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Preparing For Life After the PC 636

New submitter Doctor_Jest links to a recent I, Cringely column, in which Cringely "is speculating how the world will look when the 'Post-PC' era is in full swing." He makes the case that in just a few upgrade cycles, extensible phones and other devices, coupled with remotely stored data, could replace most of today's conventional PCs — but also admits he thought this transition would have already happened.
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Preparing For Life After the PC

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  • by Max Littlemore ( 1001285 ) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @09:40AM (#40581677)

    I know, stupid me, I never thought of not being able to buy parts.... I just thought I could put the PC in a cupboard and still access it. (High end sound, graphics processing, etc...)

    What becomes of media creators? Do we have to buy more and more dedicated gadgets?

  • Re:Post PC (Score:5, Interesting)

    by njen ( 859685 ) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @09:43AM (#40581697)
    I was thinking the same thing. I work in the VFX industry, and I can see absolutely no future without PC's in this industry alone. Personally, for my last piece of new hardware, I moved back from an uber powerful laptop (heavy weight, 17" screen, etc.), to a desktop at roughly half the price with almost twice the specs, then I threw two 24" monitors in for good measure. I know others who have also recently made a similar move back to the PC (or PC like device).
  • Input Devices (Score:4, Interesting)

    by theshowmecanuck ( 703852 ) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @09:49AM (#40581721) Journal
    As I enter this on my smart. Phone. I can't help but this.k that this demise of the PC is highly exaggerated. Keyboards and mice and the number pad are all much more efficient and less error prone, and therefore faster and more headache free ways to enter data. Until smart phones and tablets and other upcoming "smart devices" can compete in this regard (as well as screen real estate), the PC/laptop in business at the very least isn't going anywhere. I don't want someone angering any of my financial on an autocorrecting tablet touch screen. And for those who might choose this argument, a ta let with a cover or keybiard accessory is really a laptop. Anyway having read the author's previous work I don't need to read thus one to k ow it should have been titled, "Cringley Jumps On The Bandwagon Again With Nothing Useful To Say Or Hasn't Already Been Said A Dozen Times Before, Or Both."
  • Re:Meh ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ghostworks ( 991012 ) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @10:19AM (#40581873)

    99% of the user base doesn't need some given functionality of the PC that the other 1% depend on.

    About 80% of the user base can think of some functionality that puts them in one of those "1%" groups. For some it's 3D graphics. For some, it's computing power. For some it's the layout capability that a large screen+mouse+keys offers. For most, it's the ability to type... with all of their digits.

    It may eventually get to the point where PC hardware is just a big (very big) tablet with a mount and connections for network, keyboard ,and mouse, but it still will be a PC.

  • by Max Littlemore ( 1001285 ) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @10:31AM (#40581967)

    The media creators will still have their toys, but this is all about the media consumers. Big money hates that every joe can create content and IP without them getting a cut, so they're pushing for a (licenced) media delivery only internet and killing the tools end users have for being creative.

    Persactly. I worked in big arse joe (main stream media), now I'm indie and I'm loving cheap media tools, subscribing and loving. Will I still get them? Can I still use the linux toolchain I have built for my work? Or am I f**king screwed to use adon'tbe? (%$^^ing %$^^)

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @10:38AM (#40582009) Homepage

    Many of us, specifically the ones that create or are techies, will have a "PC" always. the Post PC era is for the appliance operators, the ones that treat the PC as a toaster, and it's about time this happened. I have always said that a computer is NOT what most people need, they need something that is like a game machine. Fixed OS they cant write to, and software as read only. Give them a space they can write to for storage and call it done. An Xbox360 or PS3 kind of device that is a home computer.

    Luckily it's coming to pass. and all people that have done IT support in their life will rejoice.

  • by bluescrn ( 2120492 ) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @11:05AM (#40582195)
    This. It's no the 'post PC' era, it's the 'post freedom' era.

    All software is censored and taxed by the platform holder's App Store. Nothing else runs, without (illegal) hacking of the device.
  • Re:Post PC (Score:5, Interesting)

    by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @11:58AM (#40582579) Homepage Journal

    Let's ask all those people living in those areas of the U.S. that have been without power for the last 3-4 days how well their eBooks are working out for them now...

    Not too bad since I can take it to my car and charge it and I get the added benefit of getting to sit in the car's AC.

    We had a 9 day winter power outage last fall. The problem with that approach was that gas stations were also closed. The few that had generators and got deliveries had several hour long queues outside them.
    We rationed the car use for (long) drives to get important items, while always leaving enough fuel to reach hospitals and vets, even if roads were closed and we'd have to deal with detours and traffic jams.
    My UPSes were kept for quick bringing up of a router, in order to send/receive e-mails once a day (The cable modem and cell phone towers went out, of course, but DSL still worked. Strike one for POTS and its separate power.) an keeping a GPS charged.

    While I had a nook and a Clie (favoured, because it's smaller) and numerous laptops, what I fell back on were books. With four book cases with around 100 books in each, and a few crates of books and magazines, there was no dearth of reading materials.
    I tried the nook, but found it easier to read paper pages by candle light than e-ink was. And the self-discharge of the nook meant it was dead after a week.

    So yes, books. And non-coloured magazines.

  • by zentec ( 204030 ) * <zentec AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday July 08, 2012 @11:58AM (#40582581)

    I don't disagree with your sentiments, but we're in the minority my friend. For most people, they want cheap, fast and easy access to Facebook, email and Angry Birds. You don't need a PC for that.

    PCs, like most consumer electronic devices, become a commodity, disposable and then deprecated. When was the last time you fixed a VCR? When they came out, it was cheaper to have someone fix them. And then, if you had some repair skills, you could order parts for any VCR on the market. Now, just try to buy a VCR. Consumer electronics move toward no user serviceable parts; just look at the latest crop of ultra-thin laptops.

    There will always be a need for PCs in the workplace and in software development. But their utility is going to be come very niche and they're well on their way to being replaced for most uses; just like the VCR.

  • by Kenshin ( 43036 ) <> on Sunday July 08, 2012 @12:47PM (#40582951) Homepage

    I remember the conspiracy theorist in our office muttering 10 or so years ago about how he wasn't going to install Windows XP or buy a Pentium 4 because of "Trusted Computing" they would implement.

    2.5 generations of OS and several CPU generations later...

  • Re:Post PC (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Swampash ( 1131503 ) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @01:07PM (#40583107)
  • by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @01:19PM (#40583193)

    Maybe we'll be back to the day when only nerds and smart people have computers, everyone else will just have gadgets.

  • by Mad Marlin ( 96929 ) <> on Sunday July 08, 2012 @01:26PM (#40583243) Homepage

    I actually did this a few weeks ago, I lived Cringley's dream, and it sucks. My phone is the Samsung Galaxy S II, which just had the Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" release for it on T-Mobile, my carrier. That means that I can now plug my phone into my monitor via HDMI (with a cheap cable), type with a bluetooth keyboard, and use a bluetooth mouse. I went and bought those three things the day after I upgraded the phone. I used it for about an hour. It just isn't a usable setup.

  • Re:Post PC (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mjwalshe ( 1680392 ) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @02:57PM (#40583985)
    doesn't look that way in Central London
  • Re:Post PC (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <> on Sunday July 08, 2012 @04:33PM (#40584967) Journal

    Not to mention I'm in charge of bringing my elderly mother to the library so she can drop off another donation of 70s Sci/Fi and Horror and get herself some books to read, know what happens when i get there? i get practically attacked by young college girls, we are talking 19-25, who go into a feeding frenzy when mom brings a load of books. i even asked one how she always manages to be there and she laughed and said "Your mom is VERY predictable on her timing so i just make sure to be here on her days". After they are through snatching books as fast as the librarian can slap them into the DB they are hitting mom up with questions about the authors.

    Now you would think if ANY would be post book it would be these women, they all own smartphones and tablets and laptops, yet just like my mom they'd rather have a "dead tree DB" as I jokingly call them than a Kindle version, which most don't exist for the cheesy Sci/Fi Horror mom collected for ages. I walk into that library and its full of young people, in fact other than me and mom I'd say most are under 30. Don't seem very "post book" to me.

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.