Differently Social – In Which I Talk About Computers

Image representing Intel as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

I’m not anti-social, I’m differently social.
~ me

I like computers that are intuitive to use, but not necessarily perfect. For me part of the fun with personal computers is the fact that they may not be perfectly designed to do everything I need or want. Figuring out how to make an imperfect thing do perfectly what I want it to do is one of the things I like most about computers. I am just not in the target audience for iOS and Windows. Their marketing does not appeal to me, not because the ads are not good, they are. I just don’t think other people need to sell technology too me. I’ll know I need something when I find it.

When it is my choice, I’m an Android, Chromebook, Google, Amazon and Ubuntu (Linux) -phile. All of these are nearly constantly within easy reach. I am forced to use Windows at work and most of the members of my family use Windows or iOS so I have plenty of opportunities to interface with those machines. It’s constant at work. At home, my family members who like using whatever is most popular with their closest friends, ask me to help them figure out how to make their devices do what they want them to do when the button for “make me happy” is not flashing. As the resident system administrator I stay up to date on each new version, most recently figuring out my wife’s HP laptop running Windows 8.

This collides with my built in rational pursuit of value. I’d rather pay less for a light weight (meaning weighing less and less taxing OS) machine, even if it’s not much less. Perfect scenario. A free or near free older machine (no more than say 2 years old) that’s wiped and then I load Ubuntu. I read a blog post recently where someone decided to pay $100 more for a Windows 8 machine than buy a Chromebook because they could run Excel and play music. I can understand that person’s rationale, but I don’t have the same goals with computers.

Let’s talk value over the life of a system. What will cause this Chromebook to become antiquated for my purposes? I think it will have to physically wear out for me to need to replace it. This puts me in a good position as a consumer. Back in the day, the Windows and iOS operating systems were so taxing that upgrades in processor speed were needed in order to keep up with the lines of code. As software grew increasingly complex, the processors had to speed up. There was a period where the processor upgrades drove the spikes in computer sales. Normal people who really did not know much about computers knew about Intel because they would buy a new computer every time Intel came out with a faster processor. Intel hit their Zenith of influence over the growth of the PC with the clever but incredibly unnecessary super bowl commercials with clean room technicians dancing in multi-colored clean room suits, also known as bunny suits.

As the focus moved from processing speed to available bandwidth, upgrades in processing power were no longer guaranteed to drive computer sales. So what happened to software companies? They had to start adding more features and more value for the end user while lowering price. Now this same thing will happen with Chromebooks. The future of Chromebooks will be near free or free devices where all you pay for is the bandwidth so you can have anywhere connectivity. Sales will slow if more value is not added to this equation. That puts me in the drivers seat. When do I get a new Chromebook? Whenever Google adds enough value to the equation. I don’t need an upgrade in technology, but I’ll take the value proposition if it’s good enough.