On No Longer Having a Laptop

My laptop died about six months ago, now.

While I still mourn her, and I’ll never forget her, I had to begin the process of moving on. I got a new computer – a desktop bought from a friend who’d just upgraded, because it was cheap and available. He’s a solid machine and a sweetheart even if he is a little slow sometimes.

Before she went, my laptop was sick for almost a year. She couldn’t get out like she used to. She was desk-ridden, you could say. And so I was out of the habit of carrying a laptop all over the house, sitting whereever I wanted to, watching DVDs with her in my lap. Having a desktop hasn’t seemed much different until I had three obligations pointed out to me in short order:

  1. I recieved the registration notes for my summer courses, starting mid-July.
  2. I started hunting airfares for my visit to my parents, also mid-July.
  3. I was reminded that I have to attend a conference for work at the end of July.

There is, let’s be honest, virtually no way I can do the first three weeks of my online courses while travelling sans computer. Sure, my parents have a computer, and the conference hotel will almost certainly have a business office, but neither of those is very efficient when virtually all of your course interaction is online and you’re expected to be commenting multiple times a week. (Which I am. Which is an entirely different rant.)

My first thought was “okay, skip the summer semester”. That solves the immediate problem, but I started wondering about “everything else” I do on my computer, which I won’t be able to do while I’m gone.

During my last business trip, in the middle of Nanowrimo last year, I resorted to typing on my Palm Pilot in my hotel room at night to make my daily wordcount. I thought about doing that again, but I’m not even sure about that anymore.

I go through cycles of writing virtually everything on the computer and doing virtually all of my writing by hand in first draft. Paper has its downsides – I can’t help worrying about losing something, because I don’t have the redundant backup options until I type it up. Right now I’m in a handwriting phase.

Actually, to be fair, I’m in a not-spending-every-minute-on-the-computer phase. I still get plenty of keyboard time considering I get paid to sit here and type, but I’m doing more paper reading and writing and less of both online.

I was reading an article yesterday in which numerous people claimed they are unable to read long things thanks to the internet. These aren’t just spazzy high schoolers, either. These are university professors and that sort of thing.

Personally, I don’t get it. I’ve been on the internet for half my life now and I still read books. I read lots of books. I think if you’ve lost your ability to focus on long books, it probably says more about you than it does about Google.

But anyway, I daresay I’ve gotten off track here.

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3 thoughts on “On No Longer Having a Laptop

  1. krayxlidlon says:

    I don’t know that I could ever go back to a desktop these days. Ever.

    And that’s really crap. I read long stuff constantly. Books are joy

  2. Here is a crazy idea. I have no idea if it would work, but what about dictating into a recorder and having a service transcribe it for you. It might be a way to do your writing when you are away from a computer.

    It sounds like you really need another laptop. You might check into some of the ultra small ultra cheap computer that have been coming out the past year or so. I’m thinking specifically of the Asus Eee.

    Also if you just need to write, there use to be some devices that were just wordprocessors. They ran on AA batteries, had about 6 to 10 line screens and were very durable. I don’t know what they were called, but you might be able to get one for really cheap.

    Another option would be trying to find out who has a laptop sitting in their closet and offering them some money for it. A lot of people have old machines sitting around from their last upgrade. Often the battery is shot, but it is an otherwise good machine. If you ask around you may be able to find something from friends or family.

  3. Cendri says:

    I always thought that “I can’t pay attention because of the internet” things were bogus. I love sitting and reading books. It’s the other stuff I have problems paying attention to. 😄

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