Sunday, March 8, 2009

Netbooks, the challenge to never stop learning

There are thousands of well paying jobs today that did not even exist ten years ago. Changes in technology are accelerating despite the economic crisis. Right now, for example, a whole new type of computer is being sold, the netbook. This category of computer is so new, you may not have seen one or you may have seen one and not noticed. Recently, Costco featured a display of netbook computers by HP for under $500. The first true netbook is considered to be the ASUS Eee PC introduced in 2007. As reviewed in Wikipedia, it was noted for its combination of a light weight, Linux operating system, solid-state drive and relatively low cost. Newer models have added the option of Windows XP operating system and traditional hard disk drives. Following the EeePC, Everex launched its CloudBook, MSI released the Wind, Dell and HP both released a "Mini" series (the Inspiron Mini and HP Mini), and others soon followed suit. Windows XP based models were also introduced.

A quick check of the prices shows that these mini-computers begin around $250 new.

It is even rumored that Apple may develop a model, perhaps a hyped up iPhone with a keyboard.

One measure of preparation is the ability to react quickly to changing circumstances. As these new products begin to sell in the millions of units, various secondary markets, programs, accessories and add-ons will likely become available. These new inexpensive computers are not a passing fad, they will fundamentally change the way computers are sold and marketed again, and probably yet again when the market is redefined. Meanwhile, those who ignore reality and fail to prepare through additional learning, as the old saying goes, prepare to fail.

At a recent software company presentation, I was disappointed at the antagonism the computer users had to change. Not only were they unhappy that they might have to learn a new program, they were positively angry at the prospect of something new. Too bad for them. In this changing world economy, change and preparation and learning are the keys to survival.

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