Essential Internet and Web Technologies
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New Academic Year with Fewer PCs

Tablet EaterPhoto by @topgold of tablet operations.

THE ONLY REASON we need a PC (or a laptop or a Mac) in the house is to satisfy our two-year-old's fascination with keys that move.

Like many other families, we don't feel the need to get a PC for the kids. The kids have shown us this by their head-long immersive activities with the iPad, Xoom, Xperia, Lumia and iTouch. They have what they want in hand and often know what icon to tap to pull what they desire from a web service.

I had expected to put an XBox Kinect into the sitting room by now but the television screen has acquired an annoying habit of switching off for three or four seconds every 15 minutes. That kind of misbehaviour would affect game play more than it disrupts the movies we want to watch on the 32" screen.

At work, we're still buying desktop units. I've rejected mine, however. There's no place on my standing desk for a big screen.

We need to get into the process where we buy two dozen tablets every year and place them into a locked trolley for check-out and use by students anywhere on campus. We already have students showing up at the start of their second year with their own iPad or Nexus tablet. They complain about not being able to run all their email and productivity apps because of the way our proxy server handles requests. Hopefully, that glitch will be addressed.

I wonder what lies ahead for businesses that sunk time and money into Microsoft products since the turn of the century. I know some that have made the strategic decision to slip away from Windows--but only a few. The market tells me about a distinct drop in demand for Microsoft consumer products. At the business level, IT administrators may be drawing a line around legacy solutions from Microsoft, aided by press reports about PRISM and State-sanctioned snooping of cloud services.

I'm exploring this idea during the next three months, asking clever fourth year university students what they see in their crystal balls five years from now. I wonder how many of them imagine themselves at a desk, connected to the ethernet, using Microsoft products and services as their primary connection to productivity.

[Bernie Goldbach's long bet is for his 2018 college campus to have more institution-sponsored tablets and e-readers than desktop workstations.]

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