Assorted rants, mostly about PCs

Four separate items:

-- Nothing is more aggravating than to read "the PC is dead." But I understand where this comes from. The PC displays at Best Buy can look like a tussled rack of cheap clothing at  T. J. Maxx. The 2013 IDC and Gartner forecasts for the PC remind of the Dow in 2008. My view: Intel's decision to push OEMs to ultrabooks grew out of a determination that cheap, plastic PCs weren't compelling. The first generation ultrabooks were overpriced and wanting. But the arriving fourth generation ultrabooks may be winners. Prices will be lower and Haswell is the first chip that Intel has produced in a long time that may justify an upgrade all by itself. Real keyboards remain useful.                                                                     

 -- Why is auto-brightness on some PCs a miserable experience? I truly like my Samsung Series 7 ultrabook and its SSD. But its auto-brightness feature behaves like a drunk. A passing cloud, visible through a window, can cause it to readjust. Even when I turn the auto-brightness function off it can still find a way to dim itself. Judging from what I see on various message boards, this is a problem across a wide range of devices, not just Samsung.

-- I get the complaints about the Windows 8 UI, but some of it feels a little over wrought. For sure, Windows 8 requires more keystrokes than needed. Microsoft can fix this and not give up the touch screen elements, which, may eventually prove useful as the hardware adapts. But one thing Microsoft ought to do in 8.1 is to put the shut down button in an obvious place. I have a relative, in her 80s, who has difficult time turning the system off and it's easy to understand why.

-- Tablet displays in stores ought to be automatically sprayed with disinfectant in much the same way grocery stores mist produce. The displays can quickly become a little gross.  

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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