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  • Where are PCs going?

    Obviously servers will continue to remain highly powerful, complex machines but what will happen to the workstation/PC in both the domestic and corporate environments?
    Will we see more thin computing where we see the network dependant devices that plug-in and download from the giants like Google or Microsoft over the internet? Or will we continue to use the less network dependant but more complex likes of the current Vista PC with there own installed apps and hard disks etc?

  • #2
    Re: Where are PCs going?

    It depends....
    For whatever the computer is used.
    For home, and especialy for multimedia (games), the requirements are ever more demanding. Making it nearly impossible to be replaced with a somelike thin client.

    For the business on the other hand, i really think that the fat client as we know it now will eventually disapear.
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    • #3
      Re: Where are PCs going?

      There's not reason why a thin client can't be as powerful at a fat. The only real difference is the lack of permanent storage.

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      • #4
        Re: Where are PCs going?

        And what about the bandwidth bottleneck?

        How do you propose to run it in a domestic environment when the resource requirements for high graphic intensive games can not be supplied across a thin client environment? Storage is not an issue as even an older Wyse terminal has USB ports available for a portable USB HDD (or a larger USB stick/key/pen drive/whatever you call them).
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        • #5
          Re: Where are PCs going?

          There are two major uses of computing nowadays: work and entertainment. I do not say "office" and "home", because many of us work from they homes (also). So, few minutes ago I took care of my backup, now I am writing something not related to my official work. On the same machine. In the same browser window.
          In the work domain, more and more we see people working away from their desks. In my company, some of my users connect through RDP to their computer even when they are at another floor for some other duty. Almost every application (OK, not those that do not indulge multi-user environment, like a TS server) can be installed nowadays on a server and the user can connect to it by means of a thin client, PDA, even cellular phone. Products like Citrix and Cockpit deal even with the stubborn applications. The headaches of dealing with individual PCs, that users crash every other day with some other new game they downloaded and installed or some virus they got from an e-mail push enterprises to tighter and tighter environments. This bringing the powerful PC to its knees, because it does not use its full power. So, why pay 600-700$ for a PC underused? Go thin!
          In entertainment domain, the computer moves more and more toward a full entertainment center. You have now monitors as big as the TV set in the living room was only few years ago. Those are already as big as the whole wall. And even better quality. We watch online and offline media on our computers (news, TV, sports, full-length movies). We make slideshows and movies out of our family pictures... We use the Internet to communicate with people at the other end of the planet, and we see each other, live!
          Everything depends on how the infrastructure will develop. This means the servers (CPUs, memory, I/O capabilities), network active equipment, bandwith ... If these will keep going up at the current rate, we will be able to do tasks that we see today as heavy-duty (play heavy games, all sort of CAD, pictures and movies editing) online without seeing the difference.
          Something else to pay attention to its evolving is the growing power of the small electronic devices. The cell phones and PDAs are moving toward minimized work and entertainment center too. If the SAAS will continue to develop, and will reach the required standards of ease of use, security, availability, then we will not be glued to our desks anymore, using these devices.
          Things that once were Sci-Fi, are reality today. Who knows, few years from now, everyone of us will be a Johnny Mnemonic.
          BTW, Rednet... The idea behind the thin client is to be a device that receives screenshots and sends back clicks and/or mouse movement. The lack of storage is a by-product. This said, the network is your main concern now...

          Sorin Solomon


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          • #6
            Re: Where are PCs going?

            I guess my point is that as the internet gets faster there will be no need to physically hold/install/own allot of our applications and operating environments.

            Software copying is obviously a massive problem for Microsoft and all the software manufactures. So if they can host there software and you pay them a monthly subscription to use it I think they'll go down route. Like Google. I guess I wasn't really looking into the technicality of how it would be done at this stage. I do think the local hard disk will be phased out Intially from the home PC then maybe the office desktop..

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            • #7
              Re: Where are PCs going?

              Other way around has already been done. Think THIN CLIENTS.

              People will ALWAYS want their own HW to tweak, their own storage for privacy.

              Also, PCs not connected to the internet is a good thing. Think the new BS:G or Skynet.
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              • #8
                Re: Where are PCs going?

                Originally posted by Wired View Post
                Other way around has already been done. Think THIN CLIENTS.

                People will ALWAYS want their own HW to tweak, their own storage for privacy.

                Also, PCs not connected to the internet is a good thing. Think the new BS:G or Skynet.
                Sorry I did mean the other way round. However imagine the merger of your XBOX/PS with your cable TV/Broadband.

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                • #9
                  Re: Where are PCs going?

                  As in downloading games? They can all do that right now. If you mean SOLELY download games, and no physical media? Then read about the phantom here. EPIC FAIL.
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                  • #10
                    Re: Where are PCs going?

                    Originally posted by Rednet View Post
                    I guess my point is that as the internet gets faster there will be no need to physically hold/install/own allot of our applications and operating environments.

                    Software copying is obviously a massive problem for Microsoft and all the software manufactures. So if they can host there software and you pay them a monthly subscription to use it I think they'll go down route. Like Google. I guess I wasn't really looking into the technicality of how it would be done at this stage. I do think the local hard disk will be phased out Intially from the home PC then maybe the office desktop..
                    I think you are referring to what's known as "Cloud computing". It seems to be talked about quite a lot recently. The first stages of the idea I think was the provision of Software as a service "SaS" which seems to be very popular with software developers. The whole Idea of "cloud computing" is to provide the whole OS environment through the "Cloud" the Internet. With the increasing internet speeds the whole Idea makes sense but the only drawback I can see with that is that we have a Single point of failure - The internet Link. If there is a accepted solution to that problem (Apart from a Failover solution -which might be costly in my opinion or a Caching solution - still only a partial solution.) then I can see it taking over quite soon.
                    There are a few projects that attempt to bring the Idea to life such as the WebOs, The Glide project, EyeOS, YouOS etc but nothing yet to be considered a serious threat of the conventional OS.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Where are PCs going?

                      VDI is certainly the golden word here.
                      You provide a OS and the applications.
                      The user can connect from whatever is at his disposal.
                      Being a Computer, pda or even cellphone.
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                      • #12
                        Re: Where are PCs going?

                        I really don't think I want to trust having to rely on applications being supplied by companies who have mottos like "do no evil" (but do) and allow various Govt agencies access to user lists at the drop of a hat. If it ever gets like that I will dig out my old copy of Wordperfect 5.1 and work in private and keep my data safe.
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                        2 2 was 1 2.
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                        • #13
                          Re: Where are PCs going?

                          I believe people will want to preserve their privacy. Even using 'live' applications with the documents stored locally (however that may be achieved), is no guarantee of privacy. I think the whole idea of everything being accessible online is commendable. Problem is, you can't rely on the holders of your information to maintain a level of trust.

                          For example, government regimes change. What may be acceptable/tolerated and legal one day, may become illegal the next. Companies that hold your data (and lists of recently opened files etc), while being ethically sound, may be forced to reveal private details about you.

                          No, hard drives and their future equivalents are here to stay.

                          I'm a very keen gamer and occasionally play online. To have an Internet connection capable of providing 'live' application delivery and live updating will, I think, become feasible in the future. The main difficulty thus far seems to be upgrading existing networks to cope with faster connections (read - investment).

                          I really like my iPod and my mobile phone and the Win CE device we use where I work, but I would never substitute any of them for a tower PC with screen, keyboard and mouse.

                          Long live the PC!
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                          • #14
                            Re: Where are PCs going?

                            Hmmmmm... "trust" ... "privacy" ... Two very problematic concepts nowadays. Our minds continuously adapt concepts like these to the new reality that is born every day. The changes are not seen in matters of hours, days or weeks, but in matters of several (tens of?) years, so we don't have any problem adapting to that (remember the frog in the pot story?). More than that, new generations are born in the new reality, for them there is no change. You and I, biggles77, still remember the XT PCs... The new generation enjoys dual cores and quad cores... For them, using applications on the web looks clearly the next step... We, the dinosaurs, will have to adapt.
                            "Trust", IMHO, is a by-product. We trust someone or something when we don't fear about him/it. We trust our friends, our family, as long as we don't fear they will fail us, that they will disappoint us, and they will be there for us when we need it. We trust our ISP, our computer, our cable company as long as we are sure their services are flawless. When anything of this fails to be according to our expectations (family, friends, the Internet connection fails every few minutes, our computer crashes every now and then or the TV works only few hours a day), we don't trust then anymore.
                            Now, why is "trust" is a by-product of the "privacy" ?
                            Oh, "privacy". Anyone saw "Enemy of the State"? Which part of it is Sci-Fi and which is real? How many of us have Bluetooth enabled cellular phones? Any kid can download a radar that will discover all such devices in its proximity. How many of those cell phones are secured? Meaning, access is not allowed unless specific permission given? My 12-year daughter and her friends are making sharing parties in her class with their cell phones, when they share pictures, music and so on from one to another. None have the smallest idea about securing their devices.
                            The list of day-to day security problems can be kept forever: think of those DSL/cable home modems, that people enabled their wireless module and never thought of doing something with it, so their are open, free, for anyone in range; trojan horses and backdoor viruses; malware of all kinds... I saw few weeks ago a malware that will automatically open you web camera, and anyone that will know your IP and it's port will see what the camera sees. Privacy, we say?
                            The problem with the lack of privacy is not only because of the negative forces and ill-making individuals and groups. A serious part of it comes from the companies themselves (Google, Microsoft and all others). To achieve the precedence or any relative advantage, they release services that are not 100% fool-proof, reliable and secure. When Yahoo first opened the option of publishing pictures on the Web (the same service that was to become Flickr later on), I said: "what a great way to allow my parents, who live few hundreds miles away, to see updated pictures of their grandchildren". It took only three months for a crash to happen and all my pictures were lost. Same, some time ago Goggle lost few hundreds (IIRR) of user accounts, due to a hardware failure. They don't think about our security... They think about their economic interest. To be the first, to be the best, so their value in the stock-market will raise and the share-holders will be happy...
                            As I see it, when the security will really be there, there will be no problem of trust... Why doubt it, if we know that it is perfect in any way?

                            A great weekend for us all ( and apologies for the long monologue).
                            Last edited by sorinso; 12th September 2008, 12:29. Reason: rephrasing

                            Sorin Solomon


                            In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.
                            -

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                            • #15
                              Re: Where are PCs going?

                              Bandwidth is an issue because I don't think it's going to scale as fast as the demand needs it to. In the US, we're already seeing one of the large cable providers capping usage at 250GB download per month, and punishing those who go over that limit. Once this catches on, watch the other providers follow suit. Don't bother discussing the 250GB limit and how most people won't be impacted. The cable company discloses that this new rule impacts about 1% of its customers but as internet usage grows, more and more users will encroach this limit. Thus, it eventually becomes most everyone's problem. I hear about the future and everyone will be watching TV and movies from the internet. That's great, but the providers of the bandwidth have an absolute say in how and when this will happen.
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