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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tablets and Smart Phones -- Bigotry Has Been Modernized

Mainframe and midrange system developers claim that the IBM 3270 or 5250 terminal is still the best way to deliver on-line systems.

Now we have folks trying to protect the laptop PC.  Check out this Channel Insider article by Don Reisinger titled "10 Reasons to Leave the Tablet Home and Bring the PC on the Next Trip".  Don presents 10 bogus arguments with little or no truth in any of his statements.  His arguments about screen size and the keyboard are personal preferences and not reality (I use my tablet quite effectively).  He raises one valid issue which is that many commercial business applications will be fully supported on a tablet or smart phone today, but that IMHO is a short coming of the corporate IT department responsible for delivering the apps.

The tablet and smart phone are a part of our day to day reality and are rapidly replacing the PC.  When coupled with cloud computing and virtual servers that can store terabytes of data or even media for an incredibly low cost (or in some cases free) these 10 arguments are absurd.

You can load a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation onto their free SkyDrive cloud storage and then use their broadcast tool to deliver the presentation anywhere you can connect to the Internet.  With 4G Android Phones that is virtually anywhere.  You can even connect most Android or iPhones to HD TV monitors or projectors via an HDMI cable.

While the screens on tablets or smart phones are small, they are incredibly high resolution and have features that make them easy to use.

The only truth in Mr. Reisinger's article is the fact that some corporate systems will not support smart phones or tablets.  Those applications need to be addressed and upgraded.

I wonder if Mr. Reisinger would argue that mainframes, midrange computers and the RPG programming language are the future of computer system technology?

I would go so far as to say that the days of the PC are numbered.  Not today, not tomorrow but definitely within the next decade.  I think you will find cloud providers in the near future (we are close today from both Apple and Microsoft cloud offerings) that will provide you with web, email, data storage, and access to applications.

BTW my $75 Bluetooth Keyboard for my iPAD which works with my Android is available today and totally deals with Mr. Reisinger's keyboard issues.

Beware of folks telling you that old technology is better than new technology.  When folks in your IT department tell you things like this it is most often job protection.  People who have taken the Microsoft training and certification tests look at PC's as the holy grail.  Funny, we still have the mainframe and midrange folks clinging to an even more archaic past.

Ask an IBM i (AS/400) RPG programmer what the best user interface is and they will tell you in a heart beat that the 5250 green screen is the best.  They will argue that it is faster and cleaner.  Ask a user who has to use one and they will scream in horror and dream of a modern web based UI.

The world is changing.  Change with it.