Life Without Laptop

A while ago, back in September 2010, I made the decision to try and go without a laptop for myself. The reasons behind the decision were many and valid, not least of which being the fact that my job at the time did not require me to do any programming work at all and if it did I would not have been able to use my own machine anyway.

Now, almost four months later, I am regretting the decision to not keep a laptop of my own. It is not because of some lack in the iPad for any reason, but more for what limits I have now that I do not have a personal laptop.

Two things limit me the most:

  • lack of a mobile development platform
  • lack of a machine that I can personalize to my own taste and experiment on

Currently I am able to use our Mac Mini for any programming work that I need to accomplish. However, the limit there is that the Mini is also used by my wife for our family’s computer needs, including pictures and documents. As such, I dare not do anything too crazy so that I might not lost any information that is important to us.

With my own development laptop, I was free to mess up the OS installation as much as needed in order to experiment with things. With both my Thinkpad X40 and my 13″ MacBook Pro, I had become quite adept and reinstalling the OS and getting the system up and running as quickly as possible. This meant keeping my changes to a minimum and using system defaults as often as possible (along with backing up configuration files I might need). Usually this meant that, at worst, I would be down a day before I was back up and running.

That’s not a¬†possibility¬†right now and it is limiting.

So, I’m hoping to get something to use as a development laptop within the next couple of moths. Just to be clear, a development laptop, for me, is something that runs either Mac OS X or some flavor of Linux. For what I want to do, I need a POSIX environment of some sort or I get crabby.

So, while I would not consider the experiment a failure (the iPad gets a lot more use than any other computer device in the house), I would consider my needs to have changed since I had originally thought through things. As such, a course correction is needed and will be taken.

Any advice on laptops I should be looking for are appreciated. Leave them in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Life Without Laptop”

  1. Hey Bob. I sort of went through your same situation. Had a PowerBook 17″ machine until 2005, then tried to go back to desktops. Found out I really missed laptop and ability to mess around without losing our family Quicken, etc…

    Not sure I have any great ideas. I tried a MacBook (white plastic model) and was happy with it for 3 years. Sold to a fellow IT guy and have a 15″ MacBook Pro and use BootCamp. I will say that using Parallels 6 is pleasant and can mitigate problems in Linux to the VMs.

    Best of luck.

    1. My plan, at the moment, is to purchase a used laptop and load Ubuntu on it for the short/medium term. If I can make it work, maybe it will become a long-term solution at the same time.

      Thinking Thinkpad or Latitude at the moment.

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