Are PCs Dying? Of Course Not, Here’s Why


Reports of the PC’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. We’ve all heard that everyone’s just buying tablets and throwing out their keyboards and mice. But, if you live in the real world, you see people using PCs every day.

The statistics show that PCs are still selling in large numbers and are used much more than tablets. But we don’t need statistics to see this — we all know that huge amounts of people still use and need PCs.

Raw Statistics

PC sales are declining fast. Soon, no one will buy them anymore. Everyone’s just buying tablets, and tablet sales are skyrocketing! That’s the established wisdom, anyway. But is that what the statistics really say?

Gartner reports that 82.6 million PCs were shipped in the fourth quarter of 2013. That’s a 6.9 percent drop from the fourth quarter of 2012 and the seventh quarter in a row of declining shipments. This sounds like bad news, but the decline in PC sales has actually been slowing. Gartner believes that PC sales have “bottomed out” — while PC sales are dropping, it’s hardly a market in free fall. But it’s not really the sales that are important — it’s what people are actually using.

StatCounter’s browser usage data for January 2014 shows that desktop browsers accounted for 71.89% of visits, while mobile (smartphones) accounted for 22.42% and tablets accounted for just 5.69%. Most people are clearly using desktop web browsers to access the web. If they’re not, they’re probably using a smartphone browser — tablet browsers are far behind.


But perhaps we’re just looking in reverse. What’s really important is the long-term trend. If tablet sales are accelerating, then tablets may just “kill” PCs.

Here’s the thing: While more tablets are being sold than ever, the growth of tablet sales is slowing. IDC reports that 76.9 million tables were shipped in the fourth quarter of 2013. That’s a 28.2% growth in shipments over the same quarter in the previous year, but that  previous quarter had an 87.1% growth over its previous year. In other words, tablet sales are growing more slowly — sales aren’t accelerating, but are slowing down. Many of these tablets are also cheaper, smaller, lower-end tablets that are even less prepared to replace a PC than premium tablets like the iPad. IDC concludes that “markets such as the U.S. are reaching high levels of consumer saturation.”

And, did you catch that? In spite of all the doom and gloom, more PCs than tablets were shipped worldwide in the fourth quarter of 2013.

We Don’t Need to Replace PCs As Often

IDC used a word — “saturation” — that perfectly describes a big part of what’s going on. You don’t have to replace your computer as often as you used to. There was a time when each new version of Windows, Office, and even web browsers was heavier than ever. You saw a big speed improvement when you bought a new computer. You needed to keep buying new computers, because Windows Vista definitely wouldn’t run very well on that PC you bought when Windows XP came out. Today, Windows 7 and 8 run faster than Windows Vista on the same hardware. Even gaming PCs built years ago can likely still run the latest PC games at high settings.

People just don’t have to replace their PCs as often, so of course PC sales are falling. PCs have reached a point where they’re “good enough.” People aren’t scrambling to upgrade their PCs every few years — they’re replacing them only when they need to. People have more PCs — laptops and even desktops — lying around than ever.

On the other hand, tablets are still a new thing. Many people still don’t have tablets, so people are buying them more and more. If you want a new gadget and you’re perfectly happy with your laptop, of course you’re going to buy a tablet instead. And, like smartphones, tablets are improving faster than ever. Tablets from a few years ago have noticeably worse screens and slower hardware. They’re improving fast, just like PCs used to. You’ll see more of a benefit from upgrading an iPad that’s a few generations old than you will a laptop that’s a few generations old. Eventually, tablets will get to that “good enough” point where people won’t have to upgrade every few years, too. Tablet sales will slow and people will be saying “tablets are dying” because everyone is buying those new virtual reality headsets instead.


So What’s Going On?

Let’s analyze this data using some common sense. In the real world, multiple different types of products can coexist for different people.

First, tablets aren’t just a fad. In the past, everyone who wanted to browse the web, send some email, watch YouTube, do online banking, and play simple games needed an expensive PC that required regular maintenance. Now, if someone just wants an easy little device that lets them get online, they can get a tablet. Not everyone needs a PC, and even people who need PCs for some reason may want to use a tablet in their downtime instead.

Second, PCs are still useful. They’re not an obsolete piece of technology. iPads, Android tablets, and even Windows 8 devices with their half-baked “Store apps” are no substitute for real PCs when it comes to doing many things. Whether you’re writing, coding, editing images, doing CAD work, doing other productive work — or even playing PC games — there’s a good chance you depend on a mouse and keyboard. You also depend on having a larger screen — maybe even multiple displays — and the ability to have more than one thing on screen at a time.

People are using tablets, but people are also still using PCs. As usual, the answer is somewhere in between “PCs are dying” and “tablets are a fad.”


What is a PC? The Lines Are Blurring

But what is a PC, anyway? “PC” really just stands for “personal computer,” but it’s become synonymous with Windows, Linux, and even Mac OS X desktops and laptops. Really, smartphones are tablets are just as much personal computers as laptops and desktops are. They run software and are much faster than the PCs many of us grew up with.

This isn’t just a hand-waving distinction. The lines are blurring. For example, is a Surface 2 tablet running Windows RT a PC? Maybe not — it’s just a tablet and can’t run typical Windows desktop applications! But what if you connected a keyboard, mouse, and connected it to an external display? What if you spent all your time using Office applications on the desktop on a large monitor? What about those new 8-inch Windows 8.1 tablets with an Intel chip and a full desktop — are they PCs? If they’re not because the screen is too small and they don’t have a keyboard, what if you connected a keyboard and an external display? Do they stop being PCs when you unplug your peripherals?

It’s not all about Windows, either. Would an Ubuntu Phone be a PC? Of course not, it’s a phone! But what if you plugged that Ubuntu phone into an HDMI port, connected a mouse and keyboard, and used the full Linux desktop on an external display? It’s clearly a PC now — but it’s running on a phone.


What You Need to Know About Buying Touch-Enabled Windows 8.1 PCs It has now been over a year since Windows 8 was released. A lot has happened — we’re now on… [Read Article]

Tablets and PCs are growing closer to each other. Tablets are becoming more capable, and many PC laptops are becoming more mobile with better battery life. Microsoft is forcing tablets and PCs together — with mixed success — but Ubuntu is also working on creating a single operating system that can run on your phone and also be your desktop PC with the appropriate peripherals.


In reality, there are more different types of hardware and software than ever. Not everyone is forced to use a beige tower running Windows. But PCs aren’t dying just because people have more choice. Some people will always need large screens, multiple windows, mice, keyboards, and all that other good stuff. Not everyone will be done on a 10-inch or smaller touch screen.

If we all end up running powerful software on Android, iOS, or another “mobile operating system” and using devices with large screens, multiple windows, keyboards, and mice — well, then we’re just using a different type of PC. PCs are more than Windows and desktop towers. That said, there’s still a place for both Windows and desktop PCs in this new order.

So, can we all please stop saying the desktop PC is dying? Thanks!

Microsoft Launches OneDrive For Business, Formerly SkyDrive Pro, With New Design

Microsoft Launches OneDrive For Business, Formerly SkyDrive Pro, With New Design

A week after officially rebranding SkyDrive as OneDrive, Microsoft has updated the official iOS app of its popular cloud storage service’s business edition to reflect the name change and give the app an iOS 7 makeover to boot.

Last week, SkyDrive was officially renamed OneDrive in line with Microsoft’s agreement with a court ruling made in favor of the “Sky” trademark of British TV broadcaster BSkyB. Microsoft then began putting the rebranding into effect across its SkyDrive portfolio, including its official SkyDrive app for iOS, which was updated accordingly.

Now, SkyDrive Pro, the business-oriented version of the SkyDrive app, has been updated as well. As a result, SkyDrive Pro is now officially called OneDrive for Business.

In addition, the new OneDrive for Business app features a new design for iOS 7 and several enhancements, including an improved login experience and support for additional types of authentication.

Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad running iOS 6.0 or later, OneDrive for Business (formerly SkyDrive Pro) is available now in the App Store for free.

OneDrive for Business requires a SharePoint Online or qualifying Office 365 business subscription. If you wish to use OneDrive for your personal, non-business files only, the regular OneDrive app should suffice.

OneDrive for Business for iPhone 1
OneDrive for Business for iPhone 2
OneDrive for Business for iPhone 3


OneDrive for Business for iPhone 4
OneDrive for Business for iPad 1
OneDrive for Business for iPad 2


OneDrive for Business for iPad 3
OneDrive for Business for iPad 4

creating a Date Dimension table

Frequently, I have to create a ‘Date Dimension’ table for complex date logic.

This is the first script I found on the internet.. that actually works.  Lots of other scripts required SQL 2008 or SQL 2012 notation..  most other scripts were about 20 pages long.

This is a very elegant solution.

[Now, if only this guy would realize that special characters in field names are COMPLETELY unacceptable.]

Following script creates a table named TimeDimension and populates it from 2000-01-01 to 2020-12-31. You can easily put your required dates.
Even though following query may look little big but believe me, it’s nothing but a simple SELECT statement with CTE.
——- TimeDimension ——-

WITH Mangal as
SELECT Cast (‘2000-01-01’ as DateTime) Date –Start Date
SELECT Date + 1
FROM Mangal
WHERE Date + 1 < = ‘2020-12-31’ –End date

SELECT Row_Number() OVER (ORDER BY Date) as DateId
,YEAR (date) as Year
,DatePart ( qq, date) as Quarter
,MONTH (date) as Month_Number_Year
,DateDiff(mm,DateAdd(qq,DateDiff(qq,0,date),0),date)+1 as Month_Number_Of_Quarter
,DatePart (wk, Date) as Week_Number_Of_Year
,datediff(wk,dateadd(qq,datediff(qq,0,date),0),date)+1 as Week_Number_Of_Quarter
,datediff(wk,dateadd(mm,datediff(mm,0,date),0),date)+1 as Week_Number_Of_Month
,DatePart (dy, date) as Day_Number_Of_Year
,datediff(dd,dateadd(qq,datediff(qq,0,date),0),date)+1 as Day_Number_Of_Quarter
,DAY (date) as Day_Number_Of_Month
,DatePart (dw, date) as Day_Number_Of_Week
,DateName (mm, date) as Month_Name
,LEFT ( DateName (mm, date), 3) Month_Name_Abbreviation
,DateName (dw, date) as Day_Name
,LEFT (DateName (dw, date), 3) as Day_Name_Abbreviation
,CONVERT(VarChar(10),date,112) as YYYYMMDD
,CONVERT(VarChar(10),date,111) as [YYYY/MM/DD]
,CONVERT(VarChar(11),date,100) as [mon dd yyyy]
,CONVERT(VarChar(11),date,120) as [yyyy-mm-dd]

INTO TimeDimension — Name of the Table

FROM Mangal


—- Script Ends Here —-
Now your TimeDimension is ready. Do a simple
SELECT * FROM TimeDimension
for a check.
Hopefully you will find this script helpful. Any questions and suggestions are welcome.
– Mangal Pardeshi.

Google Cloud SQL debuts, following Amazon's RDS lead

Two and a half years after offering a limited preview, Google has finally opened up Cloud SQL, its managed database service, to all comers. What’s more, it includes a service-level agreement — a sign Google wants users to think of this as a serious business product, not a toy for running a WordPress site.

Many other Cloud SQL features are also eye-opening. The smallest instances of the service can support databases up to 500GB, previously limited to 250GB, with multizone replication, backup, and encryption both inside and outside (via SSL) Google’s networks.

Dig into the FAQ for Google Cloud SQL, and you’ll get the skinny on that SLA, complete with some generous terms. “Downtime” for the service is described as any period with a server-side error rate of greater than 20 percent. If your instance of MySQL doesn’t deliver at least 95 percent uptime for the month, you could get as much as 50 percent of your bill credited back to you. However, this doesn’t happen automatically in the event of an outage; you have to notify Google technical support within a 30-day window to receive those credits.

But several details about Google Cloud SQL jump out; the first and most striking is Google’s choice of database engine. Google stuck with MySQL itself, albeit version 5.5 rather than the 5.6 update Oracle is currently shipping. Granted, MySQL 5.5 is the most widely tested and best-understood version, but why Google opted for MySQL over its increasingly popular and fully binary-compatible fork MariaDB — which isn’t troubled by Oracle’s looming shadow — is another question. Also, some MySQL features aren’t supported, such as user-defined functions.

Another possible issue: The lowest instance sizes barely seem worth the money. The smallest instance, the D0 size, costs a mere 2.5 cents per hour (that’s $18 per month for those keeping score at home), but comes with a pitiful 125MB of RAM and 500MB of storage — and a limit of only 25 concurrent connections and queries.

The big competition here is with Amazon, of course, which already peddles its own database-in-the-cloud services through its RDS offerings. RDS went live for all users last June, although its cheapest MySQL instances are comparable to the cost of Google’s, at 2.5 cents per hour. But like Cloud SQL after it, RDS also offers a 99.95 percent uptime guarantee and a broader selection of databases: MySQL, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, and as of last November, a PostgreSQL-based solution.

For Google to really compete, it’ll need to do that on the value of its entire package, rather than instance price alone. The more it can automate all the duties normally left to database admins — such as “sharding as a service” — the better a chance Google stands of looking like a leader and not a follower.

Put Big Data Playtime to Bed

If you’re an on-the-job analytics professional, you may feel the pressure starting to build. Big data playtime is over, and real work needs to get done — now.

It’s a bit of a “big data shakeout,” in the words of Sarah Gates, vice president of research at the International Institute for Analytics (IIA). I talked with Gates last month following the IIA’s formal unveiling of its 9 Analytics Predictions for 2014.

From what the IIA sees of its clients, organizations are starting to align big data and business problems more aggressively, Gates told me. They’re outfitted with advanced analytics applications and plenty of compute power, and they want positive business outcomes. “They’ve moved big data out of the hype phase and are settling down to solving business problems with new tools and new sets of data.”

This determination to reap value from big data, of course, has all sorts of ripple effects, as we learned in the IIA’s other nine predictions. Gates was most taken with the notion that companies will increasingly use data analytics to create products and services. “That’s absolutely cool in that it’s about opening up new competitive areas using data and analytics, and looking at things completely differently.”

It’s a favorite trend of hers, as an analyst and as a consumer. “There are products and services I never knew I wanted or needed or would be able to get that are now available.” She cited not only popular uses of big data analytics like Amazon’s book recommendations and LinkedIn’s people matching, but also “things that are much more practical in terms of their impact on agriculture, safety, and equipment.”

Should two of the IIA’s other predictions come to fruition, the result would have far bigger impact. These are the predictions dealing with the continued move toward machine learning and automated construction of models — to keep up with the speed and volume of the data — and with embedding those models into business processes. “So many organizations have yet to take advantage of embedding models into their operational processes and helping to automate or improve the decision making that happens in every part of their businesses. But that has such incredible potential for so many types of business across industries in 2014.”

However, even absent full automation, having decision support inserted into a business process brings a host of technology and organizational implications, Gates said. Naturally, these implications make the people challenge as large as ever. The IIA sees the analytics talent issue manifesting itself this year via a shift in focus from individual analytics professionals to analytics teams. But companies still have to find, nurture, and retain the talent, even if it may find itself embedded in the business organization or networked in a community or center of excellence.

Gates expounded on that topic during a video interview we shot at last fall’s Analytics 2013 conference hosted by our site sponsor, SAS. She’s got great advice to share on how to recruit and leverage analytics talent, whether your organization is big or small. Check it out.

I’m sure the bulk of companies will continue to grapple with big data (talent and technology wise), while those at the leading edge will encourage everyone with their cool success stories. We’ll be here to share it all — the good and the bad. We hope you share with us, as well.

Big Data Hype Is So 2013

In a recent episode of Robin Williams’s sitcom “The Crazy Ones,” a client of his advertising firm forces him to bring on a “quant,” or quantitative analyst. Williams’s character has no idea what a quant is, but his daughter explains that they are an essential part of business nowadays.

To me, this is just one more sign that big data has jumped the shark (another TV-based expression) and is no longer in its hype phase. Instead, big data is a normal part of the business lexicon, and organizations dealing with analytics projects assume they will involve big data.

The original shark jumper, Henry Winkler, on Happy Days.

The original shark jumper, Henry Winkler, on Happy Days.

Another signal that big data is everyday, not headline-making news anymore, is that we can all finally agree on a definition. For years, I’d have to ask sources I’ve interviewed what they meant by big data, because there hadn’t been general consensus. Some referred to big data as the need for larger storage systems, because they felt they had to keep every bit of information about their business and customers. Trust me, the storage vendors weren’t complaining.

Some felt big data was more about the gathering of data via new front-end systems that would soak up as many details about their clients, product manufacturing, and other essential aspects of business as possible. Again, no software vendors were shooting this idea down.

Still others focused on the churn of data to pop out analytics reports. What companies did with that insight was neither here nor there; they just were cranking out reports based on the big data. Their goal: to satisfy the CEO’s demand for a big data project, which he or she issued after reading about it in a back-of-the-airplane-seat magazine.

All of the above
What I’ve learned over the years is that big data, if done correctly, creates a fine-tuned cycle out of all these elements. Yes, businesses do have to glean information from customers, business partners, and others in their sphere of influence. However, big data can help them pinpoint the information that’s most relevant and useful.

Yes, big data requires the storage of terabytes and petabytes of information. But it can also help pare down what needs to be stored by identifying the essential and unnecessary.

And yes, big data is about leveraging analytics, but not to generate superfluous reports. Instead, it’s about action and competitive advantage. At its best, big data is not about reaction; its strength is in prediction and strategy.

The maturation of the market has meant a coming together on what big data actually means, and that has pushed it over the hype hump.

Data backup
Laura Madsen, leader of the healthcare practice at BI consulting firm Lancet Data Sciences, noted in a column last year that big data may have actually hit its tipping point in early 2010.

Here's the ace data scientist, navigating effortlessly through scads of big data.

Here’s the ace data scientist, navigating
effortlessly through scads of big data.

According to Google Trends, we are at the high-point of searches associated with the term ‘big data’ and we have been for a few months. It’s not clear how long this will last. And although theories differ on this, I believe that February, 2010 was the tipping point. The Economist published a feature called ‘The Data Deluge,’ and according to Google Trends, just nine short months later the increase in searches for big data began its meteoric rise.

Madsen summed it up best when she said, “I have a confession to make. Anytime I hear the term ‘big data,’ I simply zone out and hear the sound of Charlie Brown’s teacher (Wah wah wah wah…).”

Maybe instead of dreaming of being a famous World War I fighter pilot, Snoopy one day will lay on the doghouse thinking about being a quant.

Big-Data Über Alles

I’ve been on public record for decades criticizing the tendency, every few years, to declare a paradigm shift in data management, a “the world will never be the same” kind of change demanding “fundamentally new ways” of doing things that will progress humankind and improve life on earth.

Every such “revolution” is accompanied by:

  • Intensive media marketing and promotional campaigns
  • Vendors and professionals rushing on the bandwagon by becoming experts on it overnight
  • Exclusive focus at the expense of almost everything else
  • Extension to data management beyond its applicability


Recent examples are object-orientation — a programming paradigm — and XML — a technology rooted in publishing — that were extended to data management, where they do not belong. Nothing close to the claims made for them materalized and after a while they subsided, modestly deployed only where they make sense. This is the common pattern.

In “5 things executives are saying about big data,” SAS CMO Jim Davis claims: “Everybody wants to become a high-performance organization. Why? Because we’re all experiencing the same data pains.”

Here are the first two things he’s been hearing from executives:

1. The way we use data is different than it was five years ago.

      Then, most of us were using data for business intelligence reporting on past activity. Now we’ve moved to a fact-based decision-making culture, so people are relying on data more for making decisions, not just for evaluating past decisions.


    2. What we’re asking of data today is more complex than it was five years ago.

      Need a few examples? Now we ask data to support risk decisions in financial organizations, to support fraud for online retailers, and to deal with predictive modeling to better understand customers’ likelihood to buy products in the future or if they will continue to be your customers at all.

    Does he suggest that evaluation of past performance is not done for performance improvement in the future? What other major purpose does such evaluation serve? Is such decision making less fact-based? (By the way, desire for high performance is motivated by “data pains” — whatever they are. I thought it was the profit motive.)

    Haven’t financial organizations used data to support risk decisions before big-data? Haven’t Visa and MasterCard analyzed huge complex datasets to detect and prevent fraud? Who has not received bank offers for credit cards based on patterns from predictive modeling?

    What we are left with is that more organizations are relying more on more data for more decision making. In my opinion and experience this is due to an emulative instinct rather than some cultural shift leading to revolutionary progress. What’s more, there are indications that wholesale deployment and use of big-data may not be cost effective and can actually do damage.

    Companies like Google, Yahoo, and Facebook produce little else besides huge amounts of data. Because data is all they have, it’s naturally become an exploitable resource and has led to their current business model, selling audiences to advertisers, almost exclusively based on it — just like big media before the Internet.

    Their success has induced a long wave of “me too” startups, including Zynga, Twitter, Instagram, Groupon, and so on. It was unavoidable that the IT industry and media would do what they always did and do: hype their tools and practices to high heaven, promising that what is good for Google is good for all business and if they don’t rush to adopt big-data science they’ll be left behind.

    There is no question that knowledgeable, skilled, and intelligent exploitation of data can improve almost any business’s decision making and performance, and that businesses that disregard that do so at their peril. But to significantly improve decisions a business must consume considerable resources and time, which will often prove unjustifiable.

    For the Googles of the world, data exploitation is mission critical: That is essentially what they do and would not survive without it. Businesses for which this is not the case should not be lured by the hype into a false sense of “if Google could, so could we.”

    I’ll share more thoughts on those “data pains.” Data science hype notwithstanding, they are self-inflicted precisely because science is flouted. In the meantime, what’s your take on big-data and data science? Can the hype damage? has REMOVED their primary app from the Windows Store. WHY?

    Dear Friends / Customers / CoWorkers;

    I have been having a love affair recently. After a dozen years committed to the database industry, I have fallen in LOVE with WordPress.

    I still have a lot to learn about WordPress.  I know HTML allright.. I know Php a little.. and I LOVE how is JUST ABOUT EVERYWHERE.  I haven’t seen an app generate this much excitement since SQL Server Analysis Services.

    But I just LOVE this platform.  I love combining WordPress with other applications, it’s easily the most exciting thing I’ve ever seen.  ‘Standing on the shoulders of giants’ has a whole new meaning to me now.


    This item is no longer available.   This is what I get when I go to INSTALL the app. I’ve downloaded this thing onto a dozen machines.. and now I can’t use it any longer? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

    This is the ‘error message’ I get when I try to install WORDPRESS.COM app in the Windows Store:

    Sorry, this item has been removed and is no longer available for purchase from the Windows Store.

    The world doesn’t run on Apple. It still runs on Windows. Fucking idiots.

    I have been using the Windows 8.0 / Windows 8.1 / Windows Server 2012 Application Store.. EXTENSIVELY.  I LOVE WINDOWS 8..  REPEAT.. I LOVE WINDOWS 8.

    I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT WINDOWS 8.I *REALLY* only use about a half-dozen apps from the App Store.. but JEEZ they are nice.  I don’t *TRUST* a lot of Third Party Software (anything not written by ME or Microsoft).


    Until now.

    The Windows 8 app is EASILY the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.  Writing blogs is just as easy as typing into Excel.

    And Now, I come to find out that they have REMOVED the application from the App Store?

    WOW.  I CANNOT FATHOM THIS.  Windows 8 app has been removed from the store!?!??!

    WHAT THE FUCK?  Get your ACT together, Microsoft and WordPress.  I don’t care WHO you think you care, or WHAT you think that know..



    Bring back the to  the Windows Store.. OR ELSE THE BUNNY GETS IT!?!?!