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 )

 
AAPL
$112.03
Apple Inc.
-0.62
MSFT
$47.96
Microsoft Corpora
+0.44
GOOG
$514.90
Google Inc.
+3.80

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

calibre 2.13 - 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
Mellel 3.3.7 - Powerful word processor w...
Mellel is the leading word processor for OS X and has been widely considered the industry standard since its inception. Mellel focuses on writers and scholars for technical writing and multilingual... Read more
ScreenFlow 5.0.1 - Create screen recordi...
Save 10% with the exclusive MacUpdate coupon code: AFMacUpdate10 Buy now! ScreenFlow is powerful, easy-to-use screencasting software for the Mac. With ScreenFlow you can record the contents of your... Read more
Simon 4.0 - Monitor changes and crashes...
Simon monitors websites and alerts you of crashes and changes. Select pages to monitor, choose your alert options, and customize your settings. Simon does the rest. Keep a watchful eye on your... Read more
BBEdit 11.0.2 - Powerful text and HTML e...
BBEdit is the leading professional HTML and text editor for the Mac. Specifically crafted in response to the needs of Web authors and software developers, this award-winning product provides a... Read more
ExpanDrive 4.2.1 - Access cloud storage...
ExpanDrive builds cloud storage in every application, acts just like a USB drive plugged into your Mac. With ExpanDrive, you can securely access any remote file server directly from the Finder or... Read more
Adobe After Effects CC 2014 13.2 - Creat...
After Effects CC 2014 is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for as little as $19.99/month (or $9.99/month if you're a previous After Effects customer). After Effects CS6 is still available... Read more
Evernote 6.0.5 - Create searchable notes...
Evernote allows you to easily capture information in any environment using whatever device or platform you find most convenient, and makes this information accessible and searchable at anytime, from... Read more
Command-C 1.1.7 - Clipboard sharing tool...
Command-C is a revolutionary app which makes easy to share your clipboard between iOS and OS X using your local WiFi network, even if the app is not currently opened. Copy anything (text, pictures,... Read more
Tidy Up 4.0.2 - Find duplicate files and...
Tidy Up is a complete duplicate finder and disk-tidiness utility. With Tidy Up you can search for duplicate files and packages by the owner application, content, type, creator, extension, time... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

So Many Holiday iOS Sales Oh My Goodness...
The holiday season is in full-swing, which means a whole lot of iOS apps and games are going on sale. A bunch already have, in fact. Naturally this means we’re putting together a hand-picked list of the best discounts and sales we can find in order... | Read more »
It’s Bird vs. Bird in the New PvP Mode f...
It’s Bird vs. Bird in the New PvP Mode for Angry Birds Epic Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Telltale Games and Mojang Announce Minec...
Telltale Games and Mojang Announce Minecraft: Story Mode – A Telltale Games Series Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
WarChest and Splash Damage Annouce Their...
WarChest and Splash Damage Annouce Their New Game: Tempo Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] WarChest Ltd and Splash Damage Ltd are teaming up again to work | Read more »
BulkyPix Celebrates its 6th Anniversary...
BulkyPix Celebrates its 6th Anniversary with a Bunch of Free Games Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] BulkyPix has | Read more »
Indulge in Japanese cuisine in Cooking F...
Indulge in Japanese cuisine in Cooking Fever’s new sushi-themed update Posted by Simon Reed on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] Lithuanian developer Nordcurrent has yet again updated its restaurant simulat | Read more »
Badland Daydream Level Pack Arrives to C...
Badland Daydream Level Pack Arrives to Celebrate 20 Million Downloads Posted by Ellis Spice on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Far Cry 4, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Desti...
Far Cry 4, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Destiny, and Beyond – AppSpy Takes a Look at AAA Companion Apps Posted by Rob Rich on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] These day | Read more »
A Bunch of Halfbrick Games Are Going Fre...
A Bunch of Halfbrick Games Are Going Free for the Holidays Posted by Ellis Spice on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Shift - Photo Filters Designed By You (...
Shift - Photo Filters Designed By You 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Photography Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

The Apple Store offering free next-day shippi...
The Apple Store is now offering free next-day shipping on all in stock items if ordered before 12/23/14 at 10:00am PT. Local store pickup is also available within an hour of ordering for any in stock... Read more
It’s 1992 Again At Sony Pictures, Except For...
Techcrunch’s John Biggs interviewed a Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) employee, who quite understandably wished to remain anonymous, regarding post-hack conditions in SPE’s L.A office, explaining “... Read more
Holiday sales this weekend: MacBook Pros for...
 B&H Photo has new MacBook Pros on sale for up to $300 off MSRP as part of their Holiday pricing. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $1699... Read more
Holiday sales this weekend: MacBook Airs for...
B&H Photo has 2014 MacBook Airs on sale for up to $120 off MSRP, for a limited time, for the Thanksgiving/Christmas Holiday shopping season. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax... Read more
Holiday sales this weekend: iMacs for up to $...
B&H Photo has 21″ and 27″ iMacs on sale for up to $200 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. B&H will also include a free copy of Parallels Desktop software: - 21″ 1.4GHz... Read more
Holiday sales this weekend: Mac minis availab...
B&H Photo has new 2014 Mac minis on sale for up to $80 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $459 $40 off MSRP - 2.6GHz Mac mini: $629 $70 off MSRP... Read more
Holiday sales this weekend: Mac Pros for up t...
B&H Photo has Mac Pros on sale for up to $500 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax in NY only: - 3.7GHz 4-core Mac Pro: $2599, $400 off MSRP - 3.5GHz 6-core Mac Pro: $3499, $... Read more
Save up to $400 on MacBooks with Apple Certif...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs available for up to $400 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and... Read more
Save up to $300 on Macs, $30 on iPads with Ap...
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
iOS and Android OS Targeted by Man-in-the-Mid...
Cloud services security provider Akamai Technologies, Inc. has released, through the company’s Prolexic Security Engineering & Research Team (PLXsert), a new cybersecurity threat advisory. The... Read more

Jobs Board

Project Manager, *Apple* Financial Services...
**Job Summary** Apple Financial Services (AFS) offers consumers, businesses and educational institutions ways to finance Apple purchases. We work with national and Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.