Wednesday, October 19, 2005

geek now, or forever hold your peace

I have a computer stipend for my fellowship. I haven't used it yet because there is a machine on my office desk that does not appear to be needed/wanted by anyone else and which suits my desktop needs just fine. Accordingly, the obvious temptation is to use the stipend to buy a laptop. However, because I am always more tempted by the less obvious, I'm thinking about using the stipend to buy a tablet PC (specifically, this one). If you know anything about them and have opinions, let me know.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Geeks are indeed a-poppin'.

Looks like a cool toy.

Anonymous said...

Buy one of the new Apple PowerBooks and be happy. I saw a guy with a tablet PC lately, and he liked it, but it's not that much more convenient than a laptop in my opinion.

jeremy said...

I've given thought to buying an cheap Apple lately for fun, but I don't really feel like I can buy a PowerBook as a serious machine since I don't really want to start maintaining two sets of software licenses. Unless Windows emulation on the Mac has come farther than I realize.

lago said...

In my experience (corporate environments, not just personal use) ThinkPads are the most durable, consistently-performing laptops out there. If you're going to try a tablet, the ThinkPad is a good bet.

eszter said...

I see absolutely no reason as to why you would bother buying an Apple PowerBook given that you're not an Apple user (from what I understand) and you can probably achieve just as many things relevant to you at least as well on a good PC.

The IBM ThinkPad is definitely the way to go, in my opinion. I've had the X40 for over a year and a half and am very happy with it. I played around with the idea of getting one of those tablet PCs back when I was making this purchase, but I didn't find any models of interest (I think I read enough critical reviews that made me shy away from the idea). But that was almost two years ago. I don't think the ThinkPad series had one.

It's certainly intriguing. I don't know if you'll use the special features that much. Perhaps that's something to think about.

Anonymous said...

I haven't used the program in years, but I understand that the current release of VirtualPC is pretty good.

You'd probably enjoy the Mac, but I'm not sure what practical use you'd have for it. Unless you're thinking of picking up graphic design or video editing for supplemental income.

Cheap Apple? That's one of those relative terms.

May I recommend:
http://techabsorbed.com/News/Linux-Devices/Picotux---Smallest-Linux-Computer-in-The-World.html

Tom Bozzo said...

I side with the PowerBook camp, of course. All the cool kids use 'em! I carried a work-issued TP X-series in the pre-PowerBook days, which was nice enough, but didn't really have much of an advantage in effective travel weight.

The software transition cost is more of a one-time thing, unless there's some PC-only software upon which you are totally dependent that I don't know of. StataCorp, of course, loves the Mac, and I bet if you wrote them a nice letter they'd let you change platforms.

Anon 12:22 might note that the 12" PowerBook is is a few hundred dollars cheaper than the X41 Tablet (before educational discounts), which will buy a lot of software (esp. given educational discounts!) and even the 15"er is about the same price as a well-equipped X (which, though quite a bit lighter, is slower and much less well-equipped overall).

If you consider yourself locked-in, the X41 Tablet price premium is smaller than I expected.

Absolut said...

Google Earth is not available for Mac, that's one more reason not to bother with a switch.

Anonymous said...

Apple will be switching to Intel in some of its models soon. I don't know about their plans for PowerBooks, but if you're considering switching, better bone up. I use Apples and love them.

Tom Bozzo said...

Anon 12:53 makes a good point. It's expected that the Intel-based Macs will be able to run Windows natively for those so inclined. The G4-based portables are likely to go to Intel first, though it won't be for several months, if your computer stipend is use-it-or-lose it and your current laptop is chafing you.

Allen said...

I used a tablet PC on loan from our IT people for a month or so -- it's convenient, as it's small and easy to carry around, but I didn't find that I actually used the "tablet-specific" functions of it that much. Writing by hand with a stylus just isn't my preferred mode of computing -- I can type so much faster.

The keyboard is awfully cramped on one of those, too.

jeremy said...

ibm laptop total functional life in my care...9 months... apple powerbook? still going. i'd not buy another ibm, esp. since it is lenovo now.... as for licenses, i am far happier with the software and o.s. that i have on the mac. i don't use mcsoft software much at all anymore, no point, as it is mostly buggy and crashprone... and there is plenty of freeware available that does what i need. as a technology professional, my current line is, 'unless there is specific software that only runs on windows that you need, don't buy windows'... usually i've found that people want to play games that are windows only... so that resolves that.

lago said...

Regarding the IBM->Lenovo thing, most of the manufacturing of ThinkPads has been done in the Shenzhen facility for the last several years anyway, although some assembly, repair and refurbishing is done by Solectron. Lenovo is a US$13 billion-with-a-B-per year company that has long-term agreements in place with IBM and, more importantly, with IBM's really big strategic partners. I guess I don't understand Commenter Jeremy's concern that ThinkPads will somehow now be less attractive or less high-quality now that a Chinese company has their name on the building.

Anonymous said...

Not to suggest that author-of-this-blog-Jeremy has a monopoly on the Jeremy name, but could commenters who are not the authors of this blog but are called Jeremy please add something in their sig to distinguish themselves? It's a bit confusing to read the thread otherwise. Thanks!