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  • #2250117

    The home PC will be extinct within 5 years


    by cs ·

    Having tried out some of these new web based office tools, such as the Google ones and Webex Office I am pretty sure that within the next 5 years people will stop buying PC’s and buying software to install on those PC’s and then subsequently worrying about patches and upgrades.

    People will pay about $25 a month to subscribe to a remote service that will take care of word processing, spreadsheet, accounts, photo applications, music etc. That will be delivered on demand over a 40 MB internet link.

    The PC will be replaced by a small slab about the size of a VCR cartridge. This will contain a local processor and a small disk for temporay local storage. It will consume about 5 watts in operation and have a 10 second start up time from cold. The Wyse thin client boxes already approach this type of thing. There will still be local LCD (or equivalent) screen and a full sized key board, though voice recognition will increase.

    The operating system will be irrelevant on the local Personal Unit (PU) either Microsoft or LINUX. The PU will be virus prooof with the local operating system held on a read only card. Complex functionality will come from the central service provider.

    Forget about login and account passwords, this will be dealt with by a combination of finger print scan and a SIM sized smart card. Your mobile phone will connect via your house Wireless Router, but also link into your PU for Skype type of phone calls.

    The bad news for Microsoft (unless they change) is that public will no longer have the continual round of having to upgrade software (& PC) every three years.

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    • #3137918


      by cg it ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      Public perception of the internet is that it’s an insecure place. People are also control freaks at heart.

      They might post their pictures, videos, blogs, and use email, but when it comes down to word processing, spreadsheets, and the lot, their not going to store oneline where someone could get to it.

      Companies on the other hand might consider using online resources as a way to cut down on costs but again, there is the security feature. If all your stuff is stored online, where’s the control of it?

      • #3274900

        Insecurity of the internet is one of the reasons

        by cs ·

        In reply to Naw

        A lot of the perceived insecurity is actually due to the current home PC itself because Joe Soap Public doesn’t know how to secure their own PC’s. If they are offered a service which gives security of their data and takes away the danger of losing 2-3 year’s data when their PC disk becomes corrupted they will snap it up.

        Two factor user authentication and network encryption from the PU to the Service provider can deal with any insecurity of the net itself.

        The data stored on line can be stored encrypted (at the point of transmission) with your own personal key so it will be protected from prying eyes. Data Centre style backup of your data is a whole lot more secure than relying on a hard disk in a PC. Consumer hard disks are generally good for an average of 3 years before they go seriously wrong and loose your data. Just how many people do you know who systematically back up their home PC’s on a regular basis?

        • #3274888

          I can see a lot of the home market being taken

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to Insecurity of the internet is one of the reasons

          out by appliances. People like ourselves will probably stick with our own stuff, may all end up on linux.
          Businesses though a different story. Here you are talking about giving business critical data and functionality to a third party. It will all depend on how dependant your business is on it.
          Store all your data with company X, then they ring you up and say we forgot to back it up, or we appear to have left a backup in public and it’s gone missing. encryption ?
          Or the absolute classic, a slight error in the code and someone else can view and change your data.
          From a technology point of view we’ve been capable of this for years, hasn’t took off yet though.

        • #3274883

          Business might, small business maybe home users??

          by cg it ·

          In reply to I can see a lot of the home market being taken

          Marketing people will try to sell it to the general public as a cost saver and data saver. Most home users don’t back up so online stuff has it’s benefits. In the same token consumers aren’t a gullible as some marketing people think. All it will take is some consumer having all their documents inadvertently go public and the press will have a field day. Mass exodus. Big Brother is in everyone’s mind even if its not vocally said.

          I still see components in the home. A TV here, a DVD player there, computer for the web over there. Like all-in-one printers, it’s a great idea but often doesn’t work the way it should.

        • #3274702

          Well there you are a poor chump of a home user

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to Business might, small business maybe home users??

          Just shelled out more than the cost of your PC for some office software so little jimmy can do his school project, or you rent time on a per document basis off a server.
          At that point it simply becomes how many documents do you produce. vs the cost of the application software and upgrades.

          Similar for a small business, they’ll do more documents but that have the cost of maintaining an infra-structure.
          If you already need that infrastructure though for business specific applications, then you might as well provide the facility in house, which of course has some other outstanding benefits.
          I suppose Acme corp could rent computing power, but I can’t see that being cost effective, even a bean counter would jib at that after a risk assessment.

        • #3218792

          How much are you prepared to pay?

          by cs ·

          In reply to Well there you are a poor chump of a home user

          The price of the service would be pitched at what the average punter is prepared to pay each month. When you work out the average annual cost of running a PC with it’s software it is actually quite a surprisingly high figure.

          Provided that a Service Provider sets a “golden spot” monthly pricing many of the average punters will leap at the chance of avoiding the continual niggle of having maintain a PC, even if that cost is a few dollars more per month than running your own PC.

          The monthly pricing will have little to do with the actual cost. Large corporations will be prepared to invest massively to capture this enormous market.

        • #3218770

          Oh there’s definitley a market

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to How much are you prepared to pay?

          and for certain niches one that will benefit the customer.

          Me personally I’d pay nothing.

          I use Open Office.

          The firm I work for would do it just after the company cat skated through hell.

          A decison to go down this route is no different to outsourcing your infrastructure, in fact that’s what it is. Backing out of it is going to cost big style, once you are entirely dependant on the third party to run your business, that’s going to cost too.

          Never pay some one to hold on to your nuts, you are always going to want them back at some point.

        • #3218467

          Perhaps the Mobile Phone suggests a solution..

          by ashine ·

          In reply to How much are you prepared to pay?

          It pretty common to get a free handset when you take out a mobile phone contract with a monthly charge. Some of these handsets are worth 100’s of pounds (even more dollars!).

          These PU’s could have similar manufacturing costs to the phones so could be provided ‘free’ with your software subscription.

          Would the average Joe go out and buy a PC when they can get pretty much the same functionality at minimal cost?

        • #3215975

          Security and Availability

          by gsquared ·

          In reply to Insecurity of the internet is one of the reasons

          The problem with this idea is: What happens to your personal data if you can’t afford to pay the subscription costs to your storage host?

          Here’s a scenario: You pay $25/month for an online service, probably from Google, Yahoo or Windows Live, that allows you to store your spreadsheets, financial documents, e-mails, photos, etc., online.

          You lose your job, your credit cards all max out/cancel, and you can no longer afford your $25/month. Your subscription lapses. Six months later, you need to declare bankruptcy, but relevant information is stored online where you can no longer access it because your subscription has lapsed.

          Will you be able to sue the company you got the service from to turn the subscription back on? Will you be able to afford such a lawsuit?

          Remember, you don’t have an actual computer, and the data is probably stored in a semi/fully proprietary format, so you can’t just download it and open it locally.

          This, of course, isn’t any worse than having a hard drive crash and losing data that was never backed up, but backing up your data is something that anyone can choose to do, while the subscription service thing doesn’t give you such a choice in case of subscription lapse.

        • #3215937

          Good Point

          by w2ktechman ·

          In reply to Security and Availability

          I hadnt even thought of a subscription lapse.

        • #3218798


          by cs ·

          In reply to Good Point

          A good point that the vendors will have to deal with in their contract if they want the service to take off with the genral public.

          For example if the contract terminates you will have the the right to ….

          Essentially your counter argument was based on prior practices of organisations. Businesses will learn if they want to stay ahead.

        • #3218464

          Easy fix

          by nicknielsen ·

          In reply to Agree

          60, 90, or 120 days after account lapse, the vendor burns a CD/DVD and ships it via controlled service (registered mail with return receipt, freight carrier with designated delivery, etc.). The $16.00 (US) cost is added to the final bill.

        • #3218429

          Oops! I forgot

          by it observer ·

          In reply to Easy fix

          I don’t have a PC anymore to retrieve the data from that CD or DVD. Providing I can pay the final bill to gain ownership of the data.

        • #3218778

          I agree

          by b2b ·

          In reply to Security and Availability

          Besides the obvious problems (security). I tend to think this idea has a lot of merit. I for one am tired of paying ridiculous subscription/renewal/site fees on a monthly/yearly basis for software that according to the software licence isnt even MINE. Dont pay, no problem, then you get locked out from your own DATA. Putting the software online can make a lot of sense. OH, and if security is a worry, what makes it any different to NOW, where your PC gets viruses/trojans/malware/junk mail.

        • #3288839

          Insecurity on the internet

          by rebecca011 ·

          In reply to Insecurity of the internet is one of the reasons

          I wouldn’t like to store my personal working files on some remote server for security reasons. I would like to have all my materials close to me and wouldn’t want others having access to it.

        • #3287720

          3 years you say?

          by Anonymous ·

          In reply to Insecurity of the internet is one of the reasons

          I’ve never owned a “consumer” hard drive that has died through general use in a 3 year period, period. My staff and co-directors are also in the same bucket. Any HDD failures I’ve experienced have come down to manufacturing defects or location of the computer. You need to be specific by what you mean and remember, there are a great number of people out there, myself included who still have hard drives over 10 years old and going strong. So a three year average isn’t an acceptable figure.

        • #3274241

          Just had a phone call

          by cs ·

          In reply to 3 years you say?

          Literally last night I had a sad phone call from a colleague who doesn’t work in IT. His friend’s PC had just died with disk failure. Did he have any back up? No. Age of machine 4 years. That one is under investigation, though I suspect that they will need forensic type of disk reconstruction if they are not going to lose data. Last week I dealt with a corrupted disk where a college girl had lost all of her lecture notes, essays and research. Age of the disk 2 years. We used disk recovery software to rebuild her disk image on to a new disk. Age of the original disk 2 years old.

          An person who thinks that their data is safe on a single hard disk for many years is either foolish or very courageous.

          Consumer hard disks are designed to a specification for occasional use. If they are used in a server role of continuous access their potential risk of failure increases significantly. Enterprise quality disks cost about 3 times as much, but have a much longer life expectancy.

          As you say, so of the failures can be down to manufacturing defects or location. Other causes can also be temperature, dust build up, power problems, vibration, directory corruption following unscheduled power outages, Virus problems. The life of a disk can vary considerably depending on the method, materials and quality of manufacture. I’ve seen disk failures for pretty much all of the above reasons. Normally the cause is overheating because the people didn’t clean out their PC.

          Perhaps you are able to suggest the average life of a hard disk so that people can plan for outages? So far your only view is that it is longer than 3 years.

      • #3274834

        No internet?

        by p.j.hutchison ·

        In reply to Naw

        There are two problems with this approach?

        1. If you lose internet connection how can you use your new computer?
        2. If you don`t have broadband or cable and cannot get it, such a computer would be useless.
        3. Your data is at the mercy of your ISP or application provider. If they go bust, so does you data.

        No, thanks.

        • #3274753

          No Internet – most ISP’s shut down

          by cs ·

          In reply to No internet?

          You are absolutely right PJ, but I’m talking about the bulk of the general public. This is after all futurology.
          The Internet connectivity will be come much more reliable, purely because it is so important.
          A few people might not have Internet connection, but they will probably have no PC or a museum piece. Can you even today try to imaging running a PC without the Internet and trying to keep up to date whith the latest versions of software.

          When I’m talking about service providers I talking about large organisations like BT, IBM not the Mom & Pop ISP’s. Most of those small ISP’s will no longer exist as they cannot compete with the big guys.

          Most of the public hate the complexity of running a PC. When a service provider comes along and says that they will take away these complexities people will jump for it.

        • #3274652

          and where is

          by dawgit ·

          In reply to No Internet – most ISP’s shut down

          a ‘Mom & Pop’ IP? also, the last I heard IBM is not (not public anyway) an IP. They support IPs. I think I could agree with what you’re trying to say, (for the general, fickle, publicum, the internet is the ‘CB radio’ of the new Century) but your presentation is lacking.

        • #3274640

          Strange how

          by cs ·

          In reply to and where is

          It’s strange how IBM has chosen to get out of the business of making PC’s and now they excel in producing extremely powerful servers of the type used by service providers. There seem to be many protectors around of the new era Buggy Whip manufacturers, just as it was when the automobile started mass production. 🙂

        • #3274617

          They always did….

          by dawgit ·

          In reply to Strange how

          “and now they excel in producing extremely powerful servers of the type used by service providers.” They never stopped. It has been IBMs major business for well over 50 years now. Big, Powerfull, Main-Frames, Servers, and don’t forget some rather “Super” Super-Computers. That they got distracted for a while with PCs, just another chapter in the Companys history. I guess you’d be to young to remember those “Punch-Card” monster thingies. 😀 -d

        • #3275192

          Power legacy

          by cs ·

          In reply to They always did….

          Too young? Too Young?! I’ll have you know that I could sight read 80 column punched cards. The little matrix printers were forever failing and you would have cards with holes but no prints. I bet you were the operator who used to delight in dropping my 5000 card job pack and then return it to me for hand sorting.

          IBM have always made powerful boxes, it is just now that they are affordable. Thanks to Linux you don’t raped by IBM on the price of the Operating System.

        • #3274565

          IBM isn’t getting out of PC manufacturing because of technology –

          by wojnar ·

          In reply to Strange how

          They are moving toward consulting and service because it can’t be cost competitve when 3rd world countries pay their assembly line workers 35 cents an hour. Note where the hardware production was sold – it wasn’t US, Germany or any other industrialized free market country.

        • #3288838

          No internet??

          by rebecca011 ·

          In reply to No internet?

          I agree with you 100%. Your personal data is at the mercy of ISP’s etc.

      • #3215867

        What about online backups?

        by oz_media ·

        In reply to Naw

        What about the many LARGE cororations that use online backup systems? They simply use professional services that offer proper security, disaster prevention etc.

        I can name three of Canada’s largest national corporations that back up all data ONLINE every night. That’s not even including the dozens f other smaller companies.

        I think Internet and privacy paranoia is really a thing for the USA. These things do hit Canada, but any time I’ve seen paranoid emails abotu installing your own software, running certain software etc. They have ALWAYS been from either US companies or are US policies adopted by their Canadian offshoot companies. the language is funny because they use phrases such as “The Canada” whereas you KNEW it was “The USA” but when the find and replace was used to ‘Candianize”it, it screws up the grammar.

        Now we live in The Canada. The best part is that these same companies actually believe the contracts are legally vinding here, when many if not MOST of the corporate alowances and employee restrictions (non compete etc.) is completely inapplicable here.

        Dummy’s are adopting paperwork from another country and applying it in Canada. Oh well, their loss in the end.

        • #3215797

          On-line backups

          by cs ·

          In reply to What about online backups?

          I would have tought that any large coproation using this approach of central facility would also insist on dispersed data replication so that if one centre goes down one in a different location can take over. There are tried and tested techniques for that.
          On the contractual issues, that is just down to lazy lawyers and IT negotiators – I don’t see those contractual points and cross border (encrypted) storage as a problem.

        • #3218832

          Well you get half marks for that

          by oz_media ·

          In reply to On-line backups

          you did understand the first half, but not fully. As noted in my previous comments, the back up service does have redundant storage at several facilities. YOu can also recover a single file or an entire volume as needed, with ease. One little Word doc can be drawn from a massive back up in a few minutes.

          This is professional online storage. Just as many companies, if nto most, use BS ISP’s. ISP’s that do not offer routing through multiple networks, just their few leased lines. ISP’ sthat don’ toffer a MANAGED service, bandwidth fludctuates and is nto good for today’s technology, VoIP etc.

          But so many companies think they are on the right track because their IT guy liked a brochure and picked up someone’s services with little actual knowledge of the market, beyond their immediate MCSE junk.

          SO there ARE worthwhile, sedure and viable solutions that REAL companies use on a regular basis.

          As for teh closing comment that you completely missed: The contracts are not the issue, the ridiculous and overly paranoid policies within them are a laughing stock.
          These conrats and policies adopted by US cousins, are usually passed around teh office for laughs, most of it is overly paranoid and just never followed by anyone in the company, with exception to the US atff who are forced to abide by irrelevant policies in order to appease the company.

          Again, the difference is, if people HERE com[lain about teh policy, it is changed, ammended or removed before the staff are ever expected to change or leave.

          Differences in US and Canadian Business Chapter 3 section 34: US companies drive the employees and dictate their workday.
          Canadian companies are driven by the employees and the employees dictate the workday.

          Our labour laws are FAR more protective against such ridiculous employee sanctions than found in the USA where the company is protected instead of the employee.

          It’s something Americans can’t grasp until they work up here, you have been raised and employed all your lives with a different work mentality, we have a lot more freedom and teh company has a lot less ability to push employees. In the end, the companies here are trained to not pi$$ off employees, that results in an empty workplace, the work is so abundant up here that it doesn’t take much for people to walk out on you.

        • #3218796


          by cs ·

          In reply to Well you get half marks for that

          Thanks for that but I’m not getting drawn into CanUS employee relations. For US companies such service contracts may be bi-lingual eg American English/Spanish and south facing.

          The point is that the service providers for your PU will most likely be Global and not necessarily US principals. They might be Indian, Chinese whatever. In those cases local geographic operational rules will not be such a barrier.

          BTW I’ve worked for US management before so I know the joys.

        • #3218558

          Depends on the borders

          by dawgit ·

          In reply to On-line backups

          Cross the wrong borders with encription, Ouch.!. Big time penalties.

      • #3274410

        Business Might

        by dgr814vr ·

        In reply to Naw

        Businesses may start using the principle of centrlised web application, but i doubt if they would allow users to use programs of the net,I think they may actually use Web 2 (and web 3 and 4 as it goes on) on a localised LAN, It seems to be a throwback to the day of the Network Computer.

      • #3274361

        What about 30 bazillion Geeks?

        by linuxiac ·

        In reply to Naw

        All the 30 Bazillion Geeks will have to keep going, or migrate to a different hobby!
        Robotics ain’t there, yet, and Quarter scale tank battles aren’t either!

        What about my 80 system LAN that is my hobby, test lab, video/music library, gamer haven, hide-out, bragging points?

        Some of us won’t give it up until you pry our cold dead fingers off the keys!

      • #3288830

        I agree with CG IT

        by blckspder ·

        In reply to Naw

        I agree with CG IT. I work for a small corporation and there is no way the managers would allow our information to be stored on the internet.
        As for myself I would be up for storing some things online, but when it comes to some of my personal documents. Knowing that they are on my server and being backed up when and how I want them backed up and accessed is peace of mind for me.

        • #3287919

          Hand on Heart

          by cs ·

          In reply to I agree with CG IT

          Go on – hand on heart – how often do you back up that server of yours?

          When you take a backup do you check that the backup was actually successful?

        • #3287907


          by blckspder ·

          In reply to Hand on Heart

          I do a full back up at the end of every week and incremental back ups through out the week. I only verify that the back ups happened when I get an error message.

        • #3287851

          Well done

          by cs ·

          In reply to regularly

          You fall within my definition of an IT Saint, but sadly you are part of a tiny minority.

        • #3287843

          Well Thank You

          by blckspder ·

          In reply to Well done

          Well thanks I appreciate it.

        • #3287838

          Not as good

          by locolobo ·

          In reply to Hand on Heart

          as blkspider. We back up critical data daily or weekly depending. Not so critical data not so often. Yep, we have had to rebuild servers a couple of times. But have never had trouble restoring the data. (Not much)
          But I agree with blkspider, my mgrs won’t be storing data remotely for a long time. I won’t say never, but it is unlikely. A more likely possibility would be going back to the dumb terminal type scenario. Where the processing is centrally done on 2-3 processors or more for an entire site.
          As to the home PC sector. Maybe seeing people plugging their portable drive into the internet at the library and doing offline processing? Maybe. But I think Jack & Jill Public will still want to keep their data in their hands. At least until such an industry has established itself and can convince a critical number of people that their data is private and safe.
          Well, that’s just my 2 cents.

        • #3287788

          Central Processing

          by blckspder ·

          In reply to Not as good

          We once thought about doing central processing at work… Only because we were having a bad week with alot of trouble tickets lol… Although I don’t think that would have helped at all but it sounded good at the time.

    • #3276572


      by w2ktechman ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      In my opinion, yes, it may become more popular, especially with small companies or larger ones, BUT…
      Most of these companies will keep many people on desktop PC’s and applications for them. The reason is security. Many people in most companies can use this kind of system for different applications and be all right. But HR, Finance, Legal, special projects, and executives should not. Confidential information should not be sent outside of the company, or to an Internet server that can be hacked (other than a data storing company for backups).
      This is just like Citrix to many companies, except it goes over the Internet instead of to company servers. And I know of many companies that use Citrix for the majority, but regular desktop systems for many users as well.

      • #3276559

        Not to mention

        by dawgit ·

        In reply to Wrong……….

        Doing so will probably be against the Law.

        • #3276556

          I dont see it as being illegal

          by w2ktechman ·

          In reply to Not to mention

          Many companies may sign up for this kind of service, especially if it wil save money. But, they should and probably will still use desktop systems for more important information/departmental usage.

          As far as being illegal, I just don’t see it. Can you explain better?

        • #3215908

          Company / Customer Info….

          by dawgit ·

          In reply to I dont see it as being illegal

          It will destroy any trust a customer has in a company when customer info is in a third partys’ hands. The legal battles begin when it’s too difficult to tell just whose information it is. There are too many laws on the books world wide covering Data Protection, and particularly Personal Data. With internationalisation of many businesses this is already a problem. The transfer of the information is already forbiden. (It’s considered as Import/Export of sensitive / controled data)
          There are on going major discussions about this very subject in Europe (Particularly Germany) with MicroSoft weighing in on the side of Web-based business, and the rest of the Business world opposing. Looks like the courts will have to settle it.

        • #3215892


          by w2ktechman ·

          In reply to Company / Customer Info….

          And it more validates my opinion on the matter, that sensitive info should not be sent outside the company, except for backup storage

        • #3215800

          Data stays home

          by cs ·

          In reply to Company / Customer Info….

          There’s no particular reason with this concept why the data would have to cross boundaries. Encryption using client only keys will protect the data held in Third Party offices. This type of thing is already done across Europe.

        • #3218557


          by dawgit ·

          In reply to Data stays home

          Don’t try it accross the big pond.

        • #3225295

          If you encrypt it….

          by Anonymous ·

          In reply to Data stays home

          …they will break it. Remember, there are some very smart cookies out there who don’t work for the good of other people. Encryption keeps getting broken all the time. Hence why we develop stronger encryption.

          Security is to much of an unknown factor in what you have suggested.

      • #3216127

        Why keep the data within 4 walls?

        by cs ·

        In reply to Wrong……….

        Data can be kept off site in perfect security by the use of strong encryption. Specialist data storage companies will make a far better job of it than an internal IT Department. There would be better Disaster Recovery facilities and replication. This already happens. The specialst storage company will be far better placed to invest in appropriate storage equipment.

        With browser based “office” applications hosted off site there will be a substantial reduction in the number of support staff required to fix user induced problems. Also the company personnel will no longer have to be tied to a particular desk or even office building.

        However let’s come back to the Home PC. When did any one reading this note last take a full backup of the hard disk on their home PC? A centralised service for data storage is a much lower risk than a hard disk with an average life of about 3 years.

        How many people have purchased application software that they rarely use? Wouldn’t they be happier to pay a few dollars a few times for a service fee rather than spend $100’s for a package?

        Word processing & spreadsheet on Google costs $0 per month. How much does a full MS Office set up cost on average per year?

        • #3216098

          I agree to a point

          by w2ktechman ·

          In reply to Why keep the data within 4 walls?

          As far as data storage, I exempted that from my argument about having another company handle your data. This is recommended.
          As for the other argument, yes, to a point
          both Home and office users on the large scale, may make this move, and the company could save a lot of money because of it. But, it will not be a complete move for most companies, as for many employees it would be beneficial to keep a local desktop system or a citrix system tied to company servers.
          Just to note, I have worked at several companies (short term contracts) that had citrix for the mass of the systems, and desktops/notebooks for the others. The majority of the ones that were on desktops were managers, attorneys, HR, and Finance (and execs).

        • #3218475

          many trips to the cash register, and suspicious of Business

          by snowhawk ·

          In reply to Why keep the data within 4 walls?

          I’ve got two points that come to mind on this one. I don’t think that people will be happier forking out a service fee many times over paying for the software once. It’s a constant reminder that they are paying for it. Paying once and forgetting it as is the case with this example, will be favored over taking your wallet out and paying each time you use it, or monthly, unless the savings are VERY obvious. In some cases, most notably Open Office, many people simply ignore the obvious savings and actually use the one that costs more, justifying it by saying that they use it at work, that they know how to use that one, or that it came “free” with their new PC.

          The other point, is that I cannot trust a business. I have a nagging suspicion that what is offered free today will not be free tomorrow. So when Google offers Word processing & spreadsheet services for $0 today, I fear that when I use them and perhaps become somewhat dependent on those services, I may suddenly find myself required to pay, or worse, they drop the service entirely. Regardless of the actual level of this risk, it is easy to think of and will come easily to the mind of potential customers. This is a control that I have a hard time handing over to someone or something that does not have my best interest in mind, i.e. someone that is not me.

      • #3274580

        Don’t see serious users giving up choice

        by wojnar ·

        In reply to Wrong……….

        I see the only segment possibly using the technology as the home user who is not interested in security, variety or serious availability. Availability of service is the main issue. Do I in PA want to take the chance of my million dollar presentation being interupted when there is an interuption in the power grid of the California based company housing my data or in a boardroom’s wireless dead zone ? Radio frequencies are filling up at a record pace – am I going to be able to use my device when I can’t plug in to a connection ?

        Right now, with my apps and data on a notebook, I am independant from any outside restrictions: no power – battery, no network connection – data is on my device, software – paid for and running (even if I don’t pay maint, the old version I ‘own’ still works fine). The bottom line is I will not give up control, availability and security to a company who can instantly hold my data and apps for ransom, distribute it as they please or are unable to guarentee availability because of the operational environment (theirs or mine).

        Finally, what is being discussed is a dumb terminal gone high tech with unwired connections. How many 3270’s are still installed ? If I prefer Word Perfect to MS Word, how do I find a provider that allows me to use both – what about legacy applications like PFS Write (yes, I actually still have a document or 2 written in PFS Write). I just can’t see an American customer allowing their choice to be taken away and being forced to rely on some big company who will dictate what software to use.

      • #3274289


        by houston_og ·

        In reply to Wrong……….

        If it is true, then you could set up the same system in the coporations internal network. Which would mean it is possible.

    • #3215978

      Games and Entertainment

      by gsquared ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      I somehow doubt that. Business desktop machines will almost certainly go away – there are cheaper alternatives already to having a desktop machine at every desk. ( has products for that kind of thing.)

      But at home, computers are more often used for entertainment than for word processing.

      For those who surf the web, use e-mail, and IM, and who don’t do anything else, yeah, a thin-client machine with a broadband connection would probably do.

      For those who play games like World of Warcraft, where significant local processor power and video card power, lots of local RAM, and relatively large local storage mechanism, are necessary, no, a dumb terminal solution won’t do.

      Of course, I do have to admit, the idea of going backwards to ’70s style computing does have its appeal. Mainframes may be replaced with blade servers, and the brainless/dumb terminals may have something better than a green-on-black CRT monitor for IO, but the basic concept is the same.

      There are, however, two other factors that must be taken into account, beyond technical necessities: Those who can’t afford a full-on desktop computer would definitely benefit from a dumb terminal; those who can afford a home pc will usually go with the “best” machine, meaning the most powerful they can afford, even if they don’t need it. How many people “need” the performance of a Porche 911 Turbo vs how many people would buy one if they could afford it?

      I still think games and entertainment, many of which will still require a powerful desktop machine, or benefit from one if they don’t actually need it, will continue to drive home pcs to more power, not less.

      • #3215946


        by cs ·

        In reply to Games and Entertainment

        Hmmm, I thought “what about Games?” when I wrote the original piece. I guess there will be some dinosaurs with large multipurpose boxes with the power needed to keep up with modern Games consoles. More likely is that the games consoles will give access to web browsers with a Bluetooth Keyboard.
        As I type this response my son is upstairs play World of Warcraft, but his biggest draw on resources seems to be network capacity, but the 40 MBit/s I’ve projected should be enough for the normal game.

        • #3215873

          Game console era ending

          by scifiman ·

          In reply to Games

          with the cost of them rising hundreds of dollars more with each generation. Who will spend $600 for a one-trick-pony game console, when for that much Joe Consumer can get a quite powerful PC that he can also use for games, burning home movies, home office accounting, family photos & printing, writing a novel or screenplay, and organizing his 8,000 song collection.

          I see the point of your original post, but your time frame is way off. 40MB to the home in 5 yrs? Not in the USA. Google-Office type applications will certainly have their place, but extremely few business will use it. I’m also an author, and I’m keeping my work in progress right on my own hard drive, thanks. Will any medical office do it? No. How about any company that has any legal or regulatory compliance aspects? No. A new tech startup with “the Next Big Thing” trade secret? No. Entertainment industry? No. Oops, cable cut- now your company has no services for 3 days. Sorry, except for a couple hundred thousand people that do nothing but surf web sites and write an email to grandma, I can’t see this happening for several decades. Not until non-technical Joe Consumer feels that this has evolved to the point of being a toaster. I can see your point about reliablity but we don’t yet have the uptime and security any business depends on.

        • #3215792


          by cs ·

          In reply to Game console era ending

          in the UK a 20 MB/s network technology is already on sale, that can run at 40 MB/s but there are some operation issues preventing the full speed at the moment.

          Medical records storage is already done remotely. My wife runs a Walk-In clinic that works on a paperless basis. The medical records system uses Citrix at the clinic end to talk to application servers at the other end of the country. The back up site is 150 miles from the primary site.

          Cable cut dropping your network? In my home office I already have DSL from two different suppliers (& Exchanges) into a dual port firewall. These type of things are not too difficult to resolve. As Telephone companies move to IP backbone & delivery the service will become much more resilient and reliable.

        • #3218494


          by gsquared ·

          In reply to Game console era ending

          Yeah, I hadn’t even thought of video as comparable to gaming, but it is just as resource hungry, if not more so.

          A 1/2-hour home video, using MPEG-4 compression, is c. 1 Gig of storage. With a $100 300-Gig HDD, you can store a LOT of video. With a 2-Gig $25/month online solution, you can’t store much at all. (Keep in mind, a 2-hour DVD is 4.7 Gig.)

          And that doesn’t even begin to compare to the resources needed to edit and master video. I’d also hate to see the buffer underrun problems start coming back if you try to burn a DVD across the Web, even with an extremely fast broadband connection. (Who remembers buffer underrun problems with CD burners in the 80s/90s? Would see them come back in this scenario.)

          You’ll still need a PC or something comparable to edit/master/store video that’s more than a few minutes long. This is a hobby that’s becoming more and more popular every time someone buys a video camera that has a USB connection and comes with an install disk for video editing software.

        • #3218247

          What is a home PC?

          by cs ·

          In reply to Video

          How many people percentage wise actually use their Home PC for video processing? Apart from an occasional use, I would imagine that the number is insignificant. For the U-tube type of webcam video’s a lot of this held centrally and uploaded using a flash type of software plugin.

          Again I come back to the central question – how frequently would you back up your home machine?

        • #3217688


          by gsquared ·

          In reply to What is a home PC?

          How frequently do you back up your home system compared to how frequently do home systems crash compared to how frequently do you lose your internet connection would actually be the question.

          In 30 years of computer use, I’ve had one catastrophic hard drive failure (I upgrade for performance reasons more frequently than the MTBF). That one failure was no big deal, since I had the drive mirrored.

          In the last year, I’ve had several (albeit temporary) internet connection failures. Mostly due to local thunderstorms.

          So what I get from your reply is, if BestBuy were to offer a computer with RAID (including mirroring, of course), at a reasonable price, your whole prediction of the future of computing would be wrong. Is that what you’re saying? Your whole prediction assumes that non-volatile storage (HDD, flash, etc.) is going to drive everyone to using servers over the Net? That still doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

          As to the number of people doing video editing, no, I don’t expect that’s a huge percentage of computer users at this point in time. But your question ignores the whole first half of this discussion thread, which is about heavy-lifting applications, like most computer games, video editing, DVD mastering, etc. Add all of those together, and you actually do get a fairly large percentage of computer users. Not a majority, but certainly not a negligible number of people.

          Your vision of the future, where there are no PCs, assumes that ALL of those people (myself included) will no longer want to do any of those things.

          I’m saying I don’t see that hapening.

        • #3218172

          Mine is far more than a home PC

          by species8472 ·

          In reply to What is a home PC?

          I use my PC’s for making videos, gaming. Office apps? I rarely use them. I have nearly 750GB of data on my HD’s It’s called RAID. Your 40 MB/s is WAY to slow for transferring files online. Have you ever tried to transfer a 4.7 GB file over a CAT5e Lan. It takes 47 mins at full speed. Thank god for CAT6.
          My monitor is a 21″ CRT because LCD are still to slow for High speed gaming. I hate consoles because you can’t upgrade them.I still play PC games that came out with DOS 6.22 on my WinXP Pro box. Dos-box is a wonderful emulator.
          Nope I’m keeping my PC’s.

    • #3215948

      $25 a month to subscribe to a remote service…

      by now left tr ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      I can see this idea working for TV, Video, Music, Telephone Calls / IM / e-mail and Shopping – not much else.

      • #3215943

        Remote service

        by cs ·

        In reply to $25 a month to subscribe to a remote service…

        Try the Google word processing & spreadsheet and see if you change your mind? It’s free.

        The 80/20 rule comes into effect here. 80% of the people use 20% of the software capability. Most software on PC’s is bloatware.

        Do you seriously like patching evey month or so and then totally replacing every 3 years to suit the money raising whims of Microsoft?

        • #3215912

          Why then?

          by dawgit ·

          In reply to Remote service

          Your arguement seems to be based on (only on) MicroSoft. WHen you would consider that there are already other alternative programs out here, also costing 0.0$, just what is to gain? And why do the every 3 yr cycle anyway? I don’t see that as realistic either.

          edited to add:
          The ‘Service’ you mention is ‘Free’ now, but don’t expect it to stay that way. Those companys’ will need to recover the costs somehow when / if there’s a load that they need (as in a cost to the provider) to have funded. Also, who would want adds all over their documents? It’s not going to look very professional now is it?

        • #3215888

          This only proves that there should be

          by w2ktechman ·

          In reply to Remote service

          a generic version of the SW available at a lower cost.
          Like getting MS Office Basic ver.. Have most of the bells and whistles which will never be used stripped out and an option to upgrade for a fee.
          I personally do not like this idea of monthly OS and App payments and a connection to the Internet to view my stuff. And I would surely be more paranoid about my data if it was stored elsewhere as well.

        • #3218484

          Entertainment Rules the Market

          by gsquared ·

          In reply to Remote service

          Keep in mind, most people do not buy a home computer so they can use spreadsheets. Most people’s mathematic needs can be handled by the “free solar-power calculator you get for opening a checking account” kind of toy.

          As for word processing, again, only a need if you’ve got children in school. If that’s the only thing you need, then, yes, a dumb terminal with a browser built in and nothing else will work just fine.

          BUT, the electronics and computer industries have always had their major income in the personal market come from entertainment needs.

          Nobody would need a computer more powerful than an old 386-33 with DOS 3, 2 Meg of RAM and a 10 Meg HDD, if all they were doing was text editing, simple spreadsheets, and text e-mail.

          More powerful computers come into existence for one of two reasons:

          1) Companies like Lucasfilms need them for CGI; Boeing for CAD; hospitals for MRI; etc.

          2) Games/Video/entertainment. This is why more people have DVD players than have computers.

          Situation 1 will not be handled by dumb terminals connected via broadband to a server on the Web. These require HUGE amounts of local processing power, vast amounts of RAM, giant disk arrays of storage power, etc.

          Situation 2 also isn’t, in most cases, open to the “no local processing power” option.

          Yes, there is a theoretical market for such computers. But look at how many set-top-computers have been sold in the last 10 years. They work a lot like what you’ve described. Sales figures indicate there’s no market for them.

          And if all you’re trying to do is get away from MS, switch to Apple or Linux. You’ll still have to patch often, but at least it won’t be MS.

          (Despite myths to the contrary, you still have to patch if you’re using OS-X or Linux. The difference with Linux, in most cases, is you don’t have to reboot as part of it. Personally, rebooting my computer in the middle of the night while I’m asleep once per month or so isn’t that big a deal. If it matters to you, try Linux. Seriously. Then you can have a full-on computer, without any money to MS, with all the advantages of local CPU, RAM and storage.)

        • #3218240


          by cs ·

          In reply to Entertainment Rules the Market

          I wondered when that would pop up and it is just a wrong turn in the maze! In fact I run Linux boxes and yes they are very stable. The problem is that it suffers from the same type of problems as MS – OS on the home PC. When it goes wrong, often just through hardware failure, you tend to lose your data and unless you have a great deal of experience recovery is difficult.

          Then there is the limitation of desk top Apps on Linux in a world where most people use MS XP etc. There are equivalent software packages, but not the same or the scope.

          On a centralised service model your data is protected and you get common applications regardless of what is running the PU at the remote client end.

        • #3217646


          by gsquared ·

          In reply to Linux

          There are advantages and disadvantages to any scheme.

          On a centralized services model, you do get regular backups (assuming the company you rent storage space from runs and tests their backups – which is a reasonable assumption but far from a certainty), you also don’t have to configure your own computer, or pay for software (assuming the apps you need are part of your service package).

          Whether you are paying for that service by money or by eyeballing advertisements on the service/pages, you get what’s available on that service.

          That is both a pro and a con. You brought up that, in Linux, you don’t have the software options that you often have in Windows. That means you are assuming a centralized service provider will have all the options Windows has (possible, but doubtful when one looks at actual market behavior thus far). More likely, a centralized service will have a lightweight word processor, lightweight spreadsheet, e-mail, Web browsing, and that’s about it. I’m not sure anyone would have more. After all, they will almost certainly have development cost restraints regarding the kind of features Excel has for power users (how likely is an online spreadsheet to have something comparable to VBA automation?), and most of their users won’t need those advanced features. (Heck, for that matter, how many home users actually need a spreadsheet? Quite likely, a very simple accounting application would do in place of an actual spreadsheet app.)

          That doesn’t mean it would be all bad. It just means, you’d only have access to whatever your subscription provides, without the need or ability to customize like you can when you own your own computer.

          Personally, I like having options. With a PC, I have tons of options. I can start with Windows vs Linux, or set up dual-boot or virtual PCs and have both (which is what I’m currently doing). Then I can choose between MS Office or various other packages (OpenOffice for example). Within MS Office, I have choices about version and tools vs price – if I want cheap, I get a standard copy of Office 2000 for a very low price; if I want full features and price isn’t a problem, I get Office Pro (with Access, PowerPoint, built-in CRM for Outlook, etc.). If I’m really price conscious and not concerned about complete MS compatibility, I get OpenOffice (which is pretty MS compatible but still has a few problems on more complex documents) for free. Heck, I can even choose WordPefect if I like. From there, I can choose IE, Firefox, etc. I have options like Pagemaker, MS Money/Quicken, etc. I can instal games and video editing software if I so desire. I can get IDEs for a dozen different purposes if I want to build/improve apps for my own or even professional use. I can connect a sound system and a TV to my computer and use it as a stereo and a theater. I can set up virtual computers on it to try out different OSes, or to isolate processes from my main setup. I can take a computer offline if I want to, for security reasons.

          None of those options exist with a dumb terminal that is dependent on a high-speed connection to a centralized server for all it’s actual use. (Without a connection, a PC can still play local games [Neverwinter Nights, etc.], play MP3s through your stereo, play movies, process documents, crunch spreadsheets, compose [but not send] e-mail, create picture slideshows, balance your checkbook, and a million other things. Without a connection, your client box is a doorstop/paperweight/bookend.)

          It’s not that dumb terminals connected to a centralized server for all their processing, etc., are a useless idea. They obviously have appeal. You, for example, would love to buy one and no longer have to mess around with all the pain of owning a computer (patches, AV updates, backups, etc.). There are, I’m sure, millions of people like you.

          BUT, you are claiming that PCs will be gone within 5 years, completely replaced by dumb terminals. I’m saying there are a few million reasons that won’t happen. They might take the place of some PCs (almost certainly will), but I doubt they’ll completely replace them in all areas.

          Your original article claimed they would. I’m just saying they won’t go that far.

        • #3217599

          Well done

          by cs ·

          In reply to Problems/Solutions

          An excellent well considered response. I guess time will tell. I have little doubt that people who view these pages will want to retain PC’s, I still contend however that the bulk of the public will chose the easier route.


        • #3216935

          bloatware ? Only if you are a complete idiot

          by wojnar ·

          In reply to Remote service

          would you allow that to happen in a corporate atmosphere. I have a number of former clients who use win98 and office 2000. They have no need to upgrade OS or apps and learn new ways of doing the same things. If I can’t justify the ROI in terms of productivity maintenance or increases – I tell them what is out there and recommend what makes the most sense.

          No new releases mean no learning curve to inhibit productivity. I do not know of ANY users who download apps just because they are ‘new versions’. My experience has always been that users don’t want change unless they can see a return for changing. Maybe British business users install useless bloatware just to have the latest and greatest but in today’s American business environment, an experienced (and knowledgable) IT person doesn’t look to install apps which have no benefit or use to the company bottom line. (eg purchasing 64 bit processors and VISTA for a sales force that only uses their notebooks to run a CRM and send email. They don’t use a 10th the power of P4 – why buy 64 ?)

          I make sure my corp PC’s and notebooks are locked down and users can’t mess with Os’s or apps. The last thing I want is somebody downloading IE 7 and then calling me or my staff with the question ‘How do I what I used to do because I upgraded the app and the old way doesn’t work anymore’.

          CS – Have you ever been involved with actual users or do you just guess as to their needs/wants ? Seems you really don’t understand the difference between IT theory and practice.

        • #3219188

          Been there done that etc Teeshirt

          by cs ·

          In reply to bloatware ? Only if you are a complete idiot

          Hi Wojnar,
          Yup I’ve supported users on a local and international basis with true 24 x 7 operations – approx 2500 of them spread over 18 countries with an annual budget of approx $30M and been in IT since 1970. So I kinda understand the difference between theory and IT.

          I’ve dealt with USA based users and management before so I’ve come across a range of resourcing models/styles. Some of those implementations were tied down by the choices of technicians rather than flexing to suit the needs of the business. Others met the needs of the users in a proactive fashion.

    • #3215923

      Some consider it risky

      by onbliss ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      So if some consider it risky for business, would it be any different from home users?

      • #3218858

        That’s unfair

        by cs ·

        In reply to Some consider it risky

        If you are holding up Microsoft as a vendor of secure applications that’s an unfair comparison. 🙂 We all know that they don’t write software for business/public, they just release some of the stuff written for Microsoft and subject to the internal politics of that organisation.

        No, I’m thinking of real web based office applications providers, who provide proper encyptions and authentication.

    • #3218755

      Not 5 Years

      by emar1000 ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      I think use web based tools might increase. But to say home pc’s will be extinct in 5 years might be a little over the top. The ones who do personal transactions online like to know “they” have control and can unplug the machine anytime want to keep it that way. Others… well they are to scared to even see a web page with the words “Visa/Mastercard” on it, Much less start keeping personal documents online.
      You could tell a home user that doesnt know much that they better not lay their credit card close to the pc or the magnetic stripe could be read and they would beleive you.
      5 years? no way…but a small increase. 10 years?….Maybe.

    • #3218746


      by warezcrc ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      For those that “actually use” their computer, this isn’t an option.
      I would never trust anyone, unless forced with a gun pointing to my head, with any kind of private data whatsoever the way you think the “progress/evolution” is going.

      Please consider the posts everybody has made this far, and correct your article accordingly.

      Kindest Regards

      • #3218655

        It’s ok

        by cs ·

        In reply to Sorry

        These new fangled motor vehicles will never catch on and I’ll be happy with my soft sprung buggy which is far more convenient.

        As to correcting the article – no! The current method of independent PC’s each with partially updated operating systems is a nightmare to reliably maintain. Come join me in the nirvana of low cost fault free PU’s where the application are always up to date and you don’t have to lift a finger to maintain them.

        • #3218545

          No Such Thing as “Fault Free”

          by snowhawk ·

          In reply to It’s ok

          “low cost fault free PU’s”?

          You are relying on someone else to maintain them, they are not maintenance free. An update is a maintenance function. I’ve seen enough update failures on my digital cable box to not trust that a centralized update is free from annoyances.

          I’ve also been annoyed at the latest features or changes presented in updated programs. IE7 anyone? Let’s just tweak the interface a little and change the way people use it just a little bit. Earth shattering? No. Annoying yes, especially when the change impacts something that I use frequently. I prefer being able to control such things as do most people.

        • #3219019

          PC’s more faulty

          by cs ·

          In reply to No Such Thing as “Fault Free”

          PU’s will be dramatically less faulty than PC’s. On this PC from which I type there are 843,247 files supporting the applications that I use/have used. Corruption of any of those files could cause operational failure of some kind. There is a similar situation with the other 6 PC’s/Laptops round the house. Such corruption could be caused by power surges/outages, memory/processor overheating, software bugs, virus infection or even dumb user error.

          The PU will reduce the number of files held locally and also place the important program files in a professionally maintained environment with N+N power protection etc.

    • #3218729

      When we all use mass transit…..

      by muad dib ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      While the concept may prove successful in certain sectors (business) and for certain tyoes of users (generic email, web surfing/shopping), a large portion of the market/people will still demand the control/personal prferences that their own PC provides them.

      The analogy would be mass transit. While it works for many, others would not use it if the bus stopped directly in front of their house on their personalized schedule.

      • #3218646

        Whilst we are on the topic of mass transit

        by cs ·

        In reply to When we all use mass transit…..

        I guess in the future there will still be a few people who can afford and obtain the fuel for their individual cars instead of using mass transit.

        How much will it cost to run a PC that consumes 150 Watts of power and takes so long to start that it is left running all of the time. Electricty will probably be $1 per KW/Hour Unit by then.

      • #3218522

        But we don’t…

        by dawgit ·

        In reply to When we all use mass transit…..

        Make a deposit to the mass transit train. I sure won’t do my personal business on either, and neither will any other business.

      • #3217576

        You Dont Understand Peoples Neuroses

        by henergy ·

        In reply to When we all use mass transit…..

        People are always afraid of Big Brother, especially with NSA looking at all of us. Trusting THEM with MY STUFF? You gotta be kidding me.

    • #3218716

      You’re only half right

      by dr_zinj ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      First of all, the prediction that, “The home PC will be extinct within 5 years” has been made so many times over the past decade that I’ve simply lost count.

      Secondly, that prediction is almost always made by someone with a very narrow viewpoint of who uses computers in a home setting; and usually reflects an urban yuppie with, at most, a BA in Business and some computer knowledge. Yeah, even Bill Gate made that ‘prediction’ on occassion. He’s made a lot of predictions that never held true either. And that particular one was more his business desire than a prediction – attempting to drive people in that direction for his own benefit.

      Now I work in a combination of rural and suburban areas. Let me tell you, not everyone has fiber optic feed to their home. Hell, most businesses are lucky to have a cable connection. Power and phone lines go out frequently enough that you cannot rely on a constant, out of house service. And it’s not cost effective (at this time or in the forseeable future) to upgrade power and connectivity infrastructure in those areas to correct the problem.

      And before you think I’m talking about the middle of the nowhere, I’m 45 minutes from Boston.

      Finally, people who stick all their eggs in a remote service basket are asking for trouble. It makes it easy for the the FBI, CIA, et all to prowl through storage that they don’t need individual housing warrants to get to. You rely on someone else to backup your data, especially since you have nothing local to store to, if it gets lost it’s totally unrecoverable. And I won’t even go into the disaster prepareness ramifications of remote service offerings.

      By the way, that 40MB internet link will be so congested that folks will be lucky if they experience 1MB throughput.

      Your description of the PU sounds more like the PC of the near future – just add a 1TB storage unit to it. A firmware OS has been a suggested cure for the ills of the internet for years. Microsoft doesn’t want it because it doesn’t support a steady income for them. Microsoft does want a fee for service model where they supply the remote network OS you describe. And they’ll be able to stiff you for service model fee increases to replace the upgrades they do now.

      • #3218658

        The phone is ringing….

        by cs ·

        In reply to You’re only half right

        No doubt you have a phone in your home, even in darkest Dakota. When you want to speak to someone you pick up the handset and dial. You expect it to work – always. That is how reliable serviced PU’s will become. Always available.

        As to Mr Gates he’s a young whippersnapper when it comes to comparing my length of experience in IT. Lol. Do you think he’d honestly progress a new type of home computing that will wipe out his type of business model? Vista anyone, oops need to upgrade the PC again?

        • #3217099

          Yeah, I got a phone

          by dr_zinj ·

          In reply to The phone is ringing….

          Guess what? Power goes out, phone usually is out too. Ditto the cable. All carried by wires exposed to the elements, human-caused accidents, and deliberate malicious action.

          Now we can try going wireless, but that opens a can of worms in that there needs to be sufficient, redundant coverage to prevent loss of connectivity due to natural disasters (winds, lightning, quakes, sunspots, etc) , human-caused accidents (power outages, energy crises, stupidity, etc), and deliberate malicious action (teenagers, disgruntled people, terrorists, etc). Ain’t there yet. There are so many dead zones in NH for cell phone coverage that it’s not reasonable to expect wireless internet anytime soon.

          Wired services could increase their reliability rates by being buried; but there is a whole slew of problems with that too. As long as it’s cheaper to put up poles and run wire exposed to damage vs in the ground, we’re still going to experience outages.

        • #3219187

          lights out

          by cs ·

          In reply to Yeah, I got a phone

          When the power goes out – so does your home PC, unless you have a UPS and a connected selfstart diesel genset.

        • #3288026

          *SHAKES HEAD*

          by dr_zinj ·

          In reply to lights out

          The UPS on the PCs is only there to give time for an orderly shutdown.

          The generator is not an autostart. You have to go out and give the rope a pull to start it. It provides enough electricity to run the pump (300 head on the well), run the pumps, igniter and thermostat for the heater, and enough left over for the fridge and freezer. Can run the PC on it but as things come on and off the voltage varies and it’s a bit rough on the PC – I don’t particularly feel like cutting the life expectancy in half.

          CS@, your bio tells me your experience is urban and metropolitan biased, to the point that I don’t think you can objectively or accurately make predictions for suburban and rural users. That’s not a problem in the field you’re working in as they don’t normally put trading centers or big data centers in the middle of a Kansas cornfield. You’ve been in other countries, but I don’t think you quite get it at the grassroots level. I’ve lived in, and done local PC support, for the past 30 years all over the US, in Korea, Okinawa, Belgium, the Middle East, and even in East Anglia in the UK; and I’m telling you straight, none of those places are ready for remotely delivered basic OS and applications now or in the next five years UNLESS they are situated in a major city that is NOT subjected to frequent weather, geological, or man-made disasters.

        • #3287929


          by cs ·

          In reply to *SHAKES HEAD*

          As it happens I was bought up in the countryside and one of my jobs as a lad was to prime the water pump in the mornings. We didn’t have town gas for cooking and had to go and have butane cylinders delivered. In the nearby village the store still pumped petrol (gas) by hand. If you wanted to go to town, you walked to the village and caught a bus (one a week). My first paid job was on one of the local farms picking rocks by hand into a bucket. I know all about country life.

          However the most reliable service was in fact the telephone, even though it was a party line where you had to share it with other households. So home computing facilities based on a centralised service delivered by modern telecoms is perfectly feasible. The central argument is that most people, who do not understand PC’s, will happily hand that task over to a central service company in return for a low monthly fee. To facilitate that they will be supplied with a low cost, plug in and forget appliance Personal Unit.

          Once again, as I’ve said to other correspondents here, please don’t make assumptions about my personal background. It is far more effective debating to focus on the issue.

        • #3217642


          by gsquared ·

          In reply to The phone is ringing….

          Do you have any idea how long it has taken to get ubiquitous phone service in the contigous 48 states? Do you have any idea of the costs and vast numbers of man-centuries involved? Do you realize there are still towns in the US (contiguous 48) that don’t have regular phone service? Do you realize that, even with phone lines, many areas don’t even have current versions of DSL?

          Are you suggesting that a parallel network of ultrabroadband connections will exist in even all the major cities (over 1-million population) within the next 5 years, much less the entire nation? Or are you suggesting that existing copper phone lines will somehow carry reliable 40 MBPS connections within 5 years?

          (Let’s ignore, for the moment, the fact that your article claims PCs will be dead in 5 years, and that even if the whole of the US, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan and India all had 40 MBPS broadband by the end of 2007, there would still be broad markets for PCs in areas not included in that list.)

          Even if such connections magically appear without the vast investments of capital, manpower and industrial power needed for such a massive endeavor, even if the software and hardware is perfected so the clients and servers are failure-free, even if all the apps anyone could ever possibly want on such a system are written and freely available, do you really think everyone who currently has a PC will dump it in favor of such a solution and never look back with a moment of regret?

        • #3217627

          but GS, you are looking at REALITY…

          by wojnar ·

          In reply to Infrastructure

          Obviously, CS doesn’t care about that. He doesn’t realize that the public who are supposedly going to go with his scheme include those of us who are explaining reality to him.

        • #3217596

          The young economies will leapfrog

          by cs ·

          In reply to Infrastructure

          You only have to visit countries like South Africa/India to realise how determined they are to progress. They won’t go through the trials of the old phone systems. They will leap frog over the previous barriers and find new technology solutions as they learn from the hard lessons of the old economies. There is already the concept of the $100 portable computer in such countries.

          On one point of detail the 40 MB/s technology is designed to run over old copper technology, it has been released in the UK, though for some practical issues is currently limited to 20MBs. The High Speed links 50MB are in place and in use in some of the Tiger Asian countries.

    • #3218662

      Problems: cost, prior experience, network access, and other technology

      by depinka1 ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      Cost: SO/HO users are not complete idiots. They do cost-benefit analysis just like big business does. The subscription price for your service is $300/year. $300 is roughly the one-time purchase price for an office suite that most users use for 3-5 years or more. (How may Office 97 users do we still see out there? Office 2003 is 4 years old and it’s still in wide use.) That’s a $600-1200 premium over just buying it yourself.

      Prior experience: The application appliance model has been tried. Remember the X-Box internet service? Use your gaming console to surf the net for a modest fee. Some people did it; most said no thanks.

      Network access: So your central service provider gives you everything, huh? Great – so long as you can get connected. What if I’m a road warrior wanting to work on the plane? Or at my local coffeehouse hot-spot? Suppose I have a “back hoe incident” at my house and lose connectivity. Does my use stop? This model works pretty well in closed corporate networks with static (read non-portable) hardware. And there are advantages to doing this in the controlled world of the corporate environment. But the corporate environment is not the same as the wide-open home environment.

      Other technology: Instant on? My Windows Mobile PDA gives me instant on. The late Apple educatinal clamshell computer based on the old Newton technology gave instant on. Why do I need a different box?

      • #3218652


        by cs ·

        In reply to Problems: cost, prior experience, network access, and other technology

        Ah a lucky chap who doesn’t have to factor in the cost of buying hardware or doesn’t have to buy seperate applications for his laptop as well as the desktop machine. My price (not cost) was for the total environment including storage, network connection, phones and software. Instead of paying $700 for a PC, that has to be renewed everytime Bill Gates rattles his collecting dish, pay $100 for a PU.

        • #3217423

          Spare me the smart remarks….

          by depinka1 ·

          In reply to Congratulations

          First, anyone who is worrying about this already has a PC. May be they do things differently where you are but here in the US we don’t buy new PCs every time we get a new application. We load the application on our existing hardware, which on average is amortized over a five year period.

          (By the way, shat happens when you need to upgrade your PU? It’s a self contained unit with little or no upgrade capability that has to be replaced everytime your benevolent service provider changes something.)

          Second, read the licensing agreements: even the evil Mr. Gates lets you install your suite license on both a desktop and laptop so I don’t have to buy “separate applications” for them.

          Third, actually read what I said: The cost of the application is $300 ONE TIME, not annually. The useful life for software suites is 3-5 years before most organizations upgrade. If we use 4 years as a time frame we see this as the costs:
          PU subscription: $300/year X 4 years = $1200 four-year cost.
          PC solution: $300 one time plus $700 one time for a new PC. (As I say, I don’t know why I am buying new one just just because I bought a new application but I’ll play along.) Even with the cost of new hardware = $1000 four-year cost. (Remember, I don’t need to factor in the cost of network connections, phones, or storage fees.)

          By the way, suppose I want to do this with two users and two PU’s. (You’re the one who brought up desktop and laptop usage.) I have to get a second PU for another $300/month; $1200/four years.

          Look, cs, I’m not saying that the PU is a totally bad idea. I’m trying to explore your idea by getting you to actually respond to the issues I raise.

    • #3218625


      by jkmasters ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      and it will be available 24/7, with no downtime.. Sounds more like a dream than reality.

      • #3218221

        24/7 – no prob

        by cs ·

        In reply to Uptime

        Running 24/7 systems is entirely possible. It just needs pre-planning, appropriate investment and good procedures. I’ve built and operated such infrastructures in Financial Markets with real penalties for an outages. You have used and experienced such systems – they are called telephones. What I am putting forward as a proposition would have similar reliability.

        • #3274566

          So you have never had problems making a phone call ?

          by wojnar ·

          In reply to 24/7 – no prob

          What happens when a car hits a telephone poll or an underground transformer blows and takes out the phone connections for a square mile ? Does it happen often – no. But do you want that possibility when in contract negotiations in the 11th hour ? I don’t.

          Each provider would have to have redundancy for every network and business application it supports.

          The telephone has redundancy in the form of cell phones and satelite communications. Five years to build that redundancy for the organizations you propose – don’t see it happening. In order to minimize costs of that redundancy you are going to have to implement standards. Usually that means governmental involvement – international governments. Five years ? Not going to happen.

          How many of those infrastructures you built or operated involve non-dedicated transmission paths which allow other – unrelated and unsecured – data to be transmitted on the same wires ? My experience in banking is that very few financial instutions allow any other traffic on their paths and all have internal and external pathway redundancy.

          Finally, you will have to get the Microsofts of the world to give away their software. Can you convince Bill that he is going to make more money selling you a 500 person license used by 2000 customers than he would by selling 2000 individual licenses ? I don’t think so.

          This approach may work in socialist countries where people settle for what they are allowed to get. American business markets would not allow the restrictive environments that you describe.

    • #3218560

      Yet another story about the demise of the PC

      by snowhawk ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      Take a look at tech from the past that was going to be replaced by the next best thing. Radio was not replaced by TV. Movies were not replaced by the VCR (or other video recording/playback devices). Cars were not replaced by mass transit. The list goes on and on. Usually a new technology will find its niche, and succeed or fail based on how well it does. The home PC has found a great niche, many in fact, and is entrenched. The thin client model, pitched at us for more than a decade, hasn’t found any foothold yet. The home PC does too many things well, or well enough, for people to abandon it. In fact, it seems to be doing them better every day. So well in fact, that the constant problems they create are tolerated. Something major will have to change to push the PC out of the home, and thin client has yet to produce a glimmer of such a major change. Individuals have a great desire to have their own stuff, and the thin client model is the mass transit of computing, the very antithesis of individual ownership. It’s a very hard sell.

      Business is a different story. They watch their bottom much more closely, and if they can save money, they will fix the problems that thin client presents to business and use it. That is where you will see the change that might topple the PC, but it is a long way off yet, especially with the current state of software development. Nor will it replace the home PC.

    • #3218428

      Extinct is a strong word.

      by bcastleman ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      My company delivers its product through a Citrix server farm so I have some experience in the matter.

      I can definatively say you are wrong.

      I ‘play’ at home with things like Apophysis (a fractal generator) and GIMP (open source image editor). Either one of these can peg my CPU at 100% and run best with lots of RAM. No shared environment is going to allow my account to slam the servers like this because of the impact on the other users.

      The model you are suggesting assumes that the usage patterns of a home user can be constrained enough to take advantage of economies of scale. But this is anti-thetical to home use. I don’t want to be constrained. Home users want their freedom. They don’t want disk quotas and bandwidth limits. They don’t want to have to call up the help desk every time something new comes up the pipe that they want to try. If I am in a shared environment I will NOT be able to install anything I feel like whenever I want. I think that the lack of choice that this model offers will always keep it as a solution looking for a problem to solve.

      Instead of trying to do away with the PC, the hosted application providers should look at what they do well and serve up these things so that people can access them from home – from their PC’s.

      • #3218341

        Excuse me

        by neilclark ·

        In reply to Extinct is a strong word.

        but I thought the subject of this discussion was the possible demise of the HOME PC?

        • #3217406


          by bcastleman ·

          In reply to Excuse me

          I don’t understand your comment. My post was giving reasons why I think the demise of the PC is not likely. How is that not part of this discussion?

    • #3218323

      Financial data?

      by magicmoment ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      I will never trust a remote office type run of the mill company/vendor to handle my financial data no matter what they claim. I’ll only trust my financial data to reputed financial institution.

      I don’t think I can pay enough for a vendor to hold my video on their server (with the amount of data I have). At the current $/GB for storage, I can’t see how a remote service can do better than I can at home.

      • #3218249

        Data at home

        by cs ·

        In reply to Financial data?

        Do you create a full restorable back up of your data stored at home on a nightly basis? If not you are not comparing apples with apples.

    • #3217212


      by 2sandu ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      you are just plain wrong

      • #3274445

        Cast the bones

        by cs ·

        In reply to extinct

        I guess this informed detailed argument of yours is based on some shamanistic divination?

    • #3217209

      People use the PC for far more than Office apps

      by draciron9 ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      While the nature of the PC will change over the next decade. Wearable PCs becoming extremely important. What won’t is the fact that people will want private data. Control over thier own systems and choice. None of this exists in “service” based systems. In fact lots of them have been tried and people did not like it at all. The .net model is based on this philosphy and Microsoft had to rewrite it because of the outcry against the core concept of losing control of your own data.

      Other applications people use on a reguler basis will continue to enforce the need for strong local computing. Musicians, drafters, programmers, and a host of other proffessions/hobbies make even a 10,000 fold increase in bandwidth not enough. More so do you think I want uncopywrited songs out there sitting around for anybody to snatch? What about a well known recording artist. Do you think they would want thier work sitting out there, a movie studio?

      So much work is done on a PC today that what is availible to you and how you work can make a huge diffence in your productivity and in your life. Service based systems are one size fits all and force you to do things thier way. Thier way may be the last way you would EVER want to do it. So again I see a big reason why many people will use PCs rather than the many attempts to move people into special service based computer usage.

      Most of all it’d be the propriatory nature that service based computing would introduce which has quickly killed it. What if you wanted to change services? Few would allow you to do so. What if the company your service was with went under? Can you picture losing years of work, losing all of your family photos. All gone in an instant? That’s what all online means. It means all your eggs are in a single basket and you have no control over it. No final say over it. You don’t even know who can read, copy or browse through what you have. Nor is the bandwidth out there to support many common uses of computers.

      Last everybody does something they’d like private. It might be a gamer playing pirate games. Might be dirty pics that could cost you your job or even illegal activities. It might be an unpopular viewpoint, might be anything. The simple privacy and security issues that online services present would keep droves of people away from such services.

      • #3274443

        Bandwidth unlimited

        by cs ·

        In reply to People use the PC for far more than Office apps

        You put some strong arguments but u are assuming that technology will stand still. Reliable fast bandwidth to the home will cease to be a problem. The security issue will be overcome by having authenticated personal encryption of data. Having your data insecurely held at home on an inherently insecure box is at far greater risk of loss or intrusion.

        The disks on a home PC are built to the lowest cost, whereas the disks used in datacentres are far better constructed and are much more reliable. so if your family pictures/videos are solely held on home PC hard disk the odds are that you will lose them.

        • #3274421

          Unlimited bandwidth ?

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to Bandwidth unlimited

          That’s like unlimited memory, unlimited processor time unlimited disk space….
          Does n’t happen people just invent new tech to use the excess. MS bloatware, Aeroglass, Ajax.

          No such thing as unlimited, never has been, never will.

        • #3274414


          by cs ·

          In reply to Unlimited bandwidth ?

          You must try my 5 Terabyte Write Only Flash Memory Chip. Yes that is 5 Terabytes ie 5 x 1024 x 1 Gigabyte. It only uses 50 milliwatts in operation.

          You can have an early sample for $500.


        • #3218168

          Where can I get one

          by species8472 ·

          In reply to WOM

          I gotta have it. I don’t need it but I want it, I got the money. It’s far better than my 64GB thumb drive.

        • #3218166

          Thats what keeps PC’s from disappearing

          by species8472 ·

          In reply to WOM


        • #3218144

          Exactly a mere 5 terabytes

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to WOM

          I remember thinking 10M hard drive, you will never fill that up. !

        • #3218099

          WOM is ok until

          by cs ·

          In reply to Exactly a mere 5 terabytes

          deleted – see below

        • #3218096

          WOM is ok until

          by cs ·

          In reply to Exactly a mere 5 terabytes

          Of course Write only Memory is great until you try to retrieve the data.

        • #3218169

          Yes but

          by species8472 ·

          In reply to Bandwidth unlimited

          Nothing but the OC lines of the internet will match the speed and reliablity of Hard Drives. I know I am an elite user, but my HD are more than simple, cheap IDE disks. Run Serial SCSI with RAID and I have far more space and reliability than my internet connection. Not a hiccup for 5 years.

    • #3217202

      And when the service is down?

      by robert tomlin ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      Hasn’t this already been tried? And what happens when the service you subscribe to is offline?

      I think the world of the fat client and, hence, the PC is here for awhile.

      • #3274442

        No longer a wallflower

        by cs ·

        In reply to And when the service is down?

        In the early part of my career I never used to mention my profession when at a Party for fear of being classed as geeky. Nowadays at parties I am no longer a wallflower because as soon as people realise you know about PC’s they will descend on you describing the problems that they have with their PC. PC’s are unreliable, expensive to maintain and few owners understand enough to operate them reliably.

        Sadly one of the main counter arguments from people to the concept of the PU is that the professionally managed and well resourced service provider might be unreliable.

        People used to grow their own vegetables to feed the family as well.

        • #3274420

          Some of us still do :D

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to No longer a wallflower

          They are cheaper, it’s personally rewarding and they taste better !

          There’s nothing like sitting down to some fresh cooked crispy vegetables you grew yourself. Not GM, not covered in fungicide, fertilisers and herbicides, not flown over from some place else because they are ‘out of season’.

          The side benefits are as great as the side dishes, in fact I recommend you do it.

          Not being funny, but you have hit evangelist mode here, is there some outside interest you should be declaring?

        • #3274415


          by cs ·

          In reply to Some of us still do :D

          Evangelist -moi? Nah my faith in the future is rooted in sitting here surrounded by several noisy PC’s thinking that I should be running the backup more frequently. Obsolutely crazy. Of course there is a lot of fun in the angst created by telling the boys that their toys won’t be around much longer.

    • #3217200

      form factor

      by bigbigboss ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      I don’t see the internet as a threat to the home PC. As long as you have a brick, a monitor, a keyboard, or a laptop, you have a PC, no matter what you run on it, and how it runs you, no matter how small it is, and how much electricity you use, what the size of memory or disk, or even speed. You have the same machine as before, and you have the same problems.

      However, the wearable devices, along with a foldable/flexible monitor and keyboard (So that you can do some serious work like writing a novel, or preparing an audit report, or editing a movie), and voice recognition, you have changed the form factor. Now, you can sit in your easy chair, looking at a picture on the wall, fold out your keyboard, or wear a motion sensing glove, or use a pen on a piece of pressure sensitive paper, and work on your latest creation. Or you can be walking on the beach, and talking to yourself, writing your novel, while taking pictures for illustrations in your novel.

      Of course, all of these devices have wireless connections to your home base servers and disk arrays, and the internet, and the phone company.

      Now that is freeing us from our usual perch in front of the monitor.

      • #3274441


        by cs ·

        In reply to form factor

        Nothing will ever replace my 21 inch CRT monitor that I can read through my bifocal spectacles.

    • #3217187

      The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      by albertls ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      Wrong. At least in free breathing countries people will still continue to use PC’s under private control. The slave computer theory has been anticipated for the last 20 years. Who’s willing to give a central server the ability to spy on use of all applications?
      Microsoft would enjoy your theory all the way to the bank. No production, no distribution, no calls – nothing but sales.$$$

      • #3274440


        by cs ·

        In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

        In business it is common practice to lockdown the operating system and applications on desktop PC’s to reduce support costs. Why lockdown? Simple to stop the dumb users tinkering and introducing unreliability into the Desktop PC. It is the same with Joe Soap public who will clamour to have a central service that takes the problems away. They won’t give a damn if Uncle BillG can afford another yacht as a consequence.

    • #3217184

      This idea is completed bonkers

      by jfreedle2 ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      The idea of people wanting their personal stuff to be online is as hair brained as it comes. I agree that the world is becoming more networked, however people do not trust other people with their personal property. Also why in the world would you want to subscribe to a service when you can purchase software and as long as it does what you need, you never have to shell out money again! Then there is the open source stuff where you don’t have to pay for it.

      • #3274437

        When you are next at an ATM

        by cs ·

        In reply to This idea is completed bonkers

        People will never use a system where their cash money is held on some central computer by a business corporation. It is far easier to be paid your wages in cash and to hide the notes in a tin box under your bed. That way your cash records will never be lost.
        No way will I pay a business a monthly/annual fee to look after my cash, after all I only need to buy the tin box once, though I am considering upgrading to a steel safe next year.

        I have also been hearing about these new open standards money boxes so I might weld my own safe out of sheet metal so that my cash money can be held securely.

        No way will you catch me using a Bank.

    • #3217183

      Plugged in ….

      by tweakerxp ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      I’m just waiting on to be “plugged in” like in the movie MATRIX.

      THAT is where we would see some seroius TB download speed.

      Plug me in , Scotty!

      • #3274589

        Just a few simple thoughts…

        by danny.mitchell ·

        In reply to Plugged in ….

        All of the points mentioned have their merits and good ones at that but I have a few concerns…
        1. What happens when the telcos and cable providers do away with the “free internet” we have today and bring in their “tiered internet”
        2. and a couple of old tried and true cliches’
        A. Build a better mousetrap and….
        B. Anything big enough to give you anything you want is big enough to take away
        everything you have.
        3. and finally that “BIG BROTHER” thing really bothers me just another “BRAVE NEW WORLD”

        Please forgive my use of old cliches but they seemed appropriate.

        • #3274409


          by cs ·

          In reply to Just a few simple thoughts…

          When the public Internet was starting off, just after the Bulletin Board period I had home dial up Internet access with email. If I recollect correctly I’d just gone from a 2.4 KBs modem to a a 4.8KBs modem. I was paying ?10 ($15 USD) a month for that service. I was visited in my office by sales guys from British Telecom who offered me an equivalent service for ?150 ($225) a month. They didn’t understand why I laughed them out of the office. Now maybe 12-13 years later I have about 1500 times the bandwidth for a much lower real cost and it is uncapped and much more reliable. (The supplier is BT).

          The point is that this trend will continue. Expensive suppliers will find cost effective solutions.

          As to Big Brother – go write to your Senator/Member of Parliament and ask them for whom they are working?

    • #3274587

      Sounds like WEB/TV

      by pc__services ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      Microsoft bought WEB/TV for the purpose of getting into that end of the business. What you are proposing is much the same as what WEB/TV does now, with a few enhancements well it is very similar to you prediction. Why is it then everyone does not have WEB/TV.


    • #3274586

      Thin Clinet must have Diversity

      by davidemcmurray ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      My company would love nothing more than to get ride of our PCs and go to a thin client model for everything. Applications need to be written not for a Windows platform, but for the web server. If that transition was made, and users were allowed to install apps to there thin client enviroment. The model could work.

      I think for some people, a thin client solution would be fine. Email, Photos what ever. It is no different than Photography. Just like some people like the options or quality of a 35mm SLR camera instead of a point and shot digital camera becacuse it is easyer to use. People will choose thin client for the same reason. Ease of use. And I think the options win increase over time for the thin client model.

      $20 month for internet access
      Plus I have my PC purchase, software, care and feeding.

      $20 lease that includes internet access
      no money down (sign an agreement), I get email, internet, office apps, some games (not a heavy gamer) this would work for a certain segment of the population

      In ten years, you go to store to buy you HDTV, You will have a “box” that connects to the internet, your HDTV, phone line (because it always works and your network doesn’t). You compute through it, store shows “tevo,itunes”, and it will just work with no effort. Like an iPod. ;^)

      Remember Heathkit? They use to be an electronic hobby store that you could by kits and make robots and even TVs. My cousin made the TV. They are dead because of the PC. Hobbists went to the PC. I wonder where they will go next?

      • #3274411

        Thin Scots

        by cs ·

        In reply to Thin Clinet must have Diversity

        One of the scottish local authorities (I think it is Dundee) have successfully implemented thin clients for their offices. It seems to be very successful and cost effective. For most users they are offered Wyse based thin clients and a defined range of applications. There remain some special applications in a few cases where a full size PC is needed, but even with those the main office application are delivered to the user PC in a “thin client” mode.

        This is not only in their local authority offices, but also home workers, schools and libraries etc.

        They had to spend some money upgrading servers, but that was all within their original operational budgets and now it just saves them money.

    • #3274583

      Timesharing is the wave of the future!

      by proftheory ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      Does anybody else remember such claims being made in the 70’s? That is exactly what this is a timeshare setup. Some are still waiting for it to happen. Me? I don’t think it will ever happen. Does Captain Picard use one? Or Luke Skywalker?

      • #3217837

        Yes, they did.

        by bigbigboss ·

        In reply to Timesharing is the wave of the future!

        I don’t think the holideck ran on a hand held. There must be a machine sitting behind the door somewhere. So, Picard used one. He just used the audio UI, not the touchy feely kind.

        The Death Star certainly did not run on a hand held or a lap top, or even a PC ? No. There is a bunch of big honking machines somewhere in it.

        Since all the people in the Death Star are using those machinese, they are time sharing them.

        • #3217791


          by cs ·

          In reply to Yes, they did.

          I can tell you that when the Death Star “blue screen’s” it is absolute chaos for a while. That’s why Darth has opted for a Serviced Death Star connected by sub-space uni-net link.

    • #3274579


      by atuly ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      i’ll wait for the security to get a bit better. Lets wait till they come out with security with a basis of quantum computing before we make such an assumption.

    • #3274572

      Giving up personal PCs like giving up our cars

      by meanderradio ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      Although inroads have been made in the education of children and, now, seniors, I think that cajoling Americans to give up their private PCs in favor of “mass PC transit” would be as difficult as getting us to give up our cars in favor of public transportation. We are an independent bunch, even for all the conditioning toward a more unified society. There would have to be a VERY large carrot for these critters to follow. Another thing to consider is large- region blackouts.

      Independent or not, Americans tend to accept something, if it’s “shiny” enough. Back to the large carrot.

      Good article.

      • #3274439

        You seen the price of gas recently

        by cs ·

        In reply to Giving up personal PCs like giving up our cars

        Nah, you guys will be giving up your cars before long as well as the supply and carbon costs of gasoline seriously bite home. However that’s another topic.

        People will become much more dependent on the Internet as travel becomes more expensive. Having a reliable supported central service that doesn’t breakdown will be crucial. Most people buy the cheapest PC they can get, subject to any particular gadets the also “need” on the PC. That means that PC is thrown together from the lowest cost components. It is a recipe for unreliability.

        As to region blackouts – what does your home PC use to power itself?

    • #3274563

      The home PC will extinct …

      by g01d4 ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      when the paperless office evolves.

    • #3274560

      I heard this back in 1990’s

      by domiller0550 ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      The same was said back in the 1990’s when PDA’s started. The PC will go the way by the year 2000. I will give up my PC when I get my jetpack.

      • #3274433


        by cs ·

        In reply to I heard this back in 1990’s

        See my earlier reply on bifocals. The PDA has a crippled human interface that slowly cripples the people who use them.

        Personal Jet Packs will never take off because they burn the Roses in the front garden.

    • #3274555

      OWNERSHIP of Personal DATA

      by bgcop ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      I have cleaned over 100 spyware items/cookies from my PC in the last week with 3 Spyware utilities guarding my system. I run the cleaners several times a day as they are not automated but require human input. My hard drive looks pregnant from the buldging spywares.

      but now….. the answer is my personal information (LIFE) will be contained in an unimpentrable titanium vapor locked vault under the care of a $9.90 per hour part time day worker. HA HA HA. Why not just put it in the local news rag or stand on the street corner handing out sheets containing my personal life. You know I do have fiber…. a nice stash of $83 dollars under limit on the credit card I received in the mail last week.

      You can’t find a banking firm or credit card provider today that can give you 100% protection on personal information. So now I just daily hand it to a stranger. Now that sounds firm hu bull dog…

      If the utilities of this geeked up hour are failing to protect me now why do you suggest in 5 years all the cyber braineos will just throw up their hands and give up.

      Hello.. hello hello…Sorry to bother you but you was asleep again mumbbling stuff….

      Now.. Excuse me please… but I like my bonding with this box of expensive electrical hybred stuff approtitally named “PERSONAL COMPUTER”.

      Excuse me again… I am so very busy. I have to just scoot back to my business in Yahoo search for a new mouse trap to capture those pesky spywares.

      hummm Why don’t we just execute the cyber robbers. Naw that would be a total invasion of their rights. They would have to give up log time on My Space.., Oh my my what a mess………

      • #3274539

        I Don’t Think So

        by tucsonguy ·

        In reply to OWNERSHIP of Personal DATA

        I concur that this is NOT going to happen for myriad reasons.

        1. Bandwidth – I do a lot of video editing / making DVD’s. I use Media Center to record a lot of shows and VideoReDo to cut the commercials to watch later. I don’t think the PU provider is going to appreciate the amount of bandwidth that uses. Look at Netflix. They advertise as many DVD’s as you want for a month, but if you are a heavy user, they “slow you down” so you don’t get too many DVD’s in a month. A PU provider will do the same thing.

        2. I have about 1.5TB of storage on my system that is full of video data. Is a PU provider going to allow me that type of storage for $25 per month? Doubtful.

        3. There was a paper here I read a few days ago about an IT consultant who did a security check for a large bank using an online provider and he told of how in just a short amount of time he was able to compromise the remote system, access other banks’ accounts and would have been able to transfer hundreds of millions of dollars out of the institutions. This is a provider dealing with huge banks, do you think a PU provider for home users is going to have better security than that? Again, doubtful.

        4. Bank of America, Chase, etc. have had multiple occasions where hundreds of thousands of customer records were compromised and personal data stolen. Again, is a home user PU provider going to secure data better than these sorts of institutions?

        5. I am self-employed so I have a lot of customer information on my machine that I don’t want other people having access to. I know how I secure it but I don’t know how someone else will. Also, if I delete it, I want it gone, not somewhere on a backup server somewhere forever so it can be accessed later by some agency, either good or bad. I downloaded what was advertised as an innocuous image collection – not porn – and when I unzipped it, there were tons of pornographic images including some that were obviously kiddie porn. I immediately deleted all of them with a secure deletion program to make sure I wouldn’t get in trouble if that download was tracked somehow. An online provider wouldn’t give me that option and I would maintain liability for something that was completely unintentional.

        I could go on and on such as what if I don’t like the Word Processing application they provide. Are they going to let me download my own? I like OpenOffice and I don’t like KWord. I wouldn’t like to be forced to use the latter over the former.

        I don’t think this is going to happen except for very light users of the computer, and then they wouldn’t be spending $300.00 on an Office suite anyway. They would be buying a $299.00 system from Dell and using it just as they get it from the factory.

    • #3274526

      Perhaps I like my PC !!!!

      by chaz15 ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      1. Big bro is out there, privacy starts at home !!!

      2. Wouldn’t like people looking over my shoulder every five minutes or so !!!

      3. I as in ME can choose who accesses MY DATA !!!

      4. If the Internet is down, I can still be 100% productive !!!!

      5. On this basis, the home PC has a very very long run ahead. Also, as a home user I have absolutely no need to update software every three years, after all many small businesses use early versions of ‘Word’.

      GET REAL < unless governments force this on us. I could still see many underground PC's !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • #3274431


        by cs ·

        In reply to Perhaps I like my PC !!!!

        Quick delete your posting before the Gov’t security people see it. Clearly a PC activist.

        Yes there will be some people who don’t need the internet, but can you remember the days of getting software patches on floppy disks?

        When the hard disk dies on your PC you have no choice over who accesses your data.

    • #3274523

      Remember the “paperless office”

      by dukhalion ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      Has anyone seen it yet. Humans are “owners”, they want to know what they have and see it too, internetservices come and go, the computer on my desk stays.

      • #3274435

        Paperless Office

        by cs ·

        In reply to Remember the “paperless office”

        Yep I remember that concept. My wife is the head of a Walk-in medical centre. That is truely paperless except for external forms passed to dinosaur departments. You know what? They never lose records and they don’t employ people to carry bits of paper around and then misfile them.

    • #3274521

      40Mbps? Costs? Ownership? Excellent discussion points!

      by sevenex ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      Dr_Zinj is so spot-on to this and stole most of my thunder!

      AVAILABILITY of 40Mbps, even today, is generally limited to major metros here in America. I have 5Mbps and rarely throughput over 4Mbps as the pipes of the internet for home and small business use haven’t matured to that level. One of my clients still has a legacy static-ip DSL they don’t really need due to a router/firewall to keep out nasties, yet they don’t want to rock the boat. Another has 30 workstations in two hubs on their network. They gripe about performance, yet consistently refuses to subnet or replace the two with two 16-port smart switches.

      My point? Some businesses are simply not ready to spend the money necessary for such a service. They may pose concerns for the security of their data, until the issues are resolved to their satisfaction, such as VPN encryption whenever backup is invoked, and in particular for those lawyers reading the thread, who retains ownership of the data in event of bankruptcy (ANY parties of the transaction), transfer of estate, interruption due to Act(s) of God/force majeure, or severe circumstances that prove inconvenient to the service provider until resolved, and that a court order to maintain the data in lieu of resolution could prove costly to the provider unless delineated in the “fine print” that costs will be incurred to the user parties, with interest if not collected in a timely basis.

      • #3274434


        by cs ·

        In reply to 40Mbps? Costs? Ownership? Excellent discussion points!

        So what you are saying is that the suppliers/clients need to sort out their contracts.

        As to technology capability remember back 10 year’s when your 9.6 kbs modem seemed so fast?

    • #3274510

      Wanna’ bet?

      by scott.pletcher ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      Not a snowball’s chance. Aside from ruining game play, I wouldn’t trust anyone else to hold all my stuff, and neither would many other people.
      There are third-party people who would hold a wager for us for 5 years — wanna’ put your money where your mouth is 🙂 ?

    • #3274503

      Don’t think so, and this is why…

      by brian.kronberg ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      1. Hardware vendors do not want to lose the business.
      2. $25 is not enough for 40 Mbit and software. $25 may pay for your bandwidth but ISPs will serve the applications ala cart (per use or per month) on top of your ISP charge.
      3. 40 Mbit is not enough bandwidth for:
      – Video editing
      – 3D gaming
      – Impatient users
      4. Home users will not trust that the police can suppoena exactly what they do on their home computer.
      – Big brother could log your keystrokes without entering your home.
      – Users can be profiled on their surfing habits
      5. The computer will be very similar to enterprise “managed desktops” and therefore users will not be able to install custom browser toolbars, emoticons, non-supported web applications (i.e. Web Shots and Weather Bug).

      Now, there is a market for low end users to purchase a thin-client laptop with a built-in mobile wireless chip to be their computer. It will be limited to 2D graphics, Internet surfing, productivity applications, etc.

      In summary, the chance of this happing is very similar as everyone changing to public transportation. After users experience the freedom of having your own car you will not ride the bus if you can afford a car.

    • #3274490

      Never in 5 years.

      by c.cripps ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      I suppose $25 a month in five years time will be worth the equivalent to $12 today, so from that point it make sence. But the time frame of five years is way too short.
      I realise the electronic industry moves at a breathtaking speed, but we are talking about peoples lives and here.

      Having read a number of responces to your post, it seems to be a dead duck from the start. But don’t let that put you off from developing the concept. I am sure there is a nich in the market to take this type of service.

      What would make an impact would be to concentrate on the cost of running a PC. Something to rival the big boys like Microsoft and LINUX, and produce a complete software package for just a few $ or ?. Say $100 for the complete package with free updates for the first three years, followed by $10 per year after that. Now that is really living on cloud nine. Are you smiling yet?
      One other way of improving the dest top PC would be to improve the stability and function of it by making it run quiet and cooler. PC manufacturers take note. I know these things are available now, but I prefer to let the latest inovations run for a year or so and pick up the discounted improved bargains later.

      It appears that security and privacy are the main concerns to your concept, and obviously you must have some thoughts on that as well. But it does seem to be an interesting one none the less judging from the responce you have had.

      But I think desk top PC’s will be around for a long time to come, a bit like petrol cars have not been driven off the road by alternative fuel cars yet.

    • #3274467


      by bfkauffman ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      Just because a “concept” seems to make sense logistically(arguably)and it’s presumably cost-effective(who cares), human nature is, as they say, a horse of a different color. People want control and they want the toy. I know I do. The huge factor that is going to empower us to continue to do just that is the inevitable event of open source squashing Microsoft like the predatory fat slug that it is. For that moment I will readily applaud.

      • #3274432


        by cs ·

        In reply to Preposterous…

        Sadly Open Source will never succeed. It is just wishful thinking by long haired trainer wearing geeks. Microsoft will always rule because they provide individual access on people’s personal computers.

        • #3274297


          by bfkauffman ·

          In reply to Sadly

          Well, buddy, you know what they say – “never say never”… I can only imagine what would lead you to conclude either “Open source will never succeed” or “Microsoft will always rule”. Apparently, your reasoning is to be found in “Microsoft provides individual access on people’s personal computers”?. Excuse my ignorance but- what the hell does that mean??? Look, there is nothing magic about an operating system or a package of office function programs. Can you not see the diminishing returns offered (and higher cost demanded) by each Microsoft operating system over its predecessor? Do you honestly feel it’s justified that daddy Bill is soon going to be asking you for another $150+ for each computer you want to upgrade to his latest version of what is becoming ever closer and closer to the same thing? And just what is so obsolete about XP that it needed replacing? Microsoft crossed a line a long time where they began to act more in the interest of keeping their cash cow on its feet than in the interest of healthful growth of techology and those who use it. Damn- I wish I could understand how you could be so sure that open source will never succeed. I feel so certain you are indelibly wrong. I think it’s the brightest thing on the tech horizon since IBM built the 360. Interesting discussion but I fear we drifted away from your original topic. Regards.

    • #3274463

      Personal Computer extinction? I don?t agree.

      by jorge ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      In a perfect society, certainly this would happen, maybe in XXII century, not in the XXI. On the other hand, this will be a fact to the developed countries in Norte America, but not in all Europe and Asia, and nor in South America.

      I think that the PC like we know in days of todays, will be a fact for a lot of ten ahead.

    • #3274460

      Nice idea, but…

      by mark40930 ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      it would require a radical change in the current paradigm to have the average computer user utilize such a service, especially in light of current privacy and security issues. Maybe in 15-20 years it would be feasible but not in 5.

    • #3274456

      Absolute Nonsense

      by hailet ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      Disneyland’s world of tomorrow thought we would all be driving George Jetson type flying cars by the late 60’s. Did that happen ? No. Things don’t change that quickly. If the technology becomes commercially available it will still be so expensive in five years that only the rich will be able to afford it. The common people will still be plugging away at their PCs for another ten to fifteen years unless the government mandates a major change and subsidizes the purchase of needed hardware.
      Most people still can’t afford HDTV and analog is due to be completely replaced by 2008. Don’t count PCs dead anytime soon.

    • #3274450

      Yes, this is a real trend if not real in 5 years

      by carl_liu ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      I agree that cheap online services may replace todays’ PC’s as we know them. That will probably happen in 10 to 15 years. Further, I will stake that, eventually, businesses, except the real conglomerates, will also put their data with a thirty party.

      1. Individuals generally have less concern of privacy than the Internet commentators think. People use free Hotmail and Yahoo mail accounts to talk about just anything, with little concern for privacy. Nowadays, even highly personal blogs and data are put on these servers. I would guess the privacy paranoids account for less than 15% of all users. The key here is whether the online services can truly replace my document and my spreadsheet programs.

      2. These days, everybody and every company (including the conglomerates) put their money in banks with very little concern for (in)security. It was not so in the beginning, when people preferred to stash their treasures under their pillow or bury them underground in their backyard. I think infrastructure will be established to allow data be stored (backed up and archived) by third parties much like money. The key is whether there are true advantages for doing so. I happen to believe there are — data safety to begin with, and ease of sharing and targeted publishing later. The “eventuality” that I am talking about is probably measured in decades.

    • #3274449

      You are pointing out a real trend

      by carl_liu ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      I agree that cheap online services may replace todays’ PC’s as we know them. Further, I will stake that, eventually, businesses, except the real conglomerates, will also put their data with a thirty party.

      1. Individuals generally have less concern of privacy than the Internet commentators think. People use free Hotmail and Yahoo mail accounts to talk about just anything, with little concern for privacy. Nowadays, even highly personal blogs and data are put on these servers. I would guess the privacy paranoids account for less than 15% of all users. The key here is whether the online services can truly replace my document and my spreadsheet programs.

      2. These days, everybody and every company (including the conglomerates) put their money in banks with very little concern for (in)security. It was not so in the beginning, when people preferred to stash their treasures under their pillow or bury them underground in their backyard. I think infrastructure will be established to allow data be stored (backed up and archived) by third parties much like money. The key is whether there are true advantages for doing so. I happen to believe there are — data safety to begin with, and ease of sharing and targeted publishing later. The “eventuality” that I am talking about is probably measured in decades.

    • #3274448

      You are pointing out a real trend

      by carl_liu ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      I agree that cheap online services may replace todays’ PC’s as we know them. Further, I will stake that, eventually, businesses, except the real conglomerates, will also put their data with a thirty party.

      1. Individuals generally have less concern of privacy than the Internet commentators think. People use free Hotmail and Yahoo mail accounts to talk about just anything, with little concern for privacy. Nowadays, even highly personal blogs and data are put on these servers. I would guess the privacy paranoids account for less than 15% of all users. The key here is whether the online services can truly replace my document and my spreadsheet programs.

      2. These days, everybody and every company (including the conglomerates) put their money in banks with very little concern for (in)security. It was not so in the beginning, when people preferred to stash their treasures under their pillow or bury them underground in their backyard. I think infrastructure will be established to allow data be stored (backed up and archived) by third parties much like money. The key is whether there are true advantages for doing so. I happen to believe there are — data safety to begin with, and ease of sharing and targeted publishing later. The “eventuality” that I am talking about is probably measured in decades.

      • #3274436


        by cs ·

        In reply to You are pointing out a real trend

        It won’t be decades. Within 5 years the central system holding your data will be based in China with Indian operators running the machines. 🙂

        • #3274315

          Why would it take decades?

          by carl_liu ·

          In reply to Pessimist

          I figure it takes at least 5 to 10 years for the internet applications to get technically mature, and another 5 years for the PC’s to die out. So, we are talking about 10 to 15 years as an absolute minimum before most of the PC’s would disappear.

          However, realistically, we are probably talking about 10, 20, or even 30 years. But I do believe the trend is very clear.

        • #3218080

          Not Me !

          by jim.frazier ·

          In reply to Pessimist


    • #3274444

      A matter of trust

      by lazerous200 ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      I can see business’s going that route with their internal networks for saftey and security. The company I work for is going more and more to thin clients over PC’s. They are easier to control and monitor. That is exactly why the general public will not buy into it. It is a matter of trusting your privacy to big brother. Of course Home Land Security would love it, (easy access to everything).

      • #3274430

        Big Bro

        by cs ·

        In reply to A matter of trust

        Who’s to say that Vista doesn’t have Home Land Security back doors built into it so they can remotely monitor your data? After all the release has been delayed a bit.

        This privacy counter argument is a red herring. It is easy to protect centrally held data.

        • #3217002

          Who *not* to get as a consultant

          by scott.pletcher ·

          In reply to Big Bro

          >> This privacy counter argument is a red herring. It is easy to protect centrally held data. << You obivously don't follow the news. Several large organizations have had major issues keeping private data private.

        • #3216832

          The tactic of debate

          by cs ·

          In reply to Who *not* to get as a consultant

          One of the the tactics of debate is that when you cannot put up a strong argument is to launch a personal attack on your debating opponent.
          Are you suggesting Scott that I advised those organisations who lost their data? Perhaps you should check with the people I do actually advise.

          In any event you didn’t take the opportunity to deal with how personal encryption would fail to protect data held on line?

    • #3274427

      Death of PC Redux a.k.a Not This Again!

      by fm2000 ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      Every five years this comes up; PCs are on the way out and the NC, NIC, Slab, PDA,or whatever the latest gizmo is called will reign supreme. Well it’s been almost 12 years since Larry Ellison of Oracle made this prediction followed by Scott McNealy of Sun followed by a host of others and guess what? The PC still rules the roost!
      As for your Tablet computer the size of a VHS tape, Toshiba first came out with one of those in 1998 over eight years ago and over the years none of the models ever had a full size keyboard. Think about it. You can’t put a full size keyboard in the confines of a VHS tape! If you don’t believe me go to EBAY and buy a Libretto CT50. You should be able to win one for $50 or $60 bucks. When you get it let me know how well you can touch type on that HALF SIZE KEYBOARD!
      Will the computer ever be replaced by a PDA sized unit? Of course in 15 or 20 years when they are powered by fuel cells, running at 8 or 10 ghrz and pen or speach recognition approaches 99.9% accuracy.
      Until then be happy with a Sharp Actius MM20 or some other thin & light notebook with a full size keyboard.
      Regards, Ulrich Andrako

      • #3274416

        Half size keyboard

        by cs ·

        In reply to Death of PC Redux a.k.a Not This Again!

        Re-read the original posting and you will see I said nothing about a half sized keyboard.

        In fact I use a full size keyboard that cost $120 because it has been properly constructed with decent keys. What I’m saying is the system unit or PU will be tiny and easily hidden in furniture. Apart from perhaps a single power lead (cord) there will be no cables. The unit will run cool and not need noisy fans.

        • #3274306


          by fm2000 ·

          In reply to Half size keyboard

          Yes, I know you did not say it would have a half size keyboard. However, your article implies that it has a Local screen and a full size keyboard. I was mearly pointing out that you can only have a half size keyboard built into a computer the size of a VHS tape because of the physical constraints.
          Sincerely, Ulrich

    • #3274305

      Sounds familiar…

      by elgeeko ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      Seems I heard something like this five or so years ago. Ain’t going ot happen any time soon. Look at how long it’s taken for even a few people to get comfortable with not making a hard copy.

      While you’re doing predictions, will the user interface be in Esperanto?

    • #3217109

      You are nuts

      by tom.x.spencer ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      With all the distrust on the internet I doubt that will ever happen. It is like owning a car you want to drive it and ocassionaly trade it in for a new one. Sure web based apps are cool but people will always want their own piece of security.

      • #3217043

        They probably said that to Henry Ford!

        by cs ·

        In reply to You are nuts

        I know I’m nuts and I’ve made a career out of it, leading people into what was thought to be impossible.

        People say that the Internet is insecure when what they really mean is that the PC’s attached to the Internet are insecure.

        Let’s change that.

    • #3217090

      Exactly how long does it take the PC’s to go extinct?

      by carl_liu ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      For the PC’s to go “extinct”, the following events must happen, and it would likely take 15 to 25 years minimum. Here I am defining “extinct” to mean at least 60% of today’s PC’s are gone, acknowledging that there are hobbyists and people with special needs.

      1. Internet connection must be prevalent and cheap and reliable. Cheap – less than $2 or so a month. Reliable – data security ensured. I don’t know how long this will take, but it would not be the bottleneck.

      2. Online application technology must be mature. This requires a search for the most used applications, in an appropriate form of delivery, and using appropriate technology and standards. For instance, the compatibility issue must be resolved. This will take about 5 to 10 years if we are lucky. Think how long it took GUI (Windows) to become usable and generally adopted under the concerted efforts a single, powerful company, and this is just to replace operating system,whose functions are quite straightforward compared to applications.

      3. Private application data stored at a service company is as reliable as money in a bank. (for conglomerates, they may set up their own private service “company”, much like their own travel agency). This requires maturity in business model, application knowledge, as well as legislation. The process will probably take another 5 to 10 years, after the technology is mature. The business model alone could easily take up to 10 years (e.g., how long did it take the dot com bubble to burst?)

      4. Finally, we have to give time to allow the existent PC’s to retire. This will probably take 5 years. Remember, I am talking about 60% of all PC’s.

      Add them up, you can see the whole process taking 15 to 25 years if everything goes smoothly. Longer, if not.

      However, I firmly believe the PC’s as we know them today will go through a paradigm shift as CS points out in his article.

    • #3216977

      Is it sounds familiar?

      by jerry.zhu ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      This sounds like we will go back to the old mainframe era. Each end-user just has a little CPU&Mem on top of the display screen.

      • #3216949

        What about him? Will he give up *his* PC?

        by scott.pletcher ·

        In reply to Is it sounds familiar?

        When somebody says this, I always ask if he/she will also be giving up his/her PC?

        The answer is invariably NO: “No, *I* need my PC more than ‘the average user’. …”

        Yeah, right. I’m sure most folks at home feel the same way.

        And if my family members ask me about it, I’ll say HE!! NO, keep your own box.

        Those monthly costs will be HUGE over time. That’s why some companies are pushing it — they can’t get users to upgrade “enough”, so they’ll make money by charging EVERY month. But why should I play the sucker and go along?

        Besides, **they will own your data** if they host it (read the agreement carefully). Who would *EVER* want that??

      • #3216831

        One difference

        by cs ·

        In reply to Is it sounds familiar?

        In the mainframe days the Display unit used to cost about $4000 for a 3270, I dread to think what that would be in current money.

        However we did use to multidrop 12 VDU’s on one 9600 Baud line and get a good response time. IBM certainly knew what they were doing in those days (still do)!

    • #3219094

      That is a very myopic view

      by jim.frazier ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      That might be the only thing for which you will want a computer in your home. However,
      with the convergence of communications, entertainment, and home automation, the PC has a long life ahead of it. Electronic media storage will replace the syacks of CDs and DVDs. The whole home will be controlled
      by that computer or a series of computers.
      Lighting, heating/cooling, appliances will
      all be programmable and monitored across the
      internet from anywhere in the world. The decline in price of technology will make all these technologies pervasive not only for the economically affluent but also the middle class. It’s already happening. I know because I am working on several projects that
      are intergrating these things right now..

      The internet provider will soon only supply the wire on which all this works. Email, video, music, automation, communications servers will move into the homes of everyone.

      • #3219024

        Embedded computers

        by cs ·

        In reply to That is a very myopic view

        I agree that an increasing number of items in the house will be processor controlled as the life time cost of digital solutions approaches the cost of the current analog controllers such as an on-off switch. This already happens in office buildings where much of the Mechanical & Electrical equipment is hooked up via networks such as LONWorks to central controllers. There are interfaces into IP style of technology and also the more simple “open contact” controls.
        However, how many people would be comfortable leaving these tasks under the control of a Home PC? In terms of engineering reliability MS OS type of PC’s are notoriously unreliable. Just imagine the chaos in the house controlled by the PC where it has to be rebooted after a software installation or it gets a virus infection. I’ve seen situations a few times where voice telecomms systems have been brought down by virus infection of a central Microsoft Server.
        A LINUX box would probably be more reliable, but you might as well have an embedded computer running LINUX rather than a general purpose PC.

        PC’s need regular maintenance to remove dust, the hard disks often fail within a few years and a power surge/virus can easily make the system inoperable. The general public are used to cheap controls that last for 20 years without intervention.

        • #3219017


          by jim.frazier ·

          In reply to Embedded computers

          I am automating a 50 acre manufacturing plant woith Windows2003 Server. I have systems that are only rebooted when they have to be patched. The 24/7 systems. The cost of these systems are dropping so fast that soon there will be Media, Communications and Automation Servers in everyones homes. There are 6 PCs in my home addressing things like x10 automation, media streaming, web server, email server. I can check and set the temperature in my home from anywhere on the globe. This will become the rule…even the remote controls are
          PPCs in my home that connect to a SOA/WCF based service that automates two home theatre points from anywhere in the house through a web service. There will
          be more computers not less. Now the average user may only interface with a terminal, but the computers will be there none the less and they will be busy….increased bandwidth
          from ISPs will only make these technologies more prevalent.

    • #3219091

      maybe 50 years

      by tomaaa19 ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      Most current users will not trust their data to someone else, or want to pay to access their own data.

      This could be a new market for non users who need the minimum for email, some word processing or other applications.

      Gamers etc won’t bite, nor will cynics like me who hate the concepts of paying rent.

      • #3219021

        Games Processing

        by cs ·

        In reply to maybe 50 years

        You don’t need a PC for Games. The PS2’s, PS3’s, X-Box already show this. As it stands the concept of each PC performing the same games calculation as it’s millions of peers around the world is kind of dumb. It is a process that could be centralised as well and the results feed to the remote clients for display calculation.

        I agree that there are in this world some people who stick with the 405 line Black and White televisions. However the great majority of the consumers will continue follow the leading edge of technology.

        • #3217493

          But They’re Not

          by dogknees ·

          In reply to Games Processing

          >>As it stands the concept of each PC performing the same games calculation as it’s millions of peers around the world is kind of dumb.<< They run the same code, but the data is different for every user. For example, in flight sim, you'd have to have the central cpu(s) running the calculations for every possible location, every possible orientation and every possible set of user inputs simultaneously. We aren't anywhere near that level of processing yet. In the same way, given we have millions of people running the latest cpus at 90% of capacity, your central cpus would need at least the total of this as a minumum. Given that we aren't anywhere near being able to do lots of things on a PC in a reasonable time and many of us want many orders of magnitude more cpu horsepower than we currently have, how is your centralised system going to cope? A simple example is ray-tracing. At the moment I have numerous scenes that take days or even weeks to render a single frame. The goal would be real-time at least 50 frames per second. As I'm not the only person doing this stuff, we'd want around 30 million times the current speed of a Core duo each to get close to the goal. Each! Another problem is that in 5 years time, there will still be a vast number of people who will not have even broadband speeds available,let alone at $25 a month. Without even considering the sort of speed needed to drive a hi-res screen at a decent frame rate. Also in about that timeframe ultra hi res video will be starting to arive. Try doing some video editing when frames are 7400 x 4200 pixels using 48 bit colour when the data from your camera has to go down the wire and back again to see your changes Same issues arise for those of us who like to create music on our PCs. Home PCs are used for a lot more than running a few games, keeping track of our recipes and finances, keeping up with emails, and writing a letter to Aunt Jane. That's their benefit, we can use them for anything we can imagine. Having used Citrix and other systems that use remote cpus and local graphics drivers, they absolutely suck if you want any thing more than to run Word. Try running a dozen professional Photoshop users on a server that costs less that $40,000. Which is the cost of their local PCs. If you say, the PC replacements will have local storage and processing, then as far as I can see, they're still PCs. Even running a different OS. I could see that loading software ourselves might fade away, replaced by it all being downloaded. This give us the benefit of standardisation and reliability, but the device is still a PC. What about those people who write their own applications? How do they install and run it if it has to be downloaded?

        • #3218164

          Yes I need my PC for games

          by species8472 ·

          In reply to Games Processing

          A few reasons. For only a hundred and fifty bucks. The game was fifty. I updated my PC to play COD2 better than that $450 Xbox 360. However that New Xbox does not play NES games.
          But guess what, My PC still plays my old 3.1 games. I can then play COD2 right after that.

    • #3219070

      Got to be kidding!

      by raymondh3201 ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      Dream on, Security is the big issue with the Internet and it will never happen. Only those who believe that everyone is here to help will buy into this.

      • #3218997

        C’mon, let’s place a bet with a 3rd party proxy, I’ll give you 10 years

        by scott.pletcher ·

        In reply to Got to be kidding!

        For all the Henry Fords people laughed at, they also laughed at hundreds of people who really were wrong. I suspect you yourself will be secretly laughing at your post in 5 years, while trying to figure out how to remove it from the archive.
        I can think of dozens of things on my computer I would not want in someone else’s hands.

    • #3217703

      Sign me up NOW

      by mmk ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      This should be the way of the future.
      Otherwise we continue to be in for more upgrades & everyone else makes money.

    • #3217585

      Not likely

      by Anonymous ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      While some countries have great broadband and decent prices, other countries don’t. In my line of business, users still tend to favour Dial-Up internet because it is cheap. Broadband would have to significantly improve in terms of access speed and pricing for what your describing. For example, I live just under 4kms from the local exchange so my 24Mbit ADSL only achieves around 5Mbit speed.

      Plus, the power user market (ie the video editors, gamers) will always keep driving sales of PCs.

      • #3218170

        Dial up

        by cs ·

        In reply to Not likely

        Once you’ve tasted the always on nature of DSL you never want to go back to Dial-up. The cost obviously depends on the pricing model, some telecom companies still try to squeeze the last dops of blood out of their 19th telephone systems and avoid investing in IP based telephone exchange systems.

        This is just a matter of market pressure on the telephone companies. Those who don’t react and provide ubiquitous high speed networks will be swept aside. Mesh wireless technologies is just one way of doing this even in rural areas. In S Korea they are demonstrating 60 MB/s mobile network technologies already.

        Yes, there will be some isolated pockets of power users clinging on to their lumps of tin space heaters whilst software usage and development migrates to the serviced PU model.

    • #3217520

      No, Not Here in America…

      by mightymikelech ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      I couldn’t disagree with you more! If anything, I see it becoming more emeshed and integrated into home entertainment via Media PC’s..Even Notebook PC’s are becomimg more popular than their desktop counterparts-and are gaining more multimedia features like built-in TV tuner cards and hardware-enabled 3-D video chipsets from ATI and nVidia..No, Not here in America-Maybe where you come from they might become extinct in five years…

    • #3218158

      I agree, but…

      by fewiii ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      Five years? Ten, maybe. Fifteen-to-twenty, more realistic. ‘Course, it’s not easy to predict what the general consuming public will go for on any given day…

    • #3218126

      Home PC will be obselete in 5 years time

      by rebecca011 ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      I dont want to store my personal files on some remote server that will allow others too easily access it. I want to control over my own information and as an author such future moves really worry me.

      I prefer the “old PC” to do my word processing.

      • #3218083

        One question

        by cs ·

        In reply to Home PC will be obselete in 5 years time

        As an author do you always back up your work in some place other than the hard disk on your PC?

        If not you stand a good chance of losing all of your work until the time of the last (external) backup.

    • #3218074


      by jhuber9 ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      Need I say More

      • #3217901


        by cs ·

        In reply to Insane

        You shouldn’t be so tough on yourself.

    • #3217952

      doesn’t seem right just yet

      by super scooter ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      that all might be possible one day but not in 5 years like i seen in eariler posts 10 years maybe but that’s how we mostly get our information from the internet especially with myself and my fellow students im still in school and i get most of my work from the cisco site and until we get a new way to get our information i think the home pc will be sticking around for quite some time.

    • #3288920

      Ahhh its a joke

      by jim.bassett9 ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      Ahhhh its a Joke. The author better not be picking stocks to invest in.

      • #3288814


        by cs ·

        In reply to Ahhh its a joke

        SCO stocks are really cheap at the moment.

    • #3288910

      Not happening

      by bcas529 ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      40G internet?? They can’t even deploy internet of 1GB throughout the country yet! There are technologies available to do it easily without new lines. (BPL, broadband over power lines, is out there) Until high-speed is available universally the rest of this is all a dream.

    • #3288875

      I believe sir,

      by wizardb9 ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      That you are smoking an extra strong brand of crack,we might see those changes about 20 years from know , but I now myself and most other people I know and deal with would never allow their operating systems rely on a remote connection of any type my data will stay in house along with my OS and any thing I rely on day to day too!

      • #3288813

        I can understand

        by cs ·

        In reply to I believe sir,

        I can understand why a PC Support person would be be biased into wanting to perpetuate the current support nightmare. MS Vista is an example of an over complex product being proposed for a simple requirement. A new software product being introduced that will require over half of the business/home PC’s being replaced because they are not fast enough to run the new bloatware.
        Why should the public need to upgrade their PC’s to satisfy the money desire of Microsoft. A central service model is a lot simpler to use and more cost effective. I’m sorry but the PC support guys are now in the same category as horse buggy grooms when Henry T was saying “you can have any colour, as long as it is black.”

        • #3288810

          It’s called

          by species8472 ·

          In reply to I can understand

          No one is forcing you to upgrade to windows Vista (Your correct in Vista being Bloatware)
          Like many home PC’s I see. MOST people just stick with what ever OS it came with. until they buy that new software that just wont work with Windows 98. (I still see 98/ME frequently)Then XP Home.
          I’ve been inside a business that still run a PC with NT 4.0 because they have money invested in a machine whos control program only runs on NT, or 200 Pro.

          I haven’t seen any reason to upgrade to Vista. Although (according to the specs.)My PC will run Vista superbly.

        • #3287938

          Self-Interest vs Realistic Expectations

          by gsquared ·

          In reply to I can understand

          Again with the confusion that PC = Microsoft. That’s a falacy.

          Also, “support nightmare” is not, in my experience (since the ’70s), a true assessment of the current world of personal computers. Unless your definition of nightmare is something along the lines of, “I have to click an option that says, ‘patch my pc automatically at night'”. That’s a pretty tame nightmare.

          My wife’s grandmother uses a computer. She’s in her 90s. She can’t debug anything, all she can do is “normal use”. She doesn’t have significant problems with her pc.

          My mother just turned 60. She’s a nearly neurotic technophobe. She uses my stepfather’s computer as little as possible, but when she does, it does what’s needed without any “nightmare”.

          You have stated that your new technology (the terminals with their 40Gig/sec connection) will be error-free and perfect from day one. I would like a list from you of what technologies, from stone axes on up to modern computers, have been perfected. I can’t think of any, but maybe that’s a deficiency on my part. (Knives, probably the oldest technology in the world, still need sharpening, which means they are not “perfect” by any means. Fire, again one of the oldest technologies that we’ve had at least thousands of years to perfect, still burns down houses. For that matter, would you rather have your computer get a piece of spyware, or would you rather get stabbed with a knife or trapped in your burning house, as far as “nightmares” go?)

          Thus, you are, apparently, comparing a fanciful “perfect” technology which does not actually exist, with a highly workable technology which does exist, and saying the fictitious perfect technology will take over from the real technology imminently.

          This isn’t a comparison of Model-T/A Fords to horse buggies, this is a comparison of modern cards to perpetual-motion powered anti-gravity spaceships with crash-proof AI autopilots. Yes, once the perfect spaceships exist and have no need for fuel, maintenance or even pilots, and they are cheap and readily available, they will most certainly replace the modern version of the automobile.

          Now, on the subject of my title: I’m not a PC support professional, I’m a database analyst and a programmer. I most certainly won’t lose my source of income because of your dream. Won’t even slow me down. Doesn’t matter to me where the applications are located, they will still need databases and code in order to work. I am also not an employee nor a stockholder for Microsoft nor any other software/hardware company – I work for a small marketing company with no vested interest in the IT industry directly. Thus, I do not stand to lose any work nor any money from your dream. None. Not a single penny.

          However, I still hold that you are wrong. I’ve argued the point before, and you’ve even conceded that my points were correct, in re local processing power and storage needs for anything beyond very simple computer use.

          The public should not need to upgrade their pcs to satisfy MS money needs. And, amazingly enough, they actually don’t need to upgrade their pcs for that reason! If all you plan to do is the kind of stuff that an online service will offer as standard fare, and you already have anything more powerful than a 386-33SX (c. 1987), you don’t have to upgrade at all. At least till the hardware wears out and breaks. You can text-edit and spreadsheet and send text-email. If that’s all you need, you’re good to go. You won’t be compatible with more modern software, but if you go ASCII all the way, you’ll be fine.

          If a person wants more powerful software, they need more powerful hardware. If they don’t want more powerful software, they don’t need more powerful hardware. Some marketing company may convince them they need it, but it’s an illusion, as with most/all marketing.

          A centrally controlled, single-service model is most certainly more cost effective, if all you ever want to do is simple computing, than buying a modern PC with a modern OS on it, of whatever brand combination you want. If simple word processing, spreadingsheeting and e-mailing is all you want, a Core 2 Extreme quad-core CPU, 8 Gig of RAM, a RAID array of 4 SATA 3Gb/s HDDs, and a pair of linked video cards with 512 Meg DDR2 RAM each, is certainly overkill and extremely cost-ineffective. On the other hand, if what you want to do is create a database of your favorite bands and songs and their music videos, and your online subscription doesn’t include database authoring tools, owning your own pc is certainly more cost-effective, since anything at all is greater than zero (since the effectiveness of the consol and central server is 0 at that point). If what you want to do is online video games (like World of Warcraft’s 7-million players), then the high-end system I just described is not only more effective (since “works” is more effective than “can’t do that”), but actually very, very good at the job at hand.

          Others have used the public transportation argument, and your response was “look at the price of gas and we’ll all be using public transport soon”. Again, this assumes that private transport has to use gasoline/fossile diesel as its only source of power. Fuel-cell cars, hydrogen cars, etc., have all been prototyped and they work. They aren’t economic right now, because gasoline is so amazingly cheap compared to its energy density. But if the price of gas goes up too far, hydrogen becomes a very viable alternative.

          So, if you can drive to and from work in your own car, for about $2 per trip ($4 round-trip), or you can wait at a bus stop in the cold/heat, catch a bus on the city’s schedule, hope to get a seat, hope that the guy sitting next to you has bathed in the last decade, etc., for $1 per trip ($2 round-trip), which one will you choose? Or more accurately, which one will most people choose?

        • #3287888

          Bloated Waster

          by cs ·

          In reply to Self-Interest vs Realistic Expectations

          I don’t believe I mad any assumptions about your work role. However, a lot of people are afraid of change. Here’s a brief quote from Jan 2000 Computer Weekly:

          “We met with significant resistance from the in-house IT gurus – not the people who work with IT, but the magazine readers – who looked for reasons for PCs not to be taken away from them,” says Bell.

          This refers to a project where Dundee City Council replaced most of their desktop PC’s with thin clients in 1997. Thin Client technology has moved on since then and improved in capability. Dundee still use this technology and save a lot of money. It is also used to support home located PC’s and remote offices. So most people’s needs for home PC’s could be easily by these techniques.

          However, I acknowledge that there will still be those who want to pay $!000 for an oversized games console(PC) the size of a suitcase which costs circa a dollar a day for power. My son run’s WoW a lot so I know the problems such people face. Just think 7 million PC’s simulataneous performing essentially the same calculation – megabloat I’d call that.

        • #3225340

          Computer Functions

          by gsquared ·

          In reply to Bloated Waster

          There you go again, ignoring vast swaths of what computers can do (“game console”[sic]). Gaming is an example, and only one example.

          Brainless Terminal Functions:

          Web browsing
          Web applications (as available, currently, simple word processing and non-automated spreadsheets, many CRM tools, a few others)
          Web e-mail
          Nothing else I can think of

          Actual Computer Functions:

          Anything a brainless terminal can do
          Video editing
          DVD mastering
          Music/Audio editing
          CD mastering
          Video (and other large file) storage (at c. 8 Gig per movie, you will quickly use up any online service’s allocation)
          Office Automation (macros, etc.)
          Software authoring (unless you do this in a text editor) + Compilation

          As for multi-thousand dollar “game consols”, I paid about $800 for my computer, since I built it myself. Dual-core, 2 Gig RAM, 300 Gig SATA-3Gb/s HDD, single 512 Meg video card, Windows XP Pro. It does all the stuff in list 2, and all the stuff in list 1.

          Again, I am not saying there is NO use for your brainless terminals (thin clients, dumb workstations, whatever other name for the same “rose”). There is an obvious market for them. The company I work for is currently testing some thin-client consols for our call center, based on suggestions I made and products I researched. The people who will be using them use 2 applications, IE and a phone-dialer consol. Both of those can work just fine on these thin clients.

          What I am saying is that there is no possible way thin clients will completely replace full-on computers within 5 years, which is what you called for. Won’t happen. I’m totally willing to fire up an escrow account and bet you $100 or any other sum that I can come up with, on this point. You would have to match the fund. If pcs have been replaced within 5 years of your original post (November 2011), you get the full value of the account. If there are still pcs in use (defined as having local storage, a CPU, and the ability to run applications other than a browser or text editor natively), then I get the money. We can exclude any computers I happen to own at that time, since that would give me a way to cheat the bet. We can even ignore computers operated by the company I work for at that time, on the same assumption that I could thereby directly influence the results.

          Are you willing to put your money where your mouth is? If not at 1:1 odds, but at some other odds, let me know what odds you want and in whose favor, and I’ll let you know if I’m willing.

          As for your last assertion, that 7 million pcs are performing “essentially the same calculation”, that’s not really how software works in a client-server environment. The server does the common calculations and routes traffic between different clients. The clients do specific calculations that apply to the application as used by the client. There is very little overlap. Mainly, in WoW, for example, the clients are concerned with local graphics rendering, which cannot be done at the server, but can be done quite nicely at the client. This is a much more cost-effective method of workload distribution than trying to run graphics-intensive applications on a server then pump the graphics down a network connection. It also just plain works better. Currently, online word processors perform the font-rendering, etc., on the local machine, and just store the executable code on the server. Again, however many users are involved in writing documents, most of the actual work is done by the local pc and the server mainly acts as an extended file storage system.

        • #3225309

          You’re on the right track

          by jim.frazier ·

          In reply to Computer Functions

          How about : Home Automation, Home Theatre,
          Home Security…These will all be huge in the
          future and will be pervasive.

        • #3289815

          I was going to stop posting

          by cs ·

          In reply to Computer Functions

          I’ve already said in another post that I’d cease responding on this topic, but you’ve put so much effort into that last reponse that I’ll do one last response.

          I’m putting my money where my mouth is by buying a couple of servers, some virtualisation software and thin clients. They’ll be running in my own office. We’ll try out for ourselves. At the very least our office area will be a lot quieter. We already have diaries, mail, shared documents, backup and VOIP remotely hosted so we can access those services from anywhere in the globe. Soon all of our applications will be accessible remotely by VPN.

          Our business is designing and building trading floors/ Data Centres and the whole financial market is starting move to thin client implementations. The powerful PC’s are begining to be locked away in a nearby data centre and the service is delivered over CAT6/CAT7 UTP or fiber to the trading floor using IP and similar protocols. The one I’ve recently been involved in will have 350 pc’s (plus some server racks) in the back room. HP have a Blade solution for this so do Dell and IBM have something similar. There are other other approaches using PCI extension over copper UTP/fibre such as the recent Matrox announcement and others such as ClearCube, Amulet.

          These guys run some very hefty financial calculations, so they would not make this move unless they were sure that it works and does not degrade response time. The gain that they see is lower operating costs, greater security and greater flexibility. They are converging their voice and data systems so they will be able to extend their trading floor to anywhere with suitable network capacity. When a trader signs on to a local thin client his applications, voice system and profile will be presented to him regardless of his location. Visits to the desktop by support engineers will be considerably reduced.

          Visits to the data centre room will similarly be reduced by providing facilities to monitor/control everything bar physical installation remotely.

          The network providers for the financial markets now offer single digit latency Wide area Network/Client links/Exchange connections. This is not future promises it happens now. So effectively networks become much less of a problem.

          Similarly the same techniques will extend to home PC’s over the next few year’s, though for investment reasons delivery to homes will not be fibre and will be still slow old DSL upto 40 MBs with double digit latency.

          On WoW I’m just saying the current programming model is extremely wasteful and is bound to migrate to a more centralised model so that it can work with the Games consoles and portable clients. I’m well aware of how client/server programming models work – was building such systems in 85 and watching the structures of Super Tankers flexing/breaking in realtime.

          Invest your $100 in Gold – you will need it for a games console in 5 year’s time.

        • #3289702

          I can see

          by jim.frazier ·

          In reply to I was going to stop posting

          I can see how your trading application would
          work well on a thin client. It is a specialized app. However, home based apps
          have and will become very diverse and make this kind of delivery basically impractical…


        • #3289608

          Simple Reply

          by gsquared ·

          In reply to I was going to stop posting

          None of the applications you are talking about require significant graphics or local processing power.

          Were I doing something like what you’re talking about, I’d certainly look into thin clients. Definitely. Matter of fact, I already am doing exactly that with our call center.

          (I’d also be willing to hazard a guess that you aren’t putting any of “your” money into the servers, etc. If you’re paying for that out of your own pocket, you’re a far richer man than I am. I’m talking about a personal bet with personal funds. Not, “the major company I work for is putting some money into this”.)

          Anyway, you have not, at all, addressed the issue of distributed processing power having advantages. Look at the SETI grid model for an excellent argument for cheaper computing being done that way, instead of all server hardware.

          I agree that we will eventually have centralized processing power adequate to any possible personal computing need. At that point, it will be ineffecient and expensive (though not necessarily impossible) to have local processing power. I, as stated many times, seriously challenge the idea that this will be in the next 5 years.

          5 years = c. 3 processing power doublings per common understanding of Moore’s Law. That’s not nearly enough for what you’re talking about. 2000-2005 we went from 1 GHz to 3 GHz on home computers. Not nearly enough improvement for what you’re talking about from 2006-2011.

          Also, in the solution you are implementing, with servers and thin clients: Do the thin clients have 0 onboard software? No OS, no network client, nothing? If they have anything at all, you will still need to keep up with upgrades, patches, security issues, etc., on those clients, or you will quickly find your network unstable or insecure or both. What brand are they? The ones I’ve dealt with have both a server software package and a flash network client and local OS. Those will require updating from time to time, and will require security upgrades as malware is created for such.

          My investing in gold wouldn’t give me the return of a 1:1 bet with you. I don’t see gold doubling in value in 5 years. $100 from me + $100 from you + 5 years at c. 3% interest – 5 years at c. 2% inflation, is closer to double my investment. I see it as a high gain, very low risk investment.

        • #3289540

          Dodging response restrictions

          by cs ·

          In reply to I was going to stop posting

          GSquared: in your response you hit on the fundamental issue. Programmes like SETI rely on the fact that “home” PC’s are idle most of the time and can spare processing for Astronomical or Protein Folding calculations.
          So the actual load on a central facility would not be as great as you imagine. Even so idle PU’s would still have plenty of power to handle SETI like roles.

          The plain fact is that the vast majority of Home PC’s only use a tiny fraction of their processing capability. Home PC’s do not need to be so complicated, they don’t need to hold a local copy of application software, it can be either partially down loaded as and when required or run remotely with a Citrix type of interface.

          What is so different now is that relatively fast DSL connections allow the thin client model to work for the home PC’s. Watch what today’s children are doing. They are increasingly using thin client with such services as MySpace.

          As to the $100 dollars, 5 year’s ago it would have bought you 0.36 Troy Oz Gold, now it’s 0.15 Troy Oz. In 5 years time the gold bought now would probably be worth $200 USD, probably even more.

    • #3288030

      What Planet are you living on?

      by evildictaitor ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      5 Watts!? My lightbulbs use more than that. A plasma tv screen uses 400 kW and a kettle uses 2kW. If you can make 40 computers run on the power of a SINGLE kettle, you’ll win the nobel prize in computing.

      • #3287940

        I can’t claim the Nobel prize yet…

        by cs ·

        In reply to What Planet are you living on?

        The Wyse S10 pulls 5.6 Watts browse their web site. So we are getting there.

    • #3288021


      by fred123456 ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      And you call yourself an IT Consultant?

      Five year reality prediction.

      The personal PC market is going to shift slightly to accommodate a true in home network with servers. Large terabyte SATA hard drives are going to allow home users to run PC’s that act as storage servers for pics, music, and video.
      As laptops and PC’s drop in price people will start buying cheap PC’s for individual users in the home.
      As companies like Nvidia and ATI create faster and more robust graphics cards it guarantees that most homes will have at least one high powered gaming PC to handle entertainment.

      “People will pay about $25 a month to subscribe to a remote service…”

      Their is no way the public is going to pay for remote services per month when for 500 bucks you can do it all at home for a flat fee..

      • #3287921

        The Terror of Terabytes

        by cs ·

        In reply to WHAT!?!!?!?!

        The larger the capacity of the disk the more information that will be trashed when the drive dies. Would you really trust all of your family’s tax records, software, music, photo’s etc to be stored on one unit that can be so easily become corrupted through electrical, vibration, software, power problems?

        So perhaps you will have RAID 1 or even RAID 5? However, even those methods are insecure unless you have offline back up to tape or WORM or whatever. How long do these backups take to run each day and then will the restore work?

        Do you know any households who actually take regular consistent backup of their home system? If they do do they regularly check that the backups have worked? This is real data center operations stuff which won’t be performed by the average joe at home.

        Western Digital currently give a 1 – 3 year warranty on their consumer SATA disk drives. Doesn’t that tell you something? I’ve had some drives last 8 years and still counting, but I’ve had other drives that have expired in less than 2 years.

        Go back and look at software operating/application renewal cycles? These are more frequent than is sensible. Often with a new OS release you end up buying a new PC to provide enough power. No way is home computing a one off payment. It is a continual drain each year needing a lot of intervention to keep the stuff going.

        • #3287882

          Oh stop grand standing

          by fred123456 ·

          In reply to The Terror of Terabytes

          I currently have 20 clients all running Dell Open Edge servers that started with a 100 gigs(RAID) of storage and almost all are now at 500 Gigs of storage. They all have a locked dedicated server closets with rack mounted switches, routers, and battery backup.

          These clients are all residential. They store all of their data on the server, the backups run every night and they would never ever want their data being stored off site. The servers have been rock solid for 5 years and all I do is check quarterly via WAN.

          I get inquiries weekly on installing similar systems in other homes. I provide basic instructions or full service installs. I am constantly getting inquiries from friends who want to do it themselves.

          Five years ago this setup cost the user on average 6000 US. Depending on if I did the wiring and network setup or if it was already in place.

          Now I can buy systems that I can either custom build and/or buy built, include a Firewall/Router, and battery backup for half that price and include a 250 gig external HD for backups.

          Wasn’t it some other buffoon from Sun who made the same statement about five years ago? Or maybe that was Steve Jobs.

          Give one example of a parallel that would show that the user community would welcome this with open arms. I almost see it like this?

          Don?t worry about your car, you don?t need a car! You can use Mass Transit, Limo Service, Cab. There is no need any more to own your own car!


          My guess is you posted just because you wanted the argument.

        • #3287853

          Oh right

          by cs ·

          In reply to Oh stop grand standing

          A $6000 home PC.

        • #3274112

          Poor argument, very poor.

          by cayble ·

          In reply to The Terror of Terabytes

          Houses burn down, things get misplaced or accidentally thrown out, there are floods earth quakes, robberies and any number of things in life that may result in unexpected loss of even hard copy personal property.

          Hard drive crashes are something that I am very very confident will be addressed in the near future as the home computer becomes seriously integrated into everyday life in most homes. Clearly as more and more homes rely more and more heavily on a computer to store things like tax records and tax records you can bet that double failsafe systems will soon become the norm in home computing within five years, not the extinction of the home computer.

          Anyone who thinks the home computer is going to go away is a person who only sees value in emailing, chat and office applications. And they are ignoring the reality that home computer use is only increasing, not receding in any way.

          The fact is that home computers are very much like finger prints. No two are quite the same. The home computers success is the fact that it can so easily adjust and adapt to an individuals personal needs. We have had television around for over 50 years and we still cannot seem to make television as flexible or compatible for individuals as a home computer can be.

          People who think the home computer is going anywhere besides increasing its profile in the home is likely someone who dosnt care much about owning a computer.

    • #3274175

      We’ve come full circle…

      by jghadley ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      We’ve come full circle in the computer age. As they say: What is Old is New and What is New is Old. The PC will become a dumb terminal once more, hooked to a mainframe (the net)which will pay for access when needing to complete a project. This is just like the old days when asking the Mainframe Dept for access to the Host and your Dept. was billed back for the access and time used.

    • #3274116

      You have got to be kidding.

      by cayble ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      Soon nobody will drive a car as I have heard there are these things called buses and trains.

      Soon nobody will have a fridge, stove, plates, cutlery or go to grocery stores as I have heard there are these places called “fast food” that sell meals already made quickly for a pretty cheap price.

      Soon we will not have water taps as I hear they are now selling bottled water, and of course we don’t need water anyway because we will have no dishes to wash and the fast food places must have all the water we could drink.

      I hear there are these things around called motels, and if they ever catch on I’m betting we wont need houses…

      Get real. Most people not only enjoy owning their own computer and having their own software, they demand it.

    • #3274103

      I’ve seen 3 constants in this thread

      by jpenrose ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      #1 You seem to have an answer/rebuttal for everything when it comes to your firm belief in your prognostication that the PC will go belly up in the next 5 years. This is a good thing that shows that you’ve thought about the many angles to this prediction and you firmly believe what you’ve written.

      #2 Many, many members disagree with your prediction for many reasons writing thousands of words telling you how wrong you are. You have rallied to the defense of your theory with more opinion and conjecture. This too is an outstanding example of sticking by the strength of your convictions.

      #3 The most glaring constant is the fact that you offer not one single shred of quantifiable, documented and verified evidence to back up or corroborate your theory. Most of what I have read is strictly your opinion based on your experience. While you seem to have a solid background in IT (even going as far as to declare Bill Gates a greenhorn in comparison) you’re not offering much in the way of substance to back up what you predict. You’ve clearly given this plenty of thought but I just don’t see where you can backup this line of thought with respected evidence. There’s just been too many similar claims over the years with too many disparate technologies to make it believable.

      What I personally think has been echoed here dozens of times through the thread so I’ll spare everyone the witty banter. I think we have enough “you’re wrong and here’s why” posts to choke a Yak.

      You have a bold prediction on record and you’ve stood firmly by it despite having no real concrete evidence so one has to give you credit for getting up off of the canvas each time and putting up your dukes.


      • #3274091

        An interesting analysis

        by cs ·

        In reply to I’ve seen 3 constants in this thread

        Well done with this analysis. It avoids ill informed personal comments. I realised I was entering the lions den when posting such “heresy” that the beloved toys called PC are not actually necessary in their present and ever increasing complexity. Simpler devices exist which have lower operational, risk and environmental cost to perform the majority of tasks required by Joe Soap public.

        Whilst noting that most of the “rebuttals” were emotional rather than informed I’ll take this opportunity to drop out of this argument. One final question on your response is how does one produce evidence of the future?

        • #3274039

          Call in Karnak

          by jpenrose ·

          In reply to An interesting analysis

          Well, since I don’t know you I can’t really get personal. I try to read into the thought or idea and leave the ‘personal’ bits for those that I personally know.

          You soften your approach a bit in that second phrase by stating that simpler devices with lower operational, risk and environmental cost are more tuned to average, low needs users. This is a statement I can get behind. What I can’t see is heaping in the power user, enthusiast, tinker, gamer etc with Joe Soap. Joe needs to be able to email a few folks and browse the www; s/he doesn’t need to render 40GB of video into the next great family feature or frag some butt in an online game. Many folks look at their PC as a pure entertainment tool (the hub of the home entertainment universe if you will) so suggesting to that crowd that the device will be extinct in 60 months IS heresy to them.

          The PC seems to be on track to evolve into much more than it is presently given the potential for integration with home theatre, HDTV, game consoles and the home itself. The PC may in fact end up being the engine for the home entertainment system while the LCD/DLP/Plasma/ screen is the viewer. Mix in wireless peripherals and gobs of low cost storage (with automated backup routines) and you have an (r)evolution of the computer. Always there, always ready just like the telephone or the hydro. I believe the day comes when we look at the PC the same way we do the phone and the plug in the wall. PCs are still sticking out like sore thumbs but perhaps the day will arrive when the device is just there and more or less taken for granted. Instead of the elective ?power toy? that it seems to be now it becomes the telephone; just there, working for us. But enough of what I predict; this isn?t about me.

          I agree that you can’t produce evidence of the future but you can produce material, trend studies, professional analysis etc that supports a theory. I was merely pointing out that I didn’t see that.

          I’ll go ahead and stick my neck out (again) to say that I agree in principle that a percentage of the computing public (read: home users) doesn’t need anymore than the simple PU device you propose. I can’t say I’m too fond of the “get all your needs from an ISP” theory but there is definitely a place for a thin client type machine for the email/browser crowd. I think that section of the population eventually gives in to the fact that the PC is destined to be more than it is today and gets on board.

          Throwing a prediction that bold into a Tech community is going to cause a fuss and almost certainly get personal. I?ve been hanging around BBS for many years and I see it time and time again; a passionately believed idea is put out there and the community looks at it like a shark looks at a hook full of chum. You?re a bigger man than many to put that up knowing that it?ll get curb stomped and then come to its defense. Hats off to you cs.


        • #2510540

          Best prediction of future behavior is past behavior

          by cayble ·

          In reply to An interesting analysis

          You don’t “produce EVIDENCE of the future” you predict likelihoods of what the future may hold. Thousands of years of empirical evidence shows that virtually every culture and society loves to own things, so while over the years there are bound to be those who may either choose or be forced to accept a cost effective measure of abandoning the ownership of their own personal computer the real likelihood to unfold for the foreseeable future is the continued advancement and private ownership of home based personal computers.

          So far there is absolute zero that indicates that home based computer systems will disappear in the near future, so one rationally must suspect that the evidence so far is accurate.

    • #3225283

      Microsoft has no worries yet

      by derek schauland ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      While this sounds like an interesting concept, I do not think that the mass appeal will be there… if the technology is available (which it should be) there will be some that might try it but it will be a long time before it is used as the only service…

    • #2954893

      Is This For Real?

      by elyanon ·

      In reply to The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

      I have been in Costa Rica for 16 plus years and left only once for medical reasons in Europe, not my home the U.S. I have to say as an indvidual who has the experience of 31 years with computers from Atari and Commador till now with 7 duifferent coputers today 5 laptops today.
      The infastrucure of this planet on every continent could not support something like this for another 20 years if the people world wide are very hard working, really wanting to have developement growth and productivity and were devoted to the task. This will be done I agree in a city here and there, yes the technology will be more advanced. However, if you travel a dozen miles or killometors in any direction; talk to a diverse number of people where ever you are its easy to understand that none of what we want and can do technologically for whatever reason is as close to imposible on any scall of probabilty: people around the globe have since the mid 1990’s been forced to be or choose to believe that only thier immediate needs are immportant and could care very little about making even business benefical to the masjority. Just think for a momment and you can sum it all up in a simple look at reality. If the electricity goes out in Washington D.C. the indidual in Chicago “well at least it wasn’t here and now the federal government will be a mess for a while,’. Standing in Ciudad Colon I and those with me see the lights go off in Heradia on the other side of San Jose (thanks to the mountian,though 40-45 miles away) one of those with me says, “at least it wasn’t here causing me problems today …”.
      I have written a good deal of books and papers and to sum this up you really need to think something like I do and say “plasurism is one great form of flaterry” technology will never move as fast as it did for less than 6-7 years i the 90’s except on a limited basis. Remember man went to the moon just 40 years ago and (COMPUTER) infornation technology is the only thing that has boomed for economic reasons and it has only trickled down in bits and pieces from one country to another.
      Once between going to the moon and developing the Laptop we in the U.S. had trickle down economics. Today Europe, China and to a much lesser degree the U.S. give the world trikle down technology. THAT IS BEING REAL, so go to Amsterdam ang get you portable info in 5 years, but watch out for the falling buildings and enjoy the museums and libary’s that are closed and set only a few meters from the pot holes in the road while people in small town Ill. hope they have electricity all week; the same thing, people are hoping in 90% of the world. So go to AMSTERDAM or, Taiwan maybe San Fransisco in FIVE years.

      elyanon AS BA MS ED

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