The Dawn of the Post-PC Era. Not.

Summary:Do you think that you're living in a Post-PC Era just because certain media types tell you that you are? Well, don't believe it, because you aren't.

It never gets old to see what new buzzwords this industry will spring from its bowels but this "Post-PC Era" thing is probably the most ridiculous one to date. So, we're not using PCs anymore? Really? I'll bet if I walk into the office of any journalist, pseudo-journalist, CXO or other buzzword-addicted entity, I'd find something very interesting: A PC--in a Post-PC Era world. Oh dear, what a dilemma.

For them, not for me.

I don't believe that we're living in a Post-PC Era. Nor will we in the near future. I don't know what PCs will look like in 30 years nor do I know if they'll exist at all. Personal computing will exist. Personal computing devices will exist. But, perhaps that will be the Post-PC Era.

I think the people who spout off about a "Post-PC Era" are dreaming, haven't had enough sleep or perhaps have too little fiber in their diets. So, to anyone who thinks that you're living in a Post-PC Era, relax, turn off your cell phone, put down the pipe and focus as much as possible on what you're reading.

A "PC" is a PERSONAL COMPUTER. In 1981, the definition of a personal computer was a CRT (Monitor), a "CPU" (Box), a keyboard, a mouse and often an external modem. That boat anchor-esque pile of computer stuff was a PC. It wasn't mobile. It sat there and was only moved to replace a component in the Box or to make way for the next generation PC to replace it.

Replacing your PC is something you had to do every year or so to stay current with technology and your friends who were buying into technology each step along the way. You replaced your 8088 system with an 8086 (XT Turbo). You replaced that XT with a 286, then you upgraded to a 386--you added a math co-processor to the 386 and four whole Megs (MB) of RAM to make it fly.

But, then came the 486 family. You had to have one of those, didn't you?

Then came Pentium. A true computer. But, wait, you did buy the Pentium Pro, didn't you, or did you hold out for the Pentium II, III or IV?

It wasn't enough that you had a desktop PC, you also needed a laptop computer--a different type of PC.

Wait. What? A different type of PC? What do I mean by 'different type' of PC?

Oh, that's right, PC means PERSONAL COMPUTER. Laptops definitely fall under that definition of personal computer. It's a computer. It's a personal technology--yep, it qualifies.

Hey, wait a minute. If laptops fall under the definition of personal computer, do tablets and netbooks?

This is fun.

Wait for it.

Yes, they do.

A tablet is a personal computer.

The definition has changed over time but it's still a 'PC.'

Everything evolves. Automobiles, motorcycles, telephones, trains, airplanes, televisions, radios, movie players and computers.

Are we living in a Post-Automobile Era, a Post-Television Era or a Post-Airplane Era?

Don't be silly. Of course not. The closest Post Era thing we could be living in is a Post-Telephone Era. Phones, now called Smart Phones, resemble computers more than they do phones.

Oh, wow, could our smart phones be considered 'PCs' too? I won't make you wait for this one. Yes.

Are they the future of computing? Probably not. They're too small for efficient computing use. Are tablets the future? In some way, yes, they are. They are very portable and efficient but long-term use is still painful.

So, until someone comes up with something better than a full-sized keyboard and a full-sized monitor, it is not a Post-PC Era. There are limitations, human limitations, to what is possible--and probable--for us to handle physically.

My iPad is very cool but I can't use it for long periods of time. It just isn't efficient. And, to hell with trying to write an article via my iPhone. I wouldn't attempt it unless under the most extreme circumstances or editorial duress. If you think I'm snarky and hateful now, it's possible that neither of us would survive an article written entirely on a smart phone.

The landscape of the IT business will change, the intelligence of our telephones will change and what we think of as a PC will change. But, a server is still a server, a phone is still a phone and a PC, into whatever case or form factor you install it, is still a PC. Just because someone puts a new moniker on something doesn't really make it a new thing.

So, in this non-Post-PC Era, enjoy your PC--irrespective of its diminutive form factor, flatness or lack of keyboard. It's a PC.

And, it's perfectly and politically correct to say so.

Topics: CXO

About

Kenneth 'Ken' Hess is a full-time Windows and Linux system administrator with 20 years of experience with Mac, Linux, UNIX, and Windows systems in large multi-data center environments.

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