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A laptop alone doesn’t cut it

My desktop PC failed on me this weekend, bad. I figured I could just do the work I was planning on my laptop but I quickly realized I need a desktop for certain tasks.

All computers are not created equally

The first thing my PC decided to do was explode the video card. Thankfully this is a cheap thing to fix but as I was debugging with a backup video card, it looks like some malware has gotten the best of my machine, unfortunately not always an easy fix. But the real problem is I wanted to do some web work this weekend and when I tried to do so on my laptop it just felt…weird. Maybe it’s because I’ve been programming and designing on desktop boxes all my life, it’s weird. I know a computer is a computer but even when my laptop is more or less docked with external keyboard and mouse I move as a snail’s pace.

Maybe it’s my internal nerd sense me not to overload my laptop with the same crap my desktop has. I look at my laptop as a “lite” desktop, it’s main purpose is to be a nice big internet machine that can play a few games. At one point I thought a laptop would let me do my development in places other than my home office but I can’t even do that. I can write blog posts all day on my couch and kitchen table, but when it comes to hunkering down and getting some programming done, that just doesn’t work.

I know this is all more or less mental but I’m just gonna go with it. A $30 video card and a re-install of Windows can solve all of my problems without having to put my brain through the anguish of change.


  1. Shawn Shawn May 9, 2011

    I’ve been a laptop user since 2006 and I really don;t miss being tethered to a desk – my laptop is a desktop replacement and if I want a more traditional interface I have a keyboard, mouse and monitor I can connect it to.. a tool is just a tool.(or is that I’m just a tool? I’m never sure…)

  2. Andrew Andrew May 9, 2011

    I’d agree with Shawn. I bought a laptop as a desktop replacement and gaming rig and have never looked back. I don’t want a boat anchor to be tied to all the time for gaming or development. Have the wireless keyboard/mouse and extra monitors to grab when I need them.

    This goes for my personal development, as well as work.

  3. Brian Brian May 9, 2011

    That’s the thing, I know a tool is just a tool…at least I thought so until I tried to go all-laptop and it just didn’t fly. I guess it’s because I see my desktop as a computer that got junked up and loaded with all sorts of stuff and I don’t want my laptop to end up that way. I want my laptop to be the “clean” computer. I don’t mind if I have to do a re-install on my desktop…on my laptop, that’s another story.

  4. Jared Cherup Jared Cherup May 13, 2011

    I have a desktop , and a laptop. I don’t ever see a change. My desktop is my work/gaming computer. If I want to sit down and write something, edit photos, edit video, etc. I could do these on a laptop, but the price of raw power goes WAY up. Plus without a docking solution it would be a lot of plugging in cords etc. My desktop is also my server. Redundant backups, always on, and houses all my media, creations, etc. I consider myself a power user and not normal, but I couldn’t switch to a laptop full time.

    My laptop is an accessory to my desktop. I can do work on it. But the magic happens on the desktop. Having an area dedicated to work helps with distractions.

  5. Brian Brian Post author | May 13, 2011

    Exactly! Well stated, Jared. The laptop is an accessory to my desktop. My desktop is the Death Star and my laptop a mere Star Destroyer.

  6. Shawn Shawn May 18, 2011

    I imagine if I had the space and money I might be able to be that way. Unfortunately, I have 27 kids to feed and 1000 miles a day to drive back and forth to work at $57 a gallon gas prices. Instead I just game/edit/write/work and watch all on my $1500 laptop rather than a $600 laptop and $800 desktop.

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