Dumb Computers Are A Good Thing

by bob on April 1, 2010

Eric Sink had some thoughts about a sea change he feels is underway in the world of computing.  The short version: computers are no longer driven by the demands of uber-geeks, who are quickly becoming a minority.  The new driving force are people who are willing to trade power and flexibility for simplicity.  Shiny new power machines are becoming  a niche market.

I wonder, though, if even we geeks and power users aren’t a bit tired of power and flexibility.  I’m unreasonably eager to get my hands on my pre-ordered iPad (the 64GB, 3G model, which alas won’t be here until “later” in April).  If the iPad works even mostly as advertised it promises to be a breakthrough device for me despite its closed, proprietary, bondage-and-discipline platform:

1) I can move my Kindle content onto it, exchanging my single-purpose black and white Kindle DX for a more general purpose platform with a color screen, mostly in exchange for lugging an extra 7 ounces around.

2) On the other hand I should be able to mostly ditch my ThinkPad laptop, which weighs many pounds more than the Kindle and iPad put together.

3) If the mail client is as good as it looks I may well use my iPad exclusively for email, even in the office.

4) It looks like reasonable remote desktop clients will be available for the iPad, so that I can remote into my desktop machine for certain things if I need to.

All I need, I’m hoping, is the iPad’s “good enough” virtual keyboard, the iWork for iPad suite, and a smattering of other apps to get useful work done most anywhere.  Sure, I’ll prefer my desktop with its twin monitors and physical keyboard for hours of heads down coding, but if I can get by on most trips without my laptop, that’s a huge step forward.

I’ve already been able to get work done virtually anywhere for years now — if I now can do it without my bulging laptop case and all its accessories, so much the better.

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