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Long live the laptop

Linuxfest Northwest 2011 - April 30th-May 1st I’ll be there. You should be there, too.

My good friend and former newspaper colleague Tom Dunlap wrote in a PC World blog yesterday about how many have fallen under the spell of the tablet and are drifting away from laptops and other “real” computers.

Quoting Tom: “Everywhere I go these days, my friends slam laptops. They tell me my PC of choice is a dying breed and sing the praises of their new, ‘post-PC’ Apple iPad.

“They carefully pull out their Apple device. I admire it, then ask: ‘So where do you insert the DVD, how do you bang out a long e-mail on a touch keyboard, and do you know what I paid for my little (Lenovo ThinkPad X30) laptop compared to what you paid for this iPad?’

Good one, Tom. The fact of the matter is — and Tom eloquently outlines it in his blog, so I won’t be echoing it here (except to say, “I agree!”) — there’s a big difference between the tablet which, for all its conveniences, isn’t really a computer, and the desktop or laptop you use for getting things done.

Same goes for my “smart” phone — the only thing I want it to be smart enough to do is take calls and make calls. If I need to check e-mail or text someone, I can do that from my laptop.

Thanks, Tom, for bringing that topic up.

[FSF Associate Member] (Fedora ambassador Larry Cafiero runs Redwood Digital Research in Felton, California, and is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation. He is also one of the founders of the Lindependence Project.)
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  1. Amenditman
    March 22, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Great posts Larry and Tom.
    Even the weakest of netbooks is more functional for mobile computing than a tablet, running GNU/Linux of course.
    You both need to remember that the tablet vendors are not selling mobile computing, they are schlepping multimedia content for the book publishers, the recording industry, and their buddies in Hollywood. No need for mobile computing, “you need to consume our products”.

    And Larry, they can have my ThinkPad when they can pry it from my cold, dead, incinerated fingers. Ain’t gonna happen.

  2. March 23, 2011 at 4:44 am

    I’ve now had the opportunity to play with iPad I and II, the Galaxy and the Xoom.

    Sheesh. These are simply devices best designed for consumption and I’m not saying there’s not room for that in the marketplace but what I am saying is that I know two people who did the stand-in-line-with-other-fanatics-for-hours bit and in a week, his wife or significant was curled up on the couch with the iPad and the original purchaser was on the other end with his laptop, getting stuff done.

    It might have a place…thinking of using one for notes during a talk I am giving in the near future. The touch screen would probably be better than scrolling if I have to do an emergency refer to my notes, but as far as people arguing about the pad devices replacing latops, that’s just silly

  3. Colonel Panik
    March 23, 2011 at 6:56 am

    Hey, you can have my laptop anytime. Just get me a better
    one.

    It is like those multifunction “tools” they are crap for
    anything but wearing on your belt and looking the fool.

    I knew an old-timer that used a 13oz hammer for everything,
    he banged big old spikes with it. But I sure like my 22oz
    framers hammer for anything bigger than finishing nails.

    Back in the 1950’s the ad guys started this whole
    consume consume consume thing and now we have to buy a
    new “one” on the way home from buying the old one. Go
    back and read “The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit”. We been
    conned.

    This post sent from my toaster oven.

  4. CMD
    March 23, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    For me I find tablets pointless if they’re too large to fit in my jacket’s inside pocket. I like keeping up with my twitter on the move but I’d feel too conspicous bringing out a tablet like the ipad. The only tablet I find useful for is my Toshiba M200 tablet/laptop convertible, at least i would if the touch screen still worked! Anyway I’d be happy just to have a nice Android phone to carry around and my laptop for when I want to actually do stuff other than just browsing, while watching TV. I can’t do without my desktop though, no way! I wouldn’t just have a laptop. A desktop is far more flexible and powerful

  1. March 23, 2011 at 2:12 pm

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