I can’t use a desktop anymore. Growing up and all through college I used a desktop. It’s all I had and all I used. When I wanted to compute, I sat at my computer and I computed. Sitting in a chair, at my desk, in my room.
Now, I can’t bring myself to be tethered to the desk. I have a couple of desktop computers around my apartment. They mostly sit and do repetitive tasks which need always-on and always-connected status. They download files and backup data. They keep my information safe. They sit and serve. They are not what I used everyday. They are not the device I reach for when I get home.
At work I have a desktop still, primarily because there’s no “business reason” for me to have a laptop ((If you ignore the netbook the company bought me as a test group to see whether it was worth getting for other employees. It’s not.)) and that works out.
When I get home, the last thing I want to do is sit down at another desk. I rather grab my iPad or a laptop and sit on the couch or out on the balcony, or even lounge in bed with comfy pillows. Sitting at a desk is constricting. I can’t sit next to my wife and be with her. I can’t interact with her because I’m stuck in a single place.
I prefer the mobility of laptops and the iPad. It fits my lifestyle. It fits who I am and what I want to do.
What I reach for when I arrive home all depends on what I want to do. The iPad is mainly for reading. When I want to read, 90% ((Not counting Instapaper reading time)) of the time I pop open the Kindle app and dive into the latest book I’ve borrowed from Lendle.
In that remaining 10% I turn to iBooks and read one of the PDFs or free eBooks I’ve downloaded. I will fill my water bottle and settle into a comfortable place and watch the pages fly by.
When I am in the mood to write I reach for a laptop. Even then, there is some question about what I grab. If I want to write ((as I am now)) and not be distracted or have to lug a heavy weight with me, the Google CR-48 Chromebook it is. It is super light and has great battery life. ((Currently 7 hours remaining at 92%))
When I want to do more serious writing which requires research, referencing and piles of tabs and notes I reach for my main laptop, a Lenovo T61 ((I yearn for the day when I can afford a MacBook again)). It is a serviceable machine. WIndows 7 works well enough though it is no Mac OS.
I turn to Windows only when I need to get serious work done. Usually this means I will open Simplenote in half the screen and WriteMonkey on the other half. It is not the “distraction-free” nature of the writing environments that draws me to them, it is their simplicity and stark design. I like having a color palette other than black text on white background. I like the ability to see the word count and little else.
I can stay on task well enough, flipping between my Simplenote notes and Writemonkey’s clean, dark backdrop to my words. I write in Markdown so I prefer plain text to any fancy WYSIWYG editors. I am a big fan of simplicity and portability since I am a very nomadic writer and often use my iPhone to write on my commute. ((I write far more on the iPhone than I do the iPad, even with the external keyboard))