Joe Wilcox Goes To Bat for Chrome OS

Remember Joe Wilcox? He has been around a long time but lately I have heard little from him. Now he has hit a home run:
There’s a persistent arrogance among PC users that ignores a fundamental reality about personal computers: Their multifunctional, Jack-of-all-of-trades capability was, until recently, unique among technology devices. The PC’s greatest defenders often compare what other devices can’t do when evaluating their worthiness. It’s that kind of reasoning, particularly among IT decision makers, that kept PDAs, cell phones and smartphones out of businesses. These devices generally entered through the backdoor — by savvy, forward-thinking employees bringing in their own products. The PC was good enough and pain enough to manage went the IT organization’s reasoning.

Most consumers or businesses don’t use one tool for everything, because most devices have a single or primary function. So people have a stove, refrigerator, coffee maker and toaster in the kitchen, rather than one device with all these functions. That’s typical. The PC is, or was, atypical by doing many things pretty well — good enough, anyway. That’s changing as TVs take on PC functions or cellular handsets behave more like pocket computers than telephony devices. The reasoning against anything not a PC is simply that the device cannot replace the personal computer. I ask: Why does it have to? Why shouldn’t it replace the PC, in appropriate context?

Amen, Joe. It is extremely inefficient to drive a tank to the corner store unless you expect small arms fire… Why do all kinds of people dump on

  • small, cheap computers,
  • thin clients,
  • smart thingies,
  • computers running GNU/Linux, and
  • computers more than a few years old

just because they don’t do everything the same way that a brand new PC running that other OS will do?

It is neither logical nor optimal to insist on every personal computer in an organization being very similar to the ones blessed by Wintel. Certainly there is extra cost in maintaining more types of personal computing devices but, surprise, many choices require much less maintenance than the 40 tonne tank and certainly many cost less to acquire.

Read Chrome OS is only a failure to people living in the past by Joe Wilcox

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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One Response to Joe Wilcox Goes To Bat for Chrome OS

  1. Dann says:

    “It is extremely inefficient to drive a tank to the corner store”

    But you cannot deny that some people would think of such a mode of transportation as ideal. =)

    I’m somewhat adverse to ‘smart-thingies’ as you call them, because I really don’t like the idea of carrying an always-on GPS with me. We’ve heard of Apple’s crimes, storing information on users for prolonged periods of time. Android yes, but to a much lesser extent.

    I hate even carrying a symbian cellphone around because I’d rather contact people on my terms. I do enjoy anonynimity.

    Personal opinion aside, each computer you listed is a tool to get a certain job done. The general all-purpose PC is becoming less “all-purpose” and more “general-purpose”. You can scale it a bit, make it a small server, small 3d development or audio studio, can make skype/voip calls, can take notes, etc…
    But a desktop is not mobile, and laptops are hard to use as phones and generally do not include touchscreens.

    I wouldn’t use Google OS if I could help it, but I can’t help but admire their technical strength and the creation of valuable tools for IT. Something M$ has missed for years.

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