12 June 2007

Mobile computing—do I need it?

Whether or not I need it, I have it now. With an upcoming freelance translation job, I need to have easy access to a computer to be able to complete translations quickly for at least a couple hours a day while on a road trip. In addition, I need to have the ability to connect to the Internet in WiFi hotspots or in hotel rooms that have broadband in order to verify information on French Canadian Web sites and to check online French language resources when I hit the occasional translation bump.

Shopping in the electronic stores was in order. Doubtful that I would find anything within my budget or that wouldn’t devour my potential earnings, I stumbled across a clearance sale. When I was able to find a well equipped, dual-processor multimedia computer that would leave me more than two thirds of my upcoming paycheck for the job, I bought the Toshiba Satellite. It took a short while to configure, mostly to delete all the bloatware I don’t want and to install the handful of applications that are useful to me.

Although I considered a switch to Mac, I have to stay within my budget. Besides the cost, right now is just not a good time for me to change platforms though I do understand it’s easier than ever to do. What frustrates me about Mac is its price tag. Why is it so high? Even budget computers from Apple are outside my price range while I have other debts like my car and my credit card balance. Eventually, I’ll own the kind of Mac I want, but this interim Vista-based computer is very nice. For the most part it can do everything I need when I’m on the road. If it works out well, I may switch entirely to laptop computing and wave goodbye to my desktop the next time I upgrade my computer.

One thing is certain, despite the “bazillion” updates I had to install for this brand new operating system, Vista works far better as the native operating system on a new machine than it did as an upgrade to my older but well equipped desktop. With 20/20 hindsight, I see that I should have left my desktop running XP Media Center and waited until I needed the laptop computer to upgrade.

My next goal for home and mobile computing is to get my wireless router installed. Then I will be able to work in the living room. My boyfriend John will be glad to know I’m using the rest of the apartment rather than staying holed up in the bedroom with infrequent trips to the kitchen or laundry room. At least then I’ll make better use of the widescreen TV and the TiVo.

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