10/24/2000

The death of the PC. Jesse Berst wrote today about the decline of PCs. I made a similar prediction about four years ago in my defunct newspaper column. My observations were strangely familiar: PCs are used mostly for word processing, e-mail, and games. A dedicated word processor costs $200. A WebTV costs $200. A game console costs $150, and a top-of-the-line one costs $300. Unless PCs improve dramatically at these functions and/or come way down in price, they’ll die because it just doesn’t make sense for anyone but an enthusiast to buy one.

What happened? PCs came down in price and got faster and fancier. WebTV struggled. Smith-Corona went out of business. Game consoles did OK. But today, 51 percent of US households own PCs.

The machines changed. And I expect they’ll continue to change. Berst is premature if he thinks the PC is on its deathbed.

Ray Ozzie’s back! Ray Ozzie, the legendary father of Lotus Notes, is finally talking (a little) about his new project. Some people are saying his new product, Groove, could be as revolutionary as Netscape 1.0 was. That seems to be hype.

Groove is essentially de-centralized groupware: Notes meets Napster, if you will. Cool idea, sure, but do we need it? I’m not sure. This seems like warmed-over Notes to me. As much as I love Notes, I’m not sure it’s the killer app. Maybe this re-iteration of that idea will bring groupware to the masses, but I don’t know.

I’m not exactly lucid this morning. I felt a lot better last night, then this morning… blech. I wondered why I came into work, but if I hadn’t, I’d have wondered why as well. Funny how you always feel better at home than at work. Too bad my job doesn’t really allow telecommuting.

Ten Web Site Sins. I just got a pamphlet at work for a Web design class, where they list 10 things not to do. Mostly excessive animation, slow load times, frivolous graphics, stuff like that. The only no-no I do is “Don’t have excessive scrolling.” I’m torn about the daily view versus the weekly view. So I set it to a weekly view; those who prefer the daily can still click the links on the calendar. For a text-oriented site like this, it’s really hard to avoid scrolling. And besides, hitting the page down key is easier on the hands and wrists than clicking all over the place. It’s a good thing I don’t know off the top of my head who invented the mouse, because there are few worse things you can do to your body…

I think going 9-for-10 is pretty good, and every rule is breakable if you can justify it. So I decided to skip that class.

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