Online in the 21st century…

When I moved into my own apartment all those years ago, I bought my first own personal computer. Until then I shared one (or even two in the later years) with my brothers in our parents house. I bought a desktop computer, because laptops were so so expensive in the beginning of the century. Wi-Fi wasn’t such a big thing back then eith er and what use would a computer/laptop without internet be ;-)?

I moved into and still live in a tiny one room apartment, so even when laptops and Wi-Fi were easily available I didn’t replace my desktop computer and Wi-Fi-less DSL modem with a laptop. Yes, it would have been nice to be able to be online (because let’s be honest, connecting me with the world wide web is the main job of my computer) not online in front of my desk. But from my bed or kitchen or even outside on my patio. But would I be willing to spend a few hundred EUR for a laptop while I had a perfectly fine working computer at home? No. Even though I started to feel more and more ancient when I saw that more and more of my friends and coworkers replaced their desktop computers with laptops.
Over the last few years I borrowed my brother’s laptop a few times, when I wanted / needed to be able to work on a computer (and be online) while I was away (seminars, working on my termpaper during a vacation etc.). I could have gotten used to have a thing like that around, I thought… but there was still the money issue.

Last year I got my smartphone (Palm Pre) which helped a lot with the “being able to be online while away” issue or to be able to tweet live commentary on some TV shows when I was too lazy to get up from my comfy easy chair. Last week I once more thought how nice a notebook would be, while I was studyin outside on my patio (had to make good use of the few sunny days). I had textbooks all around and was jotting down notes on a piece of paper, knowing that I would have to transfer my notes (meaning typing the handwritten stuff and file it on my computer) later on. Such a waste of time, I thought. But I didn’t want to go back inside…

So, when I saw and tested a friend’s newly purchased netbook last week I suddenly realized that one of these might be a perfect solution for me as well. In fact, the idea got stuck in my head pretty fast and pretty insistent. Even thought it would mean that a new modem would be required as well. Wi-Fi and all. I slept on it a few nights, took a good look at my bank account and then just acted on it. Not really on a whim. But almost :-)
The thing is, that these kind of decisions usually turn out to be very good decisions in the long run, so I don’t regret it. I maybe should regret spending so much time already with getting the netbook up and running, installing and uninstalling, finding my way around. But I’ll also put it to good use this evening, when I have to do minutes at a work meeting and instead of jotting everything down on paper and typing it later, I’ll be typing it write away, because I’ll be taking my netbook with me. See, it was even a good investment work-related :-)

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5 Responses to Online in the 21st century…

  1. suz says:

    I have been living without a desktop computer since 2004 – but I’ve only upgraded to wi-fi earlier this year. (Like almost back to reading the SPIEGEL in the loo!) Laptops and cableLAN are not mutually exclusive, it’s just a bit of a hassle to install your cable connections to move about. But I did it for almost six years and never regretted givin my desktop computer the boots.

    But maybe you should have consulted me on this issue :). I got my first IBM laptop last summer…. And I will NEVER EVER have anything less but a ThinkPad. It’s 1.3kgs, just like air in your backpack, a 12” screen, everything you need and what netbooks don’t have. The keyboard is an absolute plus (IBM’s keyboards are world-famous, robust, sturdy, a vacation for your fingers and all), almost like a full desktop board, just condensed in the same space as a netbook keyboard. They got rid of the touchpad, downsized oversized enter and backspace keys. A six hour battery life on a used 6-cell-battery. And the best of all – it was less than €300 for a refurbished version. You’ll need raw force or a tank to destroy an IBM. Okay, you gotta love IBM’s rather rugged design, but it’s the IT lover’s dream and I love it.

    Meanwhile, the follow-up model to my X41, the X6X series has become affordable at around €300 as well. Okay, my model first came out 2004 and it was still “expensive” – in comparison: my previous laptop is also a 2004 Compaq/HP model and was worth little more than €40 last summer.

    My new company is about to change to laptops for all employees. A weird thought at first, but a pretty smart one two, especially the part-timers can always change work stations to suit how busy it is any given work day. I’m using a Toshiba – what a lot of crap! I’m constantly and automatically looking for the TrackPoint. Plus, it’s got one of them shabby glossy screens! Eeeeek! :D

    As far as working outside is concerned – the laptop for outdoor purposes will probably have to be invented still.

    You do realise, I’m a ThinkPad deciple :) So if you’re ever after a real computer (what’s it with those netbooks?!?), yell out!!

  2. liljan98 says:

    I will yell out, when I’ll have to give up my desktop computer and go for a real laptop then. Until then I’m fine with the desktop and now the netbook, I think.
    But yes, you seem to be quite the ThinkPad deciple :-)

  3. Lillibelle says:

    I got my first desktop computer on my 18th birthday. Looking back, it was a better typewritter ;-) Than I “inherited” my dad’s old pc. It could even handle internet. In 2003 I finally bought my laptop and replaced all desktop computers. The official reason was my exam (Magisterarbeit), but I like new technical gadgets, so this was the other reason. Funny enough, I had to write my exam the old-fashioned way on paper, because I didn’t get started on the computer ;-) So typing it all in an electronic document was my first correction draft. Until today I love my laptop (yes I still have it), most of the time it’s on my livingroom table. Only if there are really time consuming projects I take to my home office. And yes it has a name, not really creative, but my whole family knows it. I call it “Baby” and I have even filed the invoice under “B” …
    I’m thinking of replacing it, but everything on it is customized for me (and because of the money thing – new MacBook with all the programs I’d like to have … sigh), so I wait patiently when it is not as fast as I’d like it to be and hope it survives another summer.

  4. LJ says:

    I ditched desktops back in 2000 or so and have been so happy. Battery replacements are a pricey annoyance, but I do love my laptop.

    And I love that you named it Desmond.

  5. suz says:

    @liljan: that’s the point – I guess it’s either a netbook OR an X-series IBM. They are somewhat competitors, basically for their low weight and incredible mobility. X-series laptops are definitely NO multimedia machines, but you can do the ‘basics’, like YouToube or Zattoo or tv’s ‘mediatheken’. They aren’t gaming computers or anything you would need more than 1.5 or 2mbs of ram. Suits my purposes. A lot of people have warned me against a x41 (its name is KIP :D) to be my ‘main’ computer – but I haven’t regretted it. It does get a bit tiring with AI or PhotoShop, but it does the job.

    However, IBM has several series to suit your purpose – but they can get fairly bulky and heavy (by comparison). I have been using a T40 for several months in 2008/9 and loved it. Ah well!!

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