Plunging headlong into the post-PC era

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By Daniel O. Escasa Last week, I characterized a post-PC device as one that runs a ?light? OS such as iOS, Android, Blackberry, or Windows Phone, its main software being a Web browser, together with dedicated native apps. A PC, on the other hand, runs Mac OS, Windows, or some variant (likely, free) of Unix. But what if, on the latter, you practically live in your Web browser? Then you’re using it as a post-PC device! The underlying OS is largely irrelevant. Which brings us to the reason for the emergence of the post-PC era. If you’re spending most of your time on your computer in a browser, why install an OS with a large footprint? With the emergence of HTML5, Web-based apps can look and feel like native apps. Furthermore, browser-based apps are maintained and updated by the provider so you don’t have to. In contrast, heavy OSes and local apps require you to be a system administrator. Don’t believe me? Look around the Web for job descriptions of SysAds and note the similarities between their tasks and what you’re supposed to do if you want a smooth computing experience. Device drivers? Anti-virus software? Backup procedures? Another thing: local apps such as office suites are chock-full of features that most users aren’t even aware of. For instance, how many of you:

  • Type in two spaces between two sentences?
  • Type in two carriage returns at the end of a paragraph?
  • Set paragraph attributes ? indents, hanging indents, alignment (left, center, right, or justified) ? to each paragraph, instead of defining and applying paragraph styles?
  • Manually type in page numbers?
On that last point, a trivia item: Did you know? that even WordStar (if you don’t know what that is, your only valid excuse is not being old enough) provided for automatic page numbering? If I recall rightly, the dot command .pn did it. If you can plead ?not guilty? to all the above violations of good software practice, don’t get smug. I’m sure we can all sit around a campfire trading software secrets that aren’t so secret after all. So why not go with a simple text editor such as Wordpad, or even Windows Write, or something similar on Mac OS or GNU/Linux? Indeed, why bother with locally installed software that you have to maintain, when you can use Web-based software that IT professionals maintain and update? In other words, get yourself into the post-PC era. You can keep your PC for heavy duty jobs, or use it as a post-PC device if the mere thought of using mainly a smartphone or a tablet for? your Internet access gives you an anxiety attack.]]>

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