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My PC is becoming irrelevant… or at least boring

January 12, 2012

I started seriously using Pinterest yesterday. And it is really cool – it’s a place to pin web content that you don’t want to lose, as well as find stuff that others have shared.  I can see that it could be huge.

The problem is, Pinterest is oriented around finding things on my PC browser.  And I very rarely use my PC for casual browsing (the kind of activity that I might stumble upon something that I want to share).  For blogs, news, videos or music, I am typically using a handheld device (tablet, phone or Kindle) rather than a PC.  In the morning I’ll flip through news feeds on Flipboard and curated articles on Zite — both on my iPad.  I may open up the New York Times or Wired in their dedicated apps.  I read Technology Review on my Kindle. And none of these devices offer me an easy way of “pinning” to Pinterest.

And while I could take this article off onto a tagngent about what Pinterest needs to do to survive, I think the general point is more interesting: My PC has morphed from a general purpose device to a very specific one: it is my content creation station. Whether it’s coding a Powershell utility or editing a document, when I need to do “real work” I do it on one of my PCs.

So this isn’t news, right?  Everyone’s been talking about this for a year or more.  But here’s the new data point: Even if I wanted to switch back to the PC, it would be difficult.  I tried today.  I had to keep my iPad open to remember which sites were the original sources of the articles, and then go to those sites.  The app-centric behavior of the iPad gets us away from URLs.

The lesson here for Microsoft is simple: To make Windows 8 successful, it needs to make my PC act like my tablet.  WIth a seamless interface so I can switch between the two at will.  At that point my PC will be relevant again.

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