Is it still worth investing in a Desktop Computer?

The amount of mobile phone applications and the range of wireless devices such as Tablets that are on the market today, should have sounded the death knell for the desktop computer by now – after all, didn’t everyone predict that this would be the case by 2010 or so? So why hasn’t it happened? Why are desk top computer sales still robust, phones have never replaced them as a personal computer, and tablet sales are stalling?

It’s worth looking at the very Human logic behind the expansion of Information Technology to answer these questions. The same reasons will persist for a while, so this logic will only result in your requirements for ever stronger desktop computer environments.

The Suppliers

We may have all dreamed of a future where the growth of IT, and artificial intelligence would soon make most of the humdrum areas of everyone’s lives obsolete. We have been promised this for over half a century, but, sadly, it hasn’t happened. One of the reasons for this is that the major global R and D Suppliers and Manufacturers haven’t made up their minds if hardware or software is more important.

All of the big manufacturers haven’t specialized in one area, but are still active in all of the services, apps., server space and hardware in order to ensure they enjoy global dominance of the computing industry. By splitting the computer users around the worlds into their own Apple v PC camps, they ensure everyone uses different systems. Without one global system, the only way to grow everyone’s purchases is to offer different devices for each company. This has fractured the consumer base – especially the business community – so that no one system is in use that can communicate directly between providers, vendors and customers.

Google is the great example of dominance in one area. If everyone were using a single communicative system including the entire computer package, just as everyone uses Google for search, then we could move our single system onto a suite of devices, instead of different competitive ones.

Crime and Security

In order to grow computer use, who thought that server and memory space would become finite? Hence the move to ‘The Cloud’ so that everyone can use communal spaces online and trust someone else to look after all of their data. Unfortunately, the horror stories of such corporate storage raided by online pirates have made the business community very nervous. Surely it is better to keep your company’s own valuable data to yourself? With Judicious use of office tools, you can store your own data, or with a secure company that you trust. Talking of trust, would any boss allow you to bring in your own personal computer device and all of its cookies, malware, and possible hackable to share their data?

The Customers

We were all bought up with either the Windows Office, or the Mac system. Then we taught others how we worked. Then these systems were upgraded by high-end program suppliers that could do exactly that, but better, in order to keep their own customer base. These original systems were built for desk top computers, and work best on them. That’s how we learned, how we taught, and will continue to do so. They are so cost effective that the purchase of them even for a small company with the requirement for a lot of terminals, can easily do so.

Finally, although the small-scale entrepreneur vision of the corporate future has grown over the last two decades, it’s still not everyone’s cup of tea. Most of us are still employees with set office hours that can’t wait to escape at the end of the day,  and do what they want. Even though more of these activities are online, who wants to share their work computer and make it their own for all services? No one. Would you take your office phone home with you, even though it was mobile if you didn’t have to? No, of course not: Workers want to be freed from their office environments at the end of the day, and can easily use their own tablets and other devices, to do what they want.

Desktop computer sales are growing, and will continue to grow for all of the above reasons and more. You are going to continue to work at a desk and look at a screen for years to come. You should do all that you can to make it as comfortable and healthy as possible, and as productive as you can. Make that work station ‘yours’, and carry on working…on a desktop.

The ‘Eyes’ have it – eye strain at work.

eyestrainHow many of us have to wear reading glasses while working at our Computer? Actually, there are millions of us that are slowly harming their vision by staring at a bright screen for hours on end. There are steps you can take to alleviate ‘Computer Vision Syndrome’ (CVS), and while they won’t allow you to ditch the spectacles, they will – if instituted early enough – allow you enjoy a much more pleasurable time at your computer keyboard.

CVS is actually part of the family of Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSI) that plague most computer users, and can be lessened with a complete Ergonomic make-over of your work station. Computer Vision Syndrome is a result of your eyes must staying focused on text and images at a static distance from you. In a more natural setting, our eyes would constantly adjust to focus on objects both near and far away, tracking them as either you or the object moved. It is how our eyes have evolved over the millennia as part of our Hunter/Gatherer history. The movements necessary while working are completely different than our ‘inherited, natural’ skills, and the result can be uncomfortable and lead to problems like astigmatism or nearsightedness.

Think also of how you are holding your head while working. If your overall position at your keyboard is slumped, or twisted in any way, your head may be sitting at an ‘offset’ position that is putting strain on your neck. After all, the average Human Head has a weight of 10 Pounds. Next time you have the chance to pick up a 10 pound bowling ball, or large bags of sugar or flour, feel how much that actually weighs. You neck supports your head for your entire life, but what position is it sitting at? Your brain is very good at memorizing positions for your body as a whole to interact with the world, but if you are sending a message that this is the way that you sit every single day, it won’t change your position to a better one – it will simply give you pain messages until you change it – don’t ignore those neck strains, or headaches. They are big signs that your head is at the wrong position.

Although it is tough to offer a written solution to these posture problems, if you start at the other end of your body, it will help your overall posture. Sit straight up, support your back, and ensure that your feet are flat on the floor. Look straight ahead, and ensure that your head sits on your neck squarely, looking ahead. If you can change your chair, or desk, position to achieve this, then do so. Try not to place a book or another ‘prop’ under your keyboard – that should be flat and straight, just under your fingers when your elbows are hinged at a 45 degree angle from your sides.

When sitting in this position, reach your arm out straight, and try to lightly brush the screen with your index finger. If you can place your palm on the screen, or your arm doesn’t reach, alter the depth of that distance until it’s correct. You can safely tip your eye-line down between 15 and 20 degrees to focus on the screen, but don’t move your head down to match this.

Of course, you also want to ensure that the lighting around your work station is ample to give you enough light to match the very strong white light that your computer screen emits, and you want to rest on an ongoing basis to relax and exercise your entire body – perhaps for thirty minutes every three hours. You should also be looking for a comfortable and ergonomic keyboard to ensure that you are working in a stress-free and comfortable way.

Remember that Repetitive Stress Injuries mean more than arm and shoulder pain and injury, so get into the habit of working in a comfortable position – especially where your head and eyes are concerned.