The dirty little fact everybody in the consumer computer trade have been trying to ignore â€” Dell, HP, Microsoft, Intel, AMD, Apple, all of them â€” is that the computer biz is overdue for commoditization. There is no intrinsic reason why a kilogram of plastic and metal with a couple of silicon chips in it should sell for more than its weight in silver. Nor do we need ever-more-powerful personal computers; the heavy duty processing is moving off our desktop and onto servers, and has been for years, and only idiocy of the finest water (such as Microsoft’s attempt to turn Vista into a surveillance state in microcosm) can justify it. Moreover, there is enough competition in this business that prices should be falling, steadily. Apple have staked out a boutique territory for themselves, and more power to them for noticing that they needed to do that in order to survive: but that’s a small lifeboat, and not everyone can market themselves on being cooler than everyone else.
The Eee isn’t quite the disposable computing resource I’ve been wanting â€” they’ll have to shave a zero off the price tag for that â€” but it’s close enough for now. It does the basics I need, runs portable cross-platform applications and editing open file formats, and if I leave it on a train or sit on it or something my immediate reaction will be to swear, check my backups, and buy another one, rather than to whimper and go talk to my bank manager. Which is as it should be. We’ve been held to ransom by these bastards for too long. The only remaining questions are, how long will it take before they wake up and realize the 30-year binge at the expense of the public is over? And how deep will be the recession that follows once the personal computing industry deflates to its natural value (i.e. peanuts)?