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!

Review ~ The Simple Truth: BP’s Macondo Blowout

“Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.” ~ Monty Python

“Nobody expects a novel about the Deepwater Horizon explosion to be reviewed on a vampire-themed blog.” ~ Daven Anderson

Amazon ~ The Simple Truth: BP’s Macondo Blowout

April 15, 1912: The Titanic
April 20, 2010: The Deepwater Horizon.

Two infamous sea disasters that we must keep in our collective consciousness, and from which we must study the lessons, to insure the safety of future generations yet unborn.

When James Cameron set forth to make the R.M.S. Titanic’s tale come alive on the screen, he chose “faction”, a fact-based fiction approach. Cameron’s fictional characters Jack and Rose were always in the “right place at the right time” (more so than any real individual survivors of the Titanic) to tell the most complete story possible about the ill-fated vessel and the hundreds of souls aboard.

In this book, John Turley takes the same approach. Mr. Turley is a retired petroleum engineer with many years of oil-rig experience, so he knew how to create fictional characters who would be in the right place, at the right time, asking the right questions. Specifically, Jessica Pherma, the rig’s geologist. Jessica is the “Rose” asking Thomas Andrews about the lifeboat capacity, only more so. Jessica has access to the highest levels of the rig’s administration, yet she can logically ask the same questions you, the general reader, would ask. Jessica, and all of her experiences in the story, perfectly illustrate Turley’s masterful command of blending fact and fiction into “faction”.

One paragraph in this novel brilliantly illustrated all the reasons why Jessica chose a career in geology, only to find all of those reasons being negated by her presence on the Deepwater Horizon on that fateful evening. This paragraph was a stunning insight into the basic character of what shapes our humanity, never mind that it’s “fiction”.

Make no mistake, this story can get a bit technical at times. Fortunately, Mr. Turley went to great effort to insure that you can choose how far you wish to delve into the technology behind the story. Extensive footnotes and diagrams allow you to dive in as deep as you wish, or you can skip them and stay with the main story. Accessing the supplementary material is in fact easier on the Kindle than it is in the paper book.

Movie producers, take note. If anyone wishes to make a film about the Deepwater Horizon, you should use this book as the base. We all know how successful Cameron’s “right place at the right time” characters Jack and Rose were in making the story of the Titanic come alive for the audience. Turley’s composite characters Jessica, Barry, Tanker, and Daylight succeed as much (or more so) than Jack and Rose did in making the events of a large-scale marine disaster accessible, immediate and moving to the general audience.

John Turley has succeeded in telling the story of the Deepwater Horizon in a dramatic style that will appeal to readers of general fiction, while simultaneously giving you access to the essential, simple truths behind the oversights and general arrogance that led to this disaster. Imagine what a book about the Titanic would have been like if it had been written by the Captain of the Olympic. For the Deepwater Horizon, you don’t have to imagine such a novel. It’s right here, on this Amazon page.

The world needs more people like John Turley, to record for posterity the simple truths behind the large-scale disasters, and present them in a fashion people can enjoy reading while they learn those important lessons.


review by Daven Anderson, author of Vampire Syndrome

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