Posts Tagged ‘laptops’

laptop-deathknell“So you must have got the 5, how do you like it?”
I looked on confused for a moment,… “Oh, the iPhone 5, yeah I did.”
In a world where tech moves so quickly being asked about a product I’d been using for more than a couple of weeks caught me off guard. (at least that’s my story and not that I’m getting old).
My response, once I got my head around the meaning or the question was simple. “I love it”.
That’s the short answer anyway. The long answer isn’t much different though, all in all a very positive experience. As with anything new if you delve in and immerse yourself in it you can pick it up fast and the subtle changes to the iPhone are such that I hardly notice them until I pick up a 4s or 4 and look at the screen. Where did the extra line of apps go?

I’m getting a little off topic, but bear with me, it’s a short trip down a sidetrack eventually leading to the point.

I am typing this on my iPad, because as I said the world of tech moves quickly. I did a post about that new toy recently (here) so I won’t get into that again, but suffice to say, between the iPad and iPhone 5, my laptop is getting lonely I think, and in reality, the iPhone is being put down more often now in favour of the iPad because I can see more of what I am typing, etc.  (again, not because I’m getting old and my eyes are failing) Sure it’s no 60 words a minute but its a pretty good keyboard all things considered, maybe not as good as an actual tactile keyboard but definitely easier to use and transport around when space is limited.

From where I sit, typing away on my iPad or iPhone more than I do on my laptop, I think Microsoft is onto something with their latest foray into the tablet market, the “Surface“.  Sure, they are late to the game, but they may be the one pushing the tablet in the direction it needs to go.  A replacement for traditional laptops.

Most of what we do when mobile is word processing, gaming or content consumption, and the heavy lifting is done on other devices. As tablets become more and more powerful, the line between them and the traditional laptop fades. Really, the main difference between my iPad and my MacBook Air is the size of the hard drive. If I could get an iPad with a 250 gb drive in it I’d be as happy as a…. well, you know how that expression goes.

Whether its Microsoft’s way with a connectable keyboard, or taking Apple’s route of using bluetooth connected keyboards, the end result is the same, we are quickly heading towards a real shake up in the mobile computing world.  Tablet sales are climbing at a crazy rate, seemingly at the expense of laptop sales.  Desktop computers settled into their place in the world some time back and will always have their place in the work environment.  I don’t see them going away for a while, maybe a shift in the way people use them though, becoming more like a server and storage area for our mobile devices.

As for which tablet will become king? At this point, Apple has a good lead, but Microsoft has its own army of followers that are pretty loyal and will quickly either jump on that train as their first tablet or switch from the Apple one.  Either way, the sales will come at the expense of the laptop.  Their time is limited as people as well as the business world keep adopting the even more portable tablet.  Especially when it comes to travelling, I rarely see laptops being used in airports anymore, it is mostly tablets, and mostly iPads .  Sure many people will still keep using laptops, but more as a replacement for a bulky desktop computer than a portable device they carry with them.  As with phones, when it comes to tablets, you hitch yourself to an engine and hope you are on the right track, but thankfully another train will be coming along shortly so you can easily switch if you find yourself going the wrong way so their really is no wrong choice.

What’s with all the train references you may ask? Well, its Christmas time and I keep looking at the tree with the battery operated Christmas train slowly making circles around it, between the presents over and over again, the little chiming of Christmas tunes ringing out from the engine.  A stark contrast to the laptop’s death knell I’m hearing in my head.

barkerp

Its winter.   Okay, so maybe not according to the calendar, but one look outside for most of us tells us it is.  Watching the cars fishtail down the road as we all relearn how to drive in the winter is a good indicator.  Over the past few weeks the automotive shops have been busy putting on snow tires or replacing worn out tires and winterizing our rides.  No surprise there, we all know what we need to do to get ready for winter, but I bet many people don’t think about the stuff inside their car when they are getting the outside of it ready for their daily commutes.
I’m not talking about the jug of washer fluid in the trunk or the jumper cables.  I’m referring to the little things like putting your laptop bag stowed safely in the trunk or seatbelted in just in case you do get into an accident, restraining your belongings – purses, camera bags, backpacks, etc. – all those things you carry with you become projectiles in a sudden stop, crash, or worse yet, a roll-over.  I’ve taken to slipping the seatbelt through the handle of my laptop bag to secure it on a seat, but one of those dog straps or leashes you can get that connect to a seat belt with a clip on the end would work well too.

Not only will stowing those items away carefully protect them a little better while you travel, a laptop, notebook or tablet could cause some serious bodily damage in a car accident, not to mention the damage to the device itself.

Besides, its not like you are using it while driving – right?

tcg

Something that always bothers me is the amount of technology that ends up in the dumpster. Sometimes it’s because it is old and outdated, but more often than not it is broken and instead of fixing it, it ends up being trashed.  Also, in our throw-away society, often the cost to fix is close to the replacement cost, so for many it becomes a no-brainer. Ditch the old and get new. But what do you do with the old?

More than that though, what can be done to extend the life of your cherished technology to begin with?

Laptops & Portable Computers:

Care for your Battery.

Batteries are better than they ever were, but you still need to treat them correctly to ensure a long life. Most manufacturers recommend letting the battery run down to the point of shutting off the laptop or it going into sleep mode once a month which resets the battery and extends it’s life. This is often referred to as Battery conditioning.

Elevate to reduce heat.

Don’t use your laptop on a blanket or pillow or other soft surface, unless of course you are in an igloo, then the ambient temp might just keep it cool enough to keep it working. For those of us in the rest of the world especially in the warmer climes use your portable computer on a hard surface so the built in feet can do their job and keep the bottom elevated enough to allow airflow around it.

Maintenance.

Check your hard drive and other components. SMARTReporter is a good way for Mac users to ensure your HD is still functioning properly and hopefully give you ample warning of any issues so you have time to replace it (it’ll even send you an email if it finds a problem), but you should go the extra mile and run a program like TechTool Pro to check your hardware once in a while. Part of maintenance should be little things like defragging your hard drive. Defragging is more important with windows systems than Macs, and it all depends upon how often your add and delete files from your drive. If you are constantly installing and uninstalling programs you will fragment your drive very quickly.

Upgrade.

This is one I typically do with every laptop I purchase after about a year to a year and a half. Up the ram to the max and swap out the hard-drive for a larger faster one. Doing so may just make your computer feel like a new model and let you extend its usable life. The same is true of desktop computers, but not so easy to do with most Netbooks.

What to do when its time to retire your Tech:

You could hollow it out and make a fish tank out of your old monitor or tv, but unless you are living in a dorm your significant other is not going to appreciate the novelty of it for long. This website (Macquarium)has many images of converted mac aquariums to inspire you if you want to try and get away with it though.

Check your municipality or city’s website, many of them have a link to the companies or organizations that can help you recycle and be environmentally friendly, or maybe offer up locations where your tech can be repurposed or refurbished for reuse. Many communities have programs that take old tech and with a little TLC fix it up enough for use in schools.  A few minutes of searching and a short drive for you, could make a big change in the life of an individual or school. Many of which rely on donated old-tech for classroom computers.

In Toronto for example, check out Toronto Recycling Inc’s E-waste.  In London (Ontario that is – not the famous one over the pond), check out the city’s electronics recycling page at http://www.london.ca/…. Electronics_Recycling.htm there is also information there about donating your usable electronics.

Regardless of what you do with it, don’t let them go into a landfill. We, as a society, need to be more responsible for our waste, and practicing the 3 R’s – Reduce, reuse, recycle – with your old-tech is a good place to start.

If you know of other places to donate or recycle  in specific areas, drop me a comment on this blog so others can benefit from it, which in turn means we all do.

tcg