|How Tablet PCs Could Save Civilization|
|Articles - Opinion & Editorials|
|Written by Steven Moeller|
|Thursday, 14 February 2013|
How Tablet PCs Could Save Civilization as We Know It
I've read many articles published by various editors on the death of the Desktop PC at the hand of Tablets, and I don't put much stock in them. I, personally, will never give up having a Desktop. The raw power capabilities needed for ripping, converting, editing, compiling, and securing various data will always ensure it a place in my home, until the Desktop becomes a Wrist Computer with a direct neural interface. Or, at least, that's my hope of what it will become. However, there is a potential death for the Desktop PC in the future, and it's has nothing to do with advancing technologies.
I'm referring to an event which most people don't want to consider, and few find more disconcerting than technophiles like me, an apocalypse. Now, don't misunderstand me, I'm not referring to some extinction level event of scientific or religious origins, but rather to a potential world-wide degradation of civilization, a new Dark Ages, if you will.
When you consider the rising costs of Oil, Coal, Natural Gas, and the most important product made from those raw resources, Electricity, the possibility of this seems a real enough threat. After all, what would happen to your computer if your Utility Company couldn't afford to buy those materials, or if those resources were fully used up?
There would be no more Internet, no more online encyclopedias, or "How to..." sites for the home unhandy man. You could forget about keeping up on recent world news or even just your favorite actor. Gone would be the vast repositories of books, stories, pictures, music and movies. Your own data would suffer the same fate. Your downloaded movies and music, family pictures, and any other data, would be inaccessible as soon your wall socket became a useless decoration. Or would it?
Tablets offer a glimmer of hope in this dismal potentiality. Compared to a Desktop, Tablet PCs have almost negligible power requirements, the only need being to charge their Lithium-Ion batteries. Storing important technical information on these wondrous gadgets, like how to build a windmill, the proper way to seed and plow a field, instructions for creating aqueducts and sewers, repair your home, or even how to forge steel as a blacksmith would help to ensure that our society can pull itself back up by the lapels, or even prevent it from sinking into the ugly mire that is uneducated ignorance in the first place.
I can hear you asking just how we are supposed to supply energy to these hand-held devices, without any corporate power companies. Well, that's not to hard actually. What you're going to need is 120 watts worth of solar panels, a single 60 w solar panel is available for around $65 US, an AC/DC converter meant to be used with solar power panels, available at various prices, and a high rated Uninterruptible Power Supply, or UPS for short.
Solar panels convert light from the sun into electricity, which can then be stored in a bank of batteries that could power your home day and night. The AC/DC converter will change the DC electricity provided by the solar panels to AC electricity most of your electronics are designed to run on. An UPS is a self contained battery, set of plugs, and a power cord that you can plug into your converter, which will then store electricity, provided by the solar panel in its battery, and will supply that electricity through the plugs to any electronic device you wish. This device was created to allow your computer to ignore fluctuations in the electric power grid, such as flickering lights, and to allow you time to save your data and shut down your computer during a total power loss.
By charging the UPS battery to capacity, you can then charge the battery in your Tablet. If used sparingly and turned off when not in use a Tablet that has a battery rating of 10 hours could last all day and night, and if keep a dozen or so emergency quick-chargers kept fully charged with the setup I've outlined, the tablet would never run out of juice.
Another thing we have to take into consideration is data. Most tablets have 16 or 32 Gigabytes of storage, with only the most expensive models having 64. How do we store the significant amount of data needed to rebuild civilization once new massively abundant cheap energy methods are developed by the pockets of scientist scrambling to set the world right in their underground nuclear powered Think Tanks? A little device called the External Hard-Drive.
Whether you're considering shell enclosures or docking hubs, most quality tablets have USB ports that you can use to access an External Hard-drive. More importantly, these devices need only little more energy than it takes to power the hard-drive itself. When combined with energy efficient high capacity "Green" hard-drives, you have access to much more storage. Even better, your own tebibytes (binary terabytes -editor) of data stored on the hard drives of your now defunct Desktop is accessible through this means as well. Imagine being able to relax watching a romantic comedy at night, after a good days work in the garden ensuring your family food, or looking at pictures of your kids, which you took with the digital camera that uses the rechargeable batteries you powered with the solar setup.
While it would be more sensible to have your entire home set up for solar power with a bank of batteries and an AC/DC converter/inverter to see you through the nights and rainy days, and I'd personally recommend this, it wouldn't be feasible to run a Desktop PC for more than a few hours a day on solar power. Because many Desktops are designed for powerful computing tasks, they have high power draws. My own modest computer system draws 600 watts/hour through its 850W PSU and would need at least 12 of the above mentioned solar panels to run it all on its own, and even then it could only run when there is enough sunlight. The low power requirements of a Tablet make it infinitely more desirable in a post-apocalyptic setting, and combined with high capacity "Green" hard drives, could help restore our civilization from such an apocalypse spawned Dark Age, or even prevent it outright.
COMMENT QUESTION: Do you share the author's view of Tablet PCs?