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I was reading Ed Bott's column on Windows 8 tablets over last week, and he is clearly having trouble adapting to what is becoming a tablet world. Ed and I came from the first age of personal computers. I'm pretty sure he's younger than I am, and I think he is showcasing what will be a problem for many of us who grew up on PCs. Bigger is better, and tablets aren't bigger. Now, on the other hand, I know of tons of kids who don't even use PCs or tablets and live on their cellphones. For these whippersnappers, tablets are bigger.
I, too, am a baby boomer. I turned 54 years old this past April. I was there during the birth of the PC and I embraced the personal computer as a hobby, which later became my profession. However, I grew up professionally in the world of IBM mainframes, working at a large telecom in the mid-Atlantic some 25 years ago.
Today, I work with Windows Servers and desktops. Fortunately for me, my professional focus was always in the area of software development, in particular in the area of applications developed in database software. A little over a decade ago, I began the transition from IBM mainframe-based database software to Microsoft's server-based database software. I really enjoy working with this database software. It is extremely powerful, flexible and scalable.
Now that I've established my technical credentials, let's talk about these wonderful new gizmos that have come out in the past 4 years. First of all, we have 3 laptops, 2 desktops in our household running the gamut of operating systems from Windows XP to Windows 7. That doesn't include all the other electronic gadgetry, including the 5 flat-screen TVs in our household.
A little over two and a half years ago, I got my first Android phone. It was a bit limited due to it's lack of serious processing power. However, I could see the potential. In December 2011, I got my new Android phone, sporting a dual-core 1.2 ghz processor, 4.3" screen, 1 gig of ram and a 32 gig SD card. This smartphone, as I keep telling my wife after I got her the identical Android phone for Valentine's day, is a minature, high-speed computer that is always connected to the internet. These devices astound me and amaze me, even though computers have been my hobby for 30 years.
My most recent acquisition is my Google Nexus 7, shared between me, my wife and my daughter. This 7 inch screen, with it's Tegra 3 quad-core processor and Android 4.1 just flies. Between the PCs and the Android smartphones, this fills a void. It's faster to catch up on news, email and web stuff than getting on the PC or laptop.
To me, it's an amazing technological time to be living in. It's not just the hardware, but the cloud and the apps and software that live beyond the local devices that one uses to connect to the internet. I embrace these new inventions that allow a consumer of information, such as myself, to remain connected to the world, 24 x 7. And no, size does not matter, but connectivity and portability do. One of my PC's at home is connected to my 37" HDTV. I love using it when I am sitting in my mancave. However, my Android smartphone (high-speed ultra-portable computer) is with me in my pocket anytime, anywhere and always connected to the web:)
Yeah, its really all about what you are doing with it. You want to run a game where you can create content? Or even just write your own programs, and/or games? Well, don't bother with your TV and a console, since neither will allow that. Want to play the most high end graphics, again, not console. Want to just play games, in general, online, between friends.. well, there is your console. Don't need to play the latest games, or wrote code, or any of that stuff, tablets work, as long as you don't mind that they still suck at entering new information, which isn't video, voice, or pictures (sorry, give me a real keyboard.. hell, they even made those for the first pre-tablet Palm Pilots, because they knew data entry on these things sucks, and always will). But, yeah, I really don't get cell phones. Would it be nice if mine had apps and internet activated on it? Sure, for some things, but data entry sucks even more on them, most of the apps suck, so do the games, etc. A tablet is far better, even though it won't do what I need in many cases.
And, none of that even addresses the fact that even laptops are still "PCs" in the sense that you don't have some jerk looking over your shoulder and telling you what you are allowed to use it for, what you can install, etc. Then bricking the thing on you, if you find a way around it.