Free Markets, Free People
A couple of topics of interest. Reuters carries a story entitled “Aging PC giants see writing on the wall”. Seems funny to call the personal computer industry an “aging” industry, but I think the thrust of the article is right – at least regarding the “desktop” computer:
Silicon Valley’s old guard is waking up to the fact that the era of consumer PC may be in its twilight, accelerating the need to invest and adapt to rapidly changing tastes.
This week’s earnings from the giants of technology had one thing in common: they underscored yet again how consumers are increasingly shunning desktop PCs and going mobile.
Intel, which had argued that pessimistic expectations about the market were out of whack, reduced its 2011 PC forecast. Microsoft Windows sales, that reliable indicator of PC market strength, fell short of expectations for the third straight quarter.
And Apple Inc, which single-handedly showed with its iPad that many consumers are more than happy with an unladen, light and mobile computer, obliterated all estimates by selling a whopping 9 million tablets.
"The desktop, at least for consumers, probably doesn’t have a great future, and the iPad and similar tablets can deliver a lot of the functionality of a laptop," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Asset Management.
Using only my own experience as a guide, I rarely use my desktop computer anymore. In fact, I think of it as a legacy computer. Just about everything I do now is on a laptop. As for the iPad, I use it extensively as well, but not primarily. In the type work I do, to include blogging, it is more of a supplementary tool. But I can see that could easily change. Given the paucity of good apps for blogging that presently exist – especially Word Press - I’m on the laptop instead. However, should that change, the iPad could easily become dominant (especially with the bluetooth keyboard).
On the business side of things, I can see the desktop being around for a while longer. However, again, my experience working for a company in the field had me only operating off of laptops. I could see beefed up tablets taking that bit of the market – i.e. that part of the business market that relies on laptops. So yeah, I’d say the “aging giants” are right. The desktop is likely headed for the museum. Laptops probably have a longer (leaner and lighter) future. At some point, I imagine the tablet and laptop will merge and dominate.
Topic two, from the UK:
Scientists have created more than 150 human-animal hybrid embryos in British laboratories.
The hybrids have been produced secretively over the past three years by researchers looking into possible cures for a wide range of diseases.
The revelation comes just a day after a committee of scientists warned of a nightmare ‘Planet of the Apes’ scenario in which work on human-animal creations goes too far.
This is a plot right out of a bad mad scientist SciFi movie. The question of course is “why”?
That question was asked by this committee of scientists and the answer was apparently less than satisfying:
Last night he said: ‘I argued in Parliament against the creation of human- animal hybrids as a matter of principle. None of the scientists who appeared before us could give us any justification in terms of treatment.
‘Ethically it can never be justifiable – it discredits us as a country. It is dabbling in the grotesque.
‘At every stage the justification from scientists has been: if only you allow us to do this, we will find cures for every illness known to mankind. This is emotional blackmail.
‘Of the 80 treatments and cures which have come about from stem cells, all have come from adult stem cells – not embryonic ones.
‘On moral and ethical grounds this fails; and on scientific and medical ones too.’
All have now stopped creating hybrid embryos due to a lack of funding, but scientists believe that there will be more such work in the future.
To recap – they promise wondrous cures in an area where none have been produced and the marketplace has obviously turned its nose up on the effort of producing embryonic stem cells because funding has dried up one suspects to be placed in the area where there is promise and that’s adult stem cells. So there’s no apparent market or reason to make embryonic hybrids.
Much discussion in the article about the “ethics” of the effort. Is it indeed “dabbling in the grotesque”? Is it “never … justifiable?”