PCs for Web terminals is misguided

PCs for Web terminals is misguidedA letter from Dr Mike Bolton, clinical engineer, Withington Hospital
I feel that the report by David Manners (EW, June 17) and others in a similar vein are totally out of touch with reality. The issue is the presumed reduction in local computing power requirement as more load is transferred to the Internet. This includes the misguided concept that PCs will be replaced by cheaper Internet terminals. This is typified by two quotes in David Manner’s article.
“My guess is that the Americans and Intel – running at 150mph – have just reached the exit. We don’t need their stuff for the Internet” – Dauvin .
“The consumer would rather see his modem double in speed than his processor. When consumers get fast access to the Internet, they will no longer need a powerful PC because they’ll be able to use other peoples’ memory and processing power.” – Bob Metcalf.
Are these people ‘real? Have they actually tried using the Internet recently?
I have very fast access to the Internet via a Megastream link and the SuperJanet University system – orders of magnitude faster than any modem – yet I have given up attempting access to the Internet after midday when the US comes alive. Have those advocates of computing via the Internet actually done a few simple calculations as to the network bandwidth required to even approach that of a modern PC? Even with fibre to every terminal and bandwidths in the GByte region, a mere handful of 200MHz PCs would swamp the network if they relied on remote memory.
Please do not advocate or encourage the use of the already overloaded Internet for activities much better performed locally by the ubiquitous PC. Those who advocate network computing not only have got their sums completely wrong, they risk ‘screwing up’ the whole system for those of us who benefit from using it as it was intended.


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