Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Trailing tech

There are those who embrace cutting edge technology. There are those who are more comfortable with trailing caboose technology.

The advantage to cutting edge is that you get bragging rights of glimpsing the future before anyone else. The downside is that you will pay top dollar for it. You may also end up paying top dollar for dead end technology that never catches on. Betamax anybody?

I was a big fan of the netbook computer. They weren't very powerful, but perfect for someone who's on the go. The 10 inch or so screens were pretty readable. Keyboards were big enough so that even someone with sausage fingers like mine could touch type.

Right now about the last of the “netbooks” are some of the Chrome machines. The only problem is that they can't be heavily customized like my old Aspire One could be. That was set up to dual boot in windows or Ubuntu Linux. The Chrome machines aren't bad, but not nearly as useful. They are pretty good for those people who rely heavily on “the cloud” to get work done.

Which brings me back to my dilemma. My Old Aspire is getting pretty fragile. Still works well as a home computer with a separate keyboard and bigger monitor. It's no longer up to being zipped into a splash bag and tossed into a sailboat. Replacing it with an updated version is not really an option.

You see, the tablet computer has won the struggle. I didn't think it would have, but I didn't count on a few different trends. People have gotten so used to using tiny virtual keypads that many do not feel the lack of an actual keyboard. For those that do, many tablets either come with one in a handy folding case or can have a separate bluetooth keyboard added later. Most tablets have limited on board storage, but many people are perfectly happy with having everything saved to the cloud.

So I've pretty much given up on being able to buy a cheap and small netbook computer. Yes, there still are some out there, but I see the writing on the wall. A few months ago I bought a small Amazon Fire tablet, mainly as a book reader. The lack of a real keyboard prevented me from doing any serious work on in. Lately I learned that there are a number of cheap bluetooth keyboards what perform well. So now my tablet has a whole bunch of apps that allow me to get some actual work done. I've even opened a cloud account for data storage.

It's weird. Not long ago the fear was that cloud storage was unsecured. Your data was somewhere out in the ether beyond your physical grasp. Lately more people seem to be worried that they'll lose data that's not in the cloud. I call that the iphone in the toilet effect. Enough phones get destroyed that people no longer trust physical media. They can get a new phone and recover their data from the cloud so the cloud seems more secure.

Personally I'm somewhere between the two main arguments. I'm going to use the cloud, but with limited expectations of privacy. Once in the cloud, the data can then be moved to physical drives at my house. Heck, the really important stuff gets printed on acid free paper. (just like the barbarians do)

At least I'm not spending much money to get a workable mobile computing solution. The only thing will be to make sure I can connect to the 'net when I need to.



  1. Sixbears -
    I use my Nook HD as my personal computer. Hubby uses a laptop, but he has a tendency to open things he should not, and leaves open tabs that I would rather not have access to my data. So, I use my office pc a lot for emails (won't have the need when I retire), and the Nook for reading, paying bills, and emails. Have had my smartphone for about 6 months, and am getting more comfortable with it. The screen is just too little to do much real work on, but the HD is my 3rd Nook, and I'm happy there. Good luck with your quest - I'm off to further investigate the cloud.

  2. I have both a tablet and a computer. Since I can type over 50 words per minute or more, I prefer the laptop computer and use it almost all the time. The tablet slows me up but they are easier to travel with and take up less space.