I’ve been hearing it for years… no… make that decades! First, it was the laptop that would kill the PC, then laptops were considered PCs; then it was tablets, but they’re supposedly dying themselves; and for the past five years every Tinder-using, Twittering and snapchatting “expert” insists the phone is all you need, and that PCs are passé.
Well of course PCs are useless for sending one another animated poo-emojis or layering your face with filters and overlays that make you look like an even bigger idiot than you are… That’s like saying Sachin Tendulkar was a terrible basketball player! To which the only answer I can come up with is “No sh** Sherlock. But the game we’re talking about is cricket!”
Although millions still use PCs for silly things, they were never designed to fulfil the entertainment needs of useless cavemen who poke at everything with grubby fingers. The PC isn’t for mouth-breathers – it’s made for sophisticated prosumers and creators, and also those things called gamers.
When the Ed told us all to write something that celebrates the PC, I obviously couldn’t just do that… I wanted to also bring some humility to the phone-y people of the world.
So without much further ado, here’s my list of XV things that phones totally SUCK at!
Why on earth do you think Apple is such a rich company? All those billions of dollars come from somewhere, and that somewhere is people who say “baa!”. We smart ones learnt a long time ago to never give in to closed systems such as Apple’s. It’s why the Mac lines of computers failed miserably. It’s only now when PC sales have dropped to only the serious buyers that they even show up as a blip on the chart. It’s highway robbery to sell phones without the ability to upgrade storage via SD cards – and it’s not just Apple that does it. Sure the RAM, CPU, GPU, etc might need to be on-chip and fixed, but storage? It’s never going to change though… How am I so sure? I have faith in stockholder greed ensuring that it never happens – why let people keep their phones for longer by allowing component upgrades, when you can force or entice them to update every other year anyway!
II) Screen size
No matter what phone you have, you just cannot get a decent-sized screen to be able to do any work. Even tablets are clunky and end up becoming laptops before they can even begin to be useful enough for a creator or a geek. VR might change this, but it’s not even going to be a smartphone anymore by then.
Speaking of creators, no phone so far has allowed people to create things the way PCs do. I’ll stick my neck out and suggest that phones as they are now (touchscreen, between 5 and 6 inches), will just never allow that. Unless the world moves to an emoji-economy or something absurd.
IV) Me love you long time!
Phones cannot be used for hours and hours the way you can with a PC. Sure many do, but it just plays havoc with your fingers, posture and even eyes to stare at a tiny screen with small text on it for so long.
Besides… batteries suck!
This one is a no-brainer if you actually want to create things. The software made for desktop PCs just doesn’t have to worry about power requirements, etc., and thus focuses all developmental energy on making something that works and is feature-rich. PC software is just so much more powerful and complex, and perfect for us geeks.
VI) Squeak, squeak
The humble mouse is still unsurpassed on many fronts, as one of the best tools to be used to create stuff. Point and click for screens larger than 21 inches is yet to be beaten as an interface.
A full-sized keyboard is another thing that’s just essential to any serious technology user or creator.
Sure you can make do with those pathetic excuses for keyboards that connect to various tablets, but they’re just not the same as a good mechanical keyboard if you do a lot of typing, or writing out code, or basically anything really constructive with languages of all types.
VIII) Seeing double
Multiple monitors (usually dual-monitors) are just too awesome to describe when it comes to multitasking and efficiency. This article is being written on a dual-monitor setup – Google Drive open in one window, and my email in another, watching for hate mail from non-geeky losers!
This one is straightforward. If you want to print out something, and especially if you want to adjust, reformat and check how something looks before printing, the PC is the only option you have, really. Of course, you can print from phones and tablets as well, but that’s usually just a print-and-pray-it-spews-out-something-legible-and-well-formatted affair.
I actually only have 14 whinges about phones, but I’ve reserved a special place for number X in every list as a way to remind you about the idiotic iPhone X name.
What’s the best way to commit a mass genocide of developers? Take away their PCs, and insist that they only code on phones or tablets from now on.
They won’t be able to, obviously, and we will soon be rid of coders for good… then the rest of us can settle back down to being good little sheep!
XII) Testing, testing…
You may test your apps on mobile devices, but if you want to test the code, look for security holes, find bugs, fix bugs, and do all that is associated with being software developers after release, a phone is just not going to cut it!
Want to have the choice of being able to run Windows or one of the many *nix or Linux distros? Get a PC. Phones are never going to go down the bring your own hardware route because locking you into the software platform is where all the money lies… simple greed will always win.
You don’t even need to dual-boot to get different OSes on a PC, you could just emulate, and with decent hardware, you might not even notice a difference. This is especially important when you have older software that’s needed to run for something work-related. Not only is a PC backwards compatible, it saves you money by not forcing you to get new software for no reason. But the biggest reason to emulate is to quickly see how something you create behaves on different OSes to different people. An absolute must for anyone with any sort of online business.
This last one is pretty simple. Storage is every phone’s Achilles’ Heel. Of course, you think 64 GB or even 256 GB is enough for you on a phone, but that’s only because you probably have a TB drive on a PC or on a NAS somewhere. No true geek can live with anything under 1 TB of storage these days, and phones just aren’t going to cut it when it comes to storage… ever!
I could probably squeeze out another 15 if I was forced into it, but I’m lazy and I want to hear your suggestions. Remember to let us know your pet peeves with phones…