Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Personal Computing versus Personal Computers

Virtual Computing and Personal Computers are about the same age, but they haven't truly met yet, at least not in the consumer experience.

The reality however is that the meeting is inevitable, so that we can finally make the transition from Digital Divide to Digital Un-divide, making affordable personal computing a reality. For the personal computer model (and therefore the Microsfoft business model of old), are really a still-born baby, a fluke of history. Except for professional uses, most personal computers (think of the family computer) are shared resources to one degree or another. And besides the security disaster that they are by definition, which cannot be solved, i.e. is logically incapable of solution, except for bandaid solutions, work-arounds and kludges, they are also not practical, not manageable, not to mention needless energy hogs.

For one thing, think of what it would do for our electrical bills and for the country's energy dependence, if we replaced all PCs drawing 3-500 watts, with thin clients or smart terminals drawing 25 watts.

For another think of how much happier most of us would be if we didn't have the endless worries of PC maitenance (they break down far more than cars), and instead had a managed back end, run by professionals, particularly if it provided better security and privacy than the home-based "personal computer" we now use, but which is likely to be shared to one degree or another, voluntarily or otherwise (Johnny, did you mess with my computer again???)

That sounds like it may be the right direction. I for one, being far more computer literate than about 99% of the population, would relish the thought of never having to hunt down another virus, or to replace a hard disk for that matter. Even more so, I would relish the thought of accessing my work from wherever I need to be.

The Personal Computer model probably reaches saturation at no more than 15% of the world's population, and is not truly functional or reliable for better than 95% of users, because of its inherent management problems. The Personal Computing model has a lot further to go, because it is both more functional and far cheaper. If the 50/15 initiative is the answer or even part of the answer remains to be seen.

Copyright, (c) 2005, Rogier F. van Vlissingen. All rights reserved.

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