I still haven’t found a high(er)-end laptop that suits my fancy, which is mostly my fault. I acknowledge I have a tendency to overthink things and wait too long, and miss a deal or decide against a purchase altogether. It’s the result of having been church-mouse poor for an exceptionally long time: If I could talk myself out of something or learn to live without it altogether, I made a point of doing that.
But this time my tendency to … what’s the opposite of “impulse buy”? “Anti-impulse buy”? … means I just haven’t gotten to the computer shop, and the few times I have, I’ve sat around and thought about it too long, and missed a sale date. There is a slight flaw in my character, that way.
That flaw is underscored by the fact that almost everything I do on a daily basis is handled by an old Pentium laptop. To wit:
- Instant messaging friends,
- Managing e-mail for personal, public and work responsibilities (in other words, my accounts for work, home and this site)
- Appointment and scheduling for all of those “facets” of my life
- Note-taking, or note-arranging, depending on the information and the way it is structured
- Web surfing, download management and download acceleration
- Music playback, to include sound equalization
- Document and file conversion, for both work and home
- Blogging, although I am ashamed to call it that
- File encryption and decryption
- Chatting, although it is rare
- Remote machine access
- Local and networked file management, and
- A variety of games, some quite good and some only “good.”
The things that can’t be done at such a low clock speed — video playback, for example — are pawned off on the Thinkpad, which sits to the side. And if the Thinkpad had a CD writer in it, my little world would be complete.
The strange part (as if all that wasn’t strange enough) is that I know, with a fairly strong sense of certainty, that even if I pick up a high(er)-end computer, chances are I’ll want to run it as a console-only machine at least for a little while. And I have enough experience with both low- and high-speed machines running as terminal-only systems to know there’s really no difference in performance.
Both machines can run the same software, both have basically the same responsiveness (even Pentiums are snappy at the command line) and the only differences come from the connecting hardware itself. I can, for example, run the same suite of programs on a 1Ghz machine or a 120Mhz machine, and except for the fact that the Pentium takes longer to start them (or the framebuffer takes longer to display an image, or the network card is just naturally slower) there’s no loss in productivity. Once they’re up and running, I really can’t tell the difference.
So I guess I should be working harder to find that mystical laptop I dream about, but at the same time the only real reason I want it is to build software for the machine I would be using anyway, and perhaps to burn a CD or two. Maybe I should take my own advice, and stick with the low-end leftover machines I keep around the house anyway, and skip buying a new one altogether. I seem to be getting by just fine without it.
There I go again, overthinking things. …