Some of the Digerati would have you believe the personal computer is dead. Mobile has killed the personal computer, they say. The PC should be left smoldering in anguish, limbs all chopped off, quietly slipping away into a lava flow on some remote volcano planet. PC was hard to work with, often times angry, and would deliver the blue screen choke of death all too often. Just let the PC die, and welcome the era of smart phones and tablets for everything. But the PC lives still. As tablet sales erode to both market saturation and indifference, and PC’s long-depressed sales numbers go on a rebound it should be quite clear that mobile alone cannot kill the PC. At first, analysts were thinking perhaps the PC was just not completely dead, that it might just be twitching involuntarily, or perhaps that it was undead. Now they are forced (see what I did there?) to conclude that the PC is quite possibly alive after all. Lord PC. Yes my master? Riiiiiiise.
Computer Aided Design (CAD) software has always been at the leading edge of computer hardware, and for good reason. CAD is a demanding application, and seemingly there’s never quite enough memory, processing power, screen real-estate or storage available. CAD: Punishing graphics hardware since 1964. As the compactness and mobility of high performing hardware improves, certain preconceptions about CAD accessibility and portability are being challenged. Laptop machines are now commonly used where previously only a desk-devouring workstation would suffice. But now, believe it or not, one company is attempting to bring full-fledged CAD into the tablet space. Will your next CAD workstation be a beefy tablet? A CADblet? The very concept just seems impractical, perhaps even ridiculous, or is it?
As the Computer Aided Design (CAD) world transforms for good or ill, under the mounting pressures of The Amazon, software services, subscription models, ozone depletion and virtualized streaming, the long-held institutional definition of what constitutes CAD hardware is changing. Few these days are keenly aware of a hardware certification process – where specific workstation hardware is qualified by software vendors as a certifiable configuration ready for duty. The process is slow and methodical – not to be confused with minimum or recommended software requirements – but instead testing and documenting precise machine configurations. The practice is more common the higher up you go in the CAD marketplace, with the presumption that more expensive products are supposedly pushing the hardware performance envelope. We know that presumption is certifiably insane in itself, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. As technology has moved forward (or sideways?), even the most entry level hardware is becoming quite capable from a 3D performance standpoint. So an important question to ask: does certification really matter anymore?
It’s that time again. 3Q2013 PC Sales are in, thanks to Gartner research. Not surprisingly, PC Sales continue to show weakness – around a 9% year-over-year decline. As is now customary, analysts various and sundry among most major media outlets decry that the PC is dead, it’s kicked the bucket, shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain, pushin’ up the daisies, and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible. Tablets and smart phones have inherited the Earth, closed case, nothing to see here. If you’re typing on a keyboard you’re a dinosaur. Your personal needs no longer require a box sitting in a room. All work activities in the enterprise shall henceforth be accomplished by people slapping at their tablets while sitting in a large integrated Starbucks patio that will circumnavigate the planet. It’s very poetic and optimistic imagery, but I have serious doubts. A day may come when the boot drive fails, when we forsake our mice and break all bonds of ATX motherboards, but it is not this day!