Categories
Devices Mobile Tech

When your iPad is your computer

The recent iPad updates are pretty interesting. I wouldn’t consider using an iPad as my primary computer for various reasons. At the same time, I can see the latest iPad, along with the keyboard and mouse (?) support as a primary computer for people with pretty straightforward or general requirements.

iPads are like netbooks

In many ways, the iPad seems to be in that place laptops were in back when they were under-powered netbooks, and weren’t quite at a stage where they could act as desktop replacements, like they commonly are now.

Simon Woods has been exploring this option over at Micro.blog too

I wonder if I would be able to avoid the PC chores even if I went with MacBook Air instead of iPad Pro, and just keep the Mac super lightweight. 🤔

Simon Woods

If you’re looking for a lightweight setup, then something like a MacBook Air (or similar lightweight laptop using another OS) is a good choice. Sure, it lacks the portability, and convenience of a tablet, but it makes up for that in support for more apps, and use cases.

On this topic, I enjoyed Marques Brownlee’s review too –

The Linux option

One option I’d love to see is an iPad-like tablet that runs a Linux distro like Ubuntu. It would need to have really good touchscreen support that enables you to use the UI with similar fluidity, and also support external peripherals so you could have a desktop experience when you need it.

I doubt we’re far from that sort of experience either. It could be a really interesting iPad alternative because it could offer more of a desktop experience (with all the app choices that brings) on more portable hardware, and using an OS that can support lower powered hardware.

I haven’t used Microsoft’s Surface devices, but they seems to be pretty capable already, so perhaps the future has already arrived, just for Microsoft users.


Reasons

I wouldn’t use an iPad as my primary computer for a couple reasons:

  1. I prefer using a different browser, multiple browsers even, and you’re basically limited to Safari for your browser experience on iOS (I understand that even if you install other browsers, Safari is basically the underpinning of other browsers too).
  2. I need more flexibility when it comes to apps than iOS would offer me. I don’t think that the apps I’d want to use there are available.

Still, I feel like it could be pretty close to meeting general, daily requirements.

Categories
Devices Useful stuff

Switch your family to Ubuntu Linux, it may be less confusing than Windows

As my family knows, I clearly prefer Linux over Windows, and if we didn’t have the option of using macOS computers, we’d be using Linux, likely Ubuntu.

With that in mind, I enjoyed Simon Frey’s post “How switching my parents over to Linux saved me a lot of headache and support calls“, partly because I switched my mother over to a Linux machine briefly, a couple years ago –

As I am a happy Linux user for over a decade now, I asked myself if it would be a good idea to switch my parents away from Win 10 to a GNU/Linux (I will call it only Linux during the rest of the post. Sorry Richard 😉 ) based system.

I did that and now 2 years later I still think it was a good idea: I have the peace of mind, that their data is kinda safe and they also call me less often regarding any technical issues with the system. (Yes, Win 10 confused them more than Ubuntu does).

Simon Frey

Sure, Windows comes typically comes preinstalled on computers you buy at your local retailer. At the same time, it’s worth opting for something different for various reasons. Simon’s post nicely explains his approach to switching his parents over.

I especially like how he first acclimated them to alternative apps that they’d use on Ubuntu while still using Windows –

Try to not overwhelm them with to much new interfaces at once. Use a step by step solution.

So first of all, keep them on their current system and help them to adapt to FLOSS software that will be their main driver on the Linux later on.

I know a few people in my family who could do everything they need to do with Ubuntu installed on their computers (and likely have far fewer issues, too).

Image credit: A Screenshot of the Latest Ubuntu Desktop (Ubuntu 18.04 LTS) by Mrsinghparmar, licensed CC BY-SA 4.0

Categories
Design Devices Miscellany Photography

Colourful computer history

I love James Ball’s colourful photographic history of computers.

These machines are grossly under-powered compared to the devices we use today. Still, they’re a wonderful reminder of how far we’ve come, and what lies ahead for us in technological terms. This Telefunken RA770 (circa 1970) is one of my favourites:

Via The Stylish & Colorful Computing Machines of Yesteryear by Jason Kottke

Categories
Science and nature

[Video] Writing the software for our computer brains

If you’re interested in the notion that our brains are computers then watch this recent talk titled “If Brains are Computers, Who Designs the Software?” by Daniel Dennett at the Royal Institute:

You can read more about this lecture on the Royal Institute website.