Wandering Thoughts archives


My temptation of getting a personal laptop

Despite being a computer person and a sysadmin, I don't have a personal laptop; my personal computing is a desktop and, these days, an iPad. The big reason for this is that most of the time, I don't really have a use for a laptop (well, a personal use, especially since a laptop will never be my primary machine). However, when I do have such a use and take my work laptop home, I always wind up getting reminded of how nice it is and how nice it is to have the laptop available, and in turn that tempts me with the thought of getting a personal laptop.

(This is on my mind because I had such a need this weekend, and as result wound up writing yesterday's entry entirely on the laptop. Doing so was a far more pleasant experience than I've had with drafting entries on my iPad, mostly but not entirely for software reasons. My natural way of writing entries involves a bunch of windows and generally a certain amount of cut and paste, and the iPad does not make this easy or natural. I drafted most of this entry on my iPad under similar circumstances as yesterday's entry, and it was slower and less fluid.)

On some sort of purely objective basis, it doesn't make sense for me to give in to this temptation and get a personal laptop. As mentioned, I usually don't have a use for it and when I do have a planned use, I can usually take home one from work, and a decent ultrabook style laptop (which is what I want) is not cheap. On the other hand, one of my ways of evaluating this sort of decision is to ask myself what I would do if money wasn't an issue, and here my answer is absolutely clear; I would immediately go get such a laptop, by default some version of the Dell XPS 13. I definitely have some uses for it, and in general it would be reassuring to have a second fully capable machine at home (and a portable one, which I could set up and use wherever I wanted to). So on a subjective basis, yes, absolutely, I should at least consider this and do things like look up how long lightly used ultrabooks tend to last these days.

(Now that I have a 4K display, any laptop I get should be able to drive a 4K display at 60 Hz with suitable external hardware. Fortunately I believe this is common these days.)

It's also possible that having a readily available personal laptop would change my behavior, by opening up new options and so on. Right now this seems unlikely, but I've been blind to this sort of thing in the past so it's at least something for me to think about, along side the countervailing thoughts of how little I would probably use a personal laptop in practice.

(Given my usual habits of not getting around to getting things regardless of how I feel about them, I am unlikely to actually move on getting a laptop any time soon even if I talk myself into it. But writing this entry may have made it slightly more likely, which is part of why I did; I want to at least think about the whole issue, and write down my current thoughts so I can look back at them later.)

PS: I might feel more temptation and interest in a personal laptop if I did things like travel to conferences, but I don't and I'm unlikely to any time in the future.

tech/LaptopTemptation written at 23:52:54; Add Comment

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