I suspect that it won’t surprise most readers that I have more than one computer. It might not even surprise readers how many computers I have and use regularly. I also tend to keep and use computers a long time.
So, deciding it’s time for a new computer is a big deal for me. And it always strikes me as a way to come up with material for a new article or blog post.
In early 2008, a visitor to my house might find me using either my HP Tablet PC or my trusty old Sony Vaio notebook (depending on what I was doing), my wife on a desktop computer running Windows Vista, and my daughter using my MacBook Pro. There’s another desktop computer that runs the main printer in the house and largely functions as backup storage.
Things changed in two key ways this spring. First, I broke the keyboard on my Tablet PC ( a long story), limiting some of its usefulness, to say the least. A replacement keyboard would be surprisingly expensive. Second, a new employer-provided (locked-down) laptop computer entered the mix.
I’ve found that the big issue with older computers is not necessarily performance, but lack of storage. Small hard drives fill up quickly and you need to clean them out and defrag on a regular basis or they get very, very full and you take a big performance hit. Keyboards start to get worn (or break) and the displays aren’t nearly as good as they are today.
So, I found myself in a situation where I was actually thinking about adding another new computer to the mix.
Let’s review the cast of characters.
HP Tablet PC TC1100 – I understand why many think that this might have been the best of all the Tablet PCs. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed using this computer. It really irritated me when I broke the (portable) keyboard, but this computer was showing its age. It also posed two difficult issues. First, its small hard drive constantly filled up and performance was becoming an issue, even after adding RAM. Second, and what had become a big problem, this computer had too many problems with projectors. It’s never good to have projector issues when you are speaking about technology. A number of hotel AV guys told me that Tablets and projectors were not a good mix. It reached a point where I did not have confidence that I could take the Tablet to a presentation. That was too bad because it’s a great computer for traveling.
Sony Vaio 505. I think this computer, on which I’m writing the post, is my favorite computer ever. I love writing on it. In fact, I brought it back into service to write Tom Mighell’s and my book. On the other hand, it’s five years old. That’s 50 in computer years. Again, hard drive room has become an issue, it’s a little heavy and bulky, and it runs hot. The keyboard is now either worn or has a nice patina, depending on your perspective.
MacBook Pro. Great computer and beloved by teenagers. For me, the 17″ screen is too big and this computer runs very hot. Homework needs generally outweigh my ability to use this one, except for some specialty tasks – like audio and video. I’m a big fan of the MacBook Pro, but would have preferred the smaller model.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten more set in my ways in what I like and dislike about computers and also gotten a better sense of how I actually use computers.
Also, and you might find this a surprising admission from me, I don’t like to buy new technology just to have new stuff. I realize that might cost me my legal technologist club ID card.
So, I found myself at a point when I had good reasons to buy something new, and some plausible reasons to stay the course. After all, I really like the computers I have.
The perfect recipe for running an experiment that could turn into an article or a series of blog posts.
I decided to take a hard look at how I use computers, how I want to use computers, what might best fit my actual needs, and ways to simplify. And that will be the story in Part 3 of this series, along with how I first began to think of the iPod Touch as a serious option.
Note: A big thank you to Neil Squillante and Sara Skiff at Technolawyer for posting Chapter 17 (on SharePoint as a collaboration platform) from the book as a Technofeature. See the chapter here and take the opportunity to join Technolawyer.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Now Available! The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell. Join the book’s Facebook Group here. The book has recently become available on Amazon.
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