RE: Telecommuters: laptop or desktop?

Subject: RE: Telecommuters: laptop or desktop?
From: Chris <cud -at- telecable -dot- es>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 31 Jul 2002 10:10:16 +0200

When I made the move to contractor I started with a laptop. I had the added reason that we moved to Europe, and I knew a laptop would work with the different curent, I could buy it in America and bring it with me, has a US OS, etc. I bought an HP because it was solid, had a 3-year warranty, and I could get it with NT (a long story there). At the time it was a pretty hot machine, but it's pathetic already (4 years). I got a y-cable for the keyboard and mouse - you *must* do that if you'll be writing, just to save your wrists. Other than that, I had no peripherals - not even a printer. I took files to a local shop if I needed something printed out. This setup lasted for 2 years... I loved the quiet, the contained package, and the small size of that machine. And I basically had an uninterrupted power supply, which came in handy when we had the electricians re-do our house.

Constantly using the laptop had two down sides... The heat from the constant use sort of warped the super-thin aluminum base for the keyboard, and so the keybard sort of arches upward now. I don't think it pushes against the screen when I close the lid, but it is a little goofy. Also, the battery isn't at optimal condition because I wound up charging it significantly more than discharging it.
When I was established enough, and tired enough of a small monitor, I decided to get a new machine. That, plus I was sick of NT's lousy font problems and I needed more power for a regular gig I got to generate huge catalogs in PDF... 233 mHz didn't cut it any more. I got a machine built by a neighborhood shop, and installed my own Win 2000 (from the US). And, since apartments are small here (hence my desk is small) I got a 15 in flat screen. The whole thing cost about $3,000 - 6 months later I saw laptops with 15 in screens 20 meg disks, 1 gHz, R/W cd - basically the same machine for about $3,000 but a laptop. I will say that I benefit from adding another HD and a DVD, but otherwise I would prefer a laptop. (Oh, and I finally ponied up for a printer.)

I still need my laptop from time to time when I go to a site.
So what's the point? I guess a laptop is where I suggest you start, and right about when it becomes obsolete you can buy a desktop machine. A 15 in screen is good enough for gvmt work - I got by with 12 in for years. Travel light (minimal peripherals) and you'll have fewer issues. Get a Pentium, whatever you do. Get a fast connection to the net.

Chris Despopoulos, maker of CudSpan Freeware...
Plugins to Enhance FrameMaker & FrameMaker+SGML
cud -at- telecable -dot- es

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