Reports of the PC’s death have been greatly exaggerated, readers argue


(Mark Lennihan / AP)

Every week we like to reflect on the great conversations readers are having at the Switch -- here are some of our favorites from this week. Timothy B. Lee boldly declared the PC dead. But not everyone was swayed by his argument. Reader JLF1976 disagreed:

The PC is not dead, it just isn't the primary tool for the masses to do trivial things like log onto facebook. If you are just a "consumer", then yeah, you might not need a PC. But someone still has to produce all that content you are consuming. And they aren't compiling code on tablets and xboxes.

There is a paradigm shift, but its only putting the PC back into the hands of people that use them.

And robin510 wrote:

I am an appellate lawyer. I use my PC to conduct legal research, write briefs and e-file them with the federal courts. Also to send and check e-mail. I can't read complex, lengthy documents on the screen so I print them out. What device can do this better than a PC?

Brian Fung's story on Google's pilot project using ferry boats to shuttle around employees in the San Francisco Bay area raised a lively debate about Google buses. Reader bewolff couldn't see the problem with the buses in the first place, writing "Are the city buses unable to to make their routs? Don't these buses take hundreds or even thousands of cars of the roads?" Commenter notthedroid responded that "the issue was they've been using public infrastructure without paying." But Doug Wenzel thought that wasn't the whole story, writing:

No, the real issue is that providing Google employees with a convenient commute means rent in these neighborhoods are increasing drastically, and locals don't like being outbid and pushed out by twenty-something engineers.

Timothy B. Lee noticed a trend in the recently relaunched Yahoo Tech's content: It appears to be targeted toward slightly older, less tech-savvy consumers than your average tech site. But not everyone agreed with Lee's concern that older consumers are less likely to get their news online. Commenter ezhiker wrote:

I'm 46. I use Facebook all the time and so do many of my friends and family (some are much older than me). I don't use Twitter very much, but that's just a personal choice. My wife, who is a couple of years older than me, uses Twitter but not Facebook. I haven't read a real newspaper in years (not that there is anything wrong with reading one if that's your preference). I wish people would stop perpetuating this ageist idea that middle-age and older people don't use online tools. It's not 1997 anymore. My parents are in their late 60's and they get most of their news online, too.

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government.
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