Better PCs

Ken Hess believes people will buy more PCs (legacy PCs, you know those big boxes and notebooks) if the new PCs are better.“Tablets can’t do the same job as efficiently and I think people have discovered this fact. But we want quality. We want our PCs to last from three to five years. Most businesses figure the life of a PC is three years. Consumers generally have no idea how long a computer should last.” This is mostly crap for several reasons. There are people who want newer, faster, smaller, bigger, coloured, whatever PCs but most of us use the old one until it breaks. That’s just common sense. When was the last time you bought a new house? Was it to get a faster house? Nope. You may have wanted more rooms or fewer rooms or proximity to work/food/forests. I don’t know anyone who buys a new house because the old one is 3-5 years old. That’s rare. Extremely rare.

The fact is that Wintel trained people to buy new PCs by automatically updating the old ones with useless “MIPS-eating” stuff that made them slower to do what the user wanted done. That’s not in the users best interest. People buy PCs for their own interests, not M$’s. Now that there are tablets and smartphones not using Wintel, people are buying them in huge numbers. You can do actual work with them. Just hook a big monitor/keyboard/mouse to them and whale away. Keep them 1 year or five years. They keep working if you don’t step on them. They are “embedded” with few if any moving parts, nothing to break barring crushing/drowning/impact damage.

If you want people to buy new “legacy” PCs, you have to make them no bigger than people need/want. What’s wrong with making tiny boxes with no moving parts? What’s wrong with using FLOSS/GNU/Linux? What’s wrong with selling the boxes for ~$100? No. If you try to upsell/pressure people to buy new PCs they will hate you and push back. Give them what they want, not what you want to sell them just because you’ve been selling such crap for decades. If you cut prices and don’t send shiploads of money to M$ you can sell many more legacy PCs in emerging markets like Africa and Asia and South America. Those new to PCs are not interested one bit in satisfying M$’s greed. Those familiar with PCs are tired of satisfying M$’s greed.

The major buyers of new legacy PCs these days are businesses who feel locked in to M$’s office suite and OS for various reasons. Businesses are not run by stupid people. They see small cheap computers everywhere getting the job done. If your business plan is to keep selling businesses more expensive PCs more often, you are doomed. Sell them small cheap computers running FLOSS and GNU/Linux. There are businesses planning to run XP forever. They aren’t soon going to plunk down big money for a newer version of something that works for them. When the machines finally die, they can and will switch to GNU/Linux because there’s no legitimate business-reason to stick with Wintel. The world can and does make its own software. It’s called FLOSS and the world does not need M$ to sell them at ever higher prices what they can get much cheaper.

See Fixing the PC market in the Post-PC Era: Build better PCs.

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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6 Responses to Better PCs

  1. Brendan Perrine says:

    I want other things to last longer than most phones how many times have most people wanted to upgrade phones since I bought this laptop in 2009 Or my old desktop I was using from 2005.

  2. ram says:

    My company would probably buy a few new boxen or consumer motherboards IF they didn’t come with that anti-feature UEFI. The rather more expensive servers without UEFI are something that is not going to be updated frequently. In any event, the main processors have not become significantly faster per core since the early AMD-64 architecture machines came out. All the modern processing and upgrade gains are coming from plugging in OpenCL boards into the PCI-E slots. Those can be worth upgrading, much more grunt for the same power consumption.

  3. Mats Hagglund says:

    I’m still using 9 years old desktop with three Linux-distribution on it (Mint, Fedora and Manjaro). Without Linux and FLOSS that won’t be possible. Even with desktop the cycle of Windows seems to be about 3-5 years, with portables much less 2-3 years. Wife of my son got her Windows 7 laptop in terrible condition after using just 14 months it. With Ubuntu on it she has had no problems at all. 5 years history of Windows 7 has proved that it sucks just like its predecessors.

    Of course there are certain problems with old hardware. E.g i can’t use 2-4 GB SD-cards. No benefits with 64 bit computing and electricity consumption is about 10 times more than that with brand new portables.

  4. oiaohm says:

    ssorbom google speech recognition is depending on cloud not locally processed hello speed problems. Yes the lag suxs and is not continuous.

    Yes intel Jarvis where it acts like a blue-tooth keyboard/mouse device is if you are after dictation with performance on an tablet.

    Android not jail broken can still run debian to a limited point.

    ssorbom tablets are what UEFI threaten to be on PC. Attempt to clean Windows RT off a surface you are in for far worse of a fight than an Android tablet put up.

    Hopefully arm64 should see jail breaking simpler. The existing 32 bit arms were not designed with the idea of random software.

    The question with the power where does it have to be. Nvidia grid and so on see PC as a interface server sitting somewhere around the place. Like 4 users in the house being able to share it at the same time on their tablets.

    ssorbom we are still in the early part of the tablet development. Some of the issues now will fade with time.

  5. ssorbom wrote, “I found the keyboard/swiping experience to be very frustrating.”

    Add a real keyboard. Usable ones start at $30. Great ones start around $60. Add a mouse too. To compare apples and oranges, you could try typing on the screen of your legacy PC. Frustrated yet?

    ssorbom wrote, “I don’t see how Android is a big win for freedom compared to Microsoft”.

    Almost anything is a win for freedom compared to M$ but you can hack most Android/Linux devices to add a GNU/Linux distro or some app that will do what you want. It is Linux underneath and the source code is available if you need it. Some people are putting GNU/Linux on tablets in place of Android/Linux or alongside it. See Root Friendly

  6. ssorbom says:

    I won a tablet this weekend, so I feel that I can now effectively comment on them much better.

    So far:
    Tablets are good for some things. They are excellent for being a portable web portal. For straght up reading, it is better than my PC in a lot of cases. As I thought, they are good media pipelines in general. Dont get me wrong, it is a neat device.
    I found the keyboard/swiping experience to be very frustrating. Google speech API mitigates this somewhat, but having used voice recognition for a long time, I can tell you googles API is definitely not as good as the offerings in the PC world. The dictation model does not appear to be based on continuous Speech Recognition.

    So, basically I agree with his premise. Some people might get away with just a tablet, but the PC/Laptop is decidedly not dead yet. Plenty of people still need power.
    Secondly, I don’t see how Android is a big win for freedom compared to Microsoft. You can’t run things like Debian on a tablet very well. Yes, they have support for ARM but the trick seems to be jailbraking your device without bricking it. I looked into rooting my device, but it looks scary…
    I certainly never had that much trouble wiping Windows off my traditional system.

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