Rise Of The Gearheads

Kirsten Lamb, from “Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World“:
“Ten years ago, no one cared if a fiction author gardened, was a gourmet cook or a wine aficionado who loved Golden Retrievers”
‘Consumers want authenticity. They long to connect on mutual ground. They get excited when they realize their favorite author also loves dogs and collects My Little Ponies”
“What this means is that all those hobbies, passions and idiosyncrasies that had no value before are now a priceless friendship chest”
THIS is why I want to have a book signing at the Mile-High Nationals next July.
To go where no author has gone before.
To say, “I’m a gear-head, I’m one of you. I love the smell of burning nitro from a Top Fuel dragster. I know the difference between a Boss 302 and a Shelby GT-500. I’m not a Stephen King who will say Christine’s Hydra-Matic pops out of park when I’ve known for decades that a 1958 Plymouth has a push-button Torque-Flite transmission. I have written what is most likely the first book any of you will ever read that has NO CAR MISTAKES, yet it is far more than that. It is a real and moving story about a young man with special needs overcoming challenges that threaten his very existence, without all of the saccharine sentimentality normally sugar-coating such books. I have all the visceral thrills of the Fast and Furious, but in my story’s heart beats the life of a young man who defies all the odds to win the hard-earned respect of his community. It is my highest honor to be here at the Mile-High Nationals, with my fellow gear-heads, as the first published author to be hosted here.”
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The drowning laptop and Steve Jobs

Laptops and iced tea do not get along, as I found out last Thursday night. Another “desktop-replacement” now consigned to Davy Jones’ locker.

So now I send you this missive from the old desktop that was replaced in theory, if not in practice.

“Grandpa box” though it may be, the desktop has all too many advantages over the laptop. One of which would be if I were to spill water on this keyboard, I’d be out $5 in the worst case (assuming the keyboard wouldn’t be just fine after drying out). And I have a couple of spare click-clack keyboards in my parts pile, anyway. I would just Keep Calm And Carry On, as they say in “The Tube.”

Want to add an extra 4TB hard drive, swap out your dead DVD burner or your video card? No problem on your desktop. A screwdriver and a few minutes; you’re back in business. New 25″ LED monitor? Just plug it in.

The (sole) advantage of a laptop is portability.

My little mishap forced me to re-examine whether I really need a “desktop-replacement”. Turns out, I really do not. If I was living out of a suitcase, resting my head on different motels’ pillows every night, then yes I would need a big laptop.

Why don’t I need to replace my laptop?

One word: Tablet.

When Steve Jobs first bandied about the iPad, I must admit that I was one of the skeptics. Not anymore. At least not about the purpose of tablets. The iPad itself, well there are these things called MicroSD cards that Apple appears not to have heard about, which ensured my money would be handed to an Android. “72GB” Android (8GB + 64GB MicroSD), all for less than a 16GB iPad 3 … 😉

Facebook, e-mail, YouTube, all on my Android. Dragging a laptop to the coffee shop is like walking a St. Bernard in comparison.

And, in an irony Steve Jobs may never have considered, made my desktop sensible again. My desktop has many advantages over the laptop, and so does the tablet. So, for myself and many others, tablet plus desktop cancels out the laptop. A laptop alone has no big advantages over the desktop-tablet pairing, and many disadvantages.

Yes, Steve Jobs, you were correct. Ironically, in a way that matches the old gear-head ethos. “A dedicated single-purpose tool is always better than a multi-purpose tool.” The tablet is the most convenient for content consumption and the desktop is the still the best for content generation.

I never thought I would even suggest that the venerable laptop is now obsolete for all but the most nomadic travelers, but as Walter Cronkite always signed off, “that’s the way it is.”

Update: I repaired the laptop and it’s running faster than ever!