Choosing the right computer for the job

“Jack of all trades – master of none”

I recently read a great article by Paul Thurrott [PC vs. Tablet: Use the Right Tool for the Job]. The article concisely articulates how I feel about the non-Windows tablet space these days. I was a little surprised to discover that the article was posted in December of 2013.

Paul brings up some interesting points about the use of tablets versus PC’s.(1) I’ve been pursuing the perfect machine for many years. Like Paul, I tried using a Palm Pilot with a folding keyboard. And later a slew of tablets – iOS, Android, BlackBerry, webOS – in a jaded attempt to find a single, perfect device. To date I haven’t found a device that meets all my requirements for both home and travel. The Surface Pro 3 (SP3) was nearly perfect, but not quite. I believe Microsoft has finally figured “it” out.

I’ve had reason to think about the singular-device theory again due to the large number of articles covering the new Apple iPad Pro. I’ve seen many articles comparing it to the SP3. I don’t read those articles because they’re nothing more than clickbait. I really don’t think anyone believes that a mobile OS can compete side-by-side with a desktop OS. I’ve seen many try, and they’ve all failed. The iPad Pro is quite literally the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 from January 2014, which is simply another attempt at creating a “real computer” out of a mobile OS. The SP3 is so much more.

I went down the iPad path a few years ago. I realized after several months that my three-year old tablet PC was much more capable. Unfortunately, I did the same thing with Samsung Galaxy tablets as well. Remember what Albert Einstein had to say about insanity, “doing something over and over again and expecting a different result“. It seems that that is applicable for those trying to use a mobile OS for “real work”. Anything I can do on a non-Windows tablet I can do on my phone. Why do I need a tablet running a mobile OS with mobile processors and mobile limitations? I don’t.

Thurrott states it perfectly: “Now, it’s certainly true that some people — many, in fact — can get what for them is “real” work done on a tablet or even a smartphone, phablet, or mini-tablet. That is, these devices provide access to email, calendar, contacts, the web, social media networks, various Microsoft and third-party services, and even remote desktop capabilities for the truly dedicated. They are simple and easily manageable…Of course, in our world—what we might call IT, or that of knowledge workers, but what I prefer to think of as the world of the “doers”—PCs aren’t going anywhere. And I think that many reading this, like me, have had that moment when we’ve sat with our hands hovered uncertainly over some other device—tablet, phone, whatever—and have simply gotten up, fished the laptop out of whatever bag it’s stored in, and gotten back to work. That is, we’d perhaps like to be able to get it all done on such a simple device. But our jobs are a bit more demanding.”

It’s strange, but after many years in search of a single mobile device to meet all my needs, I find myself slowly migrating back toward larger, more capable machine when I have work to do. I’ve even considered going back to a desktop machine for a host of reasons.(2) And like Paul, I believe that “I’m on the vanguard of something that will eventually occur to others…I’m not going to compromise my work or personal experiences for the other. I’m going to use the right tool for the job”.

Do I still want an ultrabook? Absolutely, but it won’t be my workhorse machine. Do I still want a non-Windows tablet? Sure, I like to tinker, but I won’t use it for anything more than surfing the net and playing games.

I’m really looking forward to the next round of Surface Pro devices because as I said above, Microsoft gets it.

1) Generic use of terms “tablet” and “PC”.
2) Bang for your buck. A Core i7 desktop with 8GB or RAM and 1TB hard drive can be had for around $500.

I’m done with #Lenovo machines

I’ve had a lot of laptops over the years. I started with a Compaq tablet PC back in the day. Great machine. Ground breaking design and functionality. Tried Toshiba a couple of times. Nice machines, but they always had terrible batter life. Had one really nice high-end business class HP. I liked that machine. I’ve had three Dell’s, all crap. And I’ve had three Lenovo machines: a T410s laptop, an x201t tablet PC, and my most recent purchase, a Yoga 2 Pro.


Continue reading I’m done with #Lenovo machines

Saturday morning coffee [September 13 2014]

“The illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” –Toffler

So much happens each and every week that it’s hard to keep up sometimes. Here are some of the tabs that are open in my browser this morning along with some random thoughts….

Continue reading Saturday morning coffee [September 13 2014]

Saturday morning coffee [August 2 2014]

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao-tzu, Chinese philosopher (604 BC – 531 BC)

So much happens each and every week that it’s hard to keep up sometimes. Here are some of the tabs that are open in my browser this morning along with some random thoughts….

The coffee mug below is relatively new. I picked it up in Las Vegas at M&M World during one of my daughter’s volleyball tournaments earlier this year.

Yellow M&M Mug
Continue reading Saturday morning coffee [August 2 2014]

Still searching for that perfect tablet PC replacement

After years of using a Lenovo x201t tablet PC as my primary machine I finally moved on and replaced it with a Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro. I thought about upgrading the x201t, but decided against it for several reasons. Unfortunately none of the current line of pen-enabled Lenovo Windows 8 machines caught my eye. The Helix was close, but Lenovo needs to upgrade to the newest generation of Core processor before I’d be willing to part with my hard earned money; I want that extra battery life. The Thinkpad Yoga might seem like a perfect solution, but I had my reasons for not choosing it, the biggest being the folding mechanism for putting the machine into tablet mode. I much prefer the twist-style mechanism for folding a machine from laptop to tablet mode when I want to write with a pen. There’s a rant there that I’m not willing to put in writing.

The Yoga 2 Pro has been a good machine, but I really miss having an active digitizer. I hadn’t realized how often I used the pen until now.
Continue reading Still searching for that perfect tablet PC replacement

Perhaps the perfect tablet ecosystem: the 8-inch Windows 8 tablet

A friend saw me working on a spreadsheet with all the information that I could find on the most recent lot of Windows 8 tablets. He asked me what I was doing, so I told him. Then he asked why. Why does anyone do anything? I’m interested in 8-inch Windows 8 tablets and have been thinking about buying one, so I’m giving them the once over. Continue reading Perhaps the perfect tablet ecosystem: the 8-inch Windows 8 tablet

Saturday morning coffee [December 28 2013]: Year End Edition

Let our New Year’s resolution be this: we will be there for one another as fellow members of humanity, in the finest sense of the word.” – Goran Persson

So much happens over the course of a year that it’s often hard to remember what you did, where you went, who you met and what you read, watched and ate. Here are some thoughts and reflections on 2013…

Continue reading Saturday morning coffee [December 28 2013]: Year End Edition

ThinPad Helix convertible hybrid tablet

I’ve spent quite a bit of time looking at the new array of Windows 8 tablets lately. It seems like there’s a new one popping up every week. That’s probably an exaggeration, but it sure feels that way. And I can say without hesitation, that if you’re looking for a Windows 8 tablet there’s something out there for you regardless of your taste or preference.
Continue reading ThinPad Helix convertible hybrid tablet

Saturday morning coffee [June 1 2013]

So much happens each and every week that it’s hard to keep up sometimes. Here are some of the tabs that are open in my browser this morning along with some random thoughts….

Is it really June 1st already? Wow, time is flying by this year.

The coffee cup below is a simple, cheesy mug used by some place here in the Denver airport to serve coffee. I’m passing through on my way to the ASHP Summer Meeting in Minneapolis, MN. I get in later this afternoon. The festivities will start for me tonight and go through Tuesday. I plan on spending some time attending sessions as a real pharmacist. I have to admit, I’m a little excited by the idea. I’ve been unable to attend an educational session at a conference in approximately two years. I’m looking forward to having my brain cleansed by some good old fashioned pharmacy information.

Continue reading Saturday morning coffee [June 1 2013]