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Friday, September 6, 2013

WHO KILLED THE PC?

BRYCE ON TECHNOLOGY

- It certainly wasn't me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep the Faith!

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

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

For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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