When the PC is gone where will you go?
When the PC is gone where will you go?
When the PC is gone where will you go?
When the PC is gone where will you go?
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  #21  
Old 10-06-2012, 02:26 AM
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No, I think you may have missed the point.

This isn't about conservatism or clinging to the past. It is more a reflection of the fact that people have different needs and that in a economy heavily weighted toward ever-increasing profit levels minority needs can get thrown under the bus.

Personal computing as opposed to consumer electronics has always been something only small segments of the population have any real need or even interest in. For a long time there was some synergy and cooperation because the two could assist each other in achieving their different goals. Even so we've seen a sea change over the past decade.

The PC market reached saturation. How many households need two, let alone 3 or more PCs? But it's a different story for cell phones and portable entertainment devices that need only provide media playing and web browsing features with simple games thrown in. Especially if these can now be made cheaply as disposable devices with no learning curve and thus lttle personal investment in several senses of the word.

This would be fine if the old "baby can't eat steak, so everyone gets pablum" philosophy doesn't take over.

PCs just won't sell in large quantities anymore. That's perfectly fine. But if the remaining PC market is abandoned as a low growth market (and don't kid yourself, "growth" is a Wall Street code word for "high profit") those who have any need or desire for general purpose computing power could feel a chilly breeze.


Where's your diversity now?


But let it all come to pass. Let's assume that it is just the way of the world, and even that it is the right and proper way for things to proceed from here.

To get back to the original question of this thread:

It's Day 2. It's all happened. PCs are rare and costly replaced by relatively closed, fixed-function devices. As a programmer by trade (research, automation-based product development, manufacturing, information gathering and analysis, government, whatever) or even hobby... where do you go now?
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Old 10-06-2012, 02:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hDC_0 View Post
My issue is that your "concerns" about moving from desktop PC to
mobile computing devices are really a big "nothing",
(nothing you can "halt" in any real way..)
Let me try again: Ok, it happens. What will you do now?

In other words what sort of career change do you see? Will you hope to worm your way into the small fraction of people still employed programming for mass-produced fixed-function devices? Drive a garbage truck? Find a low-rent storefront in a little downtown and open a small odd-job programming shop like those little appliance repair guys who scrape by on the charity of people around them? Retrain for a nursing career?
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Old 10-06-2012, 02:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hDC_0 View Post
The final transition, from mainframe computers that filled all rooms,
to PCs that had a mere desktop "footprint",
to smartphone/tablets that fit in the palm of the hand --can't you see
that it was all "predicted" (in a way) decades ago?
You must not work with mainframes much, not surprising since relatively few people ever did.

Today's mainframes, many running the same software (or many times patched versions of it) that they did in 1975, consist of two or three cabinets the size of refrigerators. They are usually surrounded by vast disk farms of cabinets about the same size housing storage the mainframe shares with LANs and MANs (metropolitan area networks) and backup devices such as magnetic tape silos and optical disk jukeboxes.

They aren't gone at all, they've just consolidated. Where there were once 10 large facilities scattered across town you might find one of these mainframes handling the workloads of all 10 through virtualization and shared use. And it's probably no exaggeration to suggest that the new installation provides more than 500 times the power of those 10 data center sites from 1975.

It's a myth that mainframes are gone. They remain the "freight trains" of computing and are "bigger" and haul larger loads than ever before.
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  #24  
Old 10-06-2012, 02:56 AM
hDC_0When the PC is gone where will you go? hDC_0 is offline
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Default When PCs aren't so special anymore..mere consumer toys?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dilettante
Let me try again: Ok, it happens. What will you do now?
..or maybe what is the role for people like dilettante now, perhaps?

Quote:
Personal computing as opposed to consumer electronics..the PC market reached saturation..it's a different story for cell phones and portable entertainment devices..especially if these can now be made cheaply as disposable devices with no learning curve and thus little personal investment in several senses of the word.
So PCs used to be something special used by some kind of "elite" and now they are democratized devices, so you
(as one of the "elite" -my word I know) are worried?

You are right to be worried as a software writer in a saturated (i.e. mature) marketplace.

There just won't be as many required, and those that are will increasing be paid (or get work) based on specialization.

I was an electronics technician and have been (or worked for) those "little appliance repair guys".

I repaired not only computers/printers/monitors, but also VCRs, DVDs, TVs and even toaster ovens.
I don't do that any more.
Those that do rarely become millionaires.
Geek squad is no longer really an optimal career path.

People throw things away now.
They even buy such consumer devices for pennies on the dollar at
secondhand thrift stores, then throw them away.

As far as:
Quote:
Originally Posted by dilettante
Drive a garbage truck?
Retrain for a nursing career?
..they aren't export/outsourcing those jobs to India.

Quote:
Originally Posted by =dilettante
And it's probably no exaggeration to suggest that the new installation provides more than 500 times the power of those 10 data center sites from 1975.
For those who live Oregon such "datacenters" (as they are called),
abound in areas around The Dalles (where Google has a googleplex data center), and
around Prineville, where Apple, Facebook, and maybe soon Rackspace have data centers.
Relative to other types of large money operations they employ very few people.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dilettante
In other words what sort of career change do you see?
In Oregon, in the eighties, hundreds of thousands of people lost their jobs in the rural parts of Oregon.
Guess how many did not end up working at a data center?

There was also some vague notions (back in the 80's), that they would get hired
by "Silicon Forest" companies found in Oregon's Washington county.
How many timber workers did not become fab (clean room) workers?

Bottom line:
The days when people could spend 30 years working for a single company are increasingly long gone.
(maybe the few union and civil service jobs, in the majority as a percentage of total jobs, are the exception not the rule).

What's left (that generally aren't at risk for being outsourced overseas) are:
1.) Service sector jobs
2.) Super highly specialized tech jobs
(which, although they compete globally, you still find work if you are the "creme de la creme")

Last edited by hDC_0; 10-06-2012 at 03:18 AM.
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  #25  
Old 10-06-2012, 05:43 AM
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Scientists, engineers, medical researchers, and other people in creative occupations aren't some sort of "elite" just because they have a use for computing resources. Since a lot of that work is being done by people in China, India, Africa, and anyplace else you can name there is no reason to assume this is some "western elite" either.

I agree that many people were pushed out of labor intensive occupations and sold a bill of goods about "tech jobs." It is still going on.

For that matter software development is usually high on the list of things people are told they should go into after "getting better educated." This is another myth, meant as a slap in the face and akin to Romney and his 47% remarks. Most of the jobs there pay less each year due to outsourcing pressure - when you can find them at all.

But almost all of that is pretty off topic.


Again, I was hoping to hear more about what platforms people plan to move to when the PC "dries up." Not in the sense of career shifts to mobile/tablet applets sold through phone "app stores" but more in terms of finding ways to meet the same (old) needs by repurposing the newer platforms to satisfy those old needs some people still have.

For my part I have all the work I need right now, I'm lucky though it would be nice to see pay increase to match the cost of living for a change. What I'm curious about is how to keep it going - the demand hasn't changed even though the current platform might be slipping away in a few years. If I can move to a cheaper "horse" so much the better.
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  #26  
Old 10-06-2012, 05:59 AM
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I'm a little surprised nobody has mentioned anything, but the site has become pretty moribund. Gamers, script kiddies, and (web)scrape kiddies still abound though most of the pros have seemingly abandoned these forums.

Ouya might be an example of a low cost mass market device suitable for repurposing - if they ever reach production and catch on.

Here's another oddball device, though probably more limited in potential:
Ubi Develops an Inexpensive, Voice-Activated Android Device for Your Home

Then there are things such as FXI Cotton Candy.

Video overview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtbGTxxGs2k

Last edited by dilettante; 10-06-2012 at 06:08 AM.
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  #27  
Old 11-01-2012, 02:35 PM
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The End Of Desktops? is an hour long radio program you can download in MP3 format for commuting, etc.

Some interesting thoughts there hinting at the issue I started this thread about: When Cathy Consumer sees no need for a PC, will you still be able to buy one?
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  #28  
Old 11-02-2012, 01:48 AM
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I think that the Windows Surface is kind of a hybrid tab/lap/let/top.. When it is tested, and can handle everything (including VS/photoshop/ERP clients and so) really good, it will be the future.
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  #29  
Old 11-02-2012, 09:04 AM
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Whether a device looks like a desktop, or not, is irrelevant. Here we've been hanging 19" touch screens off of instrumentation as a control interface (and hiding the mouse/keyboard in a drawer) and if a reasonable CPU/GPU (for deconvolution, physics model comparators and near-real-time processing) were built into it (and better than my Internet-enabled non-touch screen TV has) we wouldn't shed a tear. We've been installing Dell and HP PDAs in equipment for years with great success (battery swelling/failure being the biggest issue).

There it is, the real question is of durability... the modularity of the traditional desktop always made sense from a repair standpoint. Sources say Microsoft's Surface is hard to repair... which was easy to predict. Not as bad as Apple though:
Quote:
"The website rated Surface's "repairability" a 4 on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the easiest). Comparatively, the iPad has a rating of 2, while the Amazon Kindle Fire boasts a rating of 8.
The problem is that these are not disposable devices, considering cost. More companies are honing their skills at making more products that appeal to the masses, yet are unrepairable at any reasonable cost (and lowering warranty periods in the process). Consumers are casting their vote for this business model with their pocket books, but I don't think it is sustainable in the long term unless the reliability reaches unprecedented levels. Apple has set the standard by which others are judged, but (same as others) still stacks their deck on top of a house of cards dictated by carefully crafted MTBF (mean-time-between-failure) ratings of it individual components.
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  #30  
Old 11-02-2012, 11:01 AM
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George,

The 'MS Surface' uses an ARM processor and is not compatible with native Windows programs. It comes with a version of MS Office that was written specifically for it. Even so that appears to be license restricted to non-business uses. Meaning you have to purchase an Office license at some point to be legal.

The 'MS Surface Pro' due out in the near future will use an Intel Atom processor and should run Windows apps. (poorly I would think.)

A coworker just purchased an Acer Webbook for something in the $250.00 price range.
Am I the only one that thinks the ARM Surface is overpriced at roughly $500.00 to $700.00
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  #31  
Old 11-02-2012, 02:00 PM
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Is the Surface Pro really Atom? I was under the impression it was an i5. It runs a full version of Win8 and I'd expect it to be similar to the Samsung tablets that were given out at Build last year. Whether it works or not, I don't know. Battery life seems like it'd be the real loser there and I'm sort of convinced that if I get a Surface, I want the RT. If I buy the Pro I can see myself saying "I wish I'd bought a MacBook Air instead".

The $499 Surface is arguably well-priced depending on how much you value high-resolution displays. In my opinion, the iPad's worth $200 more than the Surface RT yet it sells for $70 less. But I had a nasty argument with coworkers yesterday in which we decided apparently I'm the only person that cares about high display resolution so I guess I'm weird.
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  #32  
Old 11-02-2012, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
Is the Surface Pro really Atom?
That is what the article I read stated... Okay here's one that agrees with you.

BTW the 499 price tag is for the low end Surface w/32 Gig. If you want 64 Gig the price jumps to 699.

I read another article where they ran a blind display test between the surface and the iPad. For streaming images the choice was about 50-50. For textual material the iPad won hands down.
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  #33  
Old 11-02-2012, 04:09 PM
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Interesting that Microsoft is selling Dells, etc.:

http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/...P4l0w_TvDl5DCg
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  #34  
Old 11-02-2012, 04:34 PM
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Default Pc's beyond "desktop" form factor, "Surface" term diambiguation, & quantent comms

Quote:
Whether a device looks like a desktop, or not, is irrelevant.
Looks like this thread has come back to life...

I agree with Cerian Knight.
To say the "desktop" is going away is just to say that devices with microprocessors inside are changing form factors.
Many people have predicted the "convergence" of TVs and PCs but it has been a long slow slog to "smart TVs", however it IS happening.

Quantum processors can be embedded anywhere - even in clothes,
and Intel's latest processors are almost down to the single digital nanometer resolution:
"Intel details 10nm, 7nm, 5nm process roadmap"
The IDF2012 roadmap diagram graphic

Possible related articles:
EETimes: Intel's 10-nm process technology using immersion lithography with quadruple patterning for some mask layers
Intel, Samsung, Toshiba form consortium aiming for 10nm chips by 2016

Going below 10nm using carbon-based CNT technology:
IBM creates first 9nm carbon nanotube transistor
IBM Demos Sub-10nm Transistor, Graphene Chip and Racetrack Memory


As regard to the use of the term "Microsoft Surface", just for a moment I'd like to do
a little Wikipedia: Disambiguation page inspired clearing up of things.

The first Microsoft Surface was a rear-project touch table that I believe used PixelSense technology.***
As noted by this PCWorld article:
Quote:

The Surface name has had a complicated history at Microsoft. [emphasis mine]

What used to refer to a multi-user, multi-touch table-top display (with an integrated PC and bespoke collaboration software) is now a much, much smaller 10.6-inch tablet running Windows 8.

The original Surface table was a 30-inch rear-projection display, a full 21 inches thick using five infrared cameras to track users' inputs. It could track 52 inputs at once, distinguishing between fingers, blobs (any larger object) and tags (using unique Surface dot-barcodes). It ran the then-darling Windows Vista on an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, 2GB of RAM and a 160GB HDD.

New software and computing features aside, the most important feature of Surface 2.0 was PixelSense.

PixelSense technology is far more versatile than the capacitive touchsceens that are ubiquitous in computing devices
This is different from the new Microsoft Tablet that (as the PCWorld mag says:
Quote:
..uses a traditional multi-touch capacitive touchscreen.
Of course tablets of the future (including Microsoft Surface tablets) of the future will undoubtedly have many more cores:
Intel working on 48-core chip for smartphones, tablets

**Others have build similar rear projection ouch tables based on touch sensing technology called
FTIR (Frustrated Total Internal Reflection).

Microsoft still has a page for PixelSense (and has cross licensed the technology to Samsung for its SUR40 tables (1, 2).

I don't know of any smaller companies that have licensed the technology,
(if you know of any please feel free to post a link),
which means the licensing fees are probably a tad high.

Do I see a day when capacitive touchscreens are fractions of a penny per square meter to produce?
Not anytime soon.
I'm hoping as more OLED factories are build, churning out OLED plastic sheets in ever larger sizes, that the price will drop.
Here's some links:
2011: Samsung's shiny new OLED display factory opens for business
2012: Samsung & LG Outline Aggressive TV Biz Growth Plans, sample quote:
Quote:
But like their Korean colleague, LG will launch OLED in their larger panel sets, with models up to 60-inches-plus.
In fact, LG hopes to beat Samsung to market with their OLED sets to grab share before Samsung enters..
OLED displays to hit sales of $44B by 2019, with growth in TVs and mobile devices


In other news (that you probably should have been paying attention to but also probably missed)...
..and yes I'm padding to the posting character limit...going wwwaaaayyy off topic

In a 1935 paper Albert Einstein and his colleagues Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen theorized
about "spooky action at a distance" in a way that has become known as the "EPR paradox".

The paradox is that quantum entanglement seems to allow communication faster than light
which has the potential to produce all types of causality headaches.

For more info (including a section on "resolving the paradox") see this Wikipedia article on the EPR Paradox.

However, the long and the short of it is that FTL communication using quantum entanglement
has been shown to be a generally accepted and reproducible phenomenon.
Physicists spooked by faster-than-light information transfer
Scientists Reproduce Quantum Entanglement, Einstein's “Spooky Action”
Quantum entanglement shows that reality can't be local
Physicists Quantum Teleport Photons Over 88 Miles

Many early quantum entanglement communication experiments were all on the small scale (i.e. short messages).
Scientific American article: Quantum Entanglement Experiments Expand to include 8 Photons
Scholar pdf article on quantum entanglement of 12 photons

Just a few days ago (Oct 31 2012) there was this announcement:
Record 100,000 entangled photons detected

This follows on another experiment from 2011:
Ultrafast Quantum Computer Closer: Ten Billion Bits of Entanglement Achieved in Silicon

Quantum entanglement communication is also extremely difficult to intercept without someone knowing about it
so at this point it also has important potential implications for secure communications.

I can definitely see it's potential to be used as an "emergency reset channel" for interstellar probes.

I've also read that "deleting" information stored using quantum entanglement can have a cooling effect,
(which has potential implications for data centers that generate a lot of heat).
Some links:
Quantum Knowledge Cools Computers: New Understanding of Entropy
Quantum Entanglement Means Computers Could Cool Themselves By Deleting Information

Of course there are caveats.
This "Future of Quantum Entanglement" article discusses some of the "decoherence" challenges that lie ahead.

I think for the next ten to 20 years we still have to max out optical backbone info transmission,
(no laptops/tablets I know have/use internal super-computering backbone optical buses yet, just a external Thunderbolt ports).
After that its on to "quantent" transference computing.

Last edited by hDC_0; 11-02-2012 at 06:39 PM.
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  #35  
Old 11-03-2012, 05:36 PM
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Lets not forget that quantum computing offers the possibility of making what is known as "reversible computing" (RC) actually useful in practice.

The motivating factor for RC is that you can obtain obscenely high levels of energy efficiency, well below the Von Neumann-Landauer limit.

Imagine a world where turning a crank once with a simple human-powered generator (as seen on the XO laptop) will generate enough power to perform literally quadrillions of computational operations with almost zero heat generated (=waste) in the process.
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  #36  
Old 11-04-2012, 08:04 AM
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Getting back to reality rather than Sunday Supplement speculative stuff...

First look at the Chuwi V99 Android tablet with Retina Display shows that higher-resolution displays don't have to mean spending $500. This device has only 16GB of flash memory storage built in, but it has a TF card slot for expansion.

Lots of choice out there and by next Summer there might be some clarity, but then again this market may continue its rapid churn for years.
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Old 11-04-2012, 01:32 PM
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Default The XO laptop and OLPC is reality, not "speculation"

Quote:
Originally Posted by dilettante
..shows that higher-resolution displays don't have to mean spending $500.
At below 300 US dollars I'm sure it will be a hot seller this Xmas.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dilettante
Getting back to reality rather than Sunday Supplement speculative stuff...
Hopefully you are not disregarding Rockoon's entire post as totally mere "speculative stuff".

The XO hand cranked laptop Rockoon mentioned is part of a real world program called "One Laptop Per Child (OLPC)" that
provides computing (and programming) opportunities to children living in poverty through the world.

Here is the OLPC page which lists some of the programming languages has available.

There is an OLPC Squeak page (squeak is a Smalltalk variant). an eToys page and there is a Squeakland page.

The XO OLPC laptop also has a PyGames SDL wrapper library for Python game programming.

This is all real stuff - not speculation.
Have you read any of the real world stories on the OLPC site?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockoon
Lets not forget that quantum computing offers the possibility of making what is known as "reversible computing" (RC) actually useful in practice.
Yes, thanks for adding that.
I was bumping up against the character limit and had to delete an extra paragraph on RC to get the post uploaded.

Last edited by hDC_0; 11-04-2012 at 01:40 PM.
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  #38  
Old 11-05-2012, 12:28 PM
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Another cheap option.

Build a notebook.

$54.95 for a MK802 II Stick Computer. 1gig ram 4gig memory , mem card slot.
+
$69.99 for a Motorola Atrix Lapdock
----------
$124.94 US.

Pricing quoted from Amazon.

Running Android 4.0

Running Ubuntu 12.04
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Old 11-05-2012, 05:33 PM
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If the low-end tablet makers ever got it together and started making a few standardized "soft docks" with a few cables hanging out or "hard docks" and arranged connectors on most tablets to match that could be a killer too.

Right now you can buy "stand/case/keyboard" combos for about $10 but they can be a little clumsy and often have a mismatch on the USB connectors (the old full/mini/micro problem) so you need adapters.


Right now when I work with those sub-$100 tablets and "sticks" I just use a simple universal stand and full sized keyboard/mouse with a good powered USB hub and adapters to power everything. Most people won't require as much though since they'll only have to use one tablet.


Those MK802-style "sticks" are getting more and more interesting as well as more powerful. The earlier basic models can be found close to $40 shipped now. These seem to be improving in processing power, packaging quality, connector choices, and heat dissipation as you move up the price scale toward $90.

These work best as intended with an HDMI TV set, but small HDMI monitors that can supply USB power are getting cheaper now too (often with built-in speakers).


So far my biggest headache using these for embedded computing is that Android support for generalized USB HID development wasn't great until 4.0.4 ICS and a number of them are at 4.0.1 or 4.0.2 right now. The problem is weak Linux drivers, but Google has finally taken the bull by the horns there.
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Old 11-18-2012, 09:14 PM
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With Android-x86 you can repurpose an old laptop or desktop, Chromebook, etc.

It even runs in a VM as in the attached screenshot, though for Android 4.0 you might want a build from http://tabletsx86.org/ instead (network support left out of the 4.0 RC builds at Android-x86 Project).
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When the PC is gone where will you go?
When the PC is gone where will you go?
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When the PC is gone where will you go?
When the PC is gone where will you go?
When the PC is gone where will you go? When the PC is gone where will you go? When the PC is gone where will you go? When the PC is gone where will you go? When the PC is gone where will you go? When the PC is gone where will you go? When the PC is gone where will you go?
When the PC is gone where will you go?
When the PC is gone where will you go?
 
When the PC is gone where will you go?
When the PC is gone where will you go?
 
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