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The End Of Desktops?

Is the desktop computer going the way of the typewriter as computing races mobile?

Photo illustration. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Photo illustration. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Web searches, up again last month.  No surprise.  We live and learn through computers.  That’s obvious.  But Web searches on desktop computers last month – down.  For the first time ever, we’re told.  Down four percent.  The explosion of handhelds, tablets, smartphones, “mobile” is roaring.

For decades, the desktop computer was the mainstay, the bedrock, of personal computer use.  Gamers still love it.  Serious users still fear a mobile “lobotomy.”  But in many homes, the desktop is the new dusty typewriter.

This hour, On Point:  will the desktop computer go the way of the dodo.

-Tom Ashbrook


Frank Gillette, vice president of Forrester Research.

Christina Bonnington, staff writer for Wired Digital’s blog “Gadget Lab”.

Hiawatha Bray, tech reporter for the Boston Globe.

From Tom’s Reading List

CBS News “What kind of computer do you expect to have on your desk in eight years? According to IT research company Gartner, it’s likely to be based on Microsoft’s Windows RT platform, which is fundamentally different than the NT-based Windows we know and use today.”

TechCrunch “On the desktop, and on notebooks, a touch screen interface has yet to really become a mainstream staple. There have definitely been attempts to bring touchscreen to desktop displays and all-in-ones in the past; HP’s TouchSmart series pre-dates Windows 8 by a considerable margin, for example. And yet it’s not the dominant model of computing by any means, especially outside of a mobile paradigm, and Windows 8 is unlikely to change that.”

PC World “It’s an intriguing proposition, but don’t count on mobile devices killing off your desktop PC any time soon. While mobile gear is certainly convenient when you’re trying to conduct business on the go, it’s nowhere near as convenient as a desktop when you’re trying to complete serious work in an office environment.”


Hiawatha Bray, tech reporter for the Boston Globe. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Hiawatha Bray, tech reporter for the Boston Globe. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Frank Gillette, vice president of Forrester Research. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Frank Gillette, vice president of Forrester Research. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

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  • http://www.facebook.com/ross.holman1 Ross Holman

    I think for mainstream, causal users the desktop might be dead. For those who just use the computer to check emails and their facebook, the tablet is a great alternative. However, for those who game and require a more powerful computer the desktop is probably here for the foreseeable future.

  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    Writing your own programs is awesome ! Being forced to use store bought programs is a mixed blessing. If the desktop dies, the PC industry, itself is the murderer. Why aren’t they making consumer friendly parallel computing machines ? By that I mean machines that you can program as parallel machines, not dual or quad core processor machines that act a single core machine.

    Thomas Watson, Sr. chairman and CEO of IBM once said, ‘ I think there is a world market for maybe five computers. ‘ ! He just couldn’t believe that other people could be a smart ( or something) as he and his people were. Then came Bill Gates and others, who allowed anyone access to a machine that would allow you to write your own programs in Basic, then Visual Basic, C, C++, etc.. Then came Tim Berners Lee and others , who basically gave us the internet for free !
    You see, when you democratize knowledge and decentralize power, you create an environment for great things to happen ! Too many today are trying to create proprietary, use only, don’t modify, don’t re-create, products. This is wrong ! Companies like Microsoft are now sitting on their hands and acting like the people they use to compete with . Where are the major upgrades to VB, for example ? Where are the new functions ? Why not increase the range on the MOD operator, or the range on Double data types ? We should be able to draw thousands of geometric figures with ease. Wow, what lousy graphics. Where are the pointers ? What’s with the silly API function calls, so very, very drab ! Where are my drop down neural networks ? Why not create, from the ground up a new English friendly, parallel architecture, human friendly programming language. Forget all that cryptic garbage !

    Please, please, don’t give me that crap about how wonderful cloud computing will be. Really, how dumb can people be ? What sane person would trust anyone with their data, knowing that thieves and criminals are everywhere, even in the institutions that are supposed to serve them ! I have owned over six computers since the mid 90’s. I bought them because they served me well and allowed me to do new and wonderful things. I haven’t bought a computer in over five years now. Why should I ?

    Maybe “Adapteva’s” “Parallella“, will give me a reason. Time will tell.


    • nj_v2

      Good point you raise; democratizing computing hardware. Interesting Kickstarter project.

      Given the trajectory of the show so far (22 mins. in), they’re not likely to mention this.

    • Don_B1

      The New York Times, Science Tuesday, had an appropriate article:


      This goes way beyond today’s discussion, to the subject of how computers can be designed to provide SECURITY in communications between humans, between humans and machines and machines to machines.

      The ability of people to generate SPAM comes from ad-hoc design, which is endemic in desktop computers, because everyone can write their own code with access to the “machine code” level of the computers it will run on. And with the almost universal use of Intel or Intel-compatible computer ICs, that is just about any computer. It is due to this “monoculture” in computers that worms, Trojan horses and computer viruses flourish today. Thus the monoculture allows easier communication of both constructive and destructive information.

      Standards for design are inhibiting, no question about that. But so is the universe we live in, or ALL the genetic mutations that occur would survive, and wouldn’t that make the world a different, and maybe even a harder place, to advance intelligent life in?

      In life systems on earth, the cell is the basis and it enforces standards or it would not have survived. The cell thus has features that cause the destruction of cells with certain mutations, at least most of the time for most types. The trick for computers to perform useful functions while allowing anyone to write unsupervised code for a computer is to have a basic structure which forces that code to meet certain standards or it won’t run.

      In today’s ad-hoc computer structure, the manufacturers are taking an ad-hoc approach, forcing code writers to get their approval of the code first. But if the design of the processors can place requirements of the code to run, this might go away. Whether the manufacturers will like that and let that happen may be a different story.

      • Wm_James_from_Missouri


        Thanks for the link.

        Dr. Neumann’s statement , “…that the increasing complexity of modern hardware and software has made it virtually impossible to identify the flaws and vulnerabilities in computer systems and ensure that they are secure and trustworthy.”, is not truly accurate. It is very possible to run “state” simulations on any system and set(s) of program code. It is true that the more extensive a system is the more difficult this becomes. However, these large companies have very competent people and can spot many areas that may cause trouble just from their past experience. I think not enforcing consumer protection is part of the lackadaisical mindset in these industries.

        Now, that said, I add that just by separating your internet connection from your desktop via a different CPU would solve many problems. Also, there is no reason why routers could not constantly monitor the source of sent messages in a temporary data base ( and I do mean temporary) , so that trouble makers could be located and tagged.

        The main thrust of my post was about having the ability to do interesting, productive, wonderful things that you could not do otherwise. Example: I wrote a program to factor numbers, using a technique that I developed myself. It’s darn fast. I will be making it faster. It’s is better and faster than Euclid’s method ( I.E., faster that Euclid’s big “O”, (that’s fast and loose math talk. ). I could never had done this without the ability to write algorithms on my PC. Having faster PC.s and better interpreters ( another name for a program that turns English into code, also called a compiler ) would allow folks like me to create new things. Things that make a difference. Not just stuff to feed our dopamine circuits in our brains.

    • Wm_James_from_Missouri

      Another link on Adapteva.


      also, see the bottom of the page.

  • Roy-in-Boise

    Checking email or playing words w/ friends is one thing. Try writing a term paper on a tablet. Not!

  • Jinshun Wang

    Desktop computers going away? Never going to happen as long as the PC gaming community exists. As nice as laptops and pads get, they can’t match the amount of computing power you can put into a desktop of the same generation. Those custom builds with dual video cards and such wouldn’t be available on laptops anytime soon, at least not in “fit in a backpack” portal version.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    Not for some time. Real estate is real estate. Being limited to displays the size of greeting cards hinders productivity in the workplace, kind of like trying to drive down the road with a periscope-like hole scraped in the icy windshield. That’s why 8 1/2 x 11′ printers haven’t been replaced by ‘Post-It Note’ printers.

    We will always need high resolution space in which to work be it manipulating graphics or reading and writing documents. It’s easy to foresee carrying no more than a very small computer device on our persons, but we’ll eventually have to dock it with a workstation… unless we start getting bio-implants in our brain-stems or virtual displays in our glasses or contact lenses.

    We’ll need an interaction interface that delivers equally or more precise and fast intuitive control of mice, trackballs and track pads and importantly, the feedback of keypads, if we are still using our fingers to type.

  • Gregg Smith

    I use a G5 Powermac in my studio, recently I bought a Macbook Pro laptop and it out preforms the bulky desktop. The new Thunderbolt interface makes it possible. 

    • jefe68

      Actually Gregg it’s the processor that makes your Macbook pro more powerful. I had a G5 as well and they had the old processors that are now obsolete. You most likely had a 1.6 – 2.7 GHz Single, or Dual Processor that was not intel.

      The Macbook Air comes with a better and faster processor that start 1.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor that can turboboost up to 2.6GHz which is as fast as most of the G5′s.

      I’ve read that Mac is going to discontinue all the high end towers and will now offer only iMacs.

      • Gregg Smith

        Yes, it’s a single 1.8 and suits my needs very well. My laptop has a dual core 2.4 GHz i5 processor. The thunderbolt interface allows eSATA speeds from an external hard drive which is essential for what I do. I run Pro Tools and the high end desktop version (HD) has huge expansion cards that plug up internally. Until thunderbolt, it was not possible to run HD on a laptop.

        • jefe68

          So I gather the software you are using is not effected by the old processor?

          I liked my G5 until the logic board failed.
          Exactly two weeks after my Applecare ran out. It’s now a huge hulk in my attic.

          • Gregg Smith

            Not really at this point because I’m using the software that was designed in the same era. So far I have yet to hit the limits. I had a lot more trouble getting the laptop to communicate with the old interface (Mbox2pro). For instance, I have to boot the MacbookPro in 32 bit mode. If I upgrade from LE8 to protools 10 (I missed 9 altogether) the I’m sure the processor will shine. Don’t get me wrong, the better processor has many advantages just not here. 

            I know what you mean by “obsolete” but it is often imposed. My studio set up works great, it ain’t broke. Unfortunately backward compatibility goes only so far. I was barely able to get a hard drive that would work with my old and new setups. I got it going in time for the big project so it’s all good. At some point (when I have no choice) the laptop will take over.

  • Albert Herasme

    The Desktop is here to stay. If your touching up pictures and making a home movie, sure the laptop will suffice. But for 3-d/image rendering desktops are still king. And even a laptop that is capable of rendering weights a good deal. 

  • ttajtt

    I think internet only teacher school desk, wired student work desk, student home work E-book.  maybe a study palm pad.

    any smaller it will be a button, static tattoo license plate.     

  • Gary Trees

    As far as the “personal” computer goes, I think that this is accurate.  The tablet is just so much more mobile and less cumbersome. Ever since I got my iPad, I don’t even touch my laptop at home.

    At work on the other hand, The desktop tower is still king; maybe not in all professions, but definitely in mine.  I’m an engineer and the amount of peripherals that are necessary for me to do my job would be just as bulky if I were working off of a tablet.

  • jefe68

    The desktop is going to become a special niche market for gamers, the people how design the games, and the film and special effects world.

    All you need is a powerful and upgradable device, such as a tablet that can be plugged into a large screen for design work and watching movies and your set.

    Right now the tablets out there don’t have this power to do this, but I bet in a few years they will make laptops obsolete as the laptop is making the tower obsolete in terms of what most consumers need. Who wants a large box?

  • http://twitter.com/mofycbsj Brian

    This may well change in the future but desktops are still the only viable method for people who do heavy word processing and editing. 

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      Tangent: Please, more about ease of data entry.

      I’ve been touchtyping for almost ever, and prefer a big ol’ desktop keyboard, but have made my peace with the laptop style. But nothing smaller for me, thanks.

      Anyone else? Or is this a generational thing?

      (Double tangent: Any real data on touch-screens or such and repetitive stress problems compared to physical keyboards?)

      • nj_v2

        On the subject of keyboarding…

        There are at least a couple of versions of these laser/hologram keyboard-projecting gizmos now:



        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          I gotta go, can’t read the links, but my first instinct is: Doesn’t that just place more stress on the forearms and wrists and hands, just holding them up without anything to press against?

          (I speak as a left-hander who used to hate writing on the blackboard, so take me with that grain of salt.)

          I mean, that scene in Minority Report was cool, but have you ever tried holding your hands up jabbing at the air to do something for ten minutes? Keyboard entry sounds like it’s less wear and tear on the the ol’ digits.

          • nj_v2

            Dunno, haven’t actually used the holo-keyboard. Seems appealing as an add-on to phone-and pad-sized devices without a proper-sized keyboard when one might need to do a substantial amount of typing.

            Extensive keyboarding on a laptop isn’t ideal, either with wrists resting on the hard, sharp edge of the case.  And on Macs, i hate the Chicklet-style keys. Much prefer the old-style  keys with the depressed surfaces so my fingers know where they are.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lori.cerny.7 Lori Cerny

    I always have two browser windows open, one running a podcast or a VOD movie while a second shows a website where I’m uploading photos of my knitting projects and adding details, such as, yarn brand & weight, needle size, etc.  A folder view shows my camera hooked via USB of knitting pics while I’m working in Adobe photoshop to adjust the color and lighting of my pictures before uploading each one.

    Mobile devices cannot handle that much load and their small screen sizes are fine for specific applications. 

    I have a brother who does AV work for the Army and he has three monitors and a terabyte PC to handle his workload at home. 

    Arcade games are okay on mobiles, but immersive, fast RPGss and MMOs are impossible. 

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      I feel like such a slacker next to you. I’m monotasking, if not “fractitasking”, myself. :-)

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    I want someone to geek us all out about upgradability of laptops v. desktops v. other platforms for gaming, image rendering, or such.

    Compared to a laptop, what can one finagle into a tablet or pad for the next OS?

    This goes to the larger question of high-demand usage, unlike my own
    “lagging edge” demands. (Remember the cartoon of the sentient computer
    spending 99% of its time for the user to type input? I have a feeling I’m that user.

  • IsaacWalton

    Here is my situation (I’m a graphic designer in publishing, ack! a paper magazine; working from home) I have a iMac 21″ desktop with 24″ side monitor…2 ipads at home and a Macbook Pro 17″ laptop. And while I’ve used my desktop less and less since I use the laptop downstairs and when I’m out at a cafe, I still cannot beat the monitor real estate and the ergonomics of using a desktop. I seem to get WAY more done when sitting at 45″ of monitor space.

    • nj_v2

      Yikes! You’re a horse-and-buggy driver c. 1905. Paper magazines will soon seem quaint.

      • IsaacWalton

        Ha you’re funny. The magazine is also available as a mobile option. Oh, I don’t think I’ll be out of a job. We cover all devices, paper, phone, laptop and tablet.

      • jkwalker111

        Point well taken – when I need to be productive my two 24 inch screens + loads of horsepower + massive storage in my DT is what I want/need.

  • Alltechsupport

    Both my wife and I have a small business. I do all the I.T maintenance for both our sites. We have a desktop (custom build), a macbook Pro, an Ipad, Nexus 7, and a windows laptop.

    Tablets are used for reading emails, posting garbage in whichever social media  app we use and whatnot. Most of the web coding and overall word processing is done the desktop. If either of us is on the road, we take out laptops for whatever needs to be done efficiently.

    From my experience, the tablets are not in a place were they can cover everything we need done. Maybe in the near future they will be. But right now desktops are a must for most tech oriented folks.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    I still have a couple of typewriters that I use when I’m grumpy with the modern world.

  • Gregg Smith

    There is something industrially comfortable about a desktop. I like being able to work a project in an optimum environment with everything hard wired and then have the flexibility to take it elsewhere with a laptop.

  • IsaacWalton

    Here’s something that I’ve found interesting. I got my iPad 2 sometime ago. Wife had a laptop (PC) from work. She didn’t like using the iPad. She won an iPad 3 at work and now uses it for leisure and not the laptop. I got a 17″ laptop Macbook Pro and now I don’t use my iPad very much at all for leisure. I prefer the larger real estate and external keyboard when sitting on the couch at home.

    • sam liu

      Agreed, My 17″ MacBook is my life. None of the four 13″-16″ Windows laptops were reliable, or sturdy enough.

      Had one desktop that didn’t last either.

  • Yar

    The end may be closer than anyone knows.  A class X magnetic storm, virus, or some other event that damages our technology infrastructure to the point that we can’t recover.  What if a every computer self destructed like centrifuges in Iran?  We live in a houses of cards, they are computer cards in every device we use.  These cars are very fragile, and we don’t know how to repair them and can’t make our economy work in its current configuration without them.  Can we survive without the chip?  Will the computers lead to our downfall?  I will be very surprised if New York subways are up and running in a week.  Too many cards to find and replace. From the electronic ballasts in the station lights to the elevators and escalators, to switches on the track. I doubt that any of those were water proof.

  • Rex Henry

    Is this a personal or overall use discussion? I have to use one at work and that’s where their primary use will be.

  • Nam Nguyen

    I dropped the desktop a long time ago, but the I still need the laptop to run software for video editing and graphic design. I don’t see the tablets and all do that anytime soon - 

  • Richard Lackey

    2 laptops and an iphone as well.  When I want the big screen, I have my VGA chord to hook up the LCD.  Spend money on something as bulky and stationary as a desktop?  Yeah right.

  • IsaacWalton

    I would bet most consumers are buying more mobile devices (laptop/tablets), BUT what they use at work are desktops. I agree with the speaker that desktops will continue to change format to remain viable in the consumer area (wireless keyboards/mice, larger lighter more brilliant displays) and LOTS of computing power.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    If you just point and click pictures and big buttons, a tablet is a good thing – if you need to type or manipulate a lot of text, not so much. A desktop can give you a 21 -24 inch monitor, a 21 – 24 inch tablet would be unmanageable.

    What’s really going to define it is functionality – we didn’t throw out our stereos when we went out and bought walkman’s, we won’t get rid of a desktop if we need it. However, those who did not really need to have a desktop now have the option of a tablet.

    In reality, a lot of people are just going to have both.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Windows 8?  I’m still using XP and refuse to “upgrade,” having seen the newer versions of Windows at work.  When I have the time, I’m likely to switch to Linux.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    Windows 8 is demonstrating that we don’t all want iPads. I want an iMaxi-pad. :^) In abscence of a large format tablet from apple… I may have to go with a full sized MS tablet.

  • ttajtt

    this will become a working tool. every where.  scan-plug-connect-dial-O-log.  talking contact will disperse, EFI boss.  everything.  true in job time.  i don’t know about fishing with it?

  • Scott B

    My laptop doesn’t have a 24″ screen, or a dual screen setup, I can’t upgrade my laptop’s video card to the latest & fastest card, and my laptop can (and has) taken falls.  My desktop is easily expandable, I have multiple screens, the component upgrades are cheaper and more universal, no dongles needed for everything, if coffee get dumped on my keyboard it’s $20 for a cheap keyboard and not wrecking my whole machine, and isn’t in an danger of taking a spill.  

  • Lisa Anamasi

    I would never give up my desktop for the simple ergonomics of it.  Sitting with my neck down facing a low laptop on a tabletop or tablet in my lap, is painful over extended periods of time.  

  • bmad2012

    I was given an iPad 3 for fathers day. Used it during vacation to read the Boston Globe, The New Yorker, websites, etc. Seldom use it day to day. Keep a hand me down laptop in the kitchen for checking email, websites. But for doing work, my wife and I use our desktop computers. Much more efficient to use a real keyboard and a sizeable monitor when using Word or just typing an email.

    I must use a desktop as I do Photoshop work. Recent version of Photoshop, CS6, puts greater demand on the processor and graphics card.

  • Wahoo_wa

    CAD on a laptop is challenging….on a tablet I would end up throwing the thing at a wall out of frustration!  LOL  Love a big monitor!

    • Wahoo_wa

      A 60″ tablet on the other hand…wait….I’m copyrighting that idea!

  • teresalagrange

    I am a graphic designer-illustrator. I love my ipad but do need my big screen for artwork. I too see the end of laptops.

  • IsaacWalton

    No one can argue with the increase in efficiencies garnered from having screen real estate. For that reason..desktops will remain viable. I’ve heard of ‘designers’ creating graphics on tablets…ha! I’m sure you’re pumping out 100 or so multiframed animated gifs and flash banners an hour—NOT!

  • Talisker23

    Streaming netflix, hulu, or similar, to a large HDTV requires a decent desktop and video card. Laptops with built in video cards and anything smaller, just doesn’t do the job as well.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    I’ve tried reading on a Nook and a Kindle.  The screen is too small, and the device is too slow about changing pages.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    I’ve tried reading on a Nook and a Kindle.  The screen is too small, and the device is too slow about changing pages.

    • Wahoo_wa

      …and there’s nothing like the feel of a real book!

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp


      • BHA_in_Vermont

         Plus, you can give the book to many of your friends to read. Then you can give it to your children who can eventually give it to their children.

        “Buy” a book for your reader and it is still owned by the company that sold it to you.

        I have 2 1930′s editions of Baum’s Oz books that were my mother’s. Who can buy a copy of them for their tablet today and have their grandchildren read them in 50 years? I bet not a darned one because the technology will have moved on.

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    Tablets? What is a tablet? ;) Oh, right, a pill.
    How soon will Microsoft get a trademark on the word “surface”?

    IPod screens are too small for old guys like me.
    Tablet screens are too small for old guys like me.
    Laptop screens are only good at close distance for old guys like me. 

    I have nothing against laptops but use a real size external monitor for “hours long” work unless I am away from home.

    Oh, and “smart phones”? I have no need for the expense of the phone or the monthly charges. I do not need to be “connected” all the time. Like I said, I am an old guy.

  • teresalagrange

    I am a illustrator/graphic designer-I love my ipad but need a big screen. I too see the end of laptops. I also see a future in touch screen for personal computers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nancyhughesmiller Nancy Hughes Miller

    What about the future of integrating our TV’s and home computing?

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    and one more thing… what about the visually impaired. These folks need big displays.

    • Wahoo_wa

      Rarely do I LOL when I write LOL!  So ya….LOL!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    The big “next” thing after tablets are going to be projected desktops and devices – interactive windows, keyboards, etc. projected onto a surface. Prototypes are already out there.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1146653377 Gwendolyn Howard

    I’ve had laptops since 1999 and I’ve finally thrown them all out.  To be portable they are light and fragile and always needing repair.  I just got a wonderful DESKTOP with capacity for 2 terabyte drives, 2 25 inch monitors (and wireless mouse and keyboard) not to mention a big internal fan to keep it all cool so it won’t fry like a laptop.  Then, or course, I supplement it with an android tablet.  It’s a perfect combination.  I think it’s the death of the laptop (and not a moment too soon).

  • bmad2012

    Tom said creatives may migrate to tablets etc. Not the creatives I know.  I just bought a HP workstation (with Windows 7, not Windows 8) and a 30″ NEC monitor – not necessary, but makes working in Photoshop easier. Heck, the larger monitor makes doing work in PowerPoint a lot easier.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1146653377 Gwendolyn Howard

    had laptops since 1999 and I’ve finally thrown them all out.  To be
    portable they are light and fragile and always needing repair.  I just
    got a wonderful DESKTOP with capacity for 2 terabyte drives, 2 25 inch
    monitors (and wireless mouse and keyboard) not to mention a big internal
    fan to keep it all cool so it won’t fry like a laptop.  Then, or
    course, I supplement it with an android tablet.  It’s a perfect
    combination.  I think it’s the death of the laptop (and not a moment too

  • sseib1

    I’m curious Tom…do you still use desktops in producing On Point?  I work in radio and have found that mobile devices, and even laptops, often don’t have the processing power to do what we need quickly enough.  Is this something that is different do different industries, you might have touched on this a few minutes ago.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Facebook – Youtube – Twitter – Netflix – Skype  – if that describes your computer usage, a tablet would probably work well.

  • bmad2012

    Let’s hear from your guests! Why so many call-ins?

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.m.cogswell John M Cogswell Jr

    I can type 60+ words per minute on my desktop.  I don’t think you can get half of that speed on a tablet or portable device (ok, _maybe_ lapotops which aren’t very ergonomic). 

    My portable devices simply do not have the horsepower my PC does, so when I need to multitask, adding pictures into my libraries, serious online shopping bouncing back and forth between multiple sites and doing research on products, where do I go? The desktop PC.

    When using portable devices, I feel like I’m trying to mow my spacious yard with a 12″ wide lawnmower.

    • sharonsbanks

       I agree that a PC is much more efficient and ergonomic (with the correct desk set-up) when used for longer periods of time than the smaller portable (smartphones, etc). I do not believe that the smaller devices will be able to replace desk tops models for individuals who use the PC every day for hours at a time. The lack of good or correct ergonomics that plague the smaller devices will become apparent in a few years when an epidemic of neck,shoulder, wrist, etc., repetitive stress disorders make people take notice that these small devices used for hours at a time can cause preventable injuries. Schools should also sit up and take notice as they supply kids with laptops or I-pads that they should also be teaching (such as in keyboarding class)  correct postures and time management while using the smaller electronics.

  • Thinkin5

    I still love working on my big screen. Especially with images. Don’t enjoy moving a tiny image around a tiny screen or hunting through miniscule print for info on my phone. Just helped my dad with new software designed to help seniors see their computer better. Need good contrast and simple screen design to help senior users. Otherwise, they aren’t going to use computers. A tablet isn’t big enough.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=565655108 Drew Chandler

    Tom, why are we discussing mobile computing solutions through the lens of today’s technology?  Just a couple years from now, the vast majority of personal computing will be much more integrated with cloud storage and advanced human interface devices (gesture commands, speech, projected keyboards/screens, etc).  The technology exists but hasn’t trickled down to the layman consumer.

    • BHA_in_Vermont

       For my money, you can keep “cloud computing”. I’d rather keep my data on my machine.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=565655108 Drew Chandler

        That’s fine.  There’s always a niche demographic who would prefer what they’re comfortable, whether it be vinyl, old cars, dumb (not smart) phones, etc., but the migration to the cloud is inevitable, especially considering the curators of such services (Apple & Google) are also the mobile leaders.

        • BHA_in_Vermont

          My car was high tech – 21st century. It was totaled last month by an inattentive driver – 21st century mobile device distracted. I had to drive a 20th century car, built in 2012, for 2 weeks. I replaced my old car with another 21st century car and life is good again.

          My phone is dumb – TracFone.

          I guess I run both ends of the technology spectrum and the cloud is not necessary nor desirable for anything I need to do. Just another way for companies to clean out your wallet with “services” that they own.

  • distractedriver

    This isn’t the late 1990′s.  People who need beefier hardware these days know how to collect the parts they need to assemble their computer themselves.  No brick and mortar store should expect to see the hoards of consumers looking to them for desktops.  Laptops and tablets on the other hand have parts that aren’t as interchangeable, and therefore not even the knowledgeable consumers can easily assemble their own.  I’ve heard that technology should conform to the users, and not the other way around.  However it’s sad that more and more users just care about point and click functionality so they can post to “Farce”book and tally up their “friends” like they’re commodities.  Unless you’re in the science community, understanding anything deeper than where the keys on the keyboard are is just not of any interest.  If your livelihood is deeply dependent on having a working computer, shouldn’t you take the time to understand how it works, or more importantly how to fix it? That’s the whole craze for overpriced Apple laptops and iPads.  Yes it does provide you with point and click functionality to do menial everyday tasks, but they gouge you at the time of sale and then gouge again for any repair bills because you need to remove 40-something screws just to get at the dammed battery.

    • SomeGuyNamedMark

      For most people the functionalities of a cheap laptop or tablet are good enough.  For folks like me who do intensive computer based work (e.g. IT) I need the higher power that comes in a desktop design.  Let the websurfers and FB fans use tables or phones but they are a poor substitute for a real computer.

  • robertmaloney

    Well I still have my desktop sort of, it’s sitting in my living, I have it connected to my 40 in led with hdmi and I have a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard. It they come out with a tablet that has 2tb of space and 12gb of ram I my consider swapping.

  • Call_Me_Missouri

    I have a big server with 4 x 500 Gig Striped Hard Drives…  There’s no way I’ll ever be without a big machine to hold all my real data.

    All my other machines though are getting smaller and lighter with more remote connectivity.  I won’t go to a Tablet because they are too weak with too little storage to do anything I would care about doing.  

    I have had a Touchscreen ultra portable netbook for a while (Dell Duo) and I never use the touch screen so the Touchscreen Windows 8 push is obviously for non-technical people who were not used to using real pointing devices.

    I won’t upgrade my cell phone to a Glass Screened, finger tip dependent pointing screen…  And I won’t be moving to a Tablet…  just smaller more powerful laptops/netbooks.

    • BHA_in_Vermont

       The drive can be external. There is no need for a “big server” to have big drives. All real server farms use external RAID arrays in racks.

      • Call_Me_Missouri

        If all I was doing with it was storing it for posterity sake, I would agree.  I actually have a 2 TB USB drive that I use for backups.

  • http://www.facebook.com/leron.vandsburger Leron Vandsburger

    On the topic of term papers, why not write it by hand on paper, then photograph it with a tablet, and have software convert it to type? I’d prefer that!

  • Yar

    We need an LCD light pen like the CRT light pen. Then you could use your input device on your TV.

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    In a lot of cases, a desktop IS a laptop. It is true at the company I work for. All “replacement desktops” are laptops. Mine has 8G of memory and dual quad core processors.  I also have a 20″ CRT (yes, you read that right) for dual screen use.

  • MasonTS

    “Desktops” are here to stay…the definition of what a “desktop” is, however, will change.  I LOVE my large screen, towerless, wireless MAC desktop.  I also have a 60″ HD 3D Smart TV [Samsung] w/a PC hook up.  Large flat-screen TVs w/PC apps and capability will become the new “desktops”.  Why?  Because, when you’re not “on the go” and you’re sitting at home on your sofa, in your comfort zone, you know bigger IS better, especially when you’re gaming or watching vids or movies…

  • robertmaloney

    Well I still have my desktop sort of, it’s sitting in my living, I have it connected to my 40 in led with hdmi and I have a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard. It they come out with a tablet that has 2tb of space and 12gb of ram I my consider swapping.

  • ToyYoda

    Learning to become a software engineer is one of the best ways of becoming rich and improving your lot in life. There have been countless of stories in NYtimes of people who’ve become rich making the next great application or software. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates comes to mind. Neither of them have college degrees.

    As a software engineer, I’ve seen this success duplicates thousands of times. I’ve worked with kids who are quite well off who dropped out of college or highschool.

    But in order to become a software engineer, you need to interact with computers in an intensive manner that cannot be duplicated using gesture devices, or swiping a capactive touch screen.

    If desktops become a rarity, then it may become prohibitively expensive to buy and available only to the well to do. If that’s the case, then a significant path to upwards social mobility will be closed off to the poor.

    • Wm_James_from_Missouri

      You are so right. These click and point types will never know the greatness of men like Babbage and Turing. If you want a touch-down , you have to go deep !

  • fasteye

    the focus is on syncronizing multiple devices: your phone, your tablet, your “main” computer (desktop or laptop). This entails using the Cloud. Since I fear the Cloud (for security, persistence, and reliability), I stick with a desktop as MY main computer.

    • ToyYoda

      Persistence and reliability?  The cloud has redundant drives, power, fancy RAID configurations that can reconstruct your data if it ever gets lost, scheduled backups, and a 24 hour staff.  When it comes to persistence and reliability, how can you beat that?

      Plus, you get availability.Yes, you can give me some counter arguments about internet connection, but that’s got nothing to do with persistent and reliable data storage.  I think a good argument against the cloud is the scenario of what happens when a cloud service goes bankrupt or if there is a rogue employee on the loose.

      Security?   I completely understand that.  and you can address that by not putting your truly private data in the cloud.  For me, about the only thing I keep in the cloud is the files I use at work, or personal stuff like my music, or source code for personal pet projects.  Passwords, financial statements, medical stuff, I don’t keep in the cloud.

      Otherwise, there’s only a small number of legitimate reasons not to use the cloud, security is one, but persistence and reliability is most likely not.

      • http://twitter.com/Ian_TWL Ian Garris

        “I think a good argument against the cloud is the scenario of what happens when a cloud service goes bankrupt or if there is a rogue employee on the loose.”

        Tell that to the guy who trusted his backups to MegaUpload, and had his hard drive blow out a day or two before the feds raided the business.

      • fasteye

         “persistence” means both bankrupcy and the provider’s interest in keeping the feature available (and affordable). Apple isn’t bankrupt but MobileMe is gone, for example. “Reliable” means available when I want/need it. Quality outfits have a good record, but even Amazon was notable for its failures/lockouts some time ago. Online services are vulnerable to denial-of-services attackes. “Security” covers the model that many vendors are working towards which is ALL your data goes to the cloud. Look at data capacities of tablets versus real computers: tens of gigabytes versus terabytes. iPods are already too small to hold all your music, so it shifts in and out of the cloud. Laptops with smaller capacity SSDs are becoming the norm, and normal data/documents will follow the iPod model.

        • ToyYoda

          “persistence” also means affordable?  Okay, your terms are a little weird, but let’s go with them.

          I see what your concern is here, but I believe apple gave users a chance to remove their data.  So it’s nothing to “fear” unless you fear another chore, which is perfectly understandable.

          Reliable means available… hmmm…. well, as long as you have an internet connection, the cloud can give you your wants/needs whenever and wherever, I don’t see how you can beat that?  There may be times when you forgot your thumb drive at home, but need to access data on it.  Well, if that data was on the cloud, you stand a better chance of retrieving it.

          Exactly what issue do you raise with security concerning files  being transferred from cloud to drive?  Transfers are encrypted, or should be.

          Anyways, I think you can manage alot of your concerns. For security, don’t place your highly sensitive data in the clouds.  For the rest, periodically, copy your cloud data back into a local drive, which is what I do.

  • SteveT4

    What about plugging in or using docking station when you need a big screen and a keyboard? For those like graphic designers who require more capacity than a tablet offers, laptops work just fine for the most applications. 

  • jalem1

    i haven’t had a personal computer at home since 2008.  Mine crashed and since I sit in front of one for 8-10 hours a day at work, I didn’t feel the need to replace.  However, I am connected 27/7 via a BB AND an iPhone.  I read everything on mobile (from NYTimes articles to blogs entries), I tweet, Facebook, check-in, etc. from my phones. I am thinking of a tablet now to access TV programming and will ditch cable.

    • SomeGuyNamedMark

      A tablet is a poor substitute for a full sized TV unless you are proposing using it to feed TV shows from the internet to your TV to bypass the cost of cable.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    The text scrolls with my eyes?  That would last only until I could chuck it across the room.

  • iris97

    I have my own business involving interviewing and testing individuals, then writing reports so I need a computer primarily for word processing. After my laptop literally crashed and burned, I decided to figure out if I could migrate completely to an ipad since I didn’t want to have a laptop plus ipad, and couldn’t justify getting an ipad just to check email, etc. I got the ipad and a full size keyboard and haven’t looked back.

  • belmontguy

    Too many business owners my age (54) seem to think that social media (SM) is a game for “kids”. They are making a huge mistake if they don’t understand the business side* of Facebook, Bing and Google+.  Additionally, a large percentage of people engaging in SM use their mobile devices to find what they’re looking for on-the-go. 15% of Google searches are done on mobile platforms and 20% on Yahoo. Not only is it a convenient way to find what’s close to you, it also displays customer experiences that others have had.

    * I run across small businesses all the time that have set up their business on their personal Facebook. There is an easy way to fix this.

    • SomeGuyNamedMark

      On the other hand I don’t think every diner and gas station needs their own website.  Just based on people I know the likelihood they will click on a FB ad is extremely low.  It gets a little nuts.

      • belmontguy

        I agree, but: If a business has not listed their establishment on Yelp, Google Local, Foursquare, et al., anyone with access to the Internet can put them there, and rate their experience. It’s not dependent on having a website.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    Unfortunately I fear that eyes cannot match the fine motor control of fingers on mice, so scanning eye movement may augment our controls, but not replace it.

  • Talisker23

    I would have to argue that the move to handhelds is like a dumbing down of the general public with the loss of the power that is available with computers. Sure, you can get directions to a restaurant and text friends but you’re not going to design a building, create a CAD/CAM file and build an engine. 

    People who do real work on computers need something better than a handheld. In their current state, handhelds are just expensive toys. Many users are now spending so much a month on their handhelds, they need to reduce their grocery expense to pay their monthly fees. 

    Do a Excel document and config at 150 mo. (standard Iphone fee), per the working life of a college graduate, (43years), compounding interest at the Dow Jones average growth rate of 8% over that time and you would save 2.7 million dollars by not owning the phone! Complete waste of money.

    • Talisker23

      I’d like to add that an additional expense was calculated in for replacement Iphones, one every 18 months if I remember correctly from my figures. Also, if you do everything on a handheld, you’ll have to take my word on this information because you won’t have the power to do the math yourself.

  • Scott B

    I can upgrade my desktop far more easily, and far more cheaply, than my laptop.  My laptop is only a couple years old and it’s already “ancient” by the new standard. But my desktop I’ve added cards that let me go from old LAN ports to  FireWire and now Apple’s newest type. Let the average user put a new port type in a 2yearold AirBook.  

  • http://www.skeeterbitesreport.com SkeeterVT

    Desktop computers aren’t going ANYWHERE any time soon. For one thing, Windows 8 is almost certain to be resisted by business computer users — a 60 percent majority of which still run their computers on Windows XP and are only NOW converting to Windows 7. 

    The reason for the resistance: The disastrous introduction in 2005 of the Windows Vista operating system. After the Vista fiasco, businesses will not rush to Windows 8 anytime soon. They’re now converting to Windows 7 only because Microsoft is phasing out XP by the spring of 2014. 

    Another reason is television. More and more Americans are watching TV through their desktop computers, thanks to the conversion to digital TV broadcasting.  Few people are going to watch TV through their laptops, because the screens are too small. And forget about watching TV on your tablet or mobile device.

    • BHA_in_Vermont

       “a 60 percent majority of which still run their computers on Windows XP and are only NOW converting to Windows 7″

      That exactly describes my company. And I can tell you that Windows 7 is a big PITA, at least the way it is installed here. I have to run some things as “Administrator” because if I run as “me” the ONLY user and the ONLY administrator, I don’t have “authority” to touch some things. 

  • dsnows

    Desktop, laptop, tablet, smart phone… different tools for different jobs.  They may evolve into new sizes and shapes (ie. the new iMac) but no one device can do everything we need. Just like a swiss army knife is pretty handy, it is not the only tool needed around the house.

  • katherinespoint

    I question the availability of wireless space / air waves / band width.  Everything is wireless these days and more and more stuff interferes with everything else, unlike not too long ago before we had all these wireless devices.  I have wireless laptop, ipad, iphone, speakers, landline cordless phones, tv via wifi, the kids laptops and phones, my husbands laptop and phones.  ALL wireless. Even though we can’t see the wavelengths doesn’t mean they aren’t there.  The “techies” tell me we are going to run out of space within a decade or so.  Hard wired is most sound secure powerful and consistent way to connect.  That may bring us back to a hardwired location with the more powerful “desktop.  I worry about ALL the wireless invisible wave lengths out there running through and around us all the time whether we want it or not.

    • http://twitter.com/Ian_TWL Ian Garris

      They have since the beginning of time, Katherine.  The Sun produces radiation including light, radio, UV, heat… the only difference now is that some of the radio and light carries a bit of a pattern.

      However, wired connections are and will remain for the foreseeable future both faster, more secure, and more reliable.

  • ThisDudeAbides

    My husband and I recently invested in a new computer, and we chose a desktop because we wanted our investment to last. It stays safely in one spot, and is the repository of all of our valuable data. It seems to me that mobile gadgets are made smaller, more portable and indeed cheaper — both in terms of cost and in durability. We didn’t want to buy into that type of planned obsolescence.

    As a side-note: I cringe when I think about schools spending millions on a new batch of iPads. I’ve worked in schools and have seen the beating that solid, old fashioned textbooks take in the hands of teenagers. I wonder how fast those fragile little tablets will break.

    • Mike_Card

      Take a close look at the professional descriptions of the members of local school boards.  Both Apple and Microsoft used the schools as marketing strategy entry points, very profitably.

    • http://twitter.com/Ian_TWL Ian Garris

      As long as it’s not “immediately”, they can still represent either an improvement in educational outcomes, a significant cost savings, or both.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    “A loud
    clatter of gunk music flooded through the Heart of Gold cabin as Zaphod
    searched the sub-etha radio wave bands for news of himself. The machine
    was rather difficult to operate. For years radios had been operated by
    means of pressing buttons and turning dials; then as the technology
    became more sophisticated the controls were made touch-sensitive–you
    merely had to brush the panels with your fingers; now all you had to do
    was wave your hand in the general direction of the components and hope.
    It saved a lot of muscular expenditure, of course, but meant that you
    had to sit infuriatingly still if you wanted to keep listening to the
    same program.” – Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

  • Call_Me_Missouri

    Anyone other than me not interested in having an active Web Cam running 24×7 just so I can gesture at my TV or Computer.

    • http://twitter.com/Ian_TWL Ian Garris

      No, I hear that a lot.

  • adks12020

    This conversation assumes everyone, everywhere is super tech savvy and wants these new devices. That simply is not the case. I’m only 30 years old and I know I don’t. I don’t need them.  I do have a laptop, smart phone (only because it was free with my phone service), and a tablet (a gift).  I use the tablet and smart phone for web browsing, email, music, etc. I use the laptop for research, writing, and a few other things but frankly I don’t need, or want, to use a computer all the time. I don’t upgrade every time there is an opportunity because I don’t need to.

    I know there are a lot of people like me. I’d rather go for a bike ride, go fishing, go hiking, etc. than sit in front of a computer.  I use computer for what I need them for. I rarely find reasons to use them or look for ways to incorporate them into my life. If anything I find ways to use them less.

  • distractedriver

     DLNA TV + Serviio = Bye Bye Cable/Satellite

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    I don’t store things in the cloud.  It’s my property.  I’ll control it myself, thanks.

    • Alltechsupport

       Which is a problem a lot of people face when introduced with this option. Try explaining to them that all your information is kept somewhere in the other side of the globe and not somewhere in arms reach.

      • BHA_in_Vermont

         Yet within reach of many a hacker.

        • DrewInGeorgia

          Cracker, not hacker.

        • Alltechsupport

          Nothing is hacker proof, could be some guy in his desktop
          hacking into your information from a different country. Having a person walking
          by physically checking for wireless hotspot vulnerability in order to hack your


  • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.stoltz.5 Matthew Stoltz

    I work in the world of high end scientific capital equipment, though I do my day to day business on a laptop and tablet, the systems we work with require much higher levels of computing power.  We will, for the foreseeable future need to use large desktop systems.  For the moment laptops and tablets cannot deal with many gigabyte and terabyte data streaming.

    • s y

      Look how fast we went from the first Apple to Ipads …It won`t be long before smaller devices will have terabyte data streaming.  Just a matter of less time than you think. ;-)

  • BrynBodayle

    Humans are tactile beings. I don’t see eye tracking or gestures or voice control to be the best solution for all use cases. The tablet was revolutionary because you could touch and interact with your content.

  • Yar

    I expect to see a combination of eye tracking with the lytos light field camera to tell personalized stories.  What you look at not only brings it into focus, it also picks the next image.  Interesting and maybe a little scary.  Which museum will be first to adapt to this new technology?
    Happy Halloween

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    Here’s a zinger that I hear from lots of pod people who are wired 24X7. They repeatedly say… “I have to get back to my office and get some real work done.”

  • Greg_Stidsen

    We are seeing a trend away from the ‘one box does it all’ kind of computer to special purpose computers that will be invisible to the user.  Our cars cars are full of these computers now managinging everything from engine performance and emissions, to safety features, to navigation to in-car entertainment.  The smartphone will be the control interface to these ‘just powerful enough’ for the job imbedded computers.  This will be a powerful network with seamless connectivity across the many computing platforms.

  • iris97

    What about today’s youth? They are completely linked to their mobile devices – many schools are providing students with ipads. They have no relationship with desktops

  • MasonTS

    On a side note, public schools no longer teach handwriting because computers, tablets, etc. are used to do most tasks now (the reason given by administration).  NOW schools are considering dropping keyboard courses because we’re moving to using tablets more.  I’ve had to teach both my elementary school-age kids to write and now to type.  Such a shame…

    • nj_v2

      One of your future students…


      • MasonTS

        My youngest son figured out how to download and use apps on my husband’s iPad at age 6.  My husband only got a clue a month later when he got the bill for the apps and extra bandwidth used…

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/2JWX5K2XM5QEXCVGGKQ4NBC7OU christopher

    Does the migration to mobility affect the price of the desktop?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gina-Kamentsky/714686480 Gina Kamentsky

    I’ve been listening, I work on my desktop every day producing media (I’m an animator) . Mobile devices are skewed to consumption. It’s a reflection on society in general.. consumption, not production or creation.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/2JWX5K2XM5QEXCVGGKQ4NBC7OU christopher

      Im interested in animation… what is a good software?

      • http://twitter.com/Ian_TWL Ian Garris

        You might want to start with Blender if it’s 3D animation you want to do; you can make your models on free software and animate them in something else.  (Unfortunately, I don’t know of any free animation software)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Are they making any interesting docking stations for tablets? If you stand it up behind a mouse and a keyboard – or also connect to a larger monitor, it’s a desktop.

    • MasonTS

      You’re still stuck with the limited computing power of the tablet, though.  If tech engineers could come up with a docking station that “boosts” the tablet’s processing power, capabilities, storage, etc., then that would be an improvement…

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

        The big thing will probably be just time – 2 or 3 generations of tablets will likely lead to much more powerful tablets.

  • Quarantine Klark

    I think with the ever increasing processing power of tablets, you’ll have large screens for professionals that either have a mobile/tablet core or plug into tablets.

    • s y

      Correct!  If anything I see laptops less as a mobile device because tablets are lighter and easier to use.  I can see large screen tablets in the work place.  It will take a young visionary company to do this and the world will follow.  Remember when people laughed at the iphone?  From the iphone sprung the tablet!   I think tablet like functions will be on most of our devices in the next 10 years!  Say good bye to the old and hello to the new.  Remember when IBM did not think people would want a personal computer!  Lol… By the way I replied from a mobile device. :-)

  • http://twitter.com/rachealeveryday Racheal Moore

    The downside of laptops (and mobile phones, and tablets) is that you can’t upgrade it piece by piece… I can install a new hard drive or optics drive or ram in my desk-top computer for a fraction of the cost of replacing the whole thing… a year and a half after getting the newest mobile device, it’s obsolete and expensive, and you have to replace the whole thing!  

    • Ronald Ouellette

       This says it all! Upgrades are a FRACTION of the cost. You can even replace a high-end motherboard for under $80, though they seldom fail. And you can do it all yourself. It’s $80 an hour to have a small device even LOOKED at. I will never be without a desktop system- I just keep re-using the same high-end case, power supply, and monitor.

      • http://twitter.com/Ian_TWL Ian Garris

        I don’t think your $80 motherboard is terribly high end by the time it sells for $80.

  • Taylor Sundby

    As one of your guests pointed out, as I further integrate mobile technology into my daily life I am far more likely to throw out my laptop than my desktop.  Through dropbox, etc all of the work that I do (including taking notes on my ipad) are synced to my desktop where I can process notes and data with more powerful software and tools.  I no longer need my laptop in the living room– it sits plugged into an external keyboard and monitor as a sort of faux-desktop– I instead use my smartphone or iPad. My next tech purchase will be a desktop…

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    I work from home and rarely get into the office – I was amazed after not being there for several months the amount of shift to (actually inclusion of) tablets. They were everywhere.

  • distractedriver

    When last have these call-in gamers/case modders seen daylight?

    • http://twitter.com/Ian_TWL Ian Garris

      An hour ago.


  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    It’ll take Microsoft a while to get Windows 8 right?  I’m still waiting for them to get Windows Anything right.

    • Mike_Card

      What was formerly a Microsof beta test is now known as product launch.

    • s y

      You are sooo right! I abandoned Microsoft  in 2003 for Apple and will never go back. Pop ups,Freezes etc…I have a world without this!  

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    I read yesterday (in the PAPER newspaper) that MS is going to spend $1 BILLION on marketing Windows 8. ONE BILLION DOLLARS? For REAL? If so, they need a different product. Anything good will sell by word of mouth. 

  • skeptic150

    My particular occupation requires a large screen (laboratory analysis of cancer). I do have a laptop and I can work from it if absolutely necessary, but it is less than optimal.

  • Alltechsupport

     4 million Windows 8 upgrades have been performed since it official release. Synchronous between all devices is the key here. If they can pull it off efficiently then we can move on.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Metro?  Doesn’t that term refer to some guy who’s more concerned about his latte than about being a man?

    • Call_Me_Missouri

      I thought it was for people who didn’t live under a rock in the sticks.

    • nj_v2

      “Being a man…”

      Is there a guidebook somewhere? Do i need to buy a gun?

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

         There are many guidebooks.  Start with Homer and read your way forward.  Stop before you get to T. S. Eliot.  By that point, you’ll have the answer to your second question.

  • ttajtt

    wireless would be like monitor freedom arrest.   the eaz is comfort factor.   scared generation tool with its reasons.  

  • Joseph_Wisconsin

    I can’t imagine trying to complete any quantity of serious work without at least a 17″ screen, full size keyboard and mouse.  I also own a laptop and a table computer.  The tablet is a perfectly good replacement for the laptop (it is old and will not be replaced when it becomes useless), but no way is the tablet a sufficient replacement for my desktop.

  • igriffee

    One benefit of desktop – it doesn’t usually get dropped on the floor or into the bathtub or lost in the car.

  • http://twitter.com/ESignorini Eugene Signorini

    The concept behind post-PC computing is not that PCs will vanish (although the concept of the PC itself will continue to evolve into something different than we know it today).  It’s that PCs will only be one tool for today and tomorrow’s mobile workers, and for many, not the most important one.  What is most critical to realize is that the applications and experiences we have on each device will be different.  And so they need to be designed differently – from the ground up.  Most people who have a problem ever considering that tablets or smartphones will replace their laptop for current functions are only considering the apps they use today and how those apps are presented on a PC.  The reality is apps themselves will dramatically change as we shift computing devices.  For example, spreadsheet applications as we know them may evolve into something completely different – much as spreadsheets evolved from paper ledgers originally.  Trying to use a mobile device with a PC orientation won’t work: it’s about re-thinking applications within a uniquely mobile context.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/75PATVUTYKGK54HIWOHYCT5MZU Guðmundur Karlsson

    The desktop computer isn’t going away.  What is going away is the ‘P’ in PC.  The user context and data will be stored in the cloud, and this means you can log in to any device and make it your own. 
    We are just at the beginning of this trend with Windows 8, and cloud storage for ipads, android devices etc.

    Laptops became popular for this reason, every PC, every laptop belongs to a single person, and contains that person data and customization.  The laptops were the only way you could make your data and your user configuration portable. This will not be the case in the future.

    My conclusion: Laptops are going away.

    • ttajtt

      that is wheres button size, static tattoo license plate markers starts to come from.  red blue rep. dec. rt. lt. discount card, school card, pay scale.  i have my capitalism for trade, free trade market.   customization.   

  • possomcohen

    Anyone know hot to spell that freee software program mentioned that the guest uses to connect his main serve to all other devices? Sounded like tunedo. Thank you.

  • possomcohen

    At the 30 minute marker the software program is mentioned. Anyone know how to spell that free software program mentioned that the guest uses to connect his main serve to all other devices? Sounded like tunedo or toneedo. Thank you.

  • DJ Chesley

    I can’t seem to find the free app tuneato either. Anyone know how it is spelled?

  • http://twitter.com/MerriweatherC Danielle Spurge

    i use my desktop MORE and recently got an ever bigger, more powerful one because of the limitations with tablets/ phones etc. I use my phone on the go and my desktop at home. I have a laptop for traveling. I can’t do what I need to do usually on my phone or iPad. desktop is essential for what i do. 

  • Gloucester3

    I think it was KEENETO , OR KINETO.
    I came hear to confirm…
    Show hosts … could you ask Hiawatha to confirm?

    • Mitchell Luong

      Sorry, I was mistaken…Hiawatha mentions TONIDO WEBSHAREPRO as his software to access files from his desktop :)

  • Mike_Card

    And I keep hearing that NPR doesn’t accept commercial advertising.  This entire hour has been nothing more than an infomercial for wireless products.  Get your money from them, don’t come begging to me.

  • Mitchell Luong

    I believe the device youre referring to is the Microsoft Xbox KINECT.  It operates via a camera embedded in a small articulating rectangle housing, which detects large hand motions.  As you would expect, it requires an Xbox gaming console.

    • http://twitter.com/Ian_TWL Ian Garris

      Kinect for Windows didn’t just come out.  However, it’s just getting some marketing traction.  Microsoft thinks it’s going to be big in the future, though.

  • Kapitein Pannekoek

    Tablets and phones are for content consumers. Desktops and laptops are for content creators. BTW. leaving this comment from my phone is no picnic!

  • http://twitter.com/bfcohen Beth Cohen

    Until us old folks can start reading the tiny screens I don’t see the desktop/laptop going away anytime soon.  Try typing this comment on a Smartphone and you know the reason that nobody can read an article more than 400 words long!

    • http://www.facebook.com/jacqueline.d.stephenson Jacqueline D. Stephenson

      True, but my laptop screen is a nice size and you can make the print bigger.  Fortunately like some, I’ve not gotten addicted to playing games.  There’s no way I’d have a desktop again.  I can take my laptop all over the house.  I guess if you have enough money to buy several computers, it’s okay.  But sometimes I just don’t want to do my work (study or business) in that same spot, when I could go to the balcony or somewhere more convenient, depending on what’s going on. 

  • Morgan Hoover

    Desktops are not going to go anywhere as long as games keep getting more advanced and need more power. I have 2 hard drives, 2 video cards, 2 monitors, a gamepad, keyboard, and 8 button mouse. There is no way a tablet or phone is ever going to be able to give me the fps and response speed that my rig can give me.

  • Tyranipocrit

    i hate mobile devices. i hate the tiny litle screens and buttons.  all the features are gimmicks–for wasting time and draining eyes.  They are extremely invasive devices.  My gf is never without her 4 mobile devices.  She i smore intimate with them than me.  I see this everywhere i look in certain generations.  People have no manners any more.  Why do you have to be plugged in all the time?  why do you need to be reached 24/7?

    I want bigger screens.  bigger the beeter.  iw ant a remote control for my monitor.

    i want my desktop to literally be a desktop–the whole desktop like an drawing board–i can stand over it and manipulate a dynamic touchscreen, or ease the desktop at a forty-five degree angle–to use the on screen keyboard and type.  i can ease the desktop vertically to use it like a map on the wall or watch videos and movies or sit back and read or talk on video or whatever.  Bigger better! 

    MObile devices are dumb and useless.  we dont need this shit–we dont need angry birds and slashing fruit and twitter and vibe and whatnot ts all gimmicks and were drugged on opium and soma and big dummies.

    • ttajtt

      a screen will be placed in your forehead.

    • Megazell

      I have to agree. Not as strongly as you but I’ve just never gotten the appeal of mobile devices. Every time someone hands me one to check out they are quite dirty and fingerprints all about and I have no inclination to touch them let alone own them.

      • http://delandloper.com E. A. Bartholomew

        It’s up to the owner whether or not to keep the device clean. Fingerprints don’t appear until the oils from your skin dry and it builds up on the surface. Touch screens are best cleaned every other day.

  • msrichards

    What a con job – Sure, keep those gadgets coming. Just toss the old stuff (more than 6 months old) in the basement, then toss it…oh where?..hey, maybe outer space?  
    Who knows…because all these “innovations” are making people so smart they don’t even need to look up from their screens when they cross the street. This is even better for capitalism than the planned obsolescence of fashion – this stuff costs big money, and the outlay never ends.Do I hear anyone out there talking about the actual dollar cost of being enslaved by the technology?

  • Hal Anderson

    I’m surprised no one on the program mentioned the cost of software. While my work computer is a different story, at home I run XP and have two swappable hard-disks with DRDOS and Win 3.1 (with MSDOS). It’s not that I’m resistant to change, as one caller suggested, but that I spent thousands of dollars on software in the 80s and 90s. Yes, they don’t have all of the equations and functions that the newer versions do, but it’s worth it to me to program these functions myself rather than spend tens of thousands of dollars on new versions. This is the main reason I don’t go mobile or upgrade to the latest OS.

  • ttajtt

    what about the wireless microwaves heating our atmosphere particles?  robots replace every profit margin.

  • ExcellentNews

    How to turn thinkers into consumers? Easy, go mobile…

  • Megazell

     They been talking like this since the late 80′s. I remember when PDA
    came out and ppl were talking about how desktops would be out in 5
    years…this was back in 1989!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/anirbanc56 Anirban Chatterjee

    I do all my serious work on my Desktop in my home office and most of my media consumption on my android tablet. Actually it is my laptop that is being left out – mostly useful for taking to work meetings.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/E62VK7GNWKDBPJECEW6CEYNQXU George

    There is a mention of this free piece of software that you can use to use your desktop as a server at 30 minutes into the discussion. Sounds like Tonedo, Toledo, I can not locate this anywhere, but it sounds very interesting.  I woluld like to know how this is spelled.

  • Pingback: » Er laptops en truet art? - Tech tjek – teknologi til folket

  • Regular_Listener

    I am a user of desktops, tablets, and smartphones.  (Never had a laptop or a netbook, altho I thought about buying one).  I am nowhere near throwing away my desktop!  Yes, it takes up space and I can’t take it anywhere, but it is still the most useful computer I own and I don’t see that changing any day soon.  Why? 

    For one thing, cost – you get more computing power for your money with a desktop.  You have to pay have those same components in a smaller form.  Another reason – durability.  I am not sure about tablets, but laptops often break after a year or two of regular use.  Desktops usually last at least 3-4 years, and often people toss them because they are obsolete, not because they stopped working.  Another reason – stability.  It is good to have something that stays put and does what it is supposed to.  Your more mobile device has a much greater chance of gettling lost, stolen, dropped, spilled on, knocked off a table, etc. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/jacqueline.d.stephenson Jacqueline D. Stephenson

      I guess it really depends on how much you use your laptop on whether or not it breaks down in so many years.  You mention that a desktop usually lasts 3 to 4 years.  That’s actually less time than my laptops break down.  I usually keep them about 5 years without problem.  Also, technology moves so quickly.  I’ve read somewhere that a handheld today has more memory than desktops of the 1990′s.  

      My employer actually got rid of our desktops and we all have laptops (of course that may have been an underhanded way to get us to start taking work home).  But the laptop basically just stays there.  Really, someone will get off with my cell phone before my laptop, because I’m keeping my eyes wide open.  So I do believe it’s only a matter of time.  Exactly how much time, I don’t know.

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.w.selway David W. Selway

    From what I have heard and read,  Windows 8 is heavily biased in favor of toushscreen use.  If many people use it that way, I think it will be just a matter of time before many people start having shoulder problems.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.w.selway David W. Selway

    From what I have heard and read,  Windows 8 is heavily biased in favor of toushscreen use.  If many people use it that way on a desktop, I think it will be just a matter of time before many people start having shoulder problems.

Aug 20, 2014
A man holds his hands up in the street after a standoff with police Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, during a protest for Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Mo. (AP)

A deep read on Ferguson, Missouri and what we’re seeing about race, class, hope and fear in America.

Aug 20, 2014
In this Oct. 21, 2013 file photo, a monarch butterfly lands on a confetti lantana plant in San Antonio. A half-century ago Monarch butterflies, tired, hungry and bursting to lay eggs, found plenty of nourishment flying across Texas. Native white-flowering balls of antelope milkweed covered grasslands, growing alongside nectar-filled wildflowers. But now, these orange-and-black winged butterflies find mostly buildings, manicured lawns and toxic, pesticide-filled plants. (AP)

This year’s monarch butterfly migration is the smallest ever recorded. We’ll ask why. It’s a big story. Plus: how climate change is creating new hybridized species.

Aug 19, 2014
Lara Russo, left, Cally Guasti, center, and Reese Werkhoven sit on a couch in their apartment in New Paltz, N.Y. on Thursday, May 15, 2014.  While their roommate story of $40,800 found in a couch made the news, other, weirder stories of unusual roommates are far more common. (AP)

From college dorms and summer camps to RVs and retirement hotels, what it’s like to share a room. True stories of roommates.

Aug 19, 2014
Police wait to advance after tear gas was used to disperse a crowd Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, during a protest for Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer last Saturday in Ferguson, Mo. (AP)

“War zones” in America. Local police departments with military grade equipment – how much is too much, and what it would take to de-militarize America’s police force.

On Point Blog
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Tuesday, Aug 19, 2014

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Friday, Aug 15, 2014

On Pinterest, Thomas the Tank Engine and surprising population trends from around the country. Also, words on why we respond to your words, tweets and Facebook posts.

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Nickel Creek Plays Three Songs LIVE For On Point
Wednesday, Aug 13, 2014

Nickel Creek shares three live (well, mostly) tracks from their interview with On Point Radio.

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