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Computer Cross Talk: What’s up?

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Fixstars, a flash memory manufacturer has defied the olds by introducing a pair of 13TB and 10TB SSD drives. This is the first time SSD technology has surpassed spinning drive capacities. Currently spinning drive manufacturers like Seagate max out at 10TB.

The Fixstars 13000M drive is technically a 2.5 inch drive, while this suggests that it should fit into the drive bay of your laptop, that is unfortunately not the case because the drive is 15mm thick . A normal laptop drive is usually 9.5mm fat. Fixstars has indicated that the drive is not intended for consumer use but for industries that are in streaming, content distribution and video processing.

With this development, can we safely say that SSD has eclipsed spinning drives? Not just yet. The Fixstars 13000M currently costs US$19,000. A 10TB SGST Ultra He10 introduced late last year only costs US$600.

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Solid state drives (SSD) are as wonderful as flash drives; they are not temperamental; they can take all sorts of abuse. If you want to know how moody spinning drives are, drop your external drive, plug it back in and hear how it groans before ‘waving’ you goodbye.

Just when one thought that e-books were determined to wipe paper books from the face of the earth; statics from Association of American publishers (AAP) suggest otherwise. E-book sales are tumbling; they sank more than 10 percent in 2015. This means that print is reclaiming its glorious days. Used bookstores are noticeably coming back in the USA.

One reason for this is that AAP is not happy with the current scenario where the ration of books read electronically to actual e-books sold is 8:1. To sort out this miasma where people are reading more e-books yet paying for only few of them, AAP are making e-books less attractive by making them expensive.

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The thing is that it is much easier to copy an e-book than it is to photocopy a paper book. It is for this reason that publishers want e-books to fail. The other issue is that online publishers are eating away traditional publishers’ lunch.

What else is on the downward spiral? PC sales worldwide, of course. In 2015 PC sales fell to the lowest level since 2007. According to Gartner, PC sales in Q4 2015 fell to 75.7 million units, down 8.3 percent from Q4 2014. Total shipments in 2015 were 288.7 units, eight percent decline from 2014. IDC painted even a much cloudy picture; Q4 shipments were 71.9 million and for the first time since 2008, 2015 sales were south of 300 million inducing a year-on-year decline of 9.8 percent.

The PC is not dying any time soon. What is happening is that people are not buying new computers; they are contented with what they have. People do not want to fix what ain’t broken. By offering Windows 10 upgrades for free in 2015, Microsoft created a ground for that philosophy to mushroom even more.

PC Sales reached the top of Mount Everest in 2011with a record figure of 352.8 million units shipped, in the four years that followed, PC sales sank by 20 percent.

During the years that Pc sales have been shrinking, sales of iPads, iPhones and Androids have been exploding. Rumours are rife that the smartphone market is now slowing down. Consumers will probably turn back to PCs.

Lenovo had 22% PC market share in Q4 2015 while the erstwhile market leader, HP trailed with 20% market share.

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