I have a news reader set up to watch for items with the keyword "typewriter" in case there's any items of interest flashing past. One that's getting a lot of circulation lately is the recent pronouncement by an IBM exec that the personal computer is going the way of the typewriter and other outmoded technologies, meaning that they (PCs) are being supplanted by tablets and smart phones and the like.
Do you think there will be a point, perhaps ten or twenty years in the future when we're waxing nostalgic for our Pentiums and trying to source NOS 3.5-inch floppy disks? Before you snort derisively, I know that there's more than a few of us -- myself included -- who keep their old computers around: the Tandys and Commodores and TIs and Sinclairs and such. Maybe today's kids are being born at the end of the PC age: will they adopt it with the same sort of fervor that we've adopted another once-ubiquitous technology? I imagine a group of enthusiasts sourcing old modems and rigging up specialized cables so they can put together an improvised dialup BBS circa 1985 over whatever wireless network is in fashion at the time.
Personally, I'm not sure it will happen: I don't think the PC lends itself to a romantic view like a typewriter does, and if it is truly seeing the end of its days, it's entire lifespan was roughly thirty to forty years long at most, whereas the typewriter lasted well longer than a century. And I know that PCs weren't engineered to be as durable, though some of the very first IBMs were quite solid (having had the experience of lugging them around computer labs in my mis-spent youth.) I wouldn't be surprised if those will last a few more decades, at least: those that escaped the upgrade cycle, anyhow.
What do you think? Is the PC dead or dying? And is it headed for the same fate as the machine it replaced?
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