Are laptops worth it for personal use?
Was considering getting a laptop, but desktops are just so cheap. If I'm just going to use the computer for personal use, is it worth getting laptop because I might be able to carry it around? It be nice to have wireless internet access and such.
Much of the lower-end laptops people consider as their first PC are much weaker in construction than sensibility would demand, with that comes hidden costs. Be sure to get external keyboards and external mouse when you use the laptop at home. These parts are the first to go and cost a mint to replace. Be gentle with the drives and the PC Card slots, treat them like babies. They are price-snatches among thiefs and muggers--be sure to hide them as much as possible from the minute you walk out of the computer store. I know a person who lost it within a hour of purchasing her laptop.
If you would rather choose where you would like to work in your home then yes - when the commercials come on tv you can immediately get a bit of work done.
It's nice that you can put a laptop away when not in use, or move it around the house, use it in the living room or in bed, say. Laptops are not so fragile; if you expect one to last two or three years, it should bear up quite happily under normal (adult, respectful) use. Look at the abuse business laptops go through and they survive well enough. I wouldn't expect a laptop to survive children very well though. I expect children could probably destroy a typical laptop in weeks.
Depending on what your personal use is, a pocket pc might offer more bang for your buck and extreme mobility. Though laptop is considered a mobile device, it truly isn't as mobile as pocket pc. Imagine standing in a queue at airport and checking your emails with pocket pc in one hand and your travel bag in another hand. I recently bought Dell Axim x50v and I would highly recommend it.
March 14th, 2005
Absolutely. Equip your house with wireless, which is dirt cheap, and it is unbelievably liberating.
Regarding the price, just this weekend I saw a Athlon 64 3400+ laptop with 1GB of RAM, a 100GB hard drive, firewire, USB2, every memory port, real dedicated video memory (64MB) with a half decent GF4 Go 440, DVD burner, WXGA screen, 802.11g -- $1699 CDN. Amazing.
If you just want to type e-mails and stuff, a PDA with an external keyboard will probably be just the thing. These days you can edit Word and Excel documents on a PDA.
If you're coding, sure, get a laptop. I'm typing this sitting in a rocking chair in the living room, where I've been sitting today to code. It's nice not to be confined to my desk.
I must admit I've never quite seen the advantage in heating ones testicles to sterility in order not to sit at a desk the right distance away from the screen and use a keyboard with the correct angle so that my wrists don't ache after a few minutes.
Wireless is fine, when you don't have to cramp yourself up in this or that corner, or more likely in the centre of the room because the signal just doesn't like the walls in the house.
And all those ads about working out in the garden. Hah! When it is warm enough the glare is such that you spend the entire time squinting and moving the umbrella around to get a decent sight of the screen. Which means you're in total shadow and you might as well be inside where the coffee is.
March 14th, 2005
Simon, having just had my first kid a few months ago, I can definitely see the advantage.
Ah, well, yes.
Colic, Nature's natural contraceptive.
March 14th, 2005
I am not a big believer in distractions. If I had a laptop it's to get away from distractions, not to be in the presence of some. The things in my arsenal includes silicon ear plugs, libraries quiet rooms, public transportation, a dedicated work room and last but not least parks.
When I get old I want to be like me too.
March 15th, 2005
I *love* my laptop! Most of its life is spent sat on my desk, and it's more or less replaced my desktop machine for most tasks. (Heavy number crunching I still leave to the monster, but the laptop does everything else.) Sometimes I just need a change of scenery, so I'll pick the laptop up and sit at another table, move out in to the garden (the screen on my laptop works admirably in daylight, despite what the naysayers may claim), lie in bed, or whatever. I bring it in to work so I can play games or watch movies at lunctime, and I've even used it to cheat on a pub quiz before. :)
Before I got it I didn't think it'd get that much use, but now you'll have to pry it from my cold, dead hands...
March 15th, 2005
I second Mat's statement.
Laptops with wireless internet is the greatest.
Yes I sit in the garden despite the sun.
Yes being able to take the laptop with you is damn convenient.
Yes it can run almost any program I regularly use.
Of course I use my desktop PC too, but when I have to do something that requires a lot of concentration I often put my laptop on my desk, (it's absolutely inaudible) and use it instead of my PC.
I love my 12" Powerbook. It has enough power to do everything
I need (Java / Ruby development, web design, writing papers and other common stuff like web surfing, IM, playing music & videos etc). It's super light and I carry it around all the time: to lectures, tutorials, to the library etc. I hook it up to a 19" monitor when I'm at home and its 12" 1024x768 screen is fine for other times.
I have an old HP Vectra at home with Linux on it which has sshd, apache, mysql, subversion, icecast and other services installed on it. That frees up laptop's resources and makes my files available to me from anywhere.
I can't even read the screen on my Ipaq outside on an overcast day.
People who claim they have no problem reading a laptop screen outside must have a peculiar idea of what constitutes a sunny day.
"People who claim they have no problem reading a laptop screen outside must have a peculiar idea of what constitutes a sunny day."
Possibly -- I live in the UK -- but it may be that your laptop screen isn't much good, you're not angling it properly, you need glasses, or you haven't found the contrast knob. :)
Mine is readable unless the light is reflecting directly from it into my face and either turning myself round slightly or tilting the screen restores things to their former glory... (I find it actually suffers less from glare than my CRT -- I think it's partly down to the coating on the LCD and partly down to the fact that it's much easier to move it a little bit.)
March 16th, 2005
Stephen lives in Saudi Arabia, last I heard; maybe the sand is too reflective.
I guess I can understand the whole "it's too sunny outside" then, but to be honest I don't think I'd *want* to sit outside in Saudi; I have a peculiar aversion to catching fire in the blazing heat...
March 17th, 2005
I was referring to Sri Lanka; there it's either bucketing it down, when you don't want to sit outside, or not, in which case it's too bright to see the screen.
In the UK it's probably less of a problem. It's one of the few countries where you can turn your laptop on at the begining of summer and the battery still hasn't drained when summer has finished later that afternoon.
"In the UK it's probably less of a problem. It's one of the few countries where you can turn your laptop on at the begining of summer and the battery still hasn't drained when summer has finished later that afternoon."
Harsh, but fair. Funnily enough, after weeks of miserable weather -- grey and damp, the kind of thing that seeps into my aging joints right on the heels of a nasty notherly wind from Siberia -- it was quite sunny today. However, people are already complaining that it's too hot. Miserable bunch!
March 17th, 2005