May 14, 2013
Happy 14th Birthday!
Today, PC.net celebrates its 14th birthday. I suppose that means this website is relatively ancient in Internet years.
Technically, today is the 14th anniversary of Sharpened.net, which became PC.net on May 1st last year. But since the domain name was the only thing that changed, I think it is still appropriate to celebrate today as the website's 14th birthday.
What I am doing to celebrate? The same thing I do every year — sit at my computer and update the website. The life of a webmaster is not a glamorous one.
May 6, 2013
Adobe Kills Creative Suite, Moves to Creative Cloud
Adobe hopes you will never buy their professional software again. Beginning today, the company wants you to rent their software for a monthly fee.
Attendees at Adobe's MAX conference were probably expecting the company to introduce Creative Suite 7 (CS7) this morning. Instead, Adobe announced a move from Creative Suite (CS) to Creative Cloud (CC). Unlike Creative Suite, Creative Cloud products can only be used on a subscription basis. You can no longer buy the software.
I understand the user benefits of the software subscription model. You always have access to the latest version and you get incremental feature updates rather than waiting for major version releases. But that's where the benefits end, at least for the user. Adobe, on the other hand, benefits by generating more steady cash flow (due to steady monthly subscriptions), getting people to overbuy (spending extra a software programs they don't need), and locking users into an endless upgrade cycle.
The negatives of the subscription model far outweigh the positives for users. First of all, the software costs more. Regardless of Adobe's claims that Creative Cloud makes the software more accessible for more users, most people will end up paying more overall. A CC subscription costs $49.99 per month with a mandatory one-year subscription. That is about $600, which is far more than the $375 upgrade cost for the last Creative Suite upgrade. Sure, you get more software programs with CC, but you probably don't need all of them or even half of them. The other option is to pay $19.99/mo for individual Adobe programs, but that is an even worse value.
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May 1, 2013
The PC is Not Dead
These days, it is trendy to say, "The PC is dead" or "The PC is dying." Both statements are categorically and unequivocally false.
The PC, or personal computer, is certainly not dead. Just look around you – in your home, school, or workplace. Chances are you are surrounded by PCs. Most people use a desktop or laptop computer for their work or education on a daily basis. If the PC was dead, as many analysts and journalists claim, this would simply not be the case.
So if the PC isn't dead yet, is it dying? Absolutely not. First of all, tablets (which many people claim are killing PCs), are technically PCs themselves. In fact, tablets are often called "tablet PCs" because they are personal computers. But even traditional PCs – the ones with a keyboard and mouse – are not dying. While sales of desktop and laptop computers have declined this past year because of the surge in tablet purchases, traditional PCs remain important.
Every single person I know that has a full-time job uses a PC at work. Some use Windows PCs, others use Macs, but they all use either a desktop or laptop computer. For many jobs, the traditional PC is the best – and will remain the best – tool for getting work done. If you've ever tried to type a document on a tablet, you know what I mean.
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April 30, 2013
Facebook Buttons Finally Fixed?
This is not the first time this has happened. The Like buttons have randomly changed position at least three times in the past two years. Each time, I have to manually edit my CSS code to get the Facebook Like buttons to appear in line with the Google +1 and Twiter Tweet buttons.
What has been especially annoying is that the Like buttons would appear in slightly different positions in different browsers. Therefore, I've had to run a browser check and load a separate CSS file just to position the Like buttons correctly for specific browsers. For some reason, the Mac version of Firefox has been the most troublesome, displaying the Like buttons lower than all other browsers.
When I noticed my Facebook buttons were out of line again last week, I was of course rather frustrated. I waited a week to make sure this wasn't a temporary bug, then decided to modify the CSS once again. I was happy to find that in order to fix the Like button positioning this time, I simply needed to remove my custom CSS code. I got rid of the "top: -3px;" line from my Facebook Like Button class and the Like buttons are now vertically aligned with the +1 and Tweet buttons. Best of all, the new Like buttons now display correctly in the Mac version of Firefox without any custom CSS tweaks. They even show up correctly in Opera, which they never did before.
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April 1, 2013
Amazon Tube to Revolutionize Online Shopping
Are you frustrated with same-day delivery because it just isn't fast enough? If you want to receive your online order in minutes instead of hours, Amazon has the solution for you.
The e-commerce giant announced today that its rumored underground project is, well, underground. A spokesperson for the company revealed Amazon has started building tunnels throughout the United States in order to create a domestic underground shipping system. The goal of the new "Amazon Tube" service is to provide customers with their products in as few as five minutes after an order has been placed.
Amazon has already installed the infrastructure for the tube system beneath its main fulfillment centers. Each distribution point will connect to multiple pipelines that will serve as the underground system's backbone. The largest tubes will travel across state lines, while medium-size tubes will filter items to different cities. Small "minitubes" will carry items directly to business and residential addresses. An underground Wi-Fi network will guide each item using a wireless transmitter attached to each package.
While the tube-based delivery system may seem like a complicated engineering problem, Amazon has developed a simplified solution. Instead of a traditional box, each product ordered with Amazon Tube delivery will be placed in a spherical package that can easily roll through a tube. In order to transport items over long distances, Amazon has implemented a series of downward sloping underground tunnels and pulleys to keep items moving. Vacuum pressure will be used to suction each item to its final destination.
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