By now, you have surely heard of the Network Computer or NC. The author has been poking fun at the NC in “Trailing Edge Notes” (Library Hi Tech News) for several months. This article takes a more serious look at NCs and related “simple computers.” While the author considers the grand conception of NC to be universal appliance is probably nonsense, there are niches for which some form of NC may make sense—and other niches, some large, where administrators may prefer NCs for various reasons. The author considers the NC and related devices as dispassionately as possible, notes some of the reasons for the absurd hype surrounding NCs, and suggests where they might offer legitimate promise.
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