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Old 04-12-2009, 04:14 PM
 
573 posts, read 617,324 times
Reputation: 199

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A great article on some future trend shifts in the computer industry

The Netbook Effect: How Cheap Little Laptops Hit the Big Time

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wired Magazine

It turns out that about 95 percent of what I do on a computer can now be accomplished through a browser. I use it for updating Twitter and Facebook and for blogging. Meebo.com lets me log into several instant-messaging accounts simultaneously. Last.fm gives me tunes, and webmail does the email. I use Google Docs for word processing, and if I need to record video, I can do it directly from webcam to YouTube. Come to think of it, because none of my documents reside on the netbook, I'm not sure I even need the trash can.

Netbooks have ended the performance wars. It used to be that when you went to an electronics store to buy a computer, you picked the most powerful one you could afford. Because, who knew? Maybe someday you'd need to play a cutting-edge videogame or edit your masterpiece indie flick. For 15 years, the PC industry obliged our what-if paranoia by pushing performance. Intel and AMD tossed out blisteringly fast chips, hard drives went on a terabyte gallop, RAM exploded, and high-end graphics cards let you play Blu-ray movies on your sprawling 17-inch laptop screen. That dream machine could do almost anything.

But here's the catch: Most of the time, we do almost nothing. Our most common tasks—email, Web surfing, watching streamed videos—require very little processing power. Only a few people, like graphic designers and hardcore gamers, actually need heavy-duty hardware.

...

"But what about Photoshop?" It's the standard retort from those who dismiss netbooks as children's toys. Sure, a dinky 1.6-GHz chip and Linux are fine for email and silly things like YouTube. But what about when you need to do some real computing, like sophisticated photo editing? The cloud won't help you there, kid.

In the narrowest sense, this is true: A really powerful application like Adobe Photoshop demands a much faster processor. But consider my experience: This spring, after my regular Windows XP laptop began crashing twice a day, I reformatted the hard drive. As I went about reinstalling my software, I couldn't find my Photoshop disc. I forgot about it—until a week later, when I was blogging and needed to tweak a photo. Frustrated, I went online and discovered FotoFlexer, one of several free Web-based editing tools. I uploaded my picture, and in about one minute I'd cropped it, deepened the color saturation, and sharpened it.

I haven't used Photoshop since.

...

Because this is the future of hardware. For a few users who need a high-performance device, PC makers will offer ever-more-blisteringly fast, water-cooled boxes with screens the size of your living room—at $2,000 a pop. For everyone else—lawyers looking for something to do on the train, women desperate for something that fits in their handbag—netbooks will dominate. It's the rise of the very small machines.
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Old 04-12-2009, 08:50 PM
 
11,715 posts, read 36,346,982 times
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Netbooks are fine for a 2nd or 3rd computer but I could never rely on one. The biggest issue is the screen resolution. I have two 20" 1680x1050 displays now and sometimes that's not enough. What kind of resolutions do netbooks support on their VGA port? Also, trying to do something like Photoshop online only works if you have a really fast upload on your Internet connection. Imagine uploading 12MB raw files over a 512Kbit upload link.
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