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Dell Reflects on 25 Years of PCs

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the looking-back dept.

198

An anonymous reader writes "Michael Dell, founder of the world's largest computer company, took a few minutes with CNet News.com to reflect on the past 25 years and offer a few personal notes. While Dell certainly has an impressive business history, he still thinks the best is yet to come. From the article: 'Michael Dell started off using PCs to create homework shortcuts, the way many young people at the time discovered the new devices. Few people, including Dell's parents, realized exactly how large the potential was for the personal computer. More than 20 years after he founded PC's Limited, he admits his parents never quite embraced his decision to leave the University of Texas at Austin to start the company that would eventually bear his name and record $56 billion in revenue during its last fiscal year.'"

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198 comments

Dude, you're getting a press release (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15868684)

that no one cares about.

IBM? (4, Funny)

mrxak (727974) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868779)

Why does this slashdot story have the IBM logo?

Re:IBM? Because... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15868812)

Dell started his company making IBM compatible computers. That was an easy question sonny!

Re:IBM? (1)

linguae (763922) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868827)

Because IBM is the founder of the standard x86 PC (also known as the IBM PC). The article is reflecting on the history of PCs, so it makes sense to have an IBM logo.

Re:IBM? (2, Interesting)

mrxak (727974) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868873)

But the article is not really about IBM itself, it's about PCs in general. Why not put it down as Hardware or IT? Or even Businesses or Technology?

Re:IBM? (1)

phalse phace (454635) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868833)

My guess is because this is about Dell reflecting on 25 years of PCs.... PCs which IBM basically invented. Thus, the IBM logo.

Re:IBM? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15868886)

Wrong. IBM is taking business from Dell left & right. The logo is there to stick it to the Dell man.

Re:IBM? (1)

nsayer (86181) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869544)

PCs which IBM basically invented

I take issue with the word invented in this context. The concept of a personal computer was well established long before the IBM PC was released. Their design wound up being popular and is the predecessor to the current x86 based designs, but that doesn't mean they "invented" it.

Lots of folks also think that Thomas Edison invented the incandescent light bulb, or that Ford invented either the car or the assembly line, but those notions are just as wrong.

Re:IBM? (3, Funny)

Himring (646324) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869104)

Why does this slashdot story have the IBM logo?

I bet you read eula's too

Re:IBM? (1)

TechnoLust (528463) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869562)

Move your mouse over the icon and look at the alt-text. That is the "Businesses" icon. Dell is a business, hence the icon. Granted it isn't a very generic "Business" icon, but then, this IS slashdot after all.

hmmm, some generic info about CEO Dell's home PC (1, Interesting)

yagu (721525) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868690)

From the article, Dell says he has their top of the line Dell Precision. Some observations about the default (without customization) configuration and guesses about his usage:

  • Operating System: XP Professional

    guessing not a single web app is served out of his compouter, from IIS and .NET technology (one of the main reasons for having PRO)

  • Processor: Dual Core Intel® Xeon® Processor 5050 3.00GHz, 2 X 2MB L2, 667

    guessing never ran that processor at greater than 30% usage for more than five minutes at once

  • Memory: 2GB, DDR2 SDRAM FBD Memory, 533MHz, ECC, In Riser (2 DIMMS)

    guessing never filled that memory, never swapped/paged

    (Actually, he mentions he actually has 32G memory in his machine, no change in my guess)

  • Video: 128MB PCIe x16 nVidia Quadro NVS 285, Dual VGA Capable

    no guesses

  • SATA: 80GB SATA 3.0Gb/s,7200 RPM Hard Drive with 8MB DataBurst Cache(TM)

    guessing less than 10G data

    guessing less than 1000 digital pictures, less than 5 personal digital videos, and of the digital photos, less than 5% are tagged and cataloged via some organizing software such as Picasa, or ThumbsPlus.

  • CD Drive: 48X/32X CD-RW/DVD Combo Drive with Cyberlink Power DVD(TM)

    guessing never burned a disc

  • Monitor(s): Dell 30" UltraSharpTM Widescreen Flat Panel Monitor: 3007FPW (2)

    guessing never had enough applications running to come close to filling the real estate of the two screens (and probably not even one (2560 x 1600 resolution)).

    guessing uses them (it) to watch movies (yawn).

I don't even have an opinion as to the goodness or not about the utilization... don't necessarily care people aren't using more than 5% of their machine -- but it's more a reflection of the effectiveness of the marketing of computers than their necessity and usefulness. Owning a machine like Dell's doesn't suggest a need.

Dell and everyone else is welcome to their over-configured machines, but (and related to today's previous slashdot article [slashdot.org] ) PCs are becoming overconfigured underused status symbols and far less utilitarian. Dell's vision of PCs importance in the future is distorted by the company he must continue to make profitable. The upcoming wave of Vista and the fat machines required to drive Vista are a big yawn to the consuming community.

Re:hmmm, some generic info about CEO Dell's home P (3, Insightful)

Kuj0317 (856656) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868745)

Fun as it is to complain that xyz people have superfast computers that they'll never use, realize this: computers work on an economy of scale. If less people bought high end computers: - Computer technology would not update as fast - High end computers would cost several times more So, the fact that they use these

Re:hmmm, some generic info about CEO Dell's home P (5, Funny)

laffer1 (701823) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868752)

Even he knows the lowend dimensions and optiplex are crap.

Re:hmmm, some generic info about CEO Dell's home P (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15868776)

And I'm guessing your guesses mean 100% of nothing when he is worth 13 Billion dollars, he must be doing SOMETHING right.

Re:hmmm, some generic info about CEO Dell's home P (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15868786)

My employer did some customization of our product for Dell. We know for sure that Michael Dell does look at daily reports - but maybe not on his home machine. But I wouldn't be surprised if he uses VPN and gets all that corporate web-based dashboarding from home.

Re:hmmm, some generic info about CEO Dell's home P (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15868797)

One of the main corporate reasons for having XP is logging into Active Directory (you can't on XP Home).... dumbass. Of course this is from someone who sees the only valid reason to run pro as the base for a web server.

Re:hmmm, some generic info about CEO Dell's home P (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868800)

Dell and everyone else is welcome to their over-configured machines, but (and related to today's previous slashdot article) PCs are becoming overconfigured underused status symbols and far less utilitarian. Dell's vision of PCs importance in the future is distorted by the company he must continue to make profitable.
I would not assume that Dell's plan for continued profitability is for everybody to buy high-end, high-margin machines. Quite the opposite. Dell is really not a starry-eyed futurist, either. The company never came to prominance until the late 90s when the traditional $2500-$3000 average PC price started to plunge. Dell is all about efficiency and low overhead. I'm guessing Dell sees its future in selling millions (billions?) of cheap PCs to developing markets around the world.

Re:hmmm, some generic info about CEO Dell's home P (4, Interesting)

Chemical (49694) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868809)

Operating System: XP Professional

guessing not a single web app is served out of his compouter, from IIS and .NET technology (one of the main reasons for having PRO)

Actually, I assume the main reason he would choose Pro is because it lets you join domains. Home doesn't have that ability.

Re:hmmm, some generic info about CEO Dell's home P (5, Funny)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868830)

My only response is this...we flew to the Moon and back using a computer with 32kb of RAM. Have you *at least* done that with your system?

Re:hmmm, some generic info about CEO Dell's home P (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15869525)

Problem is modern computers must produce less thrust than those old ones. My computer just humms, and really dosn't move anywhere, much less to the moon. Now some of those old IBM's I have taken apart, they have 4+ huge 120V fans that move a lot of air.. so I can only guess how much thrust those old pre IBM computers had.. obviously enough to go to the moon.

I doubt it is standard XP Pro... (0)

Lester67 (218549) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868852)

Not with 32gb of memory... He'd need XP-64 bit to see anything above 3.0 gb (approx... with that video card.)

Re:I doubt it is standard XP Pro... (2, Interesting)

timster (32400) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868935)

This isn't so.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physical_Address_Exte nsion [wikipedia.org]

True, it's not the same as full 64-bit support, as any individual process has to jump through hoops to use more than a 32-bit address space. XP Pro can certainly make use of it, though.

Re:I doubt it is standard XP Pro... (1)

skraps (650379) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868985)

"See" or "use"? XP Pro will "see" all 32 gig. Without IA64, though, it will only be used by things like SQL Server that are made specifically to work around the 32-bit address space of IA32.

Re:I doubt it is standard XP Pro... (2, Insightful)

timster (32400) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869416)

Well, that isn't quite right. Regular 32-bit processes that aren't aware of PAE can still make use of 3GB *each*. So you could have 10 different regular apps each using 2GB of RAM without paging to disk.

Also, XP should be able to make perfectly good use of that RAM for disk cache, which could provide a substantial benefit to all processes.

Re:I doubt it is standard XP Pro... (-1, Troll)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869083)

32gb of memory? It might even be able to run firefox!

Re:hmmm, some generic info about CEO Dell's home P (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868870)

I'm guessing that Michael is not a typical Dell owner.

KFG

Re:hmmm, some generic info about CEO Dell's home P (2, Funny)

pizza_milkshake (580452) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868882)

Yes, but can Michael Dell's dual Xenon 32GB RAM workstation run Windows Vista?

Re:hmmm, some generic info about CEO Dell's home P (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868910)

I'm sure he feels like a Yakov joke, that Windows Vista is running him and Dell. ragged.

Re:hmmm, some generic info about CEO Dell's home P (5, Insightful)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868884)

I don't even have an opinion as to the goodness or not about the utilization... don't necessarily care people aren't using more than 5% of their machine -- but it's more a reflection of the effectiveness of the marketing of computers than their necessity and usefulness. Owning a machine like Dell's doesn't suggest a need.

Two things.

First, people like to overcompensate for things they could never use but for status. Why buy a car that can go 150mph when its illegal and unfeasible to drive it at that speed?

Secondly, computers age quite fast. If you buy a computer, it is reasonable to overcompensate because in 2-3 years an average computer will be out of date and underpowered. The top of the line computer today will be the below average in 5 years but you still can get some life out of it.

Remember 640K ought to be enough for anyone.

Re:hmmm, some generic info about CEO Dell's home P (2, Informative)

Bender0x7D1 (536254) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869167)

Secondly, computers age quite fast. If you buy a computer, it is reasonable to overcompensate because in 2-3 years an average computer will be out of date and underpowered. The top of the line computer today will be the below average in 5 years but you still can get some life out of it.

Actually, it makes more sense to buy a middle of the road system today and upgrade it in 1.5 - 2 years. You probably break even on the money since you avoid the premium for the best hw, but you will have more power than that when you buy you next system. There is an added benefit of actually having 2 systems after 2 years. You may not like the power of the first one, but it will make a good file server, a good PC for your kids, or whatever else you feel like using it for.

Re:hmmm, some generic info about CEO Dell's home P (1)

pe1chl (90186) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869257)

On the other hand, for the money you spend today on a top of the line computer, you can buy an average computer today, and another one in 2-3 years that outperforms today's top of the line computer (and is average at that time).
So, over the entire 5 year period you have spent equal (or less) money, and you end up with two systems.

There is only one reason for not doing this: saving the environment.
Otherwise, spending on top of the line computers is always a bad investment.

Re:hmmm, some generic info about CEO Dell's home P (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868904)

Hmm..dual core for multiprocessing, big screen, nice video card, gobs of memory....this dude must be doing some massively parallel porn! Imagine being able to watch 10 porn movies at once. With Dell Technology, we can help make this dream a reality!

We can go further with this... (3, Insightful)

monoqlith (610041) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868925)

Let's see.

  • Forbes magazine says Michael Dell is worth $17.1 billion dollars. [forbes.com]

    If I were to guess, he probably hasn't spent more than $100 million of that.

  • Forbes Autos says he has a Porsche Boxter and a Hummer

    Yeah, I bet he only uses one of them at a time! And he probably doesn't even go over 70mph!

  • This site says his house is 33,000 square feet.

    He totally doesn't use any more than 10,000 square feet, I bet!



  • Point: welcome to the gratuitous world of the absurdly wealthy.


Re:hmmm, some generic info about CEO Dell's home P (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868977)

I'm guessing I should say "so what". I want that machine. I don't really need it, but I want it anyways, if I could afford it I might consider it. Can you say that you wouldn't want such a machine? Even if you didn't need it, can you honestly say you wouldn't wish you could own one? I love workstation machines, they are generally very well built, much better than nearly any consumer machine, with very high quality drivers. Despite my wishes, my dad's is kept on all the time and the only restarts it needs is for updates, otherwise it can stay up indefinitely, and this is with Windows. The computer is used quite a bit, for CAD, office, email, web and some media stuff. The machine itself is a 2x 500MHz Xeon, eight years old now and I'd be happy to use it though I'd have to curtail the media encoding and such.

BTW: XP Home won't take advantage of a quad, it is intended for a single processor module, the second module wouldn't even be made available. XP pro handles two processor modules, each being dual core makes it a quad.

Re:hmmm, some generic info about CEO Dell's home P (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869101)

From the article, Dell says he has their top of the line Dell Precision.

He had a Dell notebook, but it got consumed in an office fire...

Re:hmmm, some generic info about CEO Dell's home P (1)

pdangel (812046) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869122)

Hey clueless. How you plan on checking your exchange email on XP Home? Typing your password every single time you open it because your too stupid to use PRO and join the domain?

Perhaps you should stick to the Linux comments if you have never managed a Windows domain (and God help those who are stuck doing so).


guessing he is on exchange or his blackberry is sitting useless in his pocket.

Re:hmmm, some generic info about CEO Dell's -SETI? (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869155)

Maybe he did some public good by running the SETI screensaver on it. Then, at least, he may have warmed up the processor a bit.

Re:hmmm, some generic info about CEO Dell's home P (2, Interesting)

crunch_ca (972937) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869231)

Many years ago, orders came down from management that we needed to keep track of system resource usage. My boss at the time set up a complex series of scripts to track system load using uptime, etc. He was able to get a nice accurate model of system usage.


Of course, management came down heavy on him. "Why is your department only using 15% of their machines capabilities! Every other department has 100% utilization of their resources". The other managers had just filled out 100% in the weekly reports.

Re:hmmm, some generic info about CEO Dell's home P (1)

s_p_oneil (795792) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869292)

Almost no one with XP Pro cares about IIS. The main reasons to have XP Pro are:

  • More than one processor. XP Home only allows 1 processor. Not sure how it handles a single dual-core CPU, but my bet is that it doesn't have SMP enabled, which means it won't work without Pro.
  • Remote Desktop.

Re:hmmm, some generic info about CEO Dell's home P (1)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869403)

Actually, the single biggest reason to have XP Pro is to join a domain.

Re:hmmm, some generic info about CEO Dell's home P (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15869414)

If you buy a car, a normal car, that can go up to 140MPH, would you consider it a waste because you never actually reach that speed? If you have a five-seater, but normally drive on your own, would that be a waste? I guess you don't normally drive your car at more than 40% of its capabilities, yet you, presumably, would not buy a car that can reach a top speed of 70MPH.

Re:hmmm, some generic info about CEO Dell's home P (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15869531)

PCs are becoming overconfigured underused status symbols
Maybe only to nerds. "Hey baby, guess what I've got in my box!"

Btw, what hell do you care if the dude doesn't "utilize" his machine? The guy's the company figurehead, not sysadmin/programmer.

Re:hmmm, some generic info about CEO Dell's home P (2, Insightful)

apflwr3 (974301) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869548)

I don't even have an opinion as to the goodness or not about the utilization... don't necessarily care people aren't using more than 5% of their machine -- but it's more a reflection of the effectiveness of the marketing of computers than their necessity and usefulness. Owning a machine like Dell's doesn't suggest a need.

I'm not really sure I see your point.

First, Mr. Dell did not pay retail for this machine-- in fact in all likelihood the company owns it, not him. I would also say it doesn't look good for the CEO of a computer manufacturer NOT to use the absolute best his company has to offer. It demonstrates success as well as pride. Perhaps your criticism would be valid if we were talking about Paris Hilton or Al Pacino or even your dad having a similar rig so they could email and IM... But we're not.

Finally-- yes, there are a lot of people who have setups that are pure overkill. But then there are many who find a way to push these machines to the limit and still feel they aren't enough. Dell's machine (as well as a brand new Quad Mac Pro) would still take time to render video, for example-- and more so to do complicated effects on HD. A utilitarian machine from five or six years ago would choke on complex video and lag when importing a CD.

Have you hugged your inheritence today? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15868694)

"More than 20 years after he founded PC's Limited, he admits his parents never quite embraced his decision to leave the University of Texas at Austin to start the company that would eventually bear his name and record $56 billion in revenue during its last fiscal year.'"

Did they "embrace" the money?

Re:Have you hugged your inheritence today? (1)

mrxak (727974) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868761)

What? Why would his parents inherit their son's money? I don't think you understand how inheritance usually works...

Re:Have you hugged your inheritence today? (1)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868850)

Of course.

A few million would be enough to convince me to admit I was wrong....

Express Service Code (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15868695)

Dell tech support makes me suicidal.

Re:Express Service Code (5, Interesting)

d3am0n (664505) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868934)

Actually I work at Dell doing technical support. In fact I'm typing this from work right now while I'm between calls. What happened that made your experience so bad? I've only been here about 2 months but they've been hammering customer satisfaction into us like it was a cure for cancer. I guess they got t3h shitz from other outsource sites where basically working conditions sucked and nobody cared. However i work directly for Dell itself and I'm tellin you, we'll stay on the phone for like 3 hours if that's what it takes. All of my co-workers here are pretty hardcore geeks and techies since the area our site is located in had an economic downturn in the tech industry so the majority of us have programming diploma's and electronic engineering degree's.

Re:Express Service Code - Dell Secret Blogger (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869236)

Actually I work at Dell doing technical support. In fact I'm typing this from work right now while I'm between calls.

Ah, the Dell secret blogger emerges. And so much better than the over-moderated, homogenized pap on One2One.dell.com.

Re:Express Service Code (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869239)

Actually I work at Dell doing technical support. In fact I'm typing this from work right now while I'm between calls. What happened that made your experience so bad?

US support for Dell (for those who bought the premium warranty) is decent if not wonderful. The Indian tech support for the rest of the peons is plagued by bad connections and difficulty understanding the reps' Engrish. If you're gonna hire someone to interface with customers, you'd best make sure that they run software perfectly for the protocol used by those customers :)

-b.

Re:Express Service Code-Between What??? (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869256)

Actually I work at Dell doing technical support. In fact I'm typing this from work right now while I'm between calls.

If you're "between calls", I take it that the next person who calls for assistance will be connected immediately with no wait time at all.

Boy have I slipped into another dimension lately.

Re:Express Service Code (1)

Anonymous Foosball (987000) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869332)

.. Where have YOU been every time I've called Dell support?

The only thing your post needs is your direct phone number. Damn.

Re:Express Service Code (1)

Kevin DeGraaf (220791) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869350)

the majority of us have programming diploma's and electronic engineering degree's

And wonderful apostrophe skill's, apparently.

Re:Express Service Code (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15869354)

What great job's, working at Dells domestic support center's. Surf some web site's, knock back a few coffee's, answer some call's, some as long as three hour's. It must have been all the college's you all went to and all the book's you read and all the programming classe's you took that made all those difference's in how well you can answer all those call's. Your english professor's must be busting their button's as well.

I stopped calling outsource / ESL support centers because of the language barrier. Fat lot of good that did...

Re:Express Service Code (1)

TheOldSchooler (850678) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869437)

Ahhh, so you must be the "David Smith" from Guadlajara Mexico that mysteriously put me on hold a little while ago for 10 minutes.

Re:Express Service Code (1)

EnderGT (916132) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869588)

I've dealt with both the chat support, the phone support, and the in-home techs. Chat support has been ok, I usually get someone who's at least fairly competent. Then again, I reserve chat support for extremely minor issues.

As far as the in-home tech support, it's been a mixed bag. One lady broke the monitor hinge on my laptop, while another guy forgot to put the heat sink back on when replacing the mobo, but all visits have been quick and efficient.

My worst phone experience:

Problem: Battery Failure - won't hold a charge

I've done my reasearch, Googled for all the troubleshooting tips I could find. I have located the Dell guide for troubleshooting batteries, and have determined that the battery has 0% capacity remaining (5 lights flashing, I think was the code).

I pick up the phone to call at about 7:45. After 30 minutes on hold, I hear a sound on the other end like someone picking up, then the line goes dead.

I call back. After another 20 minutes on hold, I get an Indian (guessing by the accent) lady who speaks poor English and who is obviously just following the steps in the Dell Offical Guide to Troubleshooting Every Possible Problem (tm). I tell her the problem, and what I've done to troubleshoot, what I've identified the problem as, and what I need her to do about it. She ignores everything I've said and proceeds to guide me through 2 hours of Dell Official Troubleshooting steps, including running the Dell diagnostics off the CD among other things - but NEVER asks me to perform the battery self-diagnostic test. Our call ends with another disconnection.

At this point I'm ready to give up, but I can't afford another battery, and I need to be using this laptop completely wirelessly.

So I call back again.

After another 15 minutes on hold, I get an Indian (guessing by the accent) lady who speaks passable English. She listens to my description of the problem, and what I've done to troubleshoot, what I've identified the problem as, and immediately says "Your battery needs to be replaced. I see that you are still covered by warranty, so I will arrange a replacement."

It makes me happy to hear that not all of the techs are completely incompetent. I just wish I could have been connected to this last lady in the first place, it would have saved me about 3 hours of trouble.

Re:Express Service Code (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869220)

Dell tech support makes me suicidal.

Can't say I've had the pleasure as we've switched to HP/Compaq, but I did have to sort out some issues with a Dell desktop a few years back and felt I wasn't getting the best service there could be.

[Micahel Dell] still thinks the best is yet to come.

He's delusional. Their glory days are in the past. 10 years ago they made some of the best PCs you could lay your hands on with great support, too. Now they're about as bad, if not worse, than the jokers who build PCs in their garages. Too much competition for them to continue delivering the top of the line stuff, since too many people are willing to spend on rubbish. The PC is a commodity item and they're just another company selling them.

If she's like MY mom... (5, Funny)

Bandman (86149) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868713)

"...but think about what could have happened if you'd have stayed in school"

Re:If she's like MY mom... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15868736)

He could have bought Microsoft with pocket change!

Re:If she's like MY mom... (2, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868894)

"...but think about what could have happened if you'd have stayed in school"

Paying off $100k in student loans with your tips from Denny's?

KFG

Re:If she's like MY mom... (2, Interesting)

DysenteryInTheRanks (902824) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868993)

At least if he'd stayed in school he would never have met his loser, dropout friends Bill [cnn.com] , Larry [boston.com] and Steve [nytimes.com] , who are CONSTANTLY in trouble with the law.

Re:If she's like MY mom... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15869151)

To hazard a guess, ff he had stayed in school, he might have come up with a less corrupt role model than billy bathgates?

Michael Dell has Asian Parents (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15868738)

Obviously.

Business, Not Computer, Skills (5, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868757)

His skill was in streamlining a business model. AFAIK he hasn't done anything directly to improve computers. He helped lower the cost to consumers. He deserves a lot of business credit, but I'm not sure he deserves any geek cred. He's already been written up in BusinessWeek. I don't think he warrants a /. article.

Re:Business, Not Computer, Skills (1)

Stumbles (602007) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868928)

No geek credit for sure.

I disagree (2, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868933)

It is through the streamlining of purchasing computers that led to more standardization across components. It also led to innovations in cooling and airflow, integration, and ease of use. They have to find new ways to keep people coming back. This means more features, easier access to the features, and easier use. This just doesn't happen. The market has to be there or be invented.

While Mr. Dell might not have been personally in the design process of every machine I bet he did have some influence over early machines and to this day the ideas he suggest do have weight if not merit. Too many people discount Dell, Gates, and others simply because they don't like the product or just have some inate personality problem - especially against people who did well.

Not everyone can do this, and obviously not as well as he did. Dell is very much his company just like Jobs is Apple. You cannot separate the two and have the same thing. Both could go off and do something else but its their drive and initiative that led their respective companies to success.

Re:I disagree (2, Interesting)

quanticle (843097) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868998)

It is through the streamlining of purchasing computers that led to more standardization across components.


Oh, is this why Dell computers all have proprietary cases, motherboards, and power supplies? Dell has not done anything to improve standardization in terms of physical components. Dell has simply continued the tradition set by HP, Compaq, and others of creating and using propretary components whenever possible in order to keep the consumer coming back to them and them only when components fail.

Re:Business, Not Computer, Skills (1)

P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868961)

he has geek cred with me. I certainly don't want to have to pay 3k for a basic computer.

Re:Business, Not Computer, Skills (2, Interesting)

avronius (689343) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868974)

Volume sales will, in general, lower the price of a commodity. Assuming that there is demand for the product, lower price will result in greater accessibility and, potentially, faster adoption rates. As there is demand for product, companies hope to innovate to win market share. In this case, Dell's lower prices and [reasonably] consistent quality has led manufacturers to compete with innovative products.

Of course, I may have taken too much cold medicine...

Re:Business, Not Computer, Skills (1)

tduff (904905) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869003)

The one other thing I want to ask you is what you currently use, right now at home, as your home PC.
I am using a Dell Precision 690, which is our high-end workstation. It's a two-socket system and it's got two dual-core Woodcrest (Xeon 5100 processors) in there. It's got a port with 64 (gigabytes) of memory, but I have only got 32 (gigabytes) in there.

Come on.
And I have got two of our 30-inch monitors, so it's 8.2 million pixels of resolution, which is kind of nice. And I have managed to get a fiber connection to my house, so I kind of dig into that speed on the Internet.

No geek cred?

Re:Business, Not Computer, Skills (2, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869036)

I can buy a Ferrari. That doesn't give me racing cred.

Re:Business, Not Computer, Skills (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869259)

The same can be said of Mr. "Steal or Buy Ideas" Gates. Gates had the marketing thing working for him. Dell has the efficiency of assembly and direct knowledge of the customer. The actual product isn't innovative.

Layne

Other dropouts... (3, Insightful)

nascarguy27 (984493) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868766)

Who did well include Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. I think it's strange how 20-30 years ago, college dropouts could do so well. Now, it's almost expected to have a Bachelor's degree or even a Master's for some occupations.

Re:Other dropouts... (3, Informative)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868825)

Yeah, Gates dropped out of Harvard... that's not exactly a rags to riches story, it's more like a riches to ridiculous riches story. Dell is an equally well connected and savvy businessman, he didn't drop out and then go for it from scratch, he more than likely had a good idea that money was coming in before he dropped out. That's the key part -- make sure to have some $ coming in (with signs of more) BEFORE you drop out!

Re:Other dropouts... (1)

P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869064)

gates mom was on the board of directors at IBM. its more of a bush story than anything.

Re:Other dropouts... (0)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869307)

Yeah, and Richard Branson dropped out of high school because it was getting in the way of his business (he later founded and runs Virgin).

Fred Smith only got a C on his paper for starting a company like FedEx.

The list goes on and on. But most successful people took more conventional routes by going to excellent schools, picked excellent parents and grandparents, knew tons of other successful people, and all of that jazz.

Americans love the rags to riches on in a [mb]illion story, but those are still one in [mb]illion, and they still only happen once out of every million or billion times. People do the one in a couple of millions thing every year by doing another "American dream" thing of winning the lottery. Almost 100% of the time, these people are less happy, and simply have worse lives after winning the lottery than before, and often lose all of the money in a few years.

Sure, its hard for me and many other people to accept that they really get what they deserve in life and just be happy with that. Sure we dream that if only X would happen then we would be happier. But the evidence is not supporting of such events, and the likelihood of them happening is pretty low.

Re:Other dropouts... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869577)

Yeah, Gates dropped out of Harvard... that's not exactly a rags to riches story, it's more like a riches to ridiculous riches story.

Indeed. As a friend of mine puts it "Gates couldn't start his business in his parent's garage - until he convinced them to move the Sunday Rolls and the Monday Lincoln out of his way".

Re:Other dropouts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15868937)

Keep in mind that the like of Gates and Dell started their own companies, so it's not as if they had to pass interviews or otherwise appease HR folks for their jobs.

Re:Other dropouts... (2, Insightful)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868945)

Well the point of their stories is that they dropped out to start their own business. No one ever got rich by getting a college degree and then sitting in a cubicle all day filling out TPS reports for a corporation.

Re:Other dropouts... (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869008)

Unless you try to kill yourself by running your car in the garage, have an epiphany, get hit by a drunk driver, and end up in a full body cast... If you hang in there, good things DO happen!

Re:Other dropouts... (2, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869037)

I think it's strange how 20-30 years ago, college dropouts could do so well. Now, it's almost expected to have a Bachelor's degree or even a Master's for some occupations.

This isn't a difference in the times, it's the difference between being the master or the slave. There's nothing to stop someone from dropping out of High School, founding a company and refusing to hire Phds because they haven't done any post doc work.

As a caveat in support of your thesis, however, I'll note that's its becoming increasingly common for parents to demand a Masters degree in pedegogy to pay someone to teach their little princess how to play Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star on the violin.

A greater waste of everybody's resources is hard to imagine, until you start thinking of government.

KFG

Re:Other dropouts... (1)

2short (466733) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869323)


The times haven't changed. If you go into a job interview without much experience, then or now, someone might want to know about your education. Do you think Gates, Jobs or Dell got started in a job interview? As the interview-ee?

If you start your own company, who cares what's expected?

Re:Other dropouts... (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869467)

I don't know much about Jobs' parents (I did look at the Wikipedia article on him) - but Bill Gates' folks were loaded long before Bill ever thought about creating that new company MicroSoft.

Of course they weren't multi-billionaires; but I'd imagine it takes some of the worry away when you know there's that big financial cushion to fall back on if you fail.

Pwnzor Identified! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15868775)

Oh cmon' we both know he's "Pwnzor" on counterstrike. He's blames it on lag and then goes "ROFL I own Dell. Noobs!"

His parents were right (-1, Troll)

0racle (667029) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868785)

He should have stayed in school so his name didn't become attached to the giant piles of crap his company produces.

Re:His parents were right (1)

Chineseyes (691744) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868981)

Yeah cause his name being attached to giant piles of MONEY his company produces is a horrible thing.

My Work Productivity (1)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868791)

And I have got two of our 30-inch monitors, so it's 8.2 million pixels of resolution, which is kind of nice.

I need to convince the place I work at that if they get me setup with a 30 inch monitor, my productivity would skyrocket thru the roof!

Heh (1)

TheConfusedOne (442158) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869378)

Well, slap some pr0n up on those 30" monitors and something will sure go thru the roof...

looking back... (2, Funny)

dosle (794546) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868792)

"Ah, we at Dell have sure come a long wa-- BOOM "

Re:looking back... (1)

The Angry Mick (632931) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869344)

"Aaagghh!! My biscuits are burning!! My biscuits are burning!!

Dell vs. HP (3, Funny)

Sgt_Astro (848840) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868909)

Depending on how you slice the pie Hewlett Packard is the largest PC company. When is that the case? Pretty much any other way you look at it.

I remember early PCs in high school... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Freak (16973) | more than 7 years ago | (#15868960)

Discovering the joy that was a 'plotter', that produced nice smooth output, rather than the pixelated crap that came out of dot matrix printers. Found an HP letter-size plotter used really cheap, and bought it. Started printing out my homework on that, rather than on the dot matrix. The handwriting-style font that was included with Windows 3.0 worked very well for this. Plotting out my homework on notebook paper, with a blue pen, the teacher just thought I had perfect handwriting. :-D (Although, it did take about half an hour to plot out a single page....)

My high school also had early internet access, thanks to a donation of a 'mini-supercomputer' from a local supercomputer company (Sequent,) and dial-up access provided by a local college during my senior year. This computer had a whopping 32 386 processors, (which makes it marginally slower than my current cell phone,) and our connection used a quad-linked 9600 baud (effective ~38kbps) SLIP connection. It even ran X. Too bad the web browser wasn't invented until after I graduated... I had to wait another two years before the internet became 'public', and a friend and I convinced the local ISP to install SLIP software so we could try out this 'Mosaic' thingy... (On OS/2 of course. We wouldn't be caught dead running Windows.)

Then there was when (this same) friend would spend every night dialed up at 14.4kbps to a BBS in Finland so he could download install disks for this 'Linux' thing... One disk a night. Man, he had a big phone bill that month.

Re:I remember early PCs in high school... (1)

KimmoA (975372) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869552)

I like geek stories like this one. Please keep posting them -- it's half the fun of reading Slashdot.

College is when to start (3, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869025)

If you're smart, you can get by on someone else's dime be it family, student loans, scholarships or GI bill money. It's the best time to start a business. In fact, it is the time when a young person can probably be at his or her safest while doing it. They have access to a lot of cheap help and free mentorship.

Reflect on This (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869176)

Do these reflections include the moment when he was suddenly inspired to decide, And I think I'll stick with Intel for the next 25 years, and then dump them piecemeal.

and the future looks HOT (2, Funny)

mgabrys_sf (951552) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869251)

Seriously they're on FIRE!

IBM is chopped liver? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869325)

> Michael Dell, founder of the world's largest computer company...

In what alternate universe?

Business Support (1)

The_Pariah (991496) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869357)

Where I work (we make Dell's revenue look like nothing), we use all Dell computers, monitors, and servers.

I may not be impressed with the quality of a few items (PV 220s top of my list), but they design products that are extremely easy to work on. The modular design and extremely well documented online resources make almost any hardware failure easy to troubleshoot.

Plus, ANY time I talk to their tech support, they actually from America. No horrible accents to understand. They know their stuff inside and out. All the email correspondence I've received lists the techs credentials, which is usually MCSE plus others.

The key to their success is top notch support for large businesses and corporations. The consumer market I'm sure doesn't touch the revenue they get from companies who buy tens of thousands of computers and thousands of servers, all with next day warranty services. Keeping the largest group of users happy, not the $500 Dimension users, is how they're still doing well today.

Re:Business Support (3, Interesting)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#15869549)

Plus, ANY time I talk to their tech support, they actually from America.

That's because you have the good warranty plan. The poor schmucks who get the "home use" Dells like the Dimension with the regular warranty are the ones who get sent to Apu and Pradeep. (No offense intended to Indians, but people who don't speak English shouldn't be doing tech support for Americans!)

-b.

25 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15869550)

Didn't the Commodore Pet come out about 1978? How about the TI99a? Or the Apple I? Don't these count as "Personal Computers?"
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