That’s something I’m asking myself since quite a while. I mean I don’t have any insight, I didn’t study sales figures, I don’t have any hard facts. All I know is that one of the biggest computer manufacturers, Apple Inc., doesn’t really bring out new computer models anymore, while others are selling off their desktop and laptop divisions. Stupid tablets, smart phones, wristbands and watches seem to have taken over all the tasks the average user used to use (cool sentence structure, eh?) computers for. So overall it seems like the end days of the good old PC are nigh.
The other day a guy in a computer store went even a bit aggro on me when I told him I was looking for a certain motherboard. Asked me why I wasn’t just using the new [fill in cellphone brand of your choice here], it does everything one needs to do anyway. Yaya, as if. 😦 When I told him I was writing rather long texts, like real long, and also had a blog and was dabbling in virtual worlds and also did some digital photography, he became more friendly and showed me what mobos they had on store. Oh my, it was the store owner himself, committing economical suicide right in front of my eyes! I was friendly enough not to ask him why he didn’t just open a smartphone store, know what I mean? So, yes, computers are over and done with, obviously. Yesterday’s news.
But lately I feel a growing resistance. More and more people – when you look exactly – are schlepping laptops through airports instead of tablets. And in the home people are asking for powerful desktop machines for gaming and everyday computing tasks. That is my (very) subjective and biased gut feeling.
And anyway, even if the traditional PC fell out of favour with the stupid masses, what does it mean for me, what does it mean for you? Do we feel like sailing highly competitive SL sail races on a teenie tiny tablet? Are we gonna write our fantastic blogstories on a tiny smartphone touchscreen? Are we starting to do highly sophisticated image manipulations on our smartphones? I guess not.
So, no matter what the status of the PC on the international marketplace is, there will always be a need for a powerful, highly scaleable and versatile machine that fulfills the needs of more creative people, of people who contribute rather than just consumate.
Or are we living through a societal change, a generational change that has more influence than just our office machinery. Lately I see signs of the young people, millenials they are called I guess, too tired and overstressed, too impatient, too badly educated, which really don’t have the need for computers anymore. Of course they don’t see the need for a real computing machine if they don’t know what to do with it in the first place. Why use a oldfashioned keyboard if you don’t have the abilities and skill to formulate your very few thoughtprocesses in full sentences and recognisable grammar? Even inworld SL no need for a keyboard when we have glorious “voice”.
And coming to that, why Second Life when other “games” are so much better and give you more stuff to do. SL is so boring, nothing to do in that empty world. Use my imagination my ass! So we kill it! And that’s what we do with illegal moslem immigrants as well. We need quick and – more importantly – easy fixes for all our problems. That’s why we can’t decide between Trump and Clinton; this choice is far above our heads. And that’s also why we can’t switch to Linux: Thinking, adjusting, caring about details, not having to follow the blueprint of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates is just too much, too exhausting for us. Fuck freedom, I want you to tell me what to do!
Yes, what I see is a total shift of paradigms, a fall and fail of Western cultures. We reached our zenith a while ago and are now on a steep downwards spiral. The demise of the good old computer is just a symptom of this distressing social shift to the worse.
But here is the thing: If the younglings can be such obnoxious little pricks, so can I. I won’t stop playing the forum grammar nazi, I won’t stop spending irresponsible amonunts of time behind the keyboard of my desktop computer, I won’t have a smartphone on me when I go out, I won’t buy a microphone and headsets and engage in voice “conversations” in SL. And when I travel I will have a proper laptop with me.
Fortunately the manufacturing industry seems to slowly get it and are now reviving the good old netbooks and/or making keyboards for tablets and ever bigger and more powerful smartphones. Now is a Chromebook not entirely good enough as a personal computer for me but it’s a start and goes at least in the right direction. And the peripherals industry seems to do very well, thanks to the gaming penomenon. Graphic cards, gaming mice, faster processors, liquid coolers, mechanical keyboards, all that stuff gives me at least the necessary peace of mind that I will find computer spare parts in the next couple years. So I can go on doing what I do and stay my fuking self, the grumpy computer granny. 🙂