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.

Is it Time to ‘Switch’ your Keyboard?

worker stress funny

The more that you investigate about keyboards, in order to find the ‘perfect one for you’, the more detailed info ration you will find. Pretty early on in this process, it will become obvious to you that a keyboard’s keys, and the mechanisms below them, tucked out of site of the users, are the most important components that you will need to learn more about. The real job is learning about the switches below those keys.

The Finger points

After all, these are the points that your body actually touches any keyboard. Your fingers are the conduits that your brain signals communicate through. It doesn’t matter if you write blog posts, specialist technical journals, or simple e-mails. If you are at all uncomfortable, it is your fingers that will feel it first. Any kind of pain or discomfort you feel at the contact point will soon grow into nerve pain through your palms, wrists, arms and back.

Whether or not you are investigating moving beyond the ‘off the rack’ keyboard that comes with your working or home computer, or interested on what different products are on the market, eventually you will look at the different kind of physical keys that there are on the market, and you will be faced with a decision: Do I buy Rubber-Domed or Mechanical switches?

The Rubber-Domed Switch

The vast majority of keyboards on the market today feature a Rubber or Silicon dome that sits directly under the key that you see, connect to the ‘works’ that lie under the keyboard, and between keying action and the letter appearing in screen.

The visible part of the key is called the Key Cap. These are relatively expensive items that must deliver a long life. However, it is the switch below it that receives all of the trauma and shock of being pressed – or hit! – Repeatedly over the life of the product. A much more cost effective method is to protect this switch with a simple rubber dome that sits under the Key Cap, and suffers the repeated shock of action time and time again.

The differences in the shape and thickness of the domes that the mass producer of your keyboard uses determines the travel distance, resistance, and tactile feedback of the switch.

Being Mechanical

Mechanical key-switches are more elaborate and made in a better quality than other key-switch types.  In this system, each key has its own independent key-switch mechanism that will register when a key is pressed.

In most cases the key is actuated (the keystroke is generated, and sent to the computer) halfway through the key travel distance. For example, the key may be capable of traveling 3 mm before hitting the bottom of the key-well, but the keystroke is generated after 1.5 mm.

As there is no requirement to travel the full key travel distance when being operated,  typists enjoy the luxury of not pressing keys fully down, reducing the constant jarring action on fingertips when ‘bottoming out’ and associated unnecessary muscle action. Additionally, the constant use if these types of keys offer increasing resistance after the keystroke is generated, encouraging the user to stop pressing down the keycap and instead move on to the next keystroke. Finally, key-caps snap back to the starting position (i.e. up) more quickly than other key-switch types, facilitating faster typing speeds.

Of course, Mechanical key-switch keyboards are more expensive when initially bought, but their working life is much longer. Together with the lowered risk of injury caused by repetitive stress injury, you may want to investigate a keyboard with mechanical switches for a more pleasant working experience.