Monday, April 2, 2012

I Miss My Desktop

As regular readers of this blog know, we moved recently. And by recently, I mean in mid-February, so about a month and a half ago. That meant that prior to the move, my desktop computer was boxed up. I think it spent a total of about four weeks in boxes until we finally were able to move in and begin settling in our things.

Inevitably, there were roadblocks.

First, our Internet didn't work. Then it worked but I had to get wireless antannae for my computer and the kids' computer. Then everything worked and it was bliss. For about two weeks. Then the furnace guys came and, of course, my desk was in their way. So the computer and desk got moved and I am, once again, sans desktop.

Not the end of the world, obviously. I'm on the kids' computer right now, slouching painfully to get down on their little desk. My computer is still out of commission, doing little more than acting as a print server right now. Maybe in another week -- once the furnace guys are done and I've done the drywall necessary in the basement to hide their handiwork -- I'll get my desktop back.

In the meantime, I'm mobile.

We're a mobile family. That seems odd, considering the screeds I've written here about my disdain for tablet computers. But as my wife has an iPad 2, as I have a Kindle Fire, as we both have iPod Touches, it was inevitable that I'd be turned around on the subject.

But not completely.

Text entry on even the largish iPad is a pain, even with the wireless keyboard my wife got for her device. It's not a full keyboard and is missing some keys in strategic places, making it cumbersome for touch typists such as ourselves. Given the limitations of keyboard entry on tablets, I'm worried that a generation is going to pass wherein they do not learn to touch type, which would be a shame if they weren't so damn fast at texting. I suppose that's the touch typing for a new generation -- except you can't text type on a tablet -- it's too big. There, you have to hunt and peck.

I recall, in junior high school, being fairly fast at hunt and peck. But after taking a typing class in high school -- yes, a full-blown typing course, on electronic typewriters no less -- I learned that hunting and pecking has its limitations when speed is needed. I know it's fun once and a while to wow the people out at work with how fast I can type -- and compared to the best touch-typists, I'm painfully slow. (I can manage about 70 wpm, which is anemic at best.)

But it's not just the typing that makes me miss my desktop.

Screen size, that's another thing. I love this big screen, even though it's still relatively tiny. It's about four times as big as the screen on my Kindle Fire, so I don't have to squint with my now 40-year-old eyes. (Yeah, I'm a fossil. Will dissolve into oil any day now.) And as handy as pinching and spreading is for magnifying and demagnifying my tablet screen text, I still cherish being able to see everything at once.

Getting on of those laser keyboards for my Kindle, now that would be interesting. Then I'd have to get a stand. Maybe a mouse, because who wants to keep poking at the screen when I'm typing? Oh. I have a setup like that. At least I will, when the furnace guys finish.

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