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Of the Mind
In computer news this week 02/01/2012
A time for new definitions - a tablet is not a pc ….. it’s a specialized device.
What is the definition of computer ? An electronic device designed to accept data, perform prescribed mathematical and logical operations at high speed, and display the results of these operations.
The first computer – the Eniac back in the 1940’s – was designed to compute shell trajectories in warfare. It took only twenty seconds to compute the trajectory of a shell that took 30 seconds to reach its target. The designers of the Eniac went on to start their own company, Univac, and competed with the IBM corporation in the mainframe computer industry.
In 1975 the first personal computer kit – the Altair – was introduced. You had to be an electronics technician to build it, and a computer programmer to make it do anything, but it actually would compute when it was finished.
Later in the 70’s Apple and other vendors introduced their first personal computers, and in 1982 IBM introduced its first pc.
The killer application, or the software program that made these first computers so valuable to business people, was spreadsheet programs like Visicalc or Lotus 123 that would let you create a model of your departmental budget, and then allow you to do “what if” modeling, and the computer would compute and recompute different scenarios.
The PC revolution started with computational spreadsheet programs, and soon pc’s replaced mainframe computers . The role of a pc was to do business applications, spreadsheets, accounting, vertical market applications, all involving computing. As pc’s evolved, they got more powerful in terms of the microprocessors they used, and their storage capacity. Most pc’s today have far more computational horsepower than the early mainframes.
The role of a personal computer has changed over the years, in addition to business applications, pc’s now are expected to navigate the Web and send email, related to business operations.
Tablets simply are not the same as pc’s; they’re a different device with very different uses. The micro processors in tablets are not as powerful than in pc’s;. What people actually do on tablets is very different from what businesses do on pc’s. So when you hear the argument about tablets replacing pc’s, it’s an apples to oranges comparison.
Tablets are outselling pc’s; cell phones are greatly outselling tablets. The primary use of both is for entertainment, social networking, and communications, and they both do a good job at that.
Having bought an Ipad 1 and testing it out to see what it can do, I feel it’s an interesting device and I can see where it would particularly appeal to younger people and have a lot of valuable uses.
But I’ll just keep using my old desktop pc, thank you.
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This is Frank Delaney
(C) 2012 MTA Micro Technology Associates