sky is falling.”

Next time you hear the claim the PC is dead, simply mutter “Nonsense” under your breath and trash whatever you are reading.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  “HOMO SAPIEN ASS****” – It’s a matter of acting on perceptions, not reality.

LAST TIME:  FIVE EASY LESSONS FOR SYSTEM DESIGN – It need not be as complicated as people make it.

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5 Responses to “WHO KILLED THE PC?”

  1. nprc2012 said

    A B.H. of Boulder, Colorado wrote…

    “Killing” the PC is probably just the wishful thinking of some marketing folks who want to keep people buying the latest “fad.” There are still “mainframes” out there, but they are a lot less ubiquitous than they used to be (mostly because a desktop computer today has much more “power” than the older mainframes used to have).

    The benefit of the tablet – and while I have one, I don’t use it all that often – is that it is MUCH smaller and lighter than a laptop. When you are travelling on a plane and want to keep baggage to a minimum and weight under control, the tablet might work better for you than a laptop. Yes, the “keyboard” is different and an issue, but generally speaking, you can “get by” for the brief time of the trip – and then email the information to yourself on the desktop and manipulate it however you need.

    The big drawback to the tablet is the lack of large volumes of storage, but the SD chips with multiple GB being available is changing that … but it means that you have to learn a new paradigm in getting to your information as well as storing it.

    The other big drawback is that everyone out there has an “app” they want you to buy or use, many of which you simply don’t need or want…but you can’t get rid of some of the “installed” apps on the tablet because it’s part of a marketing agreement between the OS provider and the hardware provider as well as the app creator(s).”

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  2. Tim Bryce said

    A D.R. of Knoxville, Tennessee wrote…

    “The desktop, at least the keyboard, mouse and monitor, will not disappear in my lifetime!

    Although the actual computer itself, may be contained in a package no larger than a credit card, some day.

    I have yet to meet someone, who can type 120+ words per minute with their thumbs on a micro-miniature touch screen!

    Voice to text is improving, and some packages include voice editing commands and computer function commands. However, these still have a very long way to go.
    I’ve seen dumb-phones (aka smart-fones), dropped into a docking station, to make use of a full-size monitor, keyboard and mouse.

    For the life of me, I don’t know how anyone can even use a laptop. I’ve tried. They end up sitting in the bottom of the closet, until the battery leaks, ruining the laptop, carrying case, and sometimes even the floor of the closet.

    I run GNU/Linux and have set my “workspaces” to six on each computer, with several programs running in each workspace.

    Accustomed to these features, and the many other Linux conveniences, I could never go back to using WinDOZE.

    Most folks don’t realize, the world runs on Linux!
    Almost everything you own, that uses a computer, uses Linux. Your cell phones, cars, appliances, the websites you visit each day and your banks. Android is a Linux Distro!”

    Like

  3. Tim Bryce said

    A J.S. of Skidway Lake, Michigan wrote…

    “I sure hope you’re right about the desktop PC’s! Tablets and notebooks are a nuisance to use. My PC just died of old age and I’ve had to replace it with a new one that has Windows 8. The keyboard is flat and awkward to use and the organization, of lack thereof, is making me crazy. No start up menu; no start button! Had I wanted a Mac, I’d have bought one. On the plus side, it is super fast. I guess if I can figure out where the programs are and how to use it all, I can do things really fast. Old dogs and new tricks!! Some of the files on my old PC are backed up on CDs or flash drives, but not all.

    Hope all is well with you….and your PC! “

    Like

  4. Tim Bryce said

    An I.M. of Wellington, New Zealand wrote…

    “The keyboard, muse and monitor is just about all you see of a modern computer, apart from the real monsters that we do not own. As far as I am concerned, you need a decent sized monitor and keyboard to be creative. I type from a keyboard far faster than I could input from any other way. Voice recognition will be useless to me – first, how do you put in Unicode symbols, and second, living in New Zealand I have an accent that would almost certainly lead to all sort of problems. As it happens, I do not even own a tablet (although I do own a Kindle) and, horrors, my mobile phone is really only suitable for talking, which, as it happens, is all I do with it. (My philosophy is, if the message is important, I do not have the time to text it in a way the whole significance gets through, and if it is not important, I do not waste anyone else’s time either.) “

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  5. […] WHO KILLED THE PC? […]

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