There's reason to believe PC demand will pick up in the next several months
We've heard the gloom and doom predictions time and again by market research firms, but more recently, there's been a bit of optimism from several corners of the web. Research firms have thrown around the term "rebound" in regards to upcoming PC shipments, and evidently players that make up part of the PC's upstream supply chain are seeing things that are making them optimistic about the second half of the year.
Market research firm predicts 10 percent market shrinkage
If industry analysts don't start saying nice things about PCs, we may start to develop a complex. We jest, of course -- this is Maximum PC, not Maximum Feelings -- and we're confident that PCs will be around for a long, long time, but what's unknown is when mainstream users will see the need to upgrade again. According to International Data Corporation (IDC), PC shipments continue to decline because consumers are getting by just fine with their older machines.
Who's to blame/credit for the most famous key combination in history?
It doesn't matter how long you've been using a PC, as long as there's a keyboard involved, you're probably familiar with the Control-Alt-Delete combination, or the three-finger salute, as some have come to call it. Decades after the key combination was conceived, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates candidly admits that it was a "mistake, but don't point the finger at him, let IBM share some of the blame.
The demise of the PC as you know it is often talked about, or at least alluded to, but just because tablets are uber popular doesn't mean there isn't room for old and new style PCs in the market. According the latest forecast by Canalys, traditional and tablet PC sales combined in 2013 will total 493.1 million units, up from 459.6 million 2012. By 2017, that number will jump to 713.8 million.
It's the little guy that often gets overlooked in various circumstances, and when it comes to computers in general, BIOS makers fit that description, even though their chips and code play a big role in the operation of your PC. Like every other PC player, BIOS designers are feeling the hurt from weakening PC sales, leaving them to find alternative means to flip a profit amid a changing market place.
It (literally) pays to know all the crafty ways you can save money without sacrificing your power user cred
As much as we love ogling top-of-the-line PC hardware and fantasizing about price-be-damned rigs, we also love, love, love to stretch a dollar. Does that make us cheapskates? You betcha, if that’s what you want to call someone who doesn’t pay a premium when he or she doesn’t have to. Sign us up! In fact, where computing is concerned, knowing all the various angles to save a buck—a buck that can then be put toward new and better gear, mind you—is as much a part of being a power user as knowing how to flash a BIOS or overclock RAM. If you’re currently spending top dollar on your PC activities, it’s time you got schooled in the fine art of penny-pinching. From free software alternatives, to the best deals on all forms of digital entertainment, to hardware-buying tips, to our blueprint for a $600 PC, this year’s Cheapskate’s Guide can save you thousands of dollars and make you a more savvy consumer in the process.
Note: This article appeared in the October 2012 issue of the magazine.
IBM lays out five predictions that will change computing in the next five years.
Within the next five years, PCs and cell phones will know if you're coming down with a cold or other illness, IBM says. Tiny embedded sensors will analyze orders, biomarkers, and thousands of molecules in your breath, giving doctors help in diagnosing and monitoring certain diseases and ailments, even diabetes. That's just one of five predictions IBM made as part of its seventh annual "IBM 5 in 5," which is a list of five innovations that have the potential to change the way people work, live, and interact during the next five years.
My favorite CEO adage by far is the tale of three envelopes. It is rumored that a new chief executive is presented with three envelopes by his predecessor. These notes of wisdom are designed to be opened in sequence in response to any serious crisis. The first letter directs the new leader to shift blame to the last CEO. The second envelope directs the CEO to re-organize and fire people. The last and final piece of advice on the third letter is to prepare three identical envelopes for the next guy. This urban legend may elicit a few snickers from the readers, but unfortunately for HP CEO Meg Whitman, it looks like she’s already cracked open two of her three envelopes.
If you think dealing with bloatware on a new OEM system is a pain in the backside, imagine buying a PC only to find out that it's infected with malware...straight from the factory! Apparently that's something PC shoppers need to be worried about these days, according to an investigation conducted by Microsoft's Digital Crimes Unit (DCU). The investigation and subsequent sting operation, codenamed "Operation b70," found that several new systems sold in China had malicious software pre-installed.
For better or worse, Valve has officially decided to jump into the PC hardware business. We know as much because a job listing on Valve's website in search for an Industrial Designer spells it out in no uncertain terms, though details of the hardware project remain a secret. All we know for sure is that Valve is "frustrated by the lack of innovation in the computer hardware space," and to rectify that, the software developer is "jumping in."