TweetFollow Us on Twitter

May 01 Viewpoint

Volume Number: 17 (2001)
Issue Number: 05
Column Tag: Viewpoint

Living with a Mac 24/7

by Marshall Clow

OK – I'll say it. My name is Marshall, and I carry a Macintosh with me all the time.

I am not alone doing this. People have been carrying their computers for years. An acquaintance of mine started with a Mac Portable. He carried it with him everywhere for almost 2 years. (Yes, he has a strong back.) The PowerBook 2400 inspired many people to do this; it is very small and very light. I know a few people who have carried their 2400s with them for several years. I carried a 2400 myself for about 18 months. Recently, my employer bought me a Titanium PowerBook, and I switched to that. It's a lot bigger than the 2400, but it has other advantages.

Apple's new iBook is designed to be carried everywhere. At less than 5 pounds, it doesn't weigh you down, and it is small enough to fit in a backpack and leave room for plenty of other stuff. One of the target audiences for the new iBook are students, who, as a group, never really have just one place to work.

Apple has always marketed PowerBooks as "the computer that can go anywhere with you", but their arguments are more compelling when they as PowerBooks get smaller and lighter.

What happens when you have a computer with you all the time? As a software developer, these are the things that I have noticed:

  • I can work anywhere. This is especially important for people who have more than one job. If you ride a train or a bus to work, you can work while you are travelling to and from work. The same principle applies if you carpool to work. Last week, I had to get my car serviced. Rather than worry about arranging a ride after dropping off the car (and back later), I worked for about two hours in the repair shop's waiting room.
  • I have all my "working files" with me all the time. If I want to edit a photo that I took last week, I don't "go to the computer" to edit it; I "pull out the computer" and start editing.
  • The computer becomes a part of you. It gradually changes from a mass-produced piece of hardware and software to a device that is customized to exactly how you want it. These changes can be small tweaks, like changing the speed of the track pad, to installing a Dvorak keyboard, up to large hardware modifications. PowerBook 2400 owners are notorious for these kind of hardware changes; see http://webobjects.uwaterloo.ca/mac2400/hardware.html for some examples. I haven't changed the TiPB much yet.
  • Unlike most computers these days, a 7/24 computer spends much of the time not connected to any network. Because of this, I keep all my files on my local hard disk, not stored on a file server somewhere. For those times when I am in an office (or at home) an AirPort card is a big convenience; when I am not in an office, aRicochet wireless modem works well.
  • Anything that's not internal to the computer is likely to get left behind. Most of the time, I only bring a power supply with me. Many times, I leave that at home, too. I do carry headphones, though.
  • Since I can use the computer anywhere, I tend to work in spurts. I can pull out the computer anytime I have a few minutes to wait.
  • I tend to have several projects active at once. I don't have any problem working on one of these projects for 10-15 minutes at a time, whenever inspiration strikes me.
  • I don't have to have the fastest computer around, but it needs to have a lot of RAM and disk space. If CodeWarrior can't compile my project because I don't have enough RAM, then I can't work.
  • Unfortunately, the terms ‘portable' and ‘large screen' don't really go together. I miss having dual 20" monitors, but I can't carry them around with me.
  • Backup strategies require a bit of thought. It doesn't take many hours before the data on the computer is worth significantly more than the actual computer. Since the computer can get dropped/lost/stolen, I back it up regularly.
  • I don't carry a CD player. I keep a selection of MP3's on my computer (see ‘lots of disk space' above) and play them when I want music. On an airplane, I watch movies on the computer.

Is This For Everyone?

Of course not.

Many people are quite happy to turn the computer off at the end of the workday, and leave it off until the next morning. Some people feel more productive if they have an office or desk to work at. Other people have trouble working with distractions, so a quiet office is the only place for them.

On the other hand, I sure enjoy being able to use my computer wherever I am; this summer I will be spending lots of time working outside in my back yard!

 
AAPL
$518.09
Apple Inc.
+0.13
MSFT
$40.02
Microsoft Corpora
+0.27
GOOG
$547.50
Google Inc.
+11.06

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

PDFpenPro 6.2 - Advanced PDF toolkit for...
PDFpenPro allows users to edit PDF's easily. Add text, images and signatures. Fill out PDF forms. Merge or split PDF documents. Reorder and delete pages. Even correct text and edit graphics! Create... Read more
PDFpen 6.2 - Edit and annotate PDFs with...
PDFpen allows users to easily edit PDF's. Add text, images and signatures. Fill out PDF forms. Merge or split PDF documents. Reorder and delete pages. Even correct text and edit graphics! Features... Read more
Monolingual 1.5.9 - Remove unwanted OS X...
Monolingual is a program for removing unnecesary language resources from OS X, in order to reclaim several hundred megabytes of disk space. It requires a 64-bit capable Intel-based Mac and at least... Read more
Maya 2015 - Professional 3D modeling and...
Maya is an award-winning software and powerful, integrated 3D modeling, animation, visual effects, and rendering solution. Because Maya is based on an open architecture, all your work can be scripted... Read more
Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty 1.1.1.180...
Download the patch by launching the Starcraft II game and downloading it through the Battle.net connection within the app. Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty is a strategy game played in real-time. You... Read more
Sibelius 7.5.0 - Music notation solution...
Sibelius is the world's best-selling music notation software for Mac. It is as intuitive to use as a pen, yet so powerful that it does most things in less than the blink of an eye. The demo includes... Read more
Typinator 5.9 - Speedy and reliable text...
Typinator turbo-charges your typing productivity. Type a little. Typinator does the rest. We've all faced projects that require repetitive typing tasks. With Typinator, you can store commonly used... Read more
MYStuff Pro 2.0.16 - Create inventories...
MYStuff Pro is the most flexible way to create detail-rich inventories for your home or small business. Add items to MYStuff by dragging and dropping existing information, uploading new images, or... Read more
TurboTax 2013.r17.002 - Manage your 2013...
TurboTax guides you through your tax return step by step, does all the calculations, and checks your return for errors and overlooked deductions. It lets you file your return electronically to get... Read more
TrailRunner 3.8.769 - Route planning for...
Note: While the software is classified as freeware, it is actually donationware. Please consider making a donation to help support development. TrailRunner is the perfect companion for runners,... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Knights of Pen & Paper is Free for a...
Knights of Pen & Paper is Free for a Limited Time – Don’t Wait for a Natural 20, Get it Now! Posted by Rob Rich on April 16th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
R.B.I. Baseball 14 Review
R.B.I. Baseball 14 Review By Blake Grundman on April 16th, 2014 Our Rating: :: RETRO REVIVEDUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad What was old is new again, as the MLB attempts to taking baseball gaming back to its retro... | Read more »
Noodlecake Studios Places Mikey Hooks on...
Noodlecake Studios Places Mikey Hooks on Sale, Releases Sneak Peek Trailer for Upcoming Sequel Mikey Boots Posted by Tre Lawrence on April 16th, 2014 [ | Read more »
Cosmic Mechanic Review
Cosmic Mechanic Review By Blake Grundman on April 16th, 2014 Our Rating: :: SLIGHTLY CREDIBLE MACHINEUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Creatives folks love the opportunity to have their wits tested, but there isn’t... | Read more »
ClutchPlay Games Releases Trailer for it...
ClutchPlay Games Releases Trailer for its Upcoming New Game, Skullduggery! | Read more »
Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Th...
Captain America: The Winter Soldier – The Official Game Review By Rob Thomas on April 16th, 2014 Our Rating: :: OUT IN THE COLDUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Strike Wing: Raptor Rising to Get a Huge...
Strike Wing: Raptor Rising to Get a Huge Update That Adds New Mode, Improved Graphics and More. Posted by Tre Lawrence on April 16th, 2014 [ | Read more »
Don’t be a Pygon, Download Horn Right No...
Don’t be a Pygon, Download Horn Right Now While it’s Still Free Posted by Rob Rich on April 16th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile Review
RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile Review By Jennifer Allen on April 16th, 2014 Our Rating: :: DISAPPOINTINGLY WEAKUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad The RollerCoaster Tycoon franchise finally comes to iOS, but it’s a rather... | Read more »
148Apps Live on Twitch: Pivvot’s Looper...
On our latest Twitch stream, we’ll be playing a pair of minimalist arcade games, one that just got a big content update in Pivvot, and another that was inspired by it in 15 Coins. Whitaker Trebella, creator of Pivvot, will discuss the new modes... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Microsoft Blinks – Drops Microsoft Office 365...
Microsoft has dropped the annual subscription fee for Microsoft Office 365 Personal – which is needed in order to create and edit documents in Microsoft Office for iPad. However, Apple’s iOS and OS X... Read more
New AVG Vault Apps for iOS and Android Help K...
AVG Technologies N.V. an online security company for 177 million active users, has announced the launch of its latest mobile application, AVG Vault. The free app introduces an innovative user... Read more
Free Local Carrot iPhone App Helps Find Fresh...
I love fresh vegetables. I’m not a vegan, although I was for several years in the 1980s, but fresh vegetables and other whole foods are still my dietary mainstays as a matter of taste rather than... Read more
Apple refurbished iPad Airs available startin...
Apple is now offering Certified Refurbished iPad Airs for up to $140 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free. The following Airs are available today: -... Read more
21-inch 2.7GHz iMac on sale for $1179, save $...
B&H Photo has the 21″ 2.7GHz iMac on sale for $1179 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $120 off MSRP. Add an iMac to your shopping cart, and B&H will offer an... Read more
Download our app, iTracx, for iOS and Android
MacPrices is proud to offer readers a free iOS app (iPhones, iPads, & iPod touch) and Android app (Google Play and Amazon App Store) called iTracx, which allows you to glance at today’s lowest... Read more
Education discounts shave up to $300 off the...
Purchase a new Mac at The Apple Store for Education and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free, and all... Read more
Save $50 on Mac mini Server
B&H Photo has the 2012 Mac mini Server on sale for $949 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $50 off MSRP. Read more
PhatWare’s “Ultimate Writing App For iOS” Ren...
PhatWare Corp. has announced it has renamed its new WritePro word processing app for iPhone and iPad: WritePad Pro. The decision to change the app’s name to leverages the strong brand awareness and... Read more
Full Resolution Photo Editor Tint Mint 1.0 Re...
California based independent developer, Jeffrey Sun, creator of the iOS app Modern Editor, has released Tint Mint, a new photography app for editing enthusiasts. The app costs a dollar, and it packs... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Manager - Apple (United Sta...
Job SummaryKeeping an Apple Store thriving requires a diverse set of leadership skills, and as a Manager, you're a master of them all. In the store's fast-paced, dynamic Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
*Apple* Retail - Market Leader - Cincinnati...
…challenges of developing individuals, building teams, and affecting growth across Apple Stores. You demonstrate successful leadership ability - focusing on excellence Read more
*Apple* Retail - Manager - SoHo - Apple (Uni...
Job SummaryKeeping an Apple Store thriving requires a diverse set of leadership skills, and as a Manager, you're a master of them all. In the store's fast-paced, dynamic Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** Every day, business customers come to the Apple Store to discover what powerful, easy-to-use Apple products can do for them. As a Business Leader, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.