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Chart Of The Day: Orders Of Computers And Electronic Products Plunge To 1993 Levels

Tyler Durden's picture


Because, like, nobody orders computers or electronics when, you know, it's cold out, in December the orders of computers and electronic products dropped to a level not seen since 1993. And yes, they did have computers back in 1993.



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Tue, 01/28/2014 - 11:50 | 4375239 Spungo
Spungo's picture

Fun fact: I would use a laptop to heat my bed when I was a university student because I didn't have control of the thermostat.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 11:50 | 4375244 economics9698
economics9698's picture

Easy to seal from the local supermercardo.  Why buy it?

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 11:58 | 4375284 doomandbloom
doomandbloom's picture

I am waiting for iPhone 7.2 

No point buying anything until then

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:02 | 4375305 Pladizow
Pladizow's picture

Thanks National Security Agency or should I say Gay Anti Yuan Electronics. (Anagram)

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:09 | 4375340 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

Fuck you, Gay Anti Yuan Electronics!

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:18 | 4375379 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture



Our fascist government is attempting to fix this chart with...

...a Federally Mandated Operating System Upgrade.

No, Dr. Buttscope, your Federal government doesn't give a stool sample
that all those computers running XP you purchased still work just fine
for you, Doc.  This is about HIPAA compliance!  You don't want to be out
of compliance with HIPAA!!!

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:40 | 4375470 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

NSA noticed a sharp drop in electronics they were intercepting in order to attach their I-See-And-Hear-And-Record-You-Always chipset into.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 13:11 | 4375636 Almost Solvent
Almost Solvent's picture

I'd love to see the breakout of just the electric cost per month to run all those servers to store all our info.


Fuck you Langley!

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 13:46 | 4375807 eclectic syncretist
eclectic syncretist's picture

The so called "smart-phone" was the last great consumer tech innovation that we're going to see for some time.  Over the next couple of decades consumers will have to begin to learn how to consume less.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 14:53 | 4376181 zerozulu
zerozulu's picture

Send a congratulations card to NSA.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 22:03 | 4377927 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Actually CES 2014 now features smart watches.
I'd rather have a smart-watch than a smart-phone.
I'll be fine with neither but I'd rather a phone just be a phone. I'm willing to accept texting is a proper phone service & I use it far more than talking, and I'd hate to do that from a watch.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 13:49 | 4375816 Bunga Bunga
Bunga Bunga's picture

95% of all ATMs run on XP. Looks like hackers are facing easy money, when MSFT discontinues maintenance.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 15:33 | 4376407 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture



95% of all ATMs run on XP. Looks like MSFT is facing easy money, when hackers discontinue work arounds.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 15:54 | 4376499 asteroids
asteroids's picture

Why the fuck would you ever expose your ATM to a public networ?. Sheer stupidity if you did. Humans are the weak link here.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 22:04 | 4377932 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

HOLY crap, that kind of is a good argument for fonestar & bitcoin. And that's sad.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:10 | 4375346 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

I still have a commodore 64, manual and all.

Had written a Pong game on it....equation for true-bounce and all....

Good stuff, green screens...


Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:14 | 4375374 SoilMyselfRotten
SoilMyselfRotten's picture

Can we call it a computer freeze?

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:17 | 4375377 HelluvaEngineer
HelluvaEngineer's picture

I spent $4 and a couple of hours this weekend to solder a new power connector on a 10 year old laptop an install a lightweight version of Linux.  It runs Firefox and basic business apps, so therefore it's capable of 99% of what computer users do on a daily basis.  And it's fast.

New computers just encourage bloatware.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:59 | 4375567 Erus Unius
Erus Unius's picture

+1 for linux, and its free. 

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 13:42 | 4375783 Gief Gold Plox
Gief Gold Plox's picture

+1 for soldering. It's fast becoming a lost art.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 14:16 | 4375926 nuclearsquid
nuclearsquid's picture

no its not... thank all the raspberry pi, mame, etc afficianados.


Tue, 01/28/2014 - 15:40 | 4376442 tip e. canoe
tip e. canoe's picture

don't forget arduino

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 13:14 | 4375654 Hal n back
Hal n back's picture

brings back memories-I had one of those too--also a ti 745, and a IIe plus second verson of macintosh-the one with 512k memory.


used compuserve to get into the internet with phone line which took forever.



This electronics dollar value sold chart--does that include tablets sold I assume it does.That takes a lot out of hardware dollar sales and a lot out of software--you can get an excell word app for a few bucks.



Tue, 01/28/2014 - 13:24 | 4375706 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

The Commodore 64 wasn't green screen.  It had a color screen (your TV with an adapter box, it didn't come with a monitor).  So did it's predecessor, the Commodore VIC 20, which I also had and spent many a late night programming games into as a kid. 

PCs back then were green screen.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 14:02 | 4375873 Mediocritas
Mediocritas's picture

Might have been a Commodore 128. It had a green screen when in 128 mode but typing GO64 at the prompt dropped it back into the blue screen.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 14:02 | 4375879 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

You're right, it was hooked to the TV. 

And yes, PCs were green screen.


Tue, 01/28/2014 - 15:48 | 4376465 Luckhasit
Luckhasit's picture

Green? Who could forget the tangerine screens.  Long live my old computer with OS/2!

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 16:02 | 4376520 odatruf
odatruf's picture

That was the amber version.  You had green, amber and white a bit later on as options.  This was back with the 8088 chipset that clocked at 4.77 megahertz.  Later CGA graphics cards ran 8 or 16 colors on them.


Tue, 01/28/2014 - 15:54 | 4376497 ebear
ebear's picture

The C64 had it's own color monitor that matched the drive and keyboard - made by Sony if I recall.  Very nice color.   I know this because I was developing software for it in the early 80's.   The C64 had a lot of advantages over the competition - hardware sprites, writable character sets - BASIC in ROM, which was nice, but we were writing in FORTH which blew the doors off BASIC and was the only viable alternative to Assembler if you wanted speed.  Then there was the Koala Pad which (with a little help) could be used to control everything similar to a mouse (those came later).

Our game screens were designed on the Koala pad, and compressed from 10K down to 2K by translating their bit-map into soft characters plus a control file.  No one else was using that approach that I knew of.  I even wrote a 16-bit emulator so our code would port to the faster machines we knew were coming.

Sigh.  Those were the days.  Too bad we ran out of money before we had a marketable product but that's what happens when you try to do everything yourself.  Instead of finished games we should have just sold a development package for game writers.  We'd already done that part, we just didn't realize the value of what we had. 

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 16:10 | 4376549 odatruf
odatruf's picture

wow ebear - which programs did you work on?

I had a VIC20 and then a C-64, and I had tons of programs, mostly games. I did some light coding, but only in the ROM resident extended BASIC.

For most the early time, I only had a cassette tape recorder and then got the 5.25" floppy.  My tape drive was a repurposed regular audio cassette player that I built a cable for and soldered (yup, FTW) onto the very small board inside.

Programs would take 20 minutes or longer to load even though they were pretty small.

Commadore was so much better than the competitors all the way through the Amiga 1000. True multitasking and a windows GUI that blew the early Apple products away.  But as you said, not enough $$$.

Wed, 01/29/2014 - 04:06 | 4378888 ebear
ebear's picture

"which programs did you work on?"

None of our stuff ever made it to market, we got as far as writing the development platform then ran out of cash.  Truth be told, I also ran out of confidence in my partner.  I wanted to bring a manager on board because neither of us knew the first thing about finance or marketing, but he was dead set against it - worried that our ideas might be stolen.  Maybe he was right, but then there's not much value in a great idea that never gets to market.  In the end I had to walk away as I was in debt and had to dig myself out before it became a real problem.  

We weren't really gamers.  What we were aiming for had more in common with stuff like Sim City or Second Life.  We knew the internet was coming and planned for it, but as it turned out we were a decade early in our prediction.  I learned a lot from the experience so it wasn't a total loss, but I moved on from programming and did different things after that.  Glad I did too - for every programmer that writes a killer ap there are thousands that toil away in misery, never seeing the light of day ...LOL!

BTW, I don't know if FORTH is still being used, but anyone getting into programming should at least look at it if for no other reason than a deeper understanding of the craft.  FORTH was easy to code, easy to debug and ran lightning fast compared to anything else at the time, and the best part, it was open source.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:21 | 4375403 t0mmyBerg
t0mmyBerg's picture

Get the flag out.  Shut the Front Door.  I had to write it down and cross the letters out one by one.  But I will be god damned (no really i will).  It is an anagram, and a good one too.

On a note related to the article, this is the chart I have wanted to see for years but did not know it.  It fits with my thesis that the main underlying cause of our current malaise is the breakdown in Moore's Law.  I mean what is the top of the lline processor speed now, (just checked the dell site) approaching 4GHz?  IN Y2K I bought my first 1GHz processor.  14 years later and the best there is is not even 4GHz.  Sure there are more cores and the price has REALLY fallen, but I have like 5 laptops with procs running 2GHz to 3GHz and another 5 desktops running the same (and 1 old one running 850MHz to run old games like Duke Nuke'em and Descent) and I see no need to run right out and get anything else as I once would have.  This is the one chart to rule them all and will in the darkness bind them.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 13:02 | 4375588 Musashi Miyamoto
Musashi Miyamoto's picture

They fucked us with the transition to 64-bit architecture.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 13:42 | 4375795 t0mmyBerg
t0mmyBerg's picture

Why do you say that?  I love 64 bit.  I now have 16GB of memory in a box, hell i have 8gb in my older laptops.  You need 2-3gb just to run the browsers now.  In 32 bit land you are limited theoretically to 4gb and in practice with winblows to 3gb.  32 bit architecture became a real restraint.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 22:07 | 4377941 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

how? I didn't notice a problem, no business I've worked with has complained.
I've even seen huge support for 32-bit legacy apps in 64-bit environments, Windows & Linux, so this has not impacted me.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 13:27 | 4375715 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

14 years later and the best there is is not even 4GHz

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 13:39 | 4375778 t0mmyBerg
t0mmyBerg's picture

Yes that is why I mentioned multiple cores.  One of my workstations has 4 cores on each of two processors for a total of 8.  Guess what, because it has a slow memory subsystem a little pissant off the shelf HP box is pretty much just as fast if not faster for almost everything I do.  Most software in use by businesses in the back office, which is where most of the large scale demand is, do not benefit from mutliple cores or parallel processing.  So I stand by it.  Businesses are not buying because they perceive no need to do so.  Even if Windows 8 wasnt the disaster it is.  The whole replacement cycle for computing has slowed way way down.  That is a lot of dollars not being spent.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 14:23 | 4375965 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

Most software in use by businesses in the back office, which is where most of the large scale demand is, do not benefit from mutliple cores or parallel processing.  So I stand by it. 

It's a different model was my point, when you do work that requires it you realize it can't be done another way. When your work does not require it....

GFX processing has gone the same direction too. 

The whole replacement cycle for computing has slowed way way down.

I don't think anyone would argue you here, word processing is not particularly demanding. E-mail and web work perfectly well on older hardware. Gets a lot tougher to sell the Ferrari to grandma so she check her e-cards. 

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 21:12 | 4377703 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

indeed. Some of that work could be parallelized but to do so requires expert re-arrangement of how data is stored, who works with it, what programs are read-only at a given moment & so on, otherwise it's a god-damned disaster, if it's applicable at all.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 21:12 | 4377704 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

PER processor. Obviously we've been able to combine processing power for some time but that's not the point. That takes more power, more wires, more circuit-area & it means various tasks can't happen as you'd like because of co-operation & transmitting rather than being all internal to one chip.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 14:17 | 4375937 Liquid Courage
Liquid Courage's picture

Bingo, t0mmy!

Had an interesting experience at the Intel site waaaay back in the infamous days of the bubble when Moore's Law was cited as the justification for the insanity of the boom. There was a discussion page on the site featuring a transcript of an address made by Dr. Moore himself at some internal Intel function, followed by several active discussion threads, most of which were over the moon with exponential pipe dreams of wealth and wonders-to-be.

Then, way down-thread was a lonely post titled (IIRC) Can't help wondering if it's an 'S'-Curve...

Well, having taken the time to actually read Dr. Moore's address in which he explicitly stated that there was a physical limit to the packing density of semi-conductors due to what he called "electron convection effects", I replied to the poster's question with an emphatic affirmative, and quoted the passage from Dr. Moore's address. That, I thought ought to set the cat among the pigeons.

When I returned to the site the next day to see if I'd managed to stir up a bit of excitement ... the Moore address, the discussion thread, the whole damn page was simply ... GONE.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 15:27 | 4376376 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

Thing is, though, for consumers, Moore's Law has become moot, as technology has completely overshot the market for it. So, raw speed increases no longer draw consumers, unlike say, the days of the Pentium.

The iPhone took off, not because of it's speed, but because it opened up a new paradigm in computing for a mass market.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 21:13 | 4377708 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

no, the iPhone kicked off well because it had a touch screen. People wanted to have icon buttons, not things to read, even keys, to use the device, and slider gestures.
Sheeple are dumb, reading, even reading keys, gives them a sad.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 16:11 | 4376557 tip e. canoe
tip e. canoe's picture

fascinating paper on Koomey's Law (pdf alert)

All other things being equal, the cost per component decreases as more components are added to a chip, but because of defects, the yield of chips goes down with increasing complexity.

This research suggests that doubling of computations per kWh every 1.6 years is the long-term industry trend, but we believe (because of the large remaining potential for efficiency) that achieving faster rates of improvement is within our grasp, if we make efficiency a priority and focus our efforts on what Amory Lovins of Rocky Mountain Institute calls “clean slate, whole system redesign"

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 11:59 | 4375283 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

HAHAHA!! My girlfriend and me back in the day when we where students used to turn on our computers and a little oven because they heated up the entire room after 15 minutes :)

and after half a hour the fuses blew out

that where the days :)

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:01 | 4375296 fonestar
fonestar's picture

What's a girlfriend?

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:07 | 4375332 nope-1004
nope-1004's picture

Girlfriends come in a kit:  First the plastic inflatable, next the air pump.  Google it from your basement.


Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:13 | 4375370 kaiserhoff
kaiserhoff's picture

Or rented by the hour from

As a drinking buddy says, you don't pay a hooker for sex.  You pay her to go home.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 13:13 | 4375650 superflex
superflex's picture

Something your mom competes against.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 13:40 | 4375777 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

"you don't pay a hooker for sex.  You pay her to go home."

True, dat. You also expect her to keep her yap shut unless you find a specific use for it.

How our wives don't understand how any of this works is beyond me.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:07 | 4375331 max2205
max2205's picture

Behold the power of wall st to hold shares of these co, s up for so long after the ba baaaw

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:09 | 4375343 kaiserhoff
kaiserhoff's picture

Wussy Europeans.

One hair dryer was enough to blow every fuse on the Left Bank.  Frogs had never seen such a thing, and got right pissy.

Like that's a difference;)

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:58 | 4375561 maskone909
maskone909's picture

Blow fuses? What a waste of .50 cents! Should have sent her to her office(the kitchen) and told her to cook some food until the house was at an optimal temperature.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:26 | 4375426 The Vineyard
The Vineyard's picture

I was actually thinking about buying a television set.  A swanky new Samsung.  However, the money's tight.  And I contstantly worry about losing my job.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 14:00 | 4375854 DosZap
DosZap's picture

I was actually thinking about buying a television set.  A swanky new Samsung.  However, the money's tight.  And I contstantly worry about losing my job.


I hated to do it, but my 8yr old Hitachi DLP 275# cabinets pic is finally get weak, so I bit the bullet and grabbed a new Panasonic Pasma VT, as they are going to STOP producing plasmas in March of this year.


 IMHO Samsungs cannot hold a candle to the upper end Pansonics,they are good but have too many bugs.(I have one)

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 13:03 | 4375549 Headbanger
Headbanger's picture

Spungo:  Me too!  I used a "lap top" to warm my bed back in college.. Sometime two... but three got a little crowded.

Their names were Nancy and Brenda... and what's her name...

Damn.. Now I got me wondering what was her name with those really big warmers she had???

But of course back then we only had "big iron" computers that read punch cards but I had a lot of fun using the 'ol "slide rule" on em!

And the way those gals took the slide rule back then... They must have a dozen grandchildren each by now!

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 14:29 | 4376003 Liquid Courage
Liquid Courage's picture

Good with the old "Slip Stick" then, were you 'banger?

We had a "Seduction Flow Chart" written on the cafeteria wall (Pub Night) by some drunken Computer Science majors. I recall one of the IF statements went:

In case of "Fallout", re-insert and shorten stroke.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 11:50 | 4375247 Conax
Conax's picture

Ahh Windows 3.1-it made graphs of everything!


Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:02 | 4375304 Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill's picture

My first computer was considerably bigger than my house.

Punch cards were so much fun, not.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:11 | 4375352 kaiserhoff
kaiserhoff's picture

Don't drop the tray, I said...


Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:16 | 4375380 Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill's picture

Yes ,it was so much fun restacking those bitches in the correct order.

These young uns (fonestar)just don't know what true living is.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:29 | 4375437 rtalcott
rtalcott's picture

Which is why you numbered them....I did not want to reorder a couple of boxes after they were dropped.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:45 | 4375491 Osmium
Osmium's picture

When I was in school, they actually had courses designed for punchcard operators.  Not much of a career path there.  

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 16:48 | 4376728 Jumbotron
Jumbotron's picture

AAhhhh......punchcards.  I remember going to one corner of the campus to the computer sci building to learn Fortran....then going down the hall to punch up several hundred cards for a small program.  Then gallloping over to the OTHER corner of the campus to access the VAX mainframe in order to get the program compiled and an output generated.  Waited in line for the punch card machines......waited in line for the mainframe.  Then waited a day for the output.  Class assignments like these were given a week to accomplish sometimes 2 weeks towards the end of the semester as they became more complex.  Just LOVED pouring over 800+ cards to find the handful that contained the bugs.....getting back in line to punch up just those cards correctly.....getting back in line for the VAX and praying to God that I got it right in time to debug if necessary again before the assignment was due.

I don't program for a living now.


Tue, 01/28/2014 - 13:18 | 4375682 Hal n back
Hal n back's picture

punch cards, wow--did not think many were here that actually used them--the punchcard sorter machine was bigger than the desk I have that holds 6 PC's and a printer and scanner.


1976-I was part of a team that wound up buying an IBM 370/148  rather than an amdahl--the IT director said it best--its hard to lose your job buying IBM



Tue, 01/28/2014 - 13:21 | 4375683 Hal n back
Hal n back's picture

punch cards, wow--did not think many were here that actually used them--the punchcard sorter machine was bigger than the desk I have that holds 6 PC's and a printer and scanner.


1976-I was part of a team that wound up buying an IBM 370/148  rather than an amdahl--the IT director said it best--its hard to lose your job buying IBM.


the 370/148 cost a bit over 1 million bucks then. I can almost remember like it was yesterday.





Tue, 01/28/2014 - 11:52 | 4375256 Cdad
Cdad's picture

Well is a good thing J. Cramer has wrangled all of his followers into the shares of disc drive makers like Western Digital and Seagate.  Right on time, Jimbo.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 11:51 | 4375257 moonman
moonman's picture

Does this count ipads and iphones?


Tue, 01/28/2014 - 11:59 | 4375278 nope-1004
nope-1004's picture

Probably does.  Icahn's AAPL will torch him.  Just because a company has cash (has ripped off all consumers in a short period of time) does not mean it has growth potential Carl.



Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:54 | 4375530 Taffy Lewis
Taffy Lewis's picture

I wonder if there will ever be a saturation point in the States.

I was sick in bed last week and about all I could handle mentally was TV. Advertising, besides all that insurance company crap (if I reach through the TV screen and choke Flo as a school girl to death, will all of her future commercials disappear?), is all smart phones and tablets, with the next biggest thing "wearables" (are you shitting me?).

Won't even the FSA (Free Shit Army) reach a saturation point with electronic crap?

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 21:14 | 4377715 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

I can't put up with TV. I put on music. No ads to filter out & no need to hunt for tv shows on various channels.
if I feel like it I'll put a show on from a torrent. I download more shows & movies than I have time to watch so when I do finally have free time off work I can watch what I want when I feel like it.
Thanks to and downloadhelper for firefox I also download youtube. I don't watch from the web pages. I only download, store, categorize, burn to disc, and watch what's still on the hard drive here & there, just make a small list of all tech stuff, all finance stuff, all funny stuff like annoying orange or overlyattachedgirlfriend, happytreefriends, etc.
TV itself is a huge annoyance. And it costs money I'd rather put directly to silver.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 13:32 | 4375743 johnvallo
johnvallo's picture

Probably doesn't.

Apple's sales alone are in the 10's of billions, there are obvious flaws with this report. 

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:07 | 4375337 101 years and c...
101 years and counting's picture

it does say computers & electronics.  i guess the real question is: is an iPad/iPhone an electronic or is it food?

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 11:54 | 4375264 Dewey Cheatum Howe
Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

To be fair that spike around 2000 was due to Y2K mania. The peak and dropoff coincide perfectly but coorelation is not causastion in this case.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:00 | 4375301 EscapeKey
EscapeKey's picture

well that, plus there' not much point in upgrading in regards to current gen technology. cutting edge intel core i5/i7 performance has remained largely stagnant through sandy bridge through ivy bridge to haswell architectures. hell, even clarksfield and gulftown processors are pretty much comparable to the latest offerings.

amd apu's are a bit more interesting in the development department - despite not actually matching intel's offers in terms of raw performance, there are a number of advantages to the cpu/gpu integration, which intel are nowhere near, ie, one of opencl's main disadvantages was always latency, an issue largely addressed by HSA.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 13:22 | 4375694 Hal n back
Hal n back's picture

that y2k spike gave clinton the ability to say he had a surplus--but that was budget numbers only-the debt increased each year he was in office.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 11:55 | 4375269 i_call_you_my_base
i_call_you_my_base's picture

Diminishing returns. Technology gadgets have gotten to be sufficiently sophisticated that it doesn't make sense to keep chasing the latest gadget. With each iteration the impact becomes less and less. I started buying last year's (or a few year's old) models because they are not any worse than the latest gadget. Short gadgets.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:01 | 4375299 bpj
bpj's picture

In 2005 I bought an Ipod Mini, 9 days later Apple released the Nano. Havent purchased anything "brand new" since.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:03 | 4375313 duo
duo's picture

In fact, the retro stuff may be better, no hidden back doors for the NSA.  I run a 2001 desktop with XP SP2.  Motorola flip phone, Java based, no GPS.

The next iPhone may as will be called a bug.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:09 | 4375342 EscapeKey
EscapeKey's picture

if you run XP SP2, you're probably compromised.


Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:18 | 4375385 homiegot
homiegot's picture

You really need to get SP3.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 13:12 | 4375645 duo
duo's picture

tried it twice.  Doesn't seem to work with my video card.  Had to uninstall.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 13:19 | 4375681 superflex
superflex's picture

My desktop is an overclocked Opteron 170 with an X800 PE video card from 2005.

That thing could fun Far Cry like nothing else.

Just threw a new SSD in her for the OS drive and reloaded XP.  Like new.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:05 | 4375326 Long-John-Silver
Long-John-Silver's picture

People have started recycling older computers by wiping out Windows and installing Linux. The Computer is faster than it was when it was purchased and using windows. After a few minutes with a Linux Distribution such as Ubuntu they suddenly discover it's just like using their Android Smart Smart Phone so they are happy with the change over. Most people also find all the software they need to for it as well.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:11 | 4375349 i_call_you_my_base
i_call_you_my_base's picture

I used Ubuntu for a few years. I tried to use it for work, and it was a struggle. The problem with it is that if you need specialized software you can't use it without virtualization and a more typical OS. There are open source alternatives to most software, for example R instead of SPSS, but they are never as good as pay products.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:11 | 4375356 EscapeKey
EscapeKey's picture

i dont mind libreoffice. it's a bit rough around the edges, but it does get the job done.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:16 | 4375376 i_call_you_my_base
i_call_you_my_base's picture

It's mostly OK, except for its Excel equivalent. It's just not there yet. Excel is the only good thing Microsoft currently produces.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:26 | 4375420 seek
seek's picture

Give Gnumeric a try. I do heavy lifting with spreadsheets and use it in preference to Excel due to much better statistical tools.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 21:16 | 4377727 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Actually I found it lacking. I can't set log-scale to anything but whole numbers. So when I want gradations of +5% for example & in libreoffice or openoffice I set 0.02118929906993807279350526712326 (log 1.05) manually it works, yet in excel this is impossible.
My charts flat out are garbage if I try to use them in excel. Also the 10-year data for gold & silver I process in Libreoffice from are too many rows to fit into Excel but works fine in Libreoffice.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 21:15 | 4377718 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

I find LibreOffice far better than MS Office but I can't find any version of Mono that keeps up to Silverlight so I just can't use those sites which need it. is one of them. Allows CSV data download for many years worth of stock data.
I'm not sure if GIMP for the most advanced uses of filters or batch processing is better than Photoshop - I don't use those features - but what's basic in GIMP is advanced & useful (and free, fast) compared to Photoshop. There's free scriptlets out there for it too but I haven't used many.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 19:10 | 4377271 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

For the really older ones, Pentium 3 and such, I'm seeing people put PuppyLinux on. I downloaded it, haven't tested it yet. Supposedly very fast.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:24 | 4375414 seek
seek's picture

Life cycles are extending (and on PCs, by a lot). This area is actually part of my professional expertise, and trust me it's a common topic in the hallways of the major computer component suppliers and OEMs.

A big part of the problem is that the consumer base is OK with the computers they have, and are spending discretionary dollars on smartphones, not PCs. This has blown the service life of PCs up by multiple years at this point. There's some hope the end of XP will trigger some upgrades, but at this point it's not convincing.

Also... it's no accident the tech market is migrating to products that don't have replacable batteries, using a battery technology that degrades with age. The gadget guys are smarter (or more evil-er) than the PC OEMs in this respect.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 11:58 | 4375275 Paper CRUSHer
Paper CRUSHer's picture

Boy 'o boy '93,brings back fond (4MB) memories of that 'ol 286 processor pc i used daily.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:13 | 4375369 jtz5
jtz5's picture

'93...senior year of college.  What I wouldn't do to go back to that.  No money, but no real concerns either...just having fun.  Shows you money isn't everything.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:18 | 4375386 duo
duo's picture

I remember buying a TI laptop for over $3 grand, that's about $12K in today's dollars.  It lasted 6 months.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 15:06 | 4376158 shiftless
shiftless's picture

The 286 did not support 4MB. You either had a 386, or something else. Around 91-92 was when I first started programming on my dad's 286 AT clone. It had 1 MB of memory, 3.5" and 5.25" high density floppies, two 40 MB Seagate MFM hard drives, a pirated American Megatrends BIOS ROM, an ATI VGA Wonder with 256K of video memory, and a Samsung SyncMaster 15" monitor, running MSDOS 5.0. This was before the era of SIMM memory cards; the memory bank was a bunch of individual chips installed by hand into DIP sockets.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 16:08 | 4376525 Paper CRUSHer
Paper CRUSHer's picture

I stand corrected,yes it was a Olivetti 286 16mhz:1MB RAM:40MB Western Digital HD running DOS 5.0 preloaded with a Wolfenstein shootem 'up game.But sadly there was no soundcard just internal pc speaker...........beeep-b-bbleeep.beep-beep.....gotta love it though.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:00 | 4375286 GeezerGeek
GeezerGeek's picture

But we get so much more processing power for our dollars! Hedonically adjusted, we're way ahead of 1993. Hardware back then was running at around what, less than 100 MHz? Now we're running upwards of 4.0 GHz max, an improvement of 40x. Care to try mining bitcoins on a 486 processor-based system? And back then we only had Windows 3; now we've got Windows 8. That's 2.667 time better, right? (Sorry to ignore you MAC lovers, but you're insignificant in dollar terms and besides, you've come over to the x86 - dark - side now anyway.)


Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:22 | 4375327 EscapeKey
EscapeKey's picture

the picture is a lot more complicated than that. simply arguing that processor technology has advanced by a factor of 40x (in real terms, it has actually advanced more due to an increase in core count and measured IPC, plus technology which largely didn't exist back then, such as GPUs and SSDs) - HOWEVER - back in 1993, DOS was the OS of choice, and one which didn't require anywhere near as much power as Windows or OS/X. you can run WordPerfect 5.1 on a 386/33, but not Office 2013.

so, frankly, your hedonics adjustments are ever so questionable.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:11 | 4375361 i_call_you_my_base
i_call_you_my_base's picture

But you don't need more processing power. That's the thing. People aren't doing much more than they were ten years ago: email, office products, web. For most people there is no need for more processing power. The power is outpacing the application of that power.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:27 | 4375422 kaiserhoff
kaiserhoff's picture


As a young senior accountant, I remember a partner in the firm talking to an IT guy.

"The spread sheet already runs faster than I can pick up a pencil to sign off on it.  I need more speed?"

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 13:59 | 4375697 superflex
superflex's picture

It's not the processor but the lack of memory that kills old' puters.

Modern browsers use a lot of memory.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 15:34 | 4376411 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

I am.
I'm running a lot more programs at once instead of running 2 & shutting down all the rest every 10 minutes.
I'm loading 10-year daily charts into LibreOffice & mixing them with custom-made charts in GIMP & sending them to flickr or email and such.
I couldn't have done those on older computers.
I'm watching a Tv show or youtube finance video half-transparent locked to the foreground over-top of those windows the entire time.
I make good use of my new-found processing power.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:28 | 4375441 seek
seek's picture

It's frightening, but they actually do use price per MIP of computers to hedonically adjust the CPI. Or at least did -- I've told my Fed/BLS story about that here before.

Clearly it was done solely to manipulate CPI lower.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:32 | 4375446 EscapeKey
EscapeKey's picture

i can't imagine the sheer glee on the BLS employees faces when they realize what sort of power a 7850K can hypothetically produce through opencl.

our lives are about to become a whole lot better. personally, i can't wait. thanks, bls.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 14:01 | 4375869 superflex
superflex's picture

I've been on the AMD APU train since Llano.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 16:08 | 4376548 EscapeKey
EscapeKey's picture

i've stayed away from AMD since the Thunderbird. In fact, I used to run a dual-CPU 1.2 GHz as my main rig, and back then it was essentially the dogs bollocks by a country mile. since then, they haven't really had anything at the high end - the core architecture just nuked them from orbit, essentially. but the A7850K on account of the integrated GPU is actually the first AMD chip I genuinely consider (although it would be for a development/media box).

i just hope AMD starts revving up the IPC soon, because right now, they have nothing to compete with high end Intel chips. but they do occasionally show a glimmer of brilliance, which no doubt was what landed them in the XBox One/PS4.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 11:59 | 4375288 youngman
youngman's picture

If my eyes were better ..I would not buy a new desk top...but I did because I cant read my cell phone....

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:04 | 4375316 Rising Sun
Rising Sun's picture

if the fucking cockroach in the white house would pump out MOAR fewd stamps, we'd be able to buy this electronic junk and leave it in a box in the closet for ever and ever


love it - stop spending folks - it fucks government tax revenue - buy it in cash if you can

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:38 | 4375465 q99x2
q99x2's picture

I now use Bitcoin for about 35% of all spending. Mostly cash for the rest.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:05 | 4375319 Smegley Wanxalot
Smegley Wanxalot's picture

I know I am in the minority here, but unlike all my friends I am perfectly capable of streaming my porn on a 7 year old laptop.  All my friends need the latest and greatest tech to stream their porn.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:06 | 4375328 duo
duo's picture

yes, but do you stream porn with a 19.2K dial-up connection?

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:13 | 4375357 Smegley Wanxalot
Smegley Wanxalot's picture

No, I only have a 2.4k modem from 1992 and Earthlink.  Fortunately, the local library has wifi.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:13 | 4375368 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

I don't know about you guys, but when the mood is right, and the spirit is upon me, I just need a single well-framed picture, hell, could be just a gif, all bitmapped and everything. 

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 15:24 | 4376361 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

LOL - that reminds me of something....

Legend of Neil

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:10 | 4375351 fonestar
fonestar's picture

You are fapping with a 7 year old laptop???  WTF SICK??







Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:06 | 4375333 madbraz
madbraz's picture

As no real wealth was created since the early nineties, everything is slowly reverting back to levels that existed back then - car sales, real incomes (lower), consumption - much like Japan.  The stock market is no exception, it will revert to levels from the early nineties.  SP500 at 500.  Absent QE, tri-party repo uber-leverage speculation and NY FED assistance, I suspect the market has no sustainable demand to keep it much above the 500 level.


75% loss coming.




Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:09 | 4375344 homiegot
homiegot's picture

Great news! I'll fire up America Online and Netscape to share!

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:12 | 4375354 swmnguy
swmnguy's picture

A lot of people are just waiting for the next odd-numbered Windows release.

-edit- 8.1 does not count as an odd number.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:12 | 4375360 yogibear
yogibear's picture

Sorry, computers last 5 years now or more. No need to replace as often.

Plus demographics. Baby-boomers getting ready to retire while 20 somethings are strapped with debt.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:18 | 4375390 the not so migh...
the not so mighty maximiza's picture

saturation point achieved

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:42 | 4375476 AE911Truth
AE911Truth's picture

I replaced my 12 year old computers this year with altcoin scrypt miners. Long AMD.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:46 | 4375497 q99x2
q99x2's picture

In Los Angeles the economy seems to have gone off the cliff. They give up their electronic crap before they give up their cars. Traffic still sucks. Mostly on Saturdays rather than weekdays..

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:51 | 4375518 aerojet
aerojet's picture

Total saturation--My household has three desktops, three laptops (one is company supplied), one netbook, two ipads, a kindle fire, and three smart phones (one is company supplied).  How many more devices do we need for a family of four?  We also have an XBox and a Wii.  I just took two other older but still working laptops to be recycled.  I can buy refurbished corporate computers and laptops from two different stores on my commute home, so for $150 I can buy a decent Linux computer that does pretty much all I need to do, which includes writing code.  I never even look at buying new computers, at all.

I'm probably a little above average in that I write software for a living, but hardware makers are competing with their own older products, same as car manufacturers.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 13:08 | 4375629 Taffy Lewis
Taffy Lewis's picture

Aerojet, your electronic list almost exactly fits my family of 4.

I relented about a year ago and gave in to it all. Instead of your 3 desktops, I bought a screaming iBuyPower desktop on Thanksgiving Black Friday that the kids use for gaming, YouTube, and stuff. I also bought a NetGear R7000 Nighthawk wi-fi router to more equally distribute the bandwidth.

My kids use WiiU for their gaming console - they still revert back to their 3DS systems laying around from time to time - but I said no to XBox for Christmas.

Total saturation now - in my opinion, which is about 80% of the vote in our household! When I make my thrice-daily walk around the house turning off lights, I check out my wife and kids engulfed in their devices and shake my head; The Matrix and humans living in pods isn't that far away.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 13:11 | 4375637 AynRandFan
AynRandFan's picture

We're using a brand new laptop as our Dvd player.  Works great, unlimited apps, and no HDCP bullsh*t problems.  This, after returning 2 Dvd players purchased from WallyWorld because of compatibility issues with our 2-year old TV.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 13:06 | 4375615 djsmps
djsmps's picture

I had a Macintosh IIci in 1993. It cost about $3k. My previous Mac cost about $3k. My next three Macs cost about $3k each.  My five year old little HP laptop with an I7 quad core processor (which took another 6 months for Apple to include) cost about $800. As far as I know, nobody committed suicide making it.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 15:17 | 4376325 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

if I owned that many Mac products instead of PC's or Amigas I would probably have learned very well how to tie a noose.

In 1993 I had a 386 & not long after a 486 and the IIc was garbage in comparison. The 386 cost me $1300 and the 486 cost the same for the usual more than double processor speed & hard drive space.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 13:21 | 4375690 adr
adr's picture

I love computers. I built every single one until recently when it became impossible to build a machine cheaper than you could buy one. I started building 386 systems, overclocking Cyrix chips to beat Intel was fun. I still have my Pentium 133 machine I boot up sometimes for Mechwarrior.

As a product designer I need a faster computer, but since 2004 the added power really hasn't been increasing productivity. The bloat in the OS and applications takes most of the gain in raw power. Even optimized Windows 8.1 takes 2.5GB of RAM just to run. Optimized Windows XP64 runs using 285MB and can address 16GB of ram without a problem.

I can barely notice a difference between my old AMD64 1.8ghz machine with 8GB of RAM and my newer Core i7 quad core machine with 12GB of RAM. If I could put a new GPU and find drivers for XP64, the old machine would probably run some apps faster. Mainly because most applications still aren't optimized for multi-core processors. Older dual processor systems are faster than these stupid multi-core chips that are only faster running synthetic benchmarks.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 13:52 | 4375828 superflex
superflex's picture

How did you get 8 GB of RAM in a socket 939 mobo?

I cant find any 2 GB sticks of DDR400 and my DFI mobo only has 4 DIMM slots.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 15:12 | 4376305 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

I really notice the difference in Linux, KDE 4.8 & Plasma desktop with Ubuntu (from Mint 13).
Mechwarrior... those were the days. I really liked the quasi-3D Dune game that Command & Conquer copied too.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 23:55 | 4378459 SAT 800
SAT 800's picture

Running Mint 13 now. I won't have any Microslop product of any kind; ever. The difference is amazing. everything works, FAST; and doesn't vacuum up viruses and browswer grabbers from the net as it's second mission in life.

Wed, 01/29/2014 - 01:08 | 4378638 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Yup. I won't make the jump to LTS mint 17 immediately when it's out but once it's had some time to get community response & I see things I always use have no problem with it I'll give it a try.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 13:22 | 4375699 Kreditanstalt
Kreditanstalt's picture

But this chart is measured in dollars and the price of computers, etc., has fallen over the past twenty years.  Show us one in 'units sold'...

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 13:34 | 4375755 johnvallo
johnvallo's picture

Looks like this story forgot about the 10s of billions in revenue pulled in by Apple alone.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 16:34 | 4376665 johnvallo
johnvallo's picture

Downvote but no refutation....hmmmm. Didn't mean to ruin your apocalyptic kool-aid drinking fun. Fact is that as much as I agree with ZH most of the time, this one is just off. It's apparent they're not taking into account smart phone and tablet sales, which represent an innovation that changed the shape of electronics. I can't believe this is going so unnoticed here. So ironic. 

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 14:35 | 4376045 linrom
linrom's picture
Value of Manufacturers' New Orders for Durable Goods Industries: Computers and Electronic Products (A34SNO)

Chart from FRED.  All the manufactures are in Asia.


Tue, 01/28/2014 - 15:11 | 4376298 optionsman
optionsman's picture

this chart is a bit apples vs. organges comparison. back in early 90's only upper middle class and 1%ers were buying computers and it was a major commitment too as internet service was more expensive etc etc.

it is very clear that computers have dramatically cheapened up since then. no longer do you have to buy a computer every 2 years to keep up as well. cell phones do much of the inernet utility job and hardly anyone knows what excel can be and should be used for.....

i dont think this chart has any meaningful information in it- at least not with respect to any macro implications IMHO.

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 21:56 | 4377889 franzpick
franzpick's picture

The tech sector led the markets up, and XCI will be the downside leading indicator of the BBY-AAPL-HPQ-et al tech sales collapse..

We've gone the last 5 years just fine on 2 Ebay Dell dual core Optiplex, refurbed, 1 year warranty, $150 each, delivered free SH, no tax.. 

BBY, WMT, ODP, SPLS desktop sales areas resemble bomb scare zones  PC biz is dying.





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