A computer professional encourages his fellow technologists to understand the real-world impact of smartphones, tablets and other devices that represent the next generation of computers.
Baxter-Reynolds (Programming Windows Store Apps in C#, 2013, etc.) draws on his experience writing for the Guardian and other general-interest publications to explain why computer technology is entering the post-PC era and what that means. Post-PC devices, for Baxter-Reynolds, are the easily portable devices we carry that offer a constant connection to the Internet; they focus mainly on one task at a time and are “relationship-centric”—e.g., for accessing Facebook and Twitter. The book encourages those who are more accustomed to dealing with desktops and servers to understand that post-PC devices fall into a different pattern of use, one less appropriate for work tasks but ideal for broader use. Central to Baxter-Reynolds’ explanation is his somewhat-convoluted contention that post-PC “devices are designed to support another activity as the primary activity, relegating whatever you’re doing on the device to just being the secondary activity.” For instance, text messaging, he says, “is really the first situation where we see people able to use technology to quickly branch off from a primary activity, dip into a relationship-centric activity, and then return to the primary activity.” Rather than average users of technology, the book’s primary audience is technology specialists, which he affirms in a clear understanding of that community’s mentality: “Technologist users often do not like this controlled and locked-down approach, because a lot of the emotional reward they get from engagement in technology comes from pushing technology beyond its limits.” Knowing his audience allows Baxter-Reynolds to freely toss in acronyms like OEM and BYOD without always defining them. In particular, discussions of the differences between Intel and ARM chips or implementing CRM solutions on mobile platforms will primarily be of interest to specialists. On the whole, though, Baxter-Reynolds offers a well-reasoned analysis of the current state of the computing environment and the possibilities it offers, although a few of his statements—like the claim that “Angry Birds” has earned a place in the history books—may raise eyebrows.
A concise, competent evaluation of computing trends, written for a technologist audience.