People are irrational

Two disclaimers:

  1. To be absolutely clear, this is a rant. Sometimes I rant to my wife, other times on paper. This time I felt compelled to throw it up here.
  2. I’m a tablet PC fan, and this is my opinion. If you have an alternate opinion, that’s cool. If you want to talk about tablets with me, by all means let’s talk. I love it when people show me cool things they’ve done with their tablets. But if you want to argue with me about my opinion, fell free to stay away. People that want to counter my opinion with useless drivel tend to do nothing more than make me think less of them than I already do. And trust me when I say that I have a pretty low opinion of most people to start with. Not all people mind you, but many. It’s unfortunate I know, but society in general has done little to change my mind.

Ok, let’s begin ….

I enjoy reading articles about tablet PCs, but these day’s they’re not as easy to come by as you might think. The internet is mostly filled with articles about the iPad and Android tablets. Those are the sexy devices that all the consumers enjoy. I have a few non-windows tablets laying around the house myself, including an iPad, two Android tablets and an HP TouchPad. Even my wife uses two non-windows tablets these days: an iPad and a Samsung Galaxy 7” tablet. I understand the appeal of these devices. I get it, ok.

In an article over at Tech.pinions, Nathan Brookwoods presents a great summary of how I feel about the tablet industry today. Here’s the short of it: tablet PC’s are great for taking your desktop computing needs with you without giving up the tablet experience. He makes some great points in the article. He also has a couple of errors in the post. Of course, the iPad loving knuckleheads in the audience then proceeded to point them out in the comment section and argue why the iPad is just as “good” as a tablet PC. It makes me want to puke. It also makes me wonder if these people have ever used a tablet PC. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that most people that use an iPad have never used a tablet PC as their primary computer. Trust me, it’s a safe limb to climb out on.

Reading through the comments of the article only cements the idea in my mind that people are irrational and don’t possess the ability to step back and look at things objectively. If you want to use an iPad be my guest. But please don’t compare it to the power of a full-blown operating system like Mac OS X or Windows 7/8. They are not the same thing. I see people all the time struggle to use iOS and Android tablets as a laptop replacement. It doesn’t work for most people. Why? They’re not designed to do the same thing. And if you can replace your laptop with an iPad or Android tablet, odds are you didn’t really need a laptop to start with. Hint: checking email doesn’t require an Intel® Core™ i7 Processor and 8GB or RAM.

A moment of reflection. I’m looking at my laptop, a Lenovo T410s, and my Lenovo X201t tablet PC sitting right next to it on the couch and wondering if my iPad or my Samsung Galaxy tab could really take the place of either of these machines. The short answer is no, no they can’t.

On my laptop I have the following open:

  • Google Chrome – Going back and forth between Twitter and personal and work related research – one, two, three….18 tabs open.
  • MS Word with 3 documents  open that I’m working on for work
  • MS Outlook – Email, gotta’ love it
  • MS OneNote looking at some notes I took on my tablet
  • MS Excel with a spreadsheet for some product enhancements for a product I’m working on
  • PDF Annotator – I’m marking up a PDF
  • Windows Media Player – Just listening to some music

And if I were to pick up my x201t it would look similar. In fact it usually does. These are work machines, and I can do all of this on my “tablet” without compromise, without leaving a screen, without worrying about this or that.  This is not artificially inflated. This is a typically Saturday morning sitting on the couch as my family slowly comes to life.

You can’t do all this, at the same time, on an iOS or Android tablet. Actually you can, but it would cause some angst; easier on an Android device, but still not something I would like to try. And if I wanted to watch a movie, which I frequently do while traveling for work, I simple log into Netflix and watch a movie. If I want to draw something or sketch out an idea, no problem. I simply open OneNote, or Autodesk SketchBook Express and do it. No big deal.

I often read through comments on articles like the one mentioned above just for the entertainment value, but once in a while it gets to me. People will argue that black is white if they think “white is better”. Even in the face of insurmountable facts. Please don’t take this to mean that I believe tablet PCs are perfect, because they aren’t. I have my fair share of issues with my machine. I recently installed Windows 8 Consumer Preview on my Lenovo x201t. It’s definitely a better tablet experience, but it’s still not perfect.

As much as I enjoy using tablet PCs I still reach for one of my other tablets – at the moment my favorite seems to be the HP TouchPad – when I’m watching TV and want to check my email, play a game or simply browse the web. But when I need to work, really work, there is no substitute for the “desktop” experience. Believe me, I’ve tried. And to get the desktop experience on a tablet you have to use a tablet PC. If you believe otherwise I honestly believe you’re kidding yourself.

I can’t force people to change their opinion, and I suppose deep down I don’t want them to, but I would ask that people stop making outlandish claims for the sake of argument. “Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.” – Abraham Lincoln. I realize that I not remaining silent, but occasionally I have to do this or things will simply go down hill from here. 

I feel better. Rant over.


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