Greg's bite: The demise of the netbook?
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Greg's bite: The demise of the netbook?

By Greg Mills

I remember the day I bought my MacBook 100 computer. I paid a thousand dollars for it and was amazed that Apple packed all that power into such a small package with a keen black and white flat screen display.  

I was also using my trusty Mac Classic computer -- and going portable was awesome. I lived aboard my yacht in Newport Beach, California, at the time and 110 volts was common via an inverter running off eight 12-volt deep cycle batteries charged by solar panels. The new laptop was easy to charge and not so hard on my power supply. While both of those ancient computers are a joke by today's standards, I was able to do a lot with them.   

In comparison, I bought a new MacBook Pro for $999 just a week ago. The speed, display, memory and chip speed improvements made over the intervening 20 years is dramatic, to say the least. People want the most they can get for their money and incremental improvements add up over time, as prices drop for all that advanced technology.  

Form factors are a big part of what changes in computing devices. While desktop computers still offer a significant market for computing in a fixed location, so many of us are on the move that the "mobile computing" bug has bitten us hard. I find it amazing that I was ever satisfied with a desktop computer as my main computer, now that I am used to my MacBook Pro.  I still have to choose sometimes which device to check an incoming email with: iPhone, iPad or MacBook Pro.  The ding, dong, ding that rings three times when an email comes in, seems to load first with iPad or iPhone, with the MacBook Pro coming in last.

Wireless connections allow me print over the house Wi-Fi, which cleared my desk to a limited extent, as junk is attracted to my desktop like a magnet. The transitory form of a netbook is being replaced by the slate computer format very quickly.  Touch screens have made the hinged mechanical keyboard sort of an option we find we can do without. When Apple set the price point for the "magical" iPad at US$500 for the entry level, a subsonic "oh no" reverberated from Redmond where Microsoft killed their slate computer within days of actually getting an iPad in hand, for a comparison to what they had under development.

Had Apple played the high dollar approach and matched netback prices with iPad, it would have taken off, but not like it did. Standalone GPS devices, netbooks and other mobile devices were suddenly compared to the iPad, which could do everything well in comparison to one-item solutions. Apple's trump card is that software updates continue to improve already-sold hardware, often at no cost. How do you compete with that?  

The competition gets it, and now actual iPadish devices from other vendors are on the way. The problems they have to overcome are considerable. Apple is hogging the display market and buying up large color touch screens as fast as manufacturers can pump them out. Flash memory is spoken for months or years in advance by Apple. With a year's headstart catching up to Apple's iOS is no small matter.  

Microsoft frittering away the time while Apple surges has left its normal hardware "partners" adrift without a tablet OS that matters. In addition to all that, it takes a lot to make a profit anywhere near Apple's price points. Why fight Apple when there isn't any profit left after building a comparable touch screen slate computer?  

Some slate computer solutions are in the works that will come out next year.  Despite not matching Apple's aggressive price points, RIM is launching a tablet that they hope will find a home in business. Google is ramping up its Chrome NetBook platform and getting Android up to speed on larger screen devices. 

In an interesting turn of events, RIM is overcoming its lack of apps by allowing its new state computer, the "PlayBook" to run Android Apps. Since Microsoft has completely dropped the ball, Google has picked it up and is running with it. Microsoft recently launched Vista 7 mobile operating system isn't happening for slate computers; in fact it is really not happening for smart phones either, if early sales numbers are a valid forecast of future success.

The Microsoft Windows Stuxnet worm continues to plunge Iran's nuclear weapons program into chaos. Window computers associated with the plutonium refinement and nuclear reactor seem to be the only ones where the worm does its dirty work. It stays inactive unless it finds the right flavor of conditions that are exclusive to Iranian nuclear sites. They are suffering repeated PC reinfections and incomplete disinfection, which continues to make expensive equipment fail at alarming rates. The new reactor hasn't come on-line as the Iranians are very concerned it will blow up in their face if they do turn it on. It is certain a trick of the Windows Stuxnet worm is to fool with the turbine speed in the new Iranian reactor.  

Iranian computer experts are disappearing or being killed by agents of a foreign powers. Some tortured soul uttered the words "CIA, MI6 and Mossad" under the Iranian heated interrogation techniques (that require a propane blow torch). Now, armed with "confirmation" of their suspicions, they have threatened to retaliate and the three countries named have stepped up protection for their own logical targets.  

Iran is so clueless they don't know what to do. The web sites that have information on how to purge computers of Stuxnet have been overwhelmed by masked inquiries that have been found to have originated in Iran. One major web site had over 60% of its inquiries coming from Iran. The Russians who fled Iran are not willing to come back, fearing interrogation by the Iranians.

In another worrisome note, Saudi Arabia has made an end run around the entire nuclear proliferation process and simply purchased two nuclear bombs from Pakistan. The US has objected -- but not too loudly -- as we don't want to offend our Arab friends.  The Saudis fear the Iranian bomb almost as much as the Israelis do.  

The US military recently banned thumb drives and other recordable media that could infect their systems with worms, having seen how devastated Iran's military infrastructure is due to the Windows Stuxnet worm. Having been burned recently by low level traitors, they are now also reducing computer access to state secrets.

MakerBot has introduced an affordable 3D printer for making solid prototypes and actual 3D plastic parts. The notion with common "printers" is that we can hook up our computers with a USB cord, load paper into the device and print 2D on paper in color or black and white. The notion of a 3D printer is that a 3D computer "model" can be created as a 3D file, the computer is connected with a USB cord to a MakerBot 3D printer and an actual physical model of a solid object can be created. This is called rapid prototyping and is used in developing inventions and refining plastic parts.

Imagine having a chess set piece in your computer as a file, hooking up your computer to a 3D printer and in a few minutes an actual chess part made of plastic is "printed" one layer at a time.  Sort of a primitive StarTrek "replicator," if you will. Then consider that the files that run the MakerBot 3D printer can be downloaded over the Internet. 3D part files can be traded or sold over the Internet to create plastic parts, much as apps or other content are sold now

The price point of the new 3D Printers is at $999.  See http://support.makerbot.com/home .  The device its self is open source, so if you are so inclined, you can build your own 3D printer from exact plans on-line. The software is also open source and will run on a Mac. I will write more on this in the future, but MakerBot reminds me a lot of a computer company started in a garage some years ago.

That's Greg's bite for today.

(Greg Mills, is a Faux Artist in Kansas City. Formerly a new product R&D man for the paint sundry market, he holds 11 US patents. He's working on a solar energy startup, www.CottageIndustrySolar.com using a patent pending process of turning waste dual pane glass into thermal solar panels used to heat water. Greg writes for intellectual web sites and Mac related issues. See Greg's art web site at www.gregmills.info ; his email is gregmills@mac.com )

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Apple iOS 8.1.3 - The latest version of...
The latest version of iOS can be downloaded through iTunes. Apple iOS 8 comes with big updates to apps you use every day, like Messages and Photos. A whole new way to share content with your family.... Read more
SpamSieve 2.9.19 - Robust spam filter fo...
SpamSieve is a robust spam filter for major email clients that uses powerful Bayesian spam filtering. SpamSieve understands what your spam looks like in order to block it all, but also learns what... Read more
RapidWeaver 6.0.5 - Create template-base...
RapidWeaver is a next-generation Web design application to help you easily create professional-looking Web sites in minutes. No knowledge of complex code is required, RapidWeaver will take care of... Read more
Duet 1.2.2 - Use your iPad as an externa...
Duet is the first app that allows you to use your iDevice as an extra display for your Mac using the Lightning or 30-pin cable. Note: This app requires a $14.99 iOS companion app. Version 1.2.2:... Read more
Alfred 2.6 - Quick launcher for apps and...
Alfred is an award-winning productivity application for OS X. Alfred saves you time when you search for files online or on your Mac. Be more productive with hotkeys, keywords, and file actions at... Read more
1Password 5.1 - Powerful password manage...
1Password is a password manager that uniquely brings you both security and convenience. It is the only program that provides anti-phishing protection and goes beyond password management by adding Web... Read more
GarageSale 6.9.2 - Create outstanding eB...
GarageSale is a slick, full-featured client application for the eBay online auction system. Create and manage your auctions with ease. With GarageSale, you can create, edit, track, and manage... Read more
calibre 2.17 - Complete e-library manage...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital librarian... Read more
OmniGraffle Pro 6.1.2 - Create diagrams,...
OmniGraffle Pro helps you draw beautiful diagrams, family trees, flow charts, org charts, layouts, and (mathematically speaking) any other directed or non-directed graphs. We've had people use... Read more
OmniGraffle 6.1.2 - Create diagrams, flo...
OmniGraffle helps you draw beautiful diagrams, family trees, flow charts, org charts, layouts, and (mathematically speaking) any other directed or non-directed graphs. We've had people use Graffle to... Read more

New WOTA: U-Boat Compass ‘Wets’ Your App...
New WOTA: U-Boat Compass ‘Wets’ Your Appetite for WOTA: Wolves of the Atlantic. Posted by Jessica Fisher on January 27th, 2015 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Warship Solitaire Review
Warship Solitaire Review By Nadia Oxford on January 27th, 2015 Our Rating: :: A WAR OF NUMBERSUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Warship Solitaire might lack frills and looks, but it offers some thought provoking... | Read more »
Keep Track of Your Hectic Work Schedule...
Keep Track of Your Hectic Work Schedule With Shifts Posted by Jessica Fisher on January 27th, 2015 [ permalink ] iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad | Read more »
All Star Quarterback Review
All Star Quarterback Review By Campbell Bird on January 27th, 2015 Our Rating: :: PLAY YOUR PARTUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Train your way to the Super Bowl in this free-to-play sports management game.   | Read more »
Sentinel 4: Dark Star Adds New Campaign...
Sentinel 4: Dark Star Adds New Campaign and More Posted by Ellis Spice on January 27th, 2015 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Wheel & Deal Review
Wheel & Deal Review By Tre Lawrence on January 27th, 2015 Our Rating: :: SIMPLE FUNUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad A simple arcade shooter that has a retro feel.   | Read more »
Join the NAVY in a Big New Update for WW...
Join the NAVY in a Big New Update for WW2: Sandbox. Strategy & Tactics Posted by Jessica Fisher on January 27th, 2015 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Earthworm Alchemy Review
Earthworm Alchemy Review By Campbell Bird on January 27th, 2015 Our Rating: :: FEED THE WORMUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Feed this funny looking worm and dodge bombs in this charming, free-to-play arcade game.   | Read more »
Graphic Novel App netwars – The Butterfl...
Graphic Novel App netwars – The Butterfly Attack has Received Some New Episodes Posted by Jessica Fisher on January 27th, 2015 [ permalink ] | Read more »
DataVault Password Manager Review
DataVault Password Manager Review By Jennifer Allen on January 27th, 2015 Our Rating: :: SECURE DATA STORAGEUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Store your passwords and other sensitive information safely, thanks to... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Save up to $340 on iMacs with Apple Certified...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished iMacs available for up to $340 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. These are the best prices on... Read more
AppleCare Protection Plans on sale for up to...
B&H Photo has 3-Year AppleCare Warranties on sale for up to $105 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - Mac Laptops 15″ and Above: $244 $105 off MSRP - Mac Laptops 13″ and... Read more
Apple refurbished Time Capsules available sta...
The Apple Store has certified refurbished Time Capsules available for up to $60 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each Time Capsule, and shipping is free: - 2TB Time Capsule: $255... Read more
3TB AirPort Time Capsule on sale for $349, $5...
B&H Photo has 3TB AirPort Time Capsules on sale for $349 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $50 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model (except... Read more
16GB iPad Air 2 on sale for $446, save $53
Walmart has 16GB WiFi iPad Air 2s on sale for $53 off MSRP on their online store. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale prices available for online orders only, in-... Read more
Save up to $300 on a new Mac, $30 on an iPad,...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad at The Apple Store for Education and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free,... Read more
MasterCard Brings Contactless Payment, Apple...
MasterCard, the official card of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, and the PGA TOUR are bringing the latest payment technology to the spectator experience with the introduction of contactless... Read more
Petitioning Dropbox For Mac OS X 10.4 and 10....
Last week Dropbox announced to its users that app support for Mac OS X 10.4 and 10.5 will end May 18 — disappointing news for those of us who are still getting useful service out of older PPC Macs... Read more
Stop Street Harassment, Bullying, and Assault...
The STOP-ATTACK (http://www.stop-attack.com) app will leverage smartphone technology to make the world a safer place. Whether it’s bullying, street harassment or something even more sinister, the app... Read more
Stir Kinetic Desk M1 Standing Or Sitting Desk...
The age of the standing desk is upon us, and according to medical research, it’s arriving none too soon. The World Health Organization (WHO), reports that 60 to 85 percent of people worldwide lead... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
**Job Summary** As an Apple Solutions Consultant (ASC) you are the link between our customers and our products. Your role is to drive the Apple business in a retail Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
As an ambassador of the Apple brand, the ASC is accountable for driving sales performance by: Connecting with customers. Discovering customers' needs and values. Showing Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant- Retail Sales -...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Resellers store. The ASCs role is to grow Apple product Read more
Detailer *Apple* Ford Body Shop / Collision...
Apple Automotive is one of the fastest growing dealer…and it shows. Consider making the switch to the Apple Automotive Group today! At Apple Automotive , Read more
*Apple* Acura/Subaru Service Technicians - A...
Apple Automotive is one of the fastest growing dealer…and it shows. Consider making the switch to the Apple Automotive Group today! At Apple Automotive , Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.