Back on December 8, 2011, I wrote an article about why I was tired of having to back up my system, provide anti-virus protection, and perform other maintenance chores to keep Windows running properly. After posting the article, a few readers commented that they thought the article was written simply to attract hits, which was untrue. Instead, looking back, I think I was suffering from a case of self pity because I had just spent a huge amount of time fixing (gratis) a number of my friends’ infected Windows systems. Additionally, it just happened to be this same day that my wife and I were on a scheduled flight to Connecticut to visit with our middle daughter and her family. I had packed my Cr-48 Google Chromebook to write articles during our flight only to be stymied by its performance.
When trying to write in Google Docs, the cursor would sometimes bounce all over the screen. It seemed that, any time I would look up from the keyboard (yes I am a hunt and peck typist), the insertion place had moved, resulting in my typing several lines up. Normally, I use a USB mouse when moving around within a Cr-48 document because I have always found the trackpad that Google included on this prototype computer to be annoying. However, after doing a Google search, I finally found a solution to the problem. It seems that the problem will vanish if the trackpad sensitivity is changed to slow and the user turns off the enable tap-to-click feature.
Since I wasn’t aware, at the time, that changing these controls would help, I am glad that I took my Amazon Kindle Fire for the airplane trip since it kept me entertained for the duration of the flight.
Upon arrival in Connecticut, I was also able to try using the original Apple iPad with a ZAGGmate Bluetooth keyboard but found the keys on the ZAGGmate too small for my liking. Besides, in my opinion, the entire purpose of a tablet is not to eliminate the need for a netbook or laptop computer but rather to give the user a different experience and/or tool to use. During that same visit I also tried using my son-in-law’s Apple Air — which worked well, however, is quite expensive when compared to the price of a PC.
One problem that I noted with the Apple Air, which came up during our visit, revolved around my son-in-law’s complaint regarding how slowly it responded when he surfed the Web. To fix the problem, I attempted several tried and true fixes, which included rebooting and clearing the cache, but it was still slow. This was when it dawned on me that my entire computer career has been based on Windows and, while I can fix or repair any Windows machine, I had no clue where to even start to fix his Air system. Again, let me reiterate that I am not trying to start a war between the Apple and Windows camp, since I believe those days have passed, as has the argument about Intel vs. AMD.
In trying to find an answer to which, if any, small devices would work when traveling through places like airports, I tried to type a blog entry with my Amazon Kindle Fire. I’ve found that it works well for sending short emails or for typing in short search topics, but the tiny keyboard was exasperating to use for longer entries.
Through this process, I discovered something about myself, and why I am personally sticking with Windows and a laptop PC. Here are the reasons why:
- I am a Windows man, and using Windows 7 is like being with an old friend. You may not agree with each other all of the time, but you know each of the other’s weaknesses and strengths.
- I like using my 17″ laptop with its full-sized keyboard and the numeric keypad that it provides. I am admittedly not the best typist in the world, so those larger keys come in handy compared to the minuscule keys on the ZAGGmate or the smaller keys found on the Cr-48.
- A 17″ screen suits me well and, though I can’t lug this monster through the airports with ease (it weighs in at a whopping 6.5 lbs., and only has a battery life of approximately two hours), I find it a reliable unit at home. To make the most of it, I keep it plugged into an electrical socket and rarely on battery power alone, which means I don’t have to incorporate any of its power options.
- After three years of use, my laptop runs just as fast as it did on the day I bought it. The maintenance I perform contributes to the performance I receive. I also make it a point to store any document I wish to save, along with any music or video on a separate external hard drive.
- Yes, keeping the anti-virus software updated and running scans periodically is a chore, but I have never been infected. I also watch where I surf, take precautions on what I allow to open on my system, filter out junk email, and basically keep my system tuned up. This is a small price to pay in order to have a good operating system that works without issues and, for the most part, provides for all of my needs.
- I have two new printers. One is a Canon all-in-one, and the other is an HP LaserJet. Neither printer is compatible with the Apple iPad, which requires specific printers — meaning that if I had chosen to use an iPad as a replacement to my Windows machine, I would have found it necessary to replace at least one of the printers.
So what did I buy? Friday evening I was surfing the Internet on my Kindle Fire and stopped by the Staples website and took a look at its sales advertisement. I found a Toshiba 17″ laptop, AMD quad core, 6 GB of memory, 640 GB hard disk, and Blu-ray all for just $529.99 with free shipping. This will be the fourth Toshiba I have bought (all previous models have proved reliable), and will serve my needs nicely. I should be receiving this unit before the holiday, and will report back with a review of my new laptop after the first of the New Year.
Is this the right decision for you? Maybe not, but it is the right decision for me. It means that I’ll have the Toshiba laptop as a desktop replacement at home, the Cr-48 for when I travel, and the Kindle Fire to pop in my back jeans pocket for entertainment. All three devices can use both of my printers since the Cr-48 uses Google Cloud Print and the Kindle Fire uses an application called EasyPrint, which was free.
Works for me.