05.2–Personal computing architecture-Updated-2012/10/15

The personal computing technology evolves rapidly and one needs to regularly reassess his computing environment. The following blog reflect my current thinking on this subject.

Guiding Principles

1 – Stay with the Market Leaders

By far, the most significant investment everyone makes in technology is the time and effort one must invest to learn and become proficient in the use of each product he buys, in order to take full advantage of such products. On average, most users can only operate and take advantage of a VERY SMALL fraction of each product functions. Therefore, it becomes ludicrous to buy more new product when one can hardly use the current products he owns. The corollary to this is: one must do its utmost to minimize the number of products or technologies he has to learn over time, if he wants to take full advantage of the technologies he owns and uses. It implies that one must make a careful selection of technologies that will stand the test of time to avoid having to constantly learn replacement technologies. If this blog can help you make such decisions it will have served its purpose.

I invite you to stop and reflect on the ideas stated in the above paragraph unless you master all the technologies you own and need more to occupy your spare time. In general, the majority of individuals try to invest minimum time to learn in order to have more time to productively use the technologies they need. Therefore, don’t be sucked in by the buzz of new product announcements!

The only way to limit your learning time and maximize your productive time is to limit yourself to fewer technologies and use the most generalized technologies that satisfy your needs. This means identify, properly select and stick with the market leading technologies, since the market leaders dictate the evolution of these technologies.

For example, if you own and are a proficient Apple computing technology user and you master the Apple products, stick with Apple even though they may not always have the leading technology at times. If certain features have market appeal, they will eventually incorporate them into their products. The same applies to Microsoft users, which is the great majority. Don’t venture into the Apple products even if they seem to be leading technology at some point in time. Otherwise, you will end up with a mix bag, increasing significantly your learning investment and having to resolve or live with complicated synchronization challenges. The time you take to learn, integrate and keep synchronized a mix bag of major technologies is not worth the potential benefits you may contemplate one specific product could bring.

If you want to move from one technology environment to the other, think twice. Inquire around about all the implications before you make the move. Don’t act on emotions! If you do make the move, plan on a significant learning curve. The older you are the more significant these recommendation become.

When it comes to phone and tablet hardware, in North America many have been lured to buy an iPhone or iPad since Apple was the first to come out with such products and it took quite a while for the Android products to catch-up. As of the summer of 2012, Android products have filled the gap and are now viewed in many reviews as superior. Let’s say that the race is now a tie.

In summary, if you are an experienced Apple user, stick with the Apple technologies. If you are a proficient Microsoft user, stick with the Microsoft and Android technologies. In this case, for phones and tablets stick with Samsung. Why? Here are the numbers: as of August 2012, Android phone sales account for 68% of the smartphone market, of which Samsung represents 2/3 of the Android market or 44% of the overall smartphone market, while Apple has 17% of the market. Who would expect such numbers when you listen to the buzz around the iPhone 5 announcement? These numbers mean that for every new Apple phone sold, Samsung sells THREE. That in my book is a market leader.

I know some will say “He preaches for what he likes.” “He’s a diehard Microsoft/Android/Samsung user, Bla! Bla! Bla!…” I cannot control this. I can only say that: after more than 45 years using computing technologies, I am still learning every day new functions on the software and hardware products I own. I have been using some of these products for years like Word, Excel, Google Mail/Calendar/… Do you think I have the time and the energy to start over? Everyone can answer this question for himself. In my case: the answer is a non-equivocal NO.

2 – KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid

The KISS principle is paramount for the average user who has difficulty following every new development and learning every new technology. You don’t need to buy each new product!

Since most people invest quite a bit in new technologies and most computing technology products have a life expectancy of three years or less, it is very important once again to pick the right leading technologies and stick with it no matter what. Manufacturers will come up with incremental changes to their products to keep sales up. Don’t fall in that trap. Instead, focus on implementing and learning the latest versions of the products you currently use to take full advantage of their new features. This way you will spend less money and become more proficient to take advantage of the major new versions when they come out.

A typical example: the iPhone 4S and 5 are incremental improvements from my point of view. The same applies to the Samsung Note 2 and many other products. If you don’t own one, then buy the newer technology. If you own one, wait for the major new versions unless you can afford to change every time something new comes out.

The bottom line

At this time, I am not buying any new product until Windows 8 comes out along with the slew of new hardware products combining the functions of a laptop, a tablet and a cell phone into one product. This to me is a significant change forcing me to review the hardware platforms I currently operate on. For example, instead of two desktops, a laptop and a smart phone/tablet, I may move to have a powerful combination laptop/tablet with connection to a very large screen (28” that I own), in each location, to increase my viewing real estate, in addition to my Samsung Note smart phone. If I did not own these large 28” screens, I would buy a large Touch Screen Monitor to take full advantage of Windows 8. I will most probably do that move a few months downs the road based on my use of Windows 8, once I have assessed the value of such a move.

The Samsung SPen

The combination tablet/laptop PC I plan to buy will be a Samsung with an SPen. I think the SPen is a promising technology. I want to experiment with the use of the SPen in addition to fingers, mouse and keyboard. I believe in having as many ways as I can to interface with the computer will improve efficiency. This also includes voice as it becomes more powerful.

The integration of mobile features on a combination tablet/laptop PC

We should not be surprised to witness the integration of most smartphone features on a tablet/laptop PC. Now that the technology exists on smartphones, it becomes child play for manufacturers to incorporate it into any other computer based devices. Therefore, the next generation of tablet/laptop PC will offer most of what you can get on today’s smartphones. Following is some information on the Samsung ATIV SmartPC Pro. I think this product will allow me to achieve what I described above. Once I am familiar with it, which should be at the beginning of next year, I will write a blog on this site.

Samsung ATIV SmartPC Pro

The product I am looking at is the Samsung ATIV SmartPC Pro that you can see by clicking the following hyperlink: http://www.samsung.com/global/ativ/ativ_pc_pro.html

Samsung ATIV SmartPC Pro Specs:

http://www.phonearena.com/phones/Samsung-ATIV-Smart-PC-Pro_id7465/fullspecs

Samsung ATIV SmartPC Hands-On:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twVALLqp7FE

First out of the box look at the Samsung ATIV SmartPC Pro in Russian:

http://www.theverge.com/2012/10/4/3454886/samsung-ativ-smartpc-pro-unboxing-and-preview-not-fake

Other software

On the software side, I will restrict myself to the following products: Microsoft 7/Office 2010/Explorer, plus Google’s Gmail/Calendar/Maps/Drive/Chrome, Dropbox, and a few others.

Going forward: Microsoft 8/Office 2013/Explorer 9, plus Google’s Gmail/Calendar/Maps/Drive/Chrome, Dropbox, and a few others.

This is what I am looking at right now and I will keep you informed of any new developments

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