Friday, April 24, 2015

Post-PC Day 6

Yes, I skipped a day of posting due to an injury while working out. There was no Day 5 post. Tomorrow I will be writing the Day 7 post, which will be the final post of this particular series.

Now that’s out of the way, it’s time to press on. What I have learned so far? For starters, the basics of moving to a Post-PC lifestyle are easy. My iPhone does well over 90% of what I need a traditional PC to do. It has been fairly rare that I felt that I needed to use my laptop. In fact the only need I currently have for my laptop is to get the media files currently stored on it. However, as part of this experiment, I shut down my laptop to force myself to find new ways of doing things.

Part of that learning process included discovering what apps would be needed, and what would be just nice to have. I don’t want to spoil my final post on this project, but I have come to a few realizations. Sorry, but you will have to check back tomorrow to get all my findings.

What I can say though, this experiment has been frustrating, fun, exciting and more than a little educational. So why would anyone put themselves through all of this, on purpose? Because I can, and because of Ubuntu.

A while back Ubuntu starting talking about a PC in your pocket. You dock your device and you can use a real keyboard, mouse and screen and get a real desktop. However, this is actually a major disadvantage and sets up Ubuntu to fail even before they got started.

In theory Ubuntu had a great idea. The reality is all you really get a terrible PC. The fact is a phone uses, not only a mobile processor, but a R.I.S.C. processor. R.I.S.C. is an acronym for Reduced Instruction Set Computing. There are all kinds of processors in the world and if you are reading this on a modern PC, your most likely using a C.I.S.C., or Complex Instruction Set Computing, based computer. The Intel line of x86 chips alone have multiple sets of these complex instructions sets. Without going into to much detail, the bottom line is that a desktop processor (CPU or GPU) will always be more powerful than it’s mobile counterpart.

The Ubuntu model attempts to bring desktop computing to mobile, a grand and futile goal. When a user sits down in front of a real keyboard, mouse and screen, they are going to expect real PC performance. A certain level of capability has become expected by just abut everyone who uses computers. The performance just will never be there. As mobile devices become more and more powerful, so do the laptops, desktops, servers, workstations and everything else that people use every day. The Mobile Desktop is a pipe dream.

What is really needed is a new way to work, a new way to learn to use devices to get real world work done. You can’t use new tools that have a completely new way of user interaction, and completely different capabilities (in most cases less capable) to do things in the same way they have always been done. It’s just not going to work.

So what is the answer then? While I am still learning, you will have to read tomorrows post for the conclusion of this experiment.