A long rant on why the PC is in decline.

Discussion in 'hardware' started by Keatah, Apr 19, 2014.

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  1. Keatah

    Keatah Registered Member

    Jan 13, 2011
    Ok. I got to observing a family, over the years, that I'd do occasional "IT" work for. Like transferring pictures, installing games, printing, that sort of thing. Recently over the past 6 months they've gone PC-free! This means minimal or no reliance on a traditional keyboard-mouse-monitor setup. No Windows or Linux other desktop type of environment.

    Now this is a 7-figure income household which does honest work and demonstrates good community stewardship. So you know they're smart and know how to navigate their way out of doldrums of paycheck-to-paycheck living. And this intelligence shines through in their choice of information appliances. Which happens to be iOS/Linux/Android based. Tablets and phones. They have a mix going, but I see them tending toward iOS more and more frequently.

    My observations and direct querying (via interview) on why their choices are as such come down to numerous non-ambiguous statements.

    1- There are too many interruptions requesting updates such as:
    - Java
    - hp printer drivers
    - Windows updates and Service Packs and associated hardware driver updates
    - Each individual application often requests its own updates
    - Browser version changes and plug-ins
    - Security software definition updates
    - Subscription maintenance and nagging
    - Screen resolution configuration and kludgey switching
    2- The need to run regular maintenance utilities such as:
    - Disk defragging and file placement optimization
    - Temporary file and garbage cleanup
    - Registry cleaning and pruning
    - The occasional need to wipe and re-install
    - Backups
    - CheckDisk and ScanDisk
    3- There is too much tediousness in how applications are operated.
    4- There is too much "stuff" with a cursed reference to wires, mice, monitors, connectors, USB ****, all that gear!
    5- Power up & power down is inelegant and often punctuated with delays related to system updates.
    6- The [perceived] need for Anti-Virus and Mal-Ware scanners.
    7- Backpedaling through seemingly endless oceans of advertisements on the browser.
    8- Wading through reams of pre-installed shovelware.
    9- Settings and customizations that are intermittently sticky.
    10- Disk access too intrusive. CD and DVD and removable storage devices introduce too many pauses in the workflow.
    11- Traditional laptop too hot, heavy, and expensive vs. the performance it offers.
    12- Application data exchange and interoperability.
    13- It takes too long to start up. Often requiring a tedious mouse movement.
    14- Tedious wi-fi setup and operation.
    15- Too many "Please Wait.." and progress bars and sitting watching paint dry.
    16- Extraordinary difficulty in setting up plug-n-play hardware:
    - Sequences of actions need to be done just right
    - Multiple restarts required to initialize and finalize and complete and verify settings
    17- Inconsistent results when printing WYSIWYG, there's always some offset or setting to be tweaked.
    18- Too many assumptions (made by the companies) that you know what you're doing.
    19- Counterpoint, too much hand-holding and in-your-face crap, like a busy-body waitor or Maitre'd.
    20- Cryptic error mesages:
    - No clue of their origin
    - No hint of how to resolve the reported problem
    - No description of what they mean
    21- Incompetent technical support and assertive sales (this happens to all products).
    22- Lack of indication your requested action is complete in too many applications.
    23- Failure of the industry to live up to the hype it generates.
    24- PC's are overall time wasters and seen as something to carefully use, but mostly avoid.
    25- Annoying and slow watch-the-grass-grow backups.
    26- Frequent lockups especially when changing USB devices and corrupted data upon disconnect.
    27- Too much upgrading and changing hardware over the past years.
    28- The "My Documents" folder being used as a garbage dump, and full of configuration data.
    29- A gradual slowdown of the system over time.
    30- Certain driver revisions working with certain games.
    31- Inconsistent user experiences from machine to machine.
    32- Expensive graphics/cpu/mobo "upgrades" for the gaming machine.
    33- Short 2-3 hour battery life on laptops, gaming laptops even worse.
    34- Everything feels like a mountain of patchwork and glue of the old and new.
    35- Patches and updates are inconsistently all-inclusive. Sometimes must be installed in a certain order.
    36- Excessive bloat. PC applications “feel heavy and slow” compared to tablets and smartphones. Load time and responsiveness sucked.
    37- Failure of the PC industry to give the consumer exactly what he/she wants.
    38- Build quality. iPads & Kindles are better constructed than your average PC, laptop or desktop.
    39- Uninstalling software is not a clean process, there always seem to be remnants and leftovers left behind.
    40- CD and DVD playback kludgey. Too much activity needed to get it going.

    And there you have it! (Or don’t if you’re running a good tablet.) That just about sums up what's wrong with the PC experience on the user's end. I don't wish this upon even my worst enemy. And while some of the above may have been mitigated or solved recently; it's too little too late to stem the receding tide of PC sales. People have bitched about this for years and the industry paid no heed. In fact they cranked up some of the annoyances like bloatware and incessant updates thus intensifying the negative experience. Not to mention the race to the bottom to build the cheapest hardware possible - which breaks if you so much as look at it the wrong way!

    Is it any wonder why the PC is in decline? And before you get all huffy & stuffy about Windows 8 or Linux, consider carefully! Do you want more of the same **** over and over again? I didn't think so.

    I asked their kids about what they think of the iPad and Kindle and smartphones. They simply said, "..it works better!!" And you can't argue with that! And that's an unbiased opinion! Not infected with fanboi-ism or corporate loyalties and motivations!

    And I think that's great! The bigger kick-in-the-ass the PC industry gets the happier I will be! I think that industry deserves every dose of fail it gets - and more!
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2014
  2. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

    Feb 25, 2006
    Known facts. I realized that PCs were not consumer devices 30+ years ago.
  3. Keatah

    Keatah Registered Member

    Jan 13, 2011
    I personally am not surprised either, I think it's great that the average non-tech consumer is finally doing away with PC's when they find discover similar functionality in a completely different device.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2014
  4. Wroll

    Wroll Registered Member

    Nov 29, 2011
    I never met a single PC user to complain about those things. In fact, with many people I interact, the most basic stuff, like updating an OS, is something completely unknown to them. PC sales are down for two reasons in my opinion:
    1. newer hardware is not a big upgrade over the last generation as it was 10 years ago.
    2. most people use the PC for mail, facebook, youtube so tablets are enough for them.
  5. TairikuOkami

    TairikuOkami Registered Member

    Oct 10, 2005
    And there goes the security. :isay: It is a classical security triangle, nothing new. People want functionality and easy-to-use at cost of a security.
    People are like kids, they like toys not tools. If there are too many options/settings, they get scared, so Windows tries to hide it as much as possible.
    But so far, tablets and smartphones are taking over, point and click, it can not be done easier, but if you know a way how, well you will get rich soon.
  6. Minimalist

    Minimalist Registered Member

    Jan 6, 2014
    EU - Slovenia
    That's true. For everyday activity tablets are enough but I couldn't use them to do my work.

  7. Keatah

    Keatah Registered Member

    Jan 13, 2011
    I wonder if better integration between apps is another reason. Example: Take a photo with your tablet or phone. Then post it to a blog, facebook, and then perhaps a couple of individual recipients by email. For bonus points, put a simple text title on the photo.

    To do this on the PC requires several applications joined at the Windows Explorer point.
    You take a picture with the camera, and upload it via the camera mfg utility. Or copy from SD card.
    Load photoshop or similar and make some text, save it back to the disk.
    Load a web browser. Then search for and open the file and post.
    Load your email client like outlook, then locate the file again and attach and send.

    While I'm sure that can be simplified someplace, it is typical of the complexity of PC operations.
  8. CloneRanger

    CloneRanger Registered Member

    Jan 4, 2006
    Real work etc only gets done on PC's, whether it's Windows/Linux/MAC etc. The rest is just playing !
  9. whitedragon551

    whitedragon551 Registered Member

    Sep 30, 2008
    You claim they are smart and then in the same sentence you do "IT" work for them that includes printing, transferring pictures, installing games, etc. Keatah sounds like you interviewed a whiny family that is for the most part clueless.

    The fact that they mentioned registry cleaning/pruning and corruption on USB drives points at this fact. Its also quite comical they sit and watch the progress bar on backups and updates as a reason to get rid of PC's when Android and iOS also need updates on a regular basis.
  10. Keatah

    Keatah Registered Member

    Jan 13, 2011
    Allow me to humbly clarify a little. The "IT" work is pretty casual, if you want to call it that. Mostly busy work they don't want to do or have time to do.

    For example the kids are outside while I'd print up a couple of pages about stars and galaxies and the universe. And that would be for their school report. The idea of using the browser print functions or saving a .jpg and printing from photoshop is almost alien to them. The idea you can cut part of a web page or image from it is equally alien.

    The Windows Explorer and filing system is black magic & wizardry!

    The progress bars and updates on androids and ios, maybe it goes faster, or is smoother. Or maybe, IMHO, the devices are smaller & less intimidating. That could translate into the concept that updates are expected and when they occur they're faster.. dunno..

    But since they're now on tablets they're all wanting to do this by themselves now. All of a sudden.

    Whiny? Mostly..
    Clueless? With traditional PC technology, absolutely.
    Smart and making 7 figure income, ohh definitely.
  11. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    USA still the best. But getting worse!
    I've fixed so many computers that now I can read customers minds. And usually they're thinking:

    "Why is this guy telling me all this? Its just supposed to work like a frig or a toaster. Oh, let me pay attention here so I can turn these bothersome programs off after he leaves."

    The masses, the masses they're doomed. Seriously though, until theres remote maintenance for every unknowledgeable user. Like monthly or weekly. They'll find some way to break the toaster.
  12. digmor crusher

    digmor crusher Registered Member

    Jul 6, 2012
    People use tablets or phones because they are portable, they can be connected 24/7, drives me nuts. People can't go 5 minutes without their phone, can't go out in public without earphones plugged into something. Either tuning out the world or have to be online every 5 minutes because they might miss something. I prefer PC all day long, I do not need to be online every 2 minutes, I go to my PC for an hour or so, do my stuff and thats it for the day. To me its beyond dumb trying to do anything on a 4 inch screen.
  13. Veeshush

    Veeshush Registered Member

    Mar 16, 2014
    Also think how many times any of these people actually upgraded or replaced hardware in their already practically made to be disposable store bought PCs. These average people were never power users, and as said above:
    Tablets are great for those types. And to them, maybe also having everything sort of built into the screen make desktops seem clunky and "old fashion". They can easily take videos and pictures and send them out. A bit more portable than laptops too. It just works, and does everything they need.

    On the support side though- most smartphones/tablet support is done through the store or company you bought them from. So the usual family IT guys just aren't the ones who get to hear the problems they're having (I remember Lewis Black did a good rant about trying to get his phone fixed in the stores). All the issues of hardware/software is still there. And they're not really made to be physically worked on or upgraded like PC's which are modular (if the hard drive fails you can replace it, you add more ram, etc) On tablets you can swap out the sd cards and batteries- and that's bout it.

    But when they actually need a printer or want to do actual work though-
    Exactly. I don't see workplaces entirely going tablet anytime soon. The keyboard was around with the typewriter- people want actual manual keys to press when doing work. They're used to it and it works better than any touch screen. You might have tablets that can plug into keyboards in workplaces, but you'll still have servers and every other thing. And then just the actual difference between desktop hardware over a tablet, depending on the work you are doing (video editing for example).
  14. Keatah

    Keatah Registered Member

    Jan 13, 2011
    I've seen a lot of examples of the tablet being used in highly professional jobs. They work well, too, when you can shadow your desktop and need to access something.
  15. silat

    silat Registered Member

    Oct 30, 2006
    "Now this is a 7-figure income household which does honest work and demonstrates good community stewardship. So you know they're smart and know how to navigate their way out of doldrums of paycheck-to-paycheck living."

    7 figures? Ok. So how the heck would they know about paycheck to paycheck living?
  16. Keatah

    Keatah Registered Member

    Jan 13, 2011
    [QUOTE="7 figures? Ok. So how the heck would they know about paycheck to paycheck living?[/QUOTE]

    Because they came from a place worse than my 'hood. Much worse.
  17. Nebulus

    Nebulus Registered Member

    Jan 20, 2007
    European Union
    I was going to say the same thing about doing real work. And I think that you get a great playing (read: gaming) experience on a PC too! :thumb:
  18. Umbra

    Umbra Registered Member

    Feb 10, 2011
    Europe then Asia
    my comments are in red in the quote.

    most of those complains seems to be made by people that took time to understand and use advanced features of an OS (not basic users) ; common people just know how to install-run-uninstall a soft or install a driver, they don't go beyond that. for the rest they call me (i am an IT guy) if they have issues.

    tablets are more popular because:

    - mobility (lighter than a laptop, "i can carry it wherever i go")
    - "i can do my mails , surf internet , watch Youtube as i did with my computer"
    - its cool to have one ("check my new Ipad i paid 500usd")
  19. xxJackxx

    xxJackxx Registered Member

    Oct 23, 2008
    I agree with those reasons...
    1. I have not upgraded since 2011 and won't any time soon because what I have is fast enough for a long time to come. Anyone I know with Windows 7 or better sees no reason to upgrade.
    2. People started buying PCs when Windows 95 and America Online became popular. Most of them never actually needed a PC, don't know what to do with one beyond those basic tasks, and would have bought tablets back then if they were an option.
  20. Ocky

    Ocky Registered Member

    May 6, 2006
    George, S.Africa
    PC's and notebooks are wonderful things. You can do stuff the smart folk can only dream about. I have no need or desire to join
    the 'in' crowd and buy a tablet or smart phone.
    One thing's for sure, hackers will have a veritable feast with all those non-rooted smart phones/tablets and the mostly click happy
    inexperienced folks whose primary concern is being on facebook etc.
    There has already been a huge increase in internet banking fraud with mobile phones and it will get worse and worse...
    (BTW, Linux does away with many of the perceived nuisances mentioned in post #1)
  21. SirDrexl

    SirDrexl Registered Member

    Apr 14, 2012
    To be fair, I think he was referring to the aesthetics of having connected peripherals. Some people cannot stand the sight of wires. The people who would be drawn to that aspect of tablets are the type that would buy a soundbar instead of a real surround sound system.

    While some of Keatah's points were valid, some of them were along the lines of "this isn't a problem because it's not there in the first place." For instance:

    Issues with installing/upgrading hardware? Of course that won't apply to tablets because you can't upgrade anything. You just throw it out and buy a new one.
    Slow backups? I suppose they wouldn't take long on a tablet because there's very little storage included. If you were suggesting people use the cloud to store everything, that's not a tablet-only proposition.
    CD and DVD problems? Well, obviously if there's no optical drive it can't cause you issues.
  22. Bob D

    Bob D Registered Member

    Apr 18, 2005
    Mass., USA
    Another to agree. Tablets are fine for gaming, social networking, casual use, etc (of little use me).
  23. dissident

    dissident Registered Member

    Mar 1, 2006
    Why I'm not ditching the PC: Greed.

    Obnoxious popup advertising that can't be blocked unless you root your device to modify the hosts file is much more annoying to me than any of the above mentioned items. About the only thing that annoys me in windows 8.1 is when windows for whatever reason decides all my drives need to be fired up, for example, to empty the recycle bin, and it pauses and waits for them all to respond.... that I will grant is annoying.. however the drives defrag themselves, updates are automatic, and I spend almost no time performing maintenance on my machine. Windows 8.1 really is a fine tuned machine... if only the windows phone version was more open like the desktop version, so I could install ad blockers, modify the hosts file, browse files, etc. I used to like google's innovation, but they are smelling of greed lately and I am contemplating whether to keep using some of their products like their chrome browser. I don't like when things are locked down and ads forced in my face.

    Greed by the wireless carriers. 2 GB caps for typical plans in 2014 is a joke. I can understand them not wanting people to use 50GB per month but they swung the pendulum way too far in the other direction here. Until we start seeing caps more like 10GB, no way am I going to switch to mobile internet (and I'm not going to have both mobile and home internet at the same time... waste of money)

    It's simply much nicer to browse the net on a large screen with a full size keyboard. I could have typed this somewhat long message with a smartphone, but would not have... it would have taken forever with all the mistyped keys and the like. Using a tablet or phone wastes time due to their size. Yes it's nice to have mobile internet which I'd mostly use to check radar when I chase storms as a hobby, but it's not worth what is being charged right now. I'll stick to wi-fi places with my cheap Venue 7 for internet on the go, and my GPS for maps which has always served me well.

    Oh.. the profit margins on the phones is another one... costs them $250 to make a Samsung Galaxy S5, but they charge $600. This is the case with all phones. Also phones being so incompatible with different carriers, locked down so they can't be used with different carriers, and all that garbage. Just kind of smells of greed, the whole mobile industry. Like I mentioned elsewhere, they get away with it because they can. Your typical human being cannot live without unlimited texting and being able to post facebook pictures on the fly... I see people who cannot go 5 minutes there entire day without looking at their phones..... they are addicts and all the big corporations know this, as does the government (typical taxes on a postpaid plan are around 18%).. only thing taxed higher is cigarettes.
  24. Tarnak

    Tarnak Registered Member

    Feb 5, 2007

    Four posts in 8 yrs... I like your style. Desktops forever. ;)
  25. mattdocs12345

    mattdocs12345 Registered Member

    Mar 23, 2013
    Yup. And the problem is that people ignore most of those issues which compromises their security.

    Again people just ignore this and live with a slow computer.

    Don't see this as a problem. People know most of this stuff these days anyways. Computers have been around for decades.

    Yup, that's where linux shines.

    Not a problem if you just install ABP

    Agree. Thats why people should go apple or linux.

    I dont see it as a problem. You dont have to access those those options if you dont have to. I hope you are not supporting dumbing down the OS.

    Thats how they work in every OS

    I disagree. Laptops became too cheap in both price and quality.

    Please be more specific.

    35 seconds is not too long
    I found it as easy as iOS. Better yet, Windows wifi always works while ipads get often blocked on the network.


    100% agree. This is where linux shines. There is no drivers. Everything thats linux compatible just works.

    Hmmm never noticed it but then I dont print that much.

    These two points are contradicting. So is there not enough or too much hand holding?

    Yup. How long has Windows been around> Why do we still have to deal with this bull?

    Not MS fault.

    Not really. Depends whom you ask. Most people appreciate being able to use a computer to communicate with their loved ones via skype or facebook.

    They are all the same speed for both apple and MS.

    Isn't the rate of USB corruption same across all OSs?

    Agreed. That's why I use older software that was designed for Windows XP and runs super fast on Windows 7.

    Agreed on mostly everything here. But you have to ask yourself how much of it is MS fault versus stupid vendors.

    The consumer doesn't know what he/she wants.

    Didn't you complain in point 11) that laptops are too expansive. So what do you want? Quality laptop that's $2000 that will last you 10-15 years or peace of $h!t laptop that will break down in 3 months but cost you a fraction of that?

    Agreed. And it causes problems too many times. I wonder why MS still didn't fix it after so many years.

    Not sure what you mean.
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