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Computing devices and long lasting communities
04-19-2017, 08:06 AM
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Computing devices and long lasting communities
I was reflecting why does it happen that some computing devices have long lasting communities even way after they are discontinued, while other computing devices have communities for a short time or even none?

I will explain myself better below.

I am certain that communities about TI and HP calculators, new and old, exists and are active.
I am certain that communities about particular (powerful, expensive, shiny, with particular functions or history, etc.) computing devices that are still sold exist and are active. For example communities about the nvidia shield k1 tablet released in 2014 or the first raspberry PI, without mentioning the recent samsung S8.

I am positive that communities about very valuable (even just by fame) family of devices now discontinued still exist and are active. Like consoles (nes, gameboy) or computers (amiga, commodore and so on).

I am positive that communities about families of chips that were important in the past, that are now discontinued, still exist and are active. Like pentium III, pentium 4, intel core solo, gpu chips (voodoo banshee, first nvidia geforce, first radeon and so on)

I am not so positive that communities about common devices that are discontinued and are not so usable nowadays exists and/or are active. For example back in the days there were plenty of communities about windows mobile (CE) devices or symbian s60 systems. Those with the time are disappearing and anyway they seem not active anymore.

I am quite negative that communities about common "cheap" computing device ever existed. For example I'm using a hp compaq nx6110, a laptop from 10 years ago, as thinclient. I don't believe there was ever a community about such family of laptops, and the same should apply to similar products also nowadays, like the entry level laptops or desktop systems sold en masse, the same for every other "entry level" computing device that has nothing particular compared to others release at the same time.

Said that, and assuming (that's a bold assumption) that my estimations above are not so far from reality, I wonder why is it so. In particular related to calculators communities.

My explanation at the moment is that calculators are more or less always actual, since the math, at least the one for high school and undergraduate programs, does not change so much over the years.
Calculators, even just the scientific non programmable models, are more or less providing the same core functions and so tutorials or help guides are still valid after years from the first release.

This is not the same for many computing devices that are literally not helpful anymore. Some, like gaming consoles, at least have their vast ecosystem of applications that can be executed on them, instead others just get obsolete and are not useful enough to raise the interest of a community, since one with them can do something only with a certain skill level.

For example I rescued some industrial PC having VIA C3 500mhz and 256 mb of ram, and I use them as linux boxes to learn programming languages and for intesive computations (I feel already ashamed when I will use my nvidia shield with the hp prime application, it will be too fast. Although I am not sure it will use the four cores). The same computer in the hand of another random user will be likely not useful.

What do you think?

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Computing devices and long lasting communities - pier4r - 04-19-2017 08:06 AM

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