obarthelemy
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Re: PC's are boring

Mon Jan 02, 2012 8:15 am

People have a ways of thinking the past was better. It's mainly true, except it's not *the* past, it's *their* past. Maybe because they haven't grown since, maybe just because since it's the past, they've had time to deal with it, which they haven't done with the present and future.

So yes, the grass was greener before. OS 6 was no better than OSx, and MS-DOS 4.01 was not better than Windows 7. We just need to update ourselves, too.

And Madonna was no better than Lady Gaga. At least Gaga *can* sing.

Prometheus
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Re: PC's are boring

Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:48 am

obarthelemy said:


People have a ways of thinking the past was better. It"s mainly true, except it"s not *the* past, it"s *their* past. Maybe because they haven"t grown since, maybe just because since it"s the past, they"ve had time to deal with it, which they haven"t done with the present and future.

So yes, the grass was greener before. OS 6 was no better than OSx, and MS-DOS 4.01 was not better than Windows 7. We just need to update ourselves, too.

And Madonna was no better than Lady Gaga. At least Gaga *can* sing.


I would have to disagree with that, to some extent - though perhaps not in the particular context of this thread, that said.

"It's just nostalgia" is all too often used as a brush-off when someone points out that a past product was legitimately superior to its modern counterpart(s), after all.

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Jongoleur
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Re: PC's are boring

Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:48 am

timmeyh said:


Jongoleur said:


I"ve got an Apple, its a Mac Mini.  One of the most disappointing computers I"ve come across.


disappointing computer or disappointing OS?

Please don"t always blame the hardware


Its difficult not to lump the two together when you're talking about Apple.  After all, they're the ones who make a virtue out of being in total control of both the hardware and the operating system that runs on it.  Disappointment in one or other of the spheres naturally results in disappointment with the whole.

@obarthelemy: Nostalgia ain't what it used to be.  As for Madonna, I didn't particularly like her then, I don't particularly like Gaga now.
I'm just a bouncer, splatterers do it with more force.....

8bit
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Re: PC's are boring

Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:28 am

Jongoleur said:


Barnaby Walters said:


rwilliford said:


Why not apple? What's wrong with them?


rwilliford! Don't provoke the haters…

Damn, too late

I must say, when I first saw this thread my 'it's going to turn into an Apple hate war' sense started tingling. Let's not, shall we?

Cheers,

Barnaby


Oh come ON!

I've always been inclusive in this "PCs are boring" thread.  Apples are PCs, therefore they're just as boring as any Wintel box.  And since Apple abandoned the PowerPC platform in favour of Intel, there's not much difference in the hardware...



(I've got an Apple, its a Mac Mini.  One of the most disappointing computers I've come across.  Apart from the 7" Android tablet that was sent back because it was no more than a paperweight, and did that badly too...)



PowerPC stands for (no, really) Performance Optimised With Enhansed RISC - Performance Computing.

Honestly.

barnaby
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Re: PC's are boring

Mon Jan 02, 2012 11:03 am

Jongoleur said:


Barnaby Walters said:

PowerPC stands for (no, really) Performance Optimised With Enhansed RISC – Performance Computing.

Honestly.


BACKRONYM ALERT! BACKRONYM ALERT!

Jim Brown
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Re: PC's are boring

Mon Jan 02, 2012 12:42 pm

>>> "It"s just nostalgia" is all too often used as a brush-off when someone points out that a past product was legitimately superior to its modern counterpart(s)

Indeed. Here is one reason why. The whole machine belonged to you. It was pretty much open-field allowing you to touch the heart of the beast. You could Poke, Peek(), and Sys your way into hell and back. There was no big fat bloated doorman of an O/S telling you, "I can"t allow you to do that Dave"

Back then I used to eat Guru Meditations at 10 a penny

piggletmoo
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Re: PC's are boring

Mon Jan 02, 2012 5:18 pm

Pcs were boring, but a pi in the bottom of a toaster to make a Red Dwarf talkie toaster and the bemusement of people seeing a toaster plugged into your tv might bring the fun back.Did i mention it also makes toast

Joules
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Re: PC's are boring

Mon Jan 02, 2012 5:26 pm

Raspberry Pop Tart....

jwatte
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Re: PC's are boring

Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:10 pm

The nice thing about "back then" was that the delta between what the "top" could do, and what you could do, was not that big. When all you had was 3.5 kB, or 48 kB, or whatever, a single guy could reasonably fill that up. When all you had was 272x140 pixels of black-and-white, hey, most people could create sprites that looked "decent" in context of the platform.

These days, it takes 500 people to fill up the 25 GB disc that goes into a modern game, and it renders billions of pixels a second, runs 8 parallel threads of 3 GHz each for physics simulation, and has more composed music than the total output of Ludvig van Beethoven. One of the problems is that a kid, today, sitting down in front of a PC, has no way of seeing a path from "hello, world!" to the "top" experience -- because there isn't one! Unless he finds 499 friends who all want to work on *his* (or *her*) particular idea...

I think this is a legitimate reason for nostalgia.

timmeyh
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Re: PC's are boring

Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:25 pm

jwatte said:


One of the problems is that a kid, today, sitting down in front of a PC, has no way of seeing a path from "hello, world!" to the "top" experience — because there isn't one!


Reminds me of a story told by Isaac Asimov where he stated a problem that humanity had in his books. The problem was that humanity had build program languages on top of each other so that in the end when there was a problem at the machine-language nobody could solve it because they had forgotten the way the machine-language worked…

It is fun to think a moment about this, because if we don't teach our (future) children the basics, they also will encounter problems like this.

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johnbeetem
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Re: PC's are boring

Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:42 pm

jwatte said:

These days, it takes 500 people to fill up the 25 GB disc that goes into a modern game, and it renders billions of pixels a second, runs 8 parallel threads of 3 GHz each for physics simulation, and has more composed music than the total output of Ludwig von Beethoven. One of the problems is that a kid, today, sitting down in front of a PC, has no way of seeing a path from "hello, world!" to the "top" experience -- because there isn't one! Unless he finds 499 friends who all want to work on *his* (or *her*) particular idea...
Well, that's kind of like saying that it takes US$100M to make a movie since you need expensive stars and expensive special effects and expensive marketing campaigns and expensive licenses for the latest and greatest popular music.  Yet if you have a good story and a hand-held camera, one or a few people can do amazing things.

Same thing with software.  Sure you need all the above for the latest version of Fallout, but look at the success of a simple program like Angry Birds.  Einstein said "Imagination is more important than Knowledge."  I say "Imagination is more important than a Big Budget".

sesss
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Re: PC's are boring

Tue Jan 03, 2012 11:00 am

John Beetem said:


I want my PC to be boring.  I want what I do with it to be exciting, but I'd rather the PC and OS always work correctlyr4 -- how dull.  Having a thousand malware windows pop up is not my idea of fun.  It's not any more fun than getting a mangled card deck back from the operator during the mainframe days.  While it's not boring watching a high-speed card reader turn your program into papier-mâché, I'd prefer "boring" in this case.



I think any computer, device, car, house, life, etc is just as boring as the person/people who use/own it. Perhaps that old beige box with a CRT monitor and ps/2 mouse and keyboard off free cycle is owned by a child prodigy who programs robots in machine code.

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nathanpc
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Re: PC's are boring

Tue Jan 03, 2012 2:20 pm

I have a Macbook Pro which I use to develop for mobile platforms, such as iOS, Android and Windows Phone, but as soon as I get my Raspberry Pi (Model B of course) I'll start to build a cool setup for it, something like a tablet. I'll design the case, select a good keyboard (because I like the style of those Windows tablets), and things like this. For sure PCs in general are boring, but that's because you can't actually "build" them from ground up very easily without being "main stream". The Raspberry Pi board will let you to do this and "invent" your own computer, laptop, tablet... That's why I'm so excited about it.

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Chromatix
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Re: PC's are boring

Tue Jan 03, 2012 4:36 pm

I would instead say that PCs are boring because - unless you specifically install development software - they can only do what other people have set them up to do.  This is triply true if the PC happens to be running Windows.

The old 8-bit micros were the polar opposite.  Unless you went out of your way to obtain pre-made software, they could only do what you told them to do.  You therefore got a much more visceral thrill when you achieved something with them.

Smartphones and tablets are even more locked-down than PCs.  You have to really go out of your way even to write something for an Android device.  For iOS, you either need to jailbreak the thing or pay for an official development licence - on an annual subscription.  If you are not confident about being able to make that money back, it's a real disincentive to experimentation.

Hence all the chatter about the limits of what the R-Pi is theoretically capable of, and the languages that could be used with it.
The key to knowledge is not to rely on people to teach you it.

animemanguy
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Re: PC's are boring

Wed Jan 04, 2012 10:40 am

i'm a pc and you're a unfriendly person

hippy
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Re: PC's are boring

Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:40 pm

Chromatix said:


I would instead say that PCs are boring because - unless you specifically install development software - they can only do what other people have set them up to do.  This is triply true if the PC happens to be running Windows.

The old 8-bit micros were the polar opposite.  Unless you went out of your way to obtain pre-made software, they could only do what you told them to do.  You therefore got a much more visceral thrill when you achieved something with them.


I would say that's true in the same way that a prodution line car is boring against a kit car where there's the excitement of getting it to work yourself.

You're absolutely right; if development software isn't installed you cannot do much though I'm not sure why this is "triply true" for Windows.

Microsoft have provided free development and programming software from GWBASIC, through QBasic trhough to .Net Express editions. There is plenty of free programming software and little to stop people programming on PC's if they wanted to. There was a huge amount of dubious quality applications which emerged after Microsoft launched VB3 so it's not like people stopped programming.

Perhaps programming was more fad of its times, like the flood of garish 72-point font web page with a 'this is my kat tiddles' picture against a flashing yellow and pink background when 'the web' became mainstream. People simply evolved, found the tools they want, and moved on with what they want to do rather than having to build it all for themselves; most people are happy they can buy a car, not have to build it from a kit, can use Wordpress et al rather than have to write their own blogging and forum software.

There are always those who want something different, want to do it themselves, but there has been little holding them back from that. I would guess people, like me, have been knocking-out code on whatever platform they choose for years for their own and others' enjoyment. It's not that PC's are boring, but more that people are; in the sense they have no inclination to program or to learn how to or perhaps there is not enough help for those who wish to but cannot.

Programming as a hobby, for fun, entertainment and self-reward, is what's really diminished, much like other hobbies of metalworking, woodworking, ham radio and the like. I hope the R-Pi kick starts the hobby again, even leads to future education and careers in computing, but I don't think it's fair to say PC's have held back those who have wanted that.

SlayingDragons
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Re: PC's are boring

Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:57 pm

hippy said:


Programming as a hobby, for fun, entertainment and self-reward, is what's really diminished, much like other hobbies of metalworking, woodworking, ham radio and the like. I hope the R-Pi kick starts the hobby again, even leads to future education and careers in computing, but I don't think it's fair to say PC's have held back those who have wanted that.


I disagree with this, but I don't necessarily agree with the person you qouted. I think a lot of the reason people don't program is because they're afraid of breaking their PC, or messing something up, or their parents don't want them to program on the family computer because they're afraid they'll mess up the expensive machine, etc. I know the reason I didn't really start programming until I recently got my own computer is because my mom didn't understand what programming did, and didn't want me destroying the computer, and definitely didn't want me installing software to program on it. I think this is where the pi comes in; if you can provide a "disposable" computer that can be easily reset to a usable state cheap enough for anyone to use but is still fully capable, what do you have to lose?

Jim Brown
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Re: PC's are boring

Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:26 pm

>>> is what"s really diminished, much like other hobbies of metalworking, woodworking, ham radio and the like

This is a good point. People use their computers now in much the same way as their domestic appliances. It"s no longer a thing of wonder. The PC is just too complicated to play around with. Too much "engine management" going on

Back in them old days it felt like YOU was the master of the machine. You had complete control. It felt good making the computer do what you want

hippy
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Re: PC's are boring

Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:14 pm

SlayingDragons said:

I think a lot of the reason people don't program is because they're afraid of breaking their PC, or messing something up, or their parents don't want them to program on the family computer because they're afraid they'll mess up the expensive machine, etc. 
And that's fair enough; I've had to be ultra careful playing with Linux on my NAS because I cannot afford to bork it.

But let's also accept that it's not that hard to get a machine one can afford to break at less cost than an R-Pi if one really wanted it. There are plenty of usable and capable, older and unused PC's and laptops around so it's not actually a real obstacle.

ArgentsQuest
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Re: PC's are boring

Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:28 pm

If you find the PC boring, you will probably find the Raspberry Pi boring to.  The Pi is basically just a cheap $25/$35 Linux computer.

The PC is complex and the Pi basically turns into a generic Arm11 with a dumb frame buffer without Linux.

If you want the 80's computer feeling back all you need is a fast Amiga with improved sound/graphic and a simple blitter chip that can draw 3D primitives.  Simple enough for one person to understand all the hardware in and out.

hippy
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Re: PC's are boring

Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:50 pm

ArgentsQuest said:


If you find the PC boring, you will probably find the Raspberry Pi boring to.  The Pi is basically just a cheap $25/$35 Linux computer.


I was thinking that too but reflected on why the R-Pi feels more exciting than my PC does and I think that comes down to "usefulness"; that it can be used in ways which would be more difficult and more expensive if using a PC.

It is 'just a PC' but in a far more useful form factor – smaller, cheaper, lower power, silent – so therefore opens up a world of possibilities that did not really exist before, and that is the excitement of it.

Not so much 'what it is' but 'how it is'.

JohnoFon
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Re: PC's are boring

Wed Jan 04, 2012 10:08 pm

And yet, the very fact of PCs being boring is the root of their success.

The early computers that everyone"s remembering are single-user, single-tasking machines; you run a program that "owns" the full resources of the computer, so it can access device registers and memory directly; as soon as you introduce multi-tasking you can"t safely do that, because another process may be trying to do the same thing, so you have to introduce device drivers, and resource queues, and the programmer loses a degree of control over the hardware. (Of course, there"s still a need for people to write the device drivers)

In some ways the movement passed me by, because by the time the BBC B came out I was already programming VAX computers, but as I understand it the programming was to some extent an end in itself, and possibly as important as the final product. (I programmed in assembly code, and I wrote device drivers, and crashed the company"s main computer three times in half an hour because of a bug that was running in Executive mode.)

The point I"m trying to make is that, while modern OSs are boring to those of us with a hardware/hobbyist frame of mind, what you can actually achieve these days is so far beyond what would be possible without them; computers would be a niche interest rather than the everyday tool that they have become, and without the economies of scale everything would be horrendously expensive. (As an example, I bought a 150MB drive in 1983 for £150. I can now get a terabyte for less that £100.)

(Putting on my flameproof underwear!)

jimfowler82
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Re: PC's are boring

Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:57 am

I totally 100% agree for me computers have became boring since switching to x86 pc's, My old amiga's & spectrums had so much more "soul" to them, This just feels like a clone...

Jim Brown
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Re: PC's are boring

Thu Jan 05, 2012 12:38 pm

>>> My old amiga"s & spectrums had so much more "soul" to them

Ding . . . Nail hits head. Pcs are like LCD tv"s. You can hardly tell one from the other. They are just too generic and ultimately boring. On the other hand our beloved classic machine were all unique-looking

The Rasp-Pi, although techinally speaking is "just a pc" it looks nothing like one. I like that aspect alone

SlayingDragons
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Re: PC's are boring

Thu Jan 05, 2012 11:38 pm

I don't get the appeal of the old computers to be honest. I understand the role they had in developing modern computing and that a lot of them hold sentimental value to people, but they're not anything particularly special, and I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything growing up now. *shrug*

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