Word! In another thread, someone mentioned that this year's Black Friday computer specials involved costlier but higher performance machines. I feel that reflects how tablets and smartphones have been displacing low-end PC's, not mid-level and high performance (or business) PC's especially laptops.
This is even reflected at Apple, where the plastic-cased Macbook was ended when the Macbook Air came out, and they kept the Macbook Pro. (Disclaimer: I use a BYOD dual boot MBP with OS X and Windows 7, for personal and work respectively, and can travel for business with just one computer! And I run ESL SystemC simulations on Windows 7.)
PC's will certainly continue to exist in the workplace. However desktop PC's are way too slow for serious engineering work. All of the real work I do is done on large clusters of servers that sit in a room on the other side of the world. I often keep 20+ expensive servers busy for hours on end... My laptop is simply used for typing, so anything that can connect to a keyboard would be good enough.
It has been years since I had a computer whose speed impressed me. I'd love to have a computer that was quick and snappy at and ordinary computing and basic operations (open a local folder or open a web page on a very high speed connection). Everytime I buy a new laptop and pay a little extra for the extra memory and fast disk drive, the operating system has become even more bloated and the net result is a system that is not substantially faster than my old one. I suppoose if I bought a Linux server for my personal computing I wouldn't be complaining about speed - but I'd be suffering from compatibility issues with my colleagues.
My first personal computer in 1979 - a Commodore CBM 8032 (80 column screen version of the Commodore PET) was the fastest personal computer I've ever seen. It really made me believe that electrons were faster than neurons. The bright green letters on a black screen were easy to read but graphics were very primitive.
I had a Sinclair Spectrum around 1983 and same thing - almost instant boot. And I could get pretty much everything I wanted done on that primitive thing. I wonder how much we have really progressed.....
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