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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger
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    So what if the desktop disapears in a few years?

    Something I've been thinking about. We've all had a "desktop" on our screens for so long, many of us find it hard to conceive of anything else. We're convinced that we can't do what we do without it. Myself included. My hobby is photography. Right now I need the horsepower of a real PC and the screen real estate to run some fairly demanding programs. Yes, you can do some photo editing with apps for tablets. But you can't convert RAW, catalog photos and many versions of them, create layers, etc with a tablet. Nor can you store them on the limited space that a tablet has.

    Or can you? Not today of course. But what will we see 3, 5, or 10 years from now? Tablets will not always be the limited machines they are today. Windows 8 hybrid devices are showing that already. Will it really limit us if we can do everything we today, but without the desktop? People are driving cars with batteries and hybrid cars. Twenty years ago we scoffed at that saying no one would ever buy anything like that.

    If I had a light weight, easy to carry device like an iPad that had massive amount of storage, lots of memory, lots of processor, could be plugged into a docking station type setup when needed, and do all the things I do today, what more could I ask for?

    I submit that the eventual prospect of losing the desktop doesn't really matter. Your thoughts?
    Chuck

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    It really depends on what you mean by the desktop, doesn't it? If by desktop you mean a sort of UI manager that will allow you to effectively control your work, in an environment where you can effectively multitask, I doubt it. Most likely, in 10 years, you won't have the current desktop, but any alternatives need to allow you to do what you now do in the desktop in as effective way as you can with the existing one.

  3. #3
    5 Star Lounger
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    Exactly what I'm saying Ruirib.
    Chuck

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    Silver Lounger mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    If the docking station allows for a big monitor or two, as well as a keyboard / mouse / flash drive / external hard drive / etc, then I think the iPad model will become the primary computer that people use.

    Until that happens, the iPad will occupy only a niche.

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    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    The problem I see, and I do not have a tablet to really check this out, is that the tablet screen size is small in comparison to even today's laptops. With the docking station and a keyboard of sorts, and with a powerful tablet that can run a complete OS, not a gutted OS such as RT, I can see this. You could attached your large storage drives to the docking station along with a larger screen for the truly big jobs, then use the tablet for displaying your work off site. I can see this is a few years. The more powerful tablets we see today are much closer now.
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  6. #6
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    I'll always see it as a dichotomous world (and I've tried imagining holographic projection or just plain projection onto a larger surface, things like that) between the small (just the right size for whomever) and mobile and the large and mostly immobile. Doesn't matter so much if its called a desktop or a tablet, whatever, I like screen size. I'm imagining gaming and multimedia on a 55" retina display or 4K display. I want the iMax experience if I'm not mobile; build me whatever will have enough horsepower and still be economical, and call it whatever you want. I feel more productive working on a large screen as well, I can view and save or delete 30 images at a time instead of 4, stuff like that.
    I think power consumption, processing power desired/demanded, and different U.I. requirements will keep them separate (hang on, I have to get up to go touch my 55" inch screen! ). Try to build anything that meets the requirements of both worlds, and I think it will either come up short in one or be severely overbuilt for the other.

    Instead of a battery powered car, lets see how an over the road, heavy equipment flatbed semi-truck hauler does on electricity instead of hydrocarbons. To take the analogy a tad further, would you ever lump cars and semi-trucks together as far as being able to accomplish the same tasks with the same efficiency? A car going from fossil fuel to a derivative fossil fuel is only like a netbook going to a touch tablet I think. Folks who only or mostly just comsume and don't produce much with a computer, sure, they don't need desktops already.
    Last edited by F.U.N. downtown; 2012-10-26 at 00:30.

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    This thread is similar to some others that have appeared in this forum. It seems to me that for many people the computer, in whatever manifestation, has become more of toy than a tool for work. Storage space, for example, gets filled up with music and photo files rather than traditional Word, Excel, and Powerpoint documents, for example. Hour spent on Facebook outnumber hours spent actually working. For me, the computer is a work tool, and for that, there is nothing that beats the old-fashioned desktop computer. I am a professional writer and spend much of my work day creating documents at my desktop computer. I usually need to have several documents open at once and so have two large monitors on my desk. Having to use anything other than a desktop computer would seriously limit my productivity. I am a fast typist, but a laptop keyboard doesn't come close to a large desktop keyboard for usability and speed. Never mind a tablet. I have no use for a tablet or ipad (I've never owned an Apple product of any sort and have no desire for one), and the only app I use on my smartphone is the phone app.

    Now, I have no beef with people who like their ipads and smartphones and who use them for work or play, and this is not a criticism of anyone. I'm just saying I'm not one of them, and I can't imagine working without a desktop computer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by F.U.N. downtown View Post
    Instead of a battery powered car, lets see how an over the road, heavy equipment flatbed semi-truck hauler does on electricity instead of hydrocarbons.
    Actually that's not a good analogy. Electric motors are all about torque. Torque is what does the work. The diesel engine in a locomotive doesn't drive the trucks, it generates electricity for the electric motors. Diesel simply isn't powerful enough to move a train. Its the ultimate hybrid. Some years back GM experimented a bit with an electric motor at each wheel of a car. Not sure how far they ever got with it but the notion of having a Suburban with an electric engine to tow my travel trailer with is fascinating. But I digress...
    Chuck

  9. #9
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    No, actually I think it is a good analogy because yes, electric motors are great at torque, but they're not used for semi-trailer truck use. Why? Because it comes up short in some needed capacity to adequately perform all required tasks; the other compromises are too onerous. Diesel powered electric motors turn screws for large ships too right? I think you were trying to reverse "analagize" me here. .

  10. #10
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    Interestingly enough, I just got through reading a Paul Thurrott article in Window IT Pro entitled "Welcome to Windows 8". It's very well written and the conclusions surprised me a bit in that it leads to exactly the thought I started this thread with. It compares the current computing paradigm shift to the transition from Windows NT/Windows 95 to Windows XP. Unfortunately because its a subscription based article it is not available for linking. I think I'm on OK ground if I quote two excellent lines from the second last paragraph of the article: "You’ll be able to buy iPad-class devices that transform into real PCs and can run real Photoshop, not the sad version that iPad users put up with. When you consider the amount of time, money, and effort that iPad users expend trying to make their expensive toys act more like PCs, you realize that Microsoft’s strategy makes sense. It’s a winner." That crack about "effort that iPad users expend trying to make their expensive toys act more like PCs" is precious. If you can get a single copy of the Oct issue, this article alone is a good read.

    @F.U.N, Obviously this isn't the forum to go back and forth about engine technology, but the answer as to why semi trucks don't use electric engines isn't as simple as "they come up short in some needed capacity". The better short simple answer is ROI. Electric motors would be far better, but not cost effective to implement. Nor cost effective to operate. They would cost more to buy, probably be no cheaper to run, and that cost would get passed on to the consumer. Cost is everything when it comes to the question of "why aren't we using something better?".
    Last edited by Doc Brown; 2012-10-26 at 16:23.
    Chuck

  11. #11
    Silver Lounger mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Brown View Post
    Actually that's not a good analogy. Electric motors are all about torque. Torque is what does the work. The diesel engine in a locomotive doesn't drive the trucks, it generates electricity for the electric motors. Diesel simply isn't powerful enough to move a train. Its the ultimate hybrid. Some years back GM experimented a bit with an electric motor at each wheel of a car. Not sure how far they ever got with it but the notion of having a Suburban with an electric engine to tow my travel trailer with is fascinating. But I digress...
    If, in fact, electric motors are more up to snuff than gasoline motors, how come my electric weed whacker will wear out quick when I use it on tall grass, but a gasoline weed whacker will just keep going and going?

    Of course, the Eveready Bunny keeps going and going, and he's electric, but I digress...

    Pretty cool twisting these conversations all over the place!

  12. #12
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Of course the diesel has the power to move the train, as there is power lost in converting the diesel power to electromotive power.

    Diesel/Electric combination rigs are practical because diesel motor torque development occurs fairly high in its rpm range. Maximum torque on an electric motor is at startup, and torque decreases as motor rpm increases. Some earth-moving "pans" are diesel/electric, as are the huge mine-haul dump trucks. The diesel engine has enough power to move the train, but the drivetrain would be much more complex (torque convertor or clutch, transmission, differential) than direct coupling to a DC generator, and train engines typically have six electric motors, one for each drive axle. Going backward requires a simple change in polarity.

    The same principals apply to ship power as well; no drivetrain issues.

    And the electric weed whacker can't compare with the two-cycle gasoline powered weed whacker, because it doesn't have anywhere near the power output.

    Which doesn't relate at all to tablets vs. PC's. What is the work to be done, and how effective and efficient is the device in allowing one to do the work without getting in the way in some manner.

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    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Hi All,

    IMHO in 10-20 years you won't recognize any current form of computer be it Desktop, Laptop, Tablet, or Phone.
    Think about where the computer industry has gone in the last 60+ years! Yes I'm starting at about 1950 with the old room full of vacuum tubes.
    So 10-20 years is only 33% of that time frame...think we'll make a little progress?

    "Imagine there's no" {nod to John Lennon} Box, screen, keyboard, or mouse!
    Computer: In your wrist watch {hello Dick Tracey} or maybe some other jewelry for the fairer sex.
    Storage: it's in there or on the cloud, no more syncing problems.
    Screen: built-in your glasses or contacts whether or not they correct your vision. Or projected to what ever screen {read TV} is handy via Blue-Tooth or equivalent with resolution and drivers automatically adjusted.
    KBD: Voice recognition that's 99.999% effective.
    Mouse: Eye movement read by the same glasses/contacts, blink to click.

    Don't think we'll get there?
    Just remember what the conventional wisdom said about writers like Verne, Wells, and all the rest of the Sci-Fi pioneers. Most of that stuff, man on the moon, submarines, nuclear power, computers!!!, I could go on and on, is now passe.

    I'm just sayin'.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

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  14. #14
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    I don't believe that the desktop will disappear, there has been exaggerated claims of this, but I don't buy it.

    Businesses will always need the desktop, so will heavy duty gamers. Desktop sales are down, but one reason for it is that they're lasting longer, another is the economy. It costs much less to install a new OS on a decent running desktop, as I did Friday.

    Portables are more popular & essential than ever, but the desktop will always be the workhorse.

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  15. #15
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    Which doesn't relate at all to tablets vs. PC's. What is the work to be done, and how effective and efficient is the device in allowing one to do the work without getting in the way in some manner.
    Yeah, I thought it was a good analogy for diversification (purpose driven usability, cost-effectiveness and efficiency) but I see I need to somehow allow for inductive reasoning that goes beyond the context of the analogy, because it spiraled out of control.


    ...you could very well be right RG. Outside forces could throw that time frame into a tizzy though. Also it does not follow that because the rate of technological advances is accelerating, they will continue to advance accordingly. We don't pay quite enough attention to history and don't live long enough as individuals to always recognize that. Unintended consequences, world turmoil, economic forces, and natural barriers that don't come into play for years...some say at the present rate of fiscal hemorrhaging, the U.S. will have to reorganize within 15 years and give up world superpower status...and just because it can be made or ostensibly improved upon doesn't mean it will be economical or gain a high level of acceptance that keeps driving it forward. Technology can level out and even decline; become passe as you say.

    On the small scale of personal device or information interaction, I don't have a clue, it was going miniature then, folks wanted more interaction than that afforded so it got big again and picked up touch for those on the go, its funded by margins that are almost too good to be true as far as manufacturers and data subscription venders are concerned when compared to to traditional home desktops; I would almost be willing to bet the effort to change this is industry driven rather than consumer driven. Products like Windows 8 can drive that change at home because of the move of the OS to be so much more online oriented (because that's a two-way street right to your pocketbook or more direct information about you so then a more direct path to your pocketbook can be built!) than off and because the addition of touch interface, but its almost never a concerted smooth progression; it "hercs and it jerks" and when you really think about it, are you interested in interfaces and methods 20 years from now, or are you interested in what they are now and what they are in 1 year. Why even try to project, lean one way and go with it! Write it down, put it in a time capsule and open it in 20 years and see what you said if you must.

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