Quarter the 2006 Price in 5 Years

I love it when I run across a prediction about the time of the deadline. Jakob Nielsen made one on November 20, 2006 that computers will be 1/4th their current price of $379 in five years. Five years later is November 20, 2011. That is today!

In areas like North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia’s advanced countries, computer cost is no longer an issue. Dell’s cheapest computer costs $379 (with a monitor) and is about 500 times as powerful as the Macintosh Plus I used to write my Ph.D. thesis. While it’s true that a few people can’t even afford $379, in another five years, computers will be one-fourth their current price. Would that all social problems would go away if we simply waited five years.

So $379 / 4 = approximately $95.

Dell, the company Nielsen picked on, the cheapest I found was in Dell Outlet a Latitude laptop for $239.

Walmart’s cheapest non-refurbished I found was $212 laptop. (There was a Pentium 4 refurbished desktop for $115 which is old even for 2006 but adding the cheapest $89 monitor is still $109 too expensive. You would be better off going to a garage sale and picking up the same computer for $25 and getting a kid in the neighborhood to refurbish it.)

Best Buy has a $205 laptop.

I guess after five years they are getting close to half? Maybe this is why the FCC started a $4 billion program to help close the digital divide at $150 a refurbished computer + training + $10 a month broadband. Even this is not Nielsen’s a quarter of 2006 prices. (FCC and “Connect to Compete” Broadband Fact Sheet)

Yeah for Fall

It’s 67 F in my apartment this morning. It feels so very good. Over the past week I’ve noticed temperatures have dropped. My apartment retains heat pretty well. Its 42 outside.

I went to visit Cat in Lawrenceville. She asked me to help her with her computers. I knew both were old and one is a Mac. What I didn’t know is she only has a Dial-Up Internet connection, one is a generic (AST) 486, the other a Macintosh LC III, and she didn’t have the ADB cable for the keyboard. She just wanted to get files off these two computers.

So I was able to get her the files she wanted off the 486 without any trouble. I ended up calling arfore and asking his advice on dealing with the lack of a cable for the Mac keyboard. His ideas? 1) Get a SCSi adapter, put the hard drive in a box running Linux, mount it with HFS. 2) Go buy a cable. To get Win to read the floppies, put tape over the High Density hole of the floppy. So the Mac is still a work in progress. She has ordered an ADB cable, so once she has it, we will be able get into it and see just how much further we can go.

BTW, Cat is interested in getting rid of both computers (once she has her files off):

  • AST 486, 8 MB RAM, with monitor
  • Macintosh LC III with monitor (no base)

Its funny that people think “good with computers” means good dealing with everything computer related. I know web servers, web design, web programming, and databases. This issue is way over my head, but I know people and can get advice. 🙂 I have been around long enough to know not to futz too much.