August 25, 2012

Death of the PC Greatly Exaggerated?

For months, even years now, so called "experts" have been predicting the end of the PC era, as people opt for tablets and smartphones. One critical aspect this latest article fails to mention is the all-important hard drive. The most storage you can get on an iPad is 64GB, and that'll cost you over $800 (with cell data service). You can get a decent PC desktop or laptop for half that much, and these units include huge amounts of storage space now. And if, for some reason you need even more space, you can always add an external hard drive to your PC. Something you can't do with an iPad. Hardly a reason to switch to tablet.

Some will argue that hard drives are not so crucial any more now that there are so many cloud storage options available. Tell that to tech writer, Mat Honan, who lost everything on iCloud. Yes, hard drives can fail, but cloud security is becoming a serious issue. Personally, I've got hundreds of gigabytes worth of irreplaceable digital photo, video and music files on my PC's hard drive, and I'm not about to pay, or trust, an online cloud service to host them for me. Instead, I bought a 300 GB external hard drive for about $60 that I use to back up my data every week.

Of course, there is one more very important reason I'm not ready to trash my PC just yet: Geocaching. I use a combination of GSAK, Base Camp, Google Earth and other PC programs to upload waypoints to, and download tracks from, my Garmin GPSmap60CSx. This is something that just can't be done on a smartphone or a tablet. And no, I have no intention of ever trading in my GPSr for a cell phone running the geocaching app. In fact, I'm actually looking around for a new desktop (or maybe a laptop) to replace my agonizingly slow, 10-year old, Dell desktop unit.

So if you're a geocacher and someone tells you it's time to trash your PC, take their advice with a grain of salt.

Cache On!

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