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Old 04-13-2005, 05:28 PM   #1
Bob Russell
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The End Of An Era -- The Desktop PC

Mark Cuban has written a very nice piece in his blog about how desktop PCs are now becoming boring. It's a mature industry now and the excitement is gone. But everything that was so fun and wonderful has now moved to the portible device world where all the action is. Here are a couple samples to whet your appetite...
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Could the PC desktop be any more boring these days ? Could it be any more emblematic of a mature product ?
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We are entering a golden age of features in portable devices that will far exceed the fun we had with desktop PCs. The quick rate of change in these products and how they are sold, will completelty alter both how the products are sold, and how we expect to buy them.
Mark is not only co-founder of broadcast.com, which started the whole internet broadcasting groundswell, but is currently the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, and involved in many other ventures including HD television content. He is an active investor in leading and cutting-edge technologies and continues to be a sought-after speaker. And he has consistently stood up for technology against the recording and motion picture industries. A content provider that stands up for the little guy and the best future for all. He has even come out strong in support of P2P in the recent Grokster case. While he doesn't support theft, he does support freedom of technology. He's definitely a voice worth paying attention to, and one of the "good guys!"
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Old 04-13-2005, 05:33 PM   #2
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Cuban is cool! And I like the Mavericks

That said, I tend to agree with him - I don't even own a PC anymore. For my daily work, I am using a notebook. At home, I am using my PPC for browsing the web or reading some books. Truly mobile so to speak!
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Old 04-13-2005, 07:00 PM   #3
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I've been saying for at least 10 years, that the future of the monolithic pee-cee (Where you sit down in one place and "work on your computer"), be it a laptop or a desktop PC (or a Mac, or a tablet PC), are limited.

The future is that we'll have "computers" in everything, and they'll just be conduits to the "network", which is going to become the Internet (or whatever the global Internet evolves into).

The Internet will be your network, and the network will be your OS.

Basically your "devices" (fridge door, recipe screen in the kitchen, terminal in the basement to check email, etc.) will have an OS, and you won't care what it is, and it will probably be running many different OS' at the same time, again, you won't care.. your "information" will be coming from the 'net as a whole. Eventually even the 'net may become your operating system.

Look at how ubiquitous computers are today, and we don't even question it. Our microwaves, our cars, our toilets, and even simple things like shaving razors have microprocessors in them. Its going into everything and everywhere.

The only real part that is missing is being able to tie them together, and now that's coming too (Bluetooth, 802.11x, wired and wireless technologies), and with the IPv6 address space providing a unique IP address for every square foot on the earth, you can now put everything on a "network", local and remote.

So the "pee-cee" era is definately dead, because everything is now a "pee-cee", and your OS is going to die soon too, because it will just be software loaded locally and remotely, to power your device's "personality".

This, is the future.
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Old 04-13-2005, 11:45 PM   #4
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Of course, you'll still need computers (of some sort), running (probably recognizable) OSes, running servers somewhere, even if hacker's vision comes true.

It's not like it'll all magically exist. In fact, that's one of the few things I use my "pee cee" for, a mini-server. It's an elderly PII, but it competently runs an ircd, apache (for mainly sharing files with some people), sshd, and a couple other things. Nothing complex. But still, I wouldn't be able to do that with only a laptop. Not all the time, anyway.
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Old 04-14-2005, 06:15 PM   #5
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While I will agree that PC's have become rather dull and padantric. I don't believe they will die out anytime soon. The reason for this being security issues especially where business is concerned. I mean think about it. What's easier to steal a PC or a laptop, and do you really want your employees being able to taking home their work computers? So yes the PC may become rather defunct within the next 20 or so years but not until and unless all security issues can be resolved.
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Old 04-14-2005, 06:51 PM   #6
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What's easier to steal a PC or a laptop, and do you really want your employees being able to taking home their work computers? So yes the PC may become rather defunct within the next 20 or so years but not until and unless all security issues can be resolved.
I think you missed my point entirely.

So what if you steal the PC or the laptop from your work? It won't contain any data on it, nor an OS, because the OS would be the network.. and that network exists on the company infrastructure (perhaps tied into the proximity or physical infrastructure).

All you'd have is a blank, empty piece of commodity hardware that won't boot. Likely it'll have tracking built into it, so if it leaves the company property, it "phones home" to alert the proper authorities. You won't get any data if you steal it, because the data, while accessible worldwide from proper locations, isn't located "on the device".

Once the bandwidth exceeds the local storage speed, this switch will happen, and perhaps even local storage will exist, and you will have merged local and remote storage, and you won't even know (or care about) the difference between the two. Potentially, a directory of documents as shown in your file manager could consist of some local, some remote documents.. and to your "OS" or hardware, they just look like a list of local files.

Who cares if they're local or remote, as long as you can always get to them when you need to?

The important part of the computer is the data it holds, not the OS it runs, or the hardware that powers it. We only care now, because there is a difference in speed and vendors providing it, but that will soon go away.
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