Disposable Computers

December 9, 2010

Here's another difference between Apple and Google: Apple makes beautiful computers, and Google makes computers disposable. Check out this ChromeOS commercial. I actually recoiled watching the coffee, toaster, sink, and ice cream sundae land on the notebooks in this video and destroy them. Zero data loss is great, but I also love keeping and caring for devices I love.

Can you imagine if Chrome OS was running on schools’ computers instead of a more traditional OS? Suddenly, no viruses, no updates, and every computer is personalized for the student no matter where they are on the premises. That would be awesome.

Jacob Roeland [+9]
Dec 9 10 at 3:10 pm

Definitely a dramatic effect, but when you get right down to it, the reason the machine is important is because of what you can do with it, and what is on it. When you remove the physical computer as the place where the data is stored, and make it so the computer is just a dumb terminal… hey, where have we seen this before? :)

I like watching stuff break in slow-motion just as much as the next guy, but there still isn’t anything to see here that you can’t already do with a Windows netbook.

The only thing that we don’t know is how heavily Google will subsidize the finished product, which will ultimately determine the success (or failure) of ChromeOS. If Google can deliver an ARM-based ChromeBook for $100, it’s going to be huge.

For all the increased functionality you get with a real Windows netbook (like local storage, real apps, etc), if a ChromeBook clocks in at $200-300, I can’t imagine why anyone would want one.

Mike Cerm [+21]
Dec 9 10 at 3:17 pm

Gina,

Instead of constantly trying to prove how Google is a better company than Apple..why don’t you just concentrate on Google.

The sad part is that all your views/ reviews are political! Which makes you an amateur. Now, the funny part is that you truly believe that google is the hippie in this story:) (the company business model is based on your privacy!!!).

Apple’s business model is to make the best and the most reliable product while Google is all about market share – no support, bugs, 5 years of beta…everything for the market share #Ads

Google is beyond shrewd, they know that you geeks looooove slogans so they stuff you with them. I remember how mute you were on the TWIG – China story #donoevil

*Anyway, we know you hate Steve Jobs, Leo is banned from all of Apple’s events, and Jeff loves free products #Googles-bribe and that’s why this is sad. Smart people with no confidence.

Love.

Ron Love [+4]
Dec 9 10 at 3:44 pm

I recoiled watching the video too, but I guess I didn’t take the massage the same way you did.

I didn’t see it as them saying that computers were disposable, as much as saying they have a way to not have a computer crash be as big a problem as it once was.

I cringe at the “Will it blend” videos too, but still think they’re funny… and wasteful… but funny.

I love the “Last Year’s Model” site. As a gadget freak who also loves & takes care of my old stuff, it’s a constant battle of desires. I often give older gadgets away rather than selling them, “so they’ll have a good home”.

My wife thinks I’m a bit strange that way.

BTW, I had problems getting in with OpenID. Have you seen problems with the “OpenID authentication failed: Nonce already used or out of range” error before on smarterware? I did see a reference to the janrain scripts at http://goo.gl/RLSSE

wygit [+1]
Dec 9 10 at 3:50 pm

@Ron: I’m not “constantly” trying to “prove” anything. If you read my post, typed on a Macbook Pro which I love, you’ll see I’m criticizing Google’s marketing angle here.

Gina Trapani [+195]
Dec 9 10 at 4:06 pm

My CR48 showed up this noon. I have absolutely no idea what’s in the box until I saw the Chrome symbol on the instruction page.

well, I don’t have christmas holiday where I came from, but this must be the feeling that kids find out Santa dropped their most wanted gift in the socks

Right now I am listening to yesterday’s TWiG show on what you and other cohosts talk about the laptop. But at least, removing CAP key is not correct, you can surely configure the search key back to CAP key. Very easy to do.

Gina, if you got any beta test needed to be done in chrome os, I would very happily to help.

meiphy
Dec 9 10 at 4:14 pm

Dear Gina,

The Macbook Pro/OS X is a temporary solution until Google will come out with a similar unit. And you also used to own an iPhone..right?

Let’s face it – Politicly, Google are geniuses! The Geeks thinks that they’re FREEdom fighting hippies #”Open”. But we all know that it’s all about the #$$$ #Reverse-psychology-gone-wild

What I’m saying here is that you’re smarter than this! I think that you’re a sincere woman but a bit naive

*Btw, my name isn’t Ron Love:) I’m just not a fan of Facebook which got a similar business model as the GOOG.

Copenhagen, DENMARK.

Ron Love [+4]
Dec 9 10 at 4:34 pm

But will it blend?

khabalox [+4]
Dec 9 10 at 4:43 pm

@Ron: Sincere but a bit naive? Okay, I’ll take that.

I disagree with your point, though. Google’s terrible at marketing (what you’re calling “politics”)–that’s what this post is about. The openness message that you’re talking about is not a clever marketing ploy, it’s ingrained in the company’s culture, because it’s a company mostly (but not entirely) made up of “hippie” OSS engineers.

Is there money involved? Of course! It’s a primary motivator, as Google is a for-profit corporation. As I said on TWiG, I was VERY disappointed in the net neutrality proposal Google made to the FCC with Verizon. Very disappointed indeed–and now we see part of their motivation to make that “compromise”, given the Verizon offering w/ ChromeOS.

I remained mostly silent on the China issue on TWiG because I’m not as confident talking about international affairs as I am productivity software. I’m a big fan and user of Google’s services, and I’ve been upfront about that, while also openly discussing my misgivings about all the data they have collected and the potential (and real) privacy issues there are. As I’ve said many times before, Schmidt is creepy.

Gina Trapani [+195]
Dec 9 10 at 4:47 pm

Microsoft made computers disposable as well, at least in price, with Windows on netbooks.

Going to try out Jolicloud on my own netbook in place of the hackintosh status it’s currently in. Sent in an application for the Chrome notebooks and hope to get one, but won’t hold my breath.

clindhartsen
Dec 9 10 at 4:47 pm

I agree with much of @Ron said. I respect Gina greatly and enjoy her insight and opinion BUT I do wish she would talk/write about Google without mentioning Apple.

I’ve watched every episode of TWIG and read much of what Gina has written and it’s quite obvious that she has disdain for Apple’s closed ecosystem and I respect her opinion but I see no reason that whenever Google does anything they have to get compared and contrasted to the way Apple might do it.

TonyTech
Dec 9 10 at 5:49 pm

Great. There is 25 chrome laptops I won’t be able to get my hands on yet to go with all the others because I’m in the Uk. :( does Google not require ANY international test pilots? )

Just read other comments and can’t really understand the criticism. There has been no Apple bashing in this post as far as I can see. I think Apple fans are getting a little defensive prematurely.

Loved the video. Yes it is horrible to see computers destroyed but it reminds me what I always say when small-minded people tell me I have submitted something on the wrong paper form. “Its the information thats holy, not the form.” Likewise, the data is holy not the piece of hardware one creates and accesses it with. I use three computers regularly and a bunch of arbitrary ones from all over.

Don’t get caught up in the consumerist revenue-providing hype the marketing people scheme for you to get caught up in. Don’t anthropomorphize your computer. Don’t fall in love with it. It does not serve your long term interests. Don’t overpay for hardware. Don’t buy extended warranties. When you do that, you are not providing yourself with capabilities. You are providing someone else with revenue.

Farrel
Dec 10 10 at 4:28 am

@Farrel
“Don’t anthropomorphize your computer.”?!?!?

SHHHHHH! She’ll hear you!

“Love. Can know all the math in the ‘verse but take a boat in the air that you don’t love? She’ll shake you off just as sure as a turn in the worlds. Love keeps her in the air when she oughtta fall down…tell you she’s hurtin’ ‘fore she keens…makes her a home.”

I’ve ALWAYS talked to my computers. My cars and motorcycles, too. They respond better when you love them a bit.

Doesn’t doing that encourage you to KEEP you from tossing them every year to get the new model?
“There there sweetie, I see it’s got more RAM and a little faster processor, but she ain’t got anywhere near your personality and gumption.”

And yes, I KNOW they’re ‘just machines’ in real life, but who wants to live THERE?

wygit [+1]
Dec 10 10 at 9:32 am

I think the idea is to “admit” that computers are/should be disposable. Every Apple fan I know is somehow comfortable purchasing each new device.

However, it does somewhat conflict with their whole enviro-green thing.

Robert Colburn [+1]
Dec 10 10 at 9:45 am

@Ron Are you one of those people who got a Steve Jobs dick in your butt? Are you paid to defend apple? Why don’t you leave people’s opinion or political views alone. If you don’t want to hear them, there is always power button in an apple device, use it to turn it off.

You want your opinion in TWiG, call Leo and knock your self out.

*We know you hate Google and too SCURD to show your own name, now leave it at that, doll. Dumb people reading and listening to only dumb things in this world.

Bogart
Dec 10 10 at 2:10 pm

My /home/tz directory on the half dozen linux systems I have is probably over 15 years old. Originally from a 486 OC 160 Mhz system, I just kept cloning the parts of linux. My old eeepc lost control (literally – the key stopped working), so it is in the router stack. Originally it was slackware – using floppies. I’ve recently shifted from Ubuntu to Fedora. Each time I get my set of packages, then clone the home directory. This even works across architectures, my old G5, and my hacked chumby powered devices, and even my Nokia n series tablet. Sometimes I just pull the drive out and put it in a new box or just copy the image and fix the partitioning if it is a different size. I have windows for work and Mac OSX for other things, but generally these systems also boot into Linux, often by default.

All I can say is I hope Chrome/Chromium continues so I can go to the next step – /home/tz in the cloud (I really need to start working with my google storage account :) .

This was Microsoft’s original nightmare when they did the bad and illegal things against Netscape – they didn’t want the browser/internet to be the platform. Now it is. Since I don’t worry about the sizzle as much as the steak, I love google docs. I will open it before any microsoft product, but even gnumeric, abiword, and open office are opened less frequently.

But some prefer the other model so you have to buy a completely new license for the new CPU and activate it and have a “genuine advantage” program ready to pounce if you don’t patch it.

The only thing I wish Google would do is handle ALL my traffic – via encrypting and compressing proxy. They want to know? Instead of the stupid google-analytics javascript (noscript disabled) on most pages, just do a properly anonymized collection. It would be faster given the compression (and possible caching), and I wouldn’t have to worry about my ISP.

tz [+15]
Dec 10 10 at 2:49 pm

Great post – I completely agree with you Gina. A lot of PCs and netbooks and cellphones – basically most consumer electronic devices are made to last a maximum of 2 years. They usually die much sooner. One of the reasons I switched to Mac was this frustration with PCs – they would never last longer then 15 month. I really hope Google’s manufacturing partners will take this into account and build long term products. I think the video was made to make a different point but I cringed as well. Is there anyway to give them feedback?

Jan Cifra [+2]
Dec 13 10 at 1:31 am

And btw I am a Google and Apple fan boy :) I love them both so why can’t we all get along?

Jan Cifra [+2]
Dec 13 10 at 1:36 am

Thanks for linking this video, I hadn’t seen it. I got a good laugh out of watching my kids react in horror as the computers were destroyed.

the_berg [+2]
Dec 18 10 at 9:31 am

Still using my Apple eMac G4/1.42 (2005) and it works like a charm http://tx0.org/191

Robert Bigelow [+49]
Dec 26 10 at 7:40 am


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