The Ideal Setup

The Ideal Setup

What does my, The Ideal Setup look like? I’m unsure. Certain technological baubles inspire me. The first Palm Pilot. The first phone I plugged into a handheld, that was cool. I added a camera to it, as well. Smart phones before there was such a moniker. Before that, the very first portable laptop. My first Mac laptop was a PowerBook 145, which I still have – for strictly sentimental reasons.

The other laptop that I cherished so, partially from its design and construction alone? An Apple Titanium PowerBook. I, quite literally, wore the finish off it in places. While the succeeding aluminum ones were more powerful, had cameras, more stuff, that original Titanium PowerBook was such a masterful piece of work. Slim, hard case, the 15-inch monitor was flat against the case, and that PowerBook held a CD drive. I don’t think it had a burner, and the wireless was a little weak due to the metal case. Still, it weighed well-under five pounds. Coolest accessory I got for it? Timbuk2 shoulder bag, (waxed) canvas. Other really cool accessory? I had a slim piece of leather sized just right, which I would lay over the keys, so the keyboard wouldn’t leave an imprint on the screen.

That laptop was a road warrior workhorse, lasting almost three years, in an era of plastic laptops that lasted days or weeks, at best. That one, I got up to, over, 5 years of use out of it, as I recall. Still have it, too.

I was thinking about what would be The Ideal Setup, because much of the work I do now can be handled on a laptop, or even a tablet. Perhaps, one day, do it all on a phone.

    One of the more interesting articles (I couldn’t seem to find at the moment) suggested that the iPhone 6 Plus might replace some of the laptops, tablets and so forth, for some people. Portable, big enough for some heavy online lifting, and with the right apps? It could just work. Not for me, but for some follks, I’m sure it would be the choice, replace an iTablet and an iPhone with just a large phone.

I’m not there yet, for sure, doing it all on a phone. I recall, the exact instance, I was in the land between the Washington State’s Pacific Coast and Seattle. I wanted to check in for a flight, grab that early boarding postion. My phone buzzed as a 24-hour alert, and, waiting in line to board a ferry, I logged in, grabbed the boarding passes.

    Should note, there’s now an app for that.

It was some years ago that I moved to “laptop only” kind of work enviromment, but living in a trailer park in South Austin sort necessitated that kind of lifestyle, it was as much for space as anything else. I’m worrying through the details now, trying to wrestle the idea and thoughts to the page, to see if I can build up what might be best for me.

I loved that Titanium PowerBook, and when I left town for work, it would go with me. I practically slept with it when I traveled, with one European trip quite remarkable, as there were four cameras, and the little laptop would read all of them, no filters, no anything, just plug the various cameras in, and grab the pictures. Cool.

As I travel less, and most frequently, it’s just one of the local events, I wonder if I would want to leave a laptop with “everything on it,” right there.

So building the perfect setup? Imagining what it would look like? For the time being, and until further notice, I still need the computing horsepower of laptop, although, to be fair, for a couple of years, I did use an Apple Air, but the hinge eventually quit working – after 5 years. Think it was a buddy’s three-year old who did it in, really. While the Air was good, it wasn’t the “be all,” although, it was easy to carry. I have a nice monitor, and an aging iMac, so fast, maybe a newer – fast – MacBook Pro would work, but it would have to have at least a 1 terabyte drive and those aren’t all flash yet. Maybe they are, but the price has to be a little much. And that’s not entirely necessary, the Solid State Drive.

From the good, old days, I had a system, as soon as I pulled in from the road, plugged in the laptop computer, then later, when the wireless things connected automatically, it would just start backing up the laptop. For many years, I carried my accounting, client files, websites, everything on the laptop. With photos – and music – though, these days, might be a bit much. Still, the idea that the laptop has everything is appealing.

The biggest problem I can see is a laptop walking out of a hotel room, and not with me. Makes me leery of a single setup like that, anymore.

It’s not that I don’t mind losing a day’s work, and one Mercury Retrograde, that happened. A weekend of charts, readings and so forth, lost. Not a big one, though. Better lost than in the wrong hands.

I ran out of blank CDs last month, and I’ve yet to buy more. A few years ago, I was paying so little as ten cents a piece for those, and that’s a good price. These days, I’m hard pressed to find them for much under $20 per 100, and, anymore, the rent cars all have iPod/phone jacks, so I don’t need a CD for music, anymore.

Other folks have managed this kind of shift, but I haven’t figured it all out yet.

My average yearly column runs well over 100K words, which chokes everything but a dedicated word processor. None of the “WordPress” apps seem robust enough to handle what goes into one of my weekly columns, either. Web interface works fine on a laptop, though.

In an interesting turn, perhaps a natural evolutionary spin, as I mentioned, I ran out of CD blanks almost a month ago, and I’ve yet to purchase more. Some years back, I was thrilled to find them on sale, 100 blanks for $9.95. I experienced a failure rate as high as 3% in that 100 blanks, but at that price? Worth it. Well worth it.

For over a month now, I’ve been meaning to burn a playlist to a CD for the nice people I work with at the Rock Shop in Austin, and so far, no blanks. Good intentions, anyway.

All the venues I’m working these days, with a possible exception in San Antonio itself, I have easy access and I can upload a client’s mp3 of the reading almost as quick as we’re done.

I still can’t imagine what The Sweet Setup really looks like, yet.