Desktop Versus Laptop

I have thought about the pros and cons of desktops and laptops for decades and the debate rages on.  So today I’d like to discuss the differences here in a completely fair, balanced, and unbiased fashion.

Desktop Pros:

Desktops are generally cheaper than laptops.  Unless you count Chrome Books in the laptops category.  Or look at super high end gaming computers.  Suffice it to say that desktops are cheaper than laptops except for when they’re not.

Desktops are easy to tinker with.  You can open up a desktop computer and swap components or rearrange the interior cabling or store Red Bull’s inside them.  But if you’re the sort of person who likes to take computers apart but can never get them put back together correctly then maybe the ability to dismantle your computer isn’t a good thing.

Desktops are actually very portable.  As a teenager and while I was in my twenties I would regularly take my desktop computer to friends houses to play multiplayer games with them.  That’s not entirely necessary these days with the internet fad being in full swing.  But the point is that it’s entirely possible to put your desktop computer in your car, drive somewhere else, remove it from your car and reassemble it in a new location.  Then play video games on it with your friends until after midnight and do the whole thing in reverse to take it home.  Although I’ll say the whole process was a bit easier when I was younger.  Maybe computers are starting to weigh more?  They sure feel heavier than they did when I was twenty.

Desktop Cons:

There aren’t any cons.  Desktop computers are great.

Laptop Pros:

Portability.  If you want to take your tiny computer into a public restroom and video conference with your mom while you’re on the toilet then a laptop is for you!

A laptop can be placed under the leg of a table to help steady it if one of the legs is shorter than the others.

Laptops are excellent for hitting people upside the head.  That’s risky though as you may damage the laptop.

Laptop Cons:

Laptops are tiny little computers with tiny little screens and tiny little processors and tiny little hard drives that you can’t easily open up to repair or upgrade and they cost too much.

They are dumb.

The Conclusion:

In conclusion I think you’ll find that my data is impeccable, the analysis was fair and based on sound reasoning.  And that the clear winner is the desktop.  Now if you want to buy a laptop because it’s portable then you certainly should do that, but I will not be accepting video conferencing requests from you.

The Computer/Harmonica Similarity

I don’t care for the harmonica.  It’s fine if you like it, that’s great.  But the sound it makes doesn’t appeal to me.  So all my life there’s been this group of people learning and playing the harmonica and I’ve felt like they were wasting their time.  When I was a child there were adults who felt the same way about computers, they were not interested in computers AT ALL and they wondered why anybody wasted their time on them.

People who weren’t interested in computers in the 90’s must have felt like the world suddenly decided that playing the harmonica was an important job skill.  Suddenly something they didn’t care about was a big deal.  A lot of young people who thought computers were cool had already amassed all this useful computer knowledge and skill for fun.  And now older workers weren’t being praised for their decades of job experience they were being chastised for not knowing how to email.  It must have been very frustrating for them.  I imagine my boss telling me, “You’re good at your job but if you can’t play Yanky Doodle Dandy on the harmonica I’m going to fire you and hire somebody who can.”

Those people are still around.  These are the people who print out all their important documents and put them in folders and filling cabinets.  And you tell them, “It’s saved on the server.  The server is backed up every night so it’s safe.  Everything there is searchable.  It’s easily shared with anybody in the company you want to share it to.  Or you can protect it so nobody see’s it but you.  You don’t need a filling cabinet.”  And they respond, “I don’t trust the computer.  It might break.”  And you go on to list all the ways the printed out piece of paper might get lost, stolen, spilled on, burned up or become unreadable and they don’t care.  All the things that can go wrong with their sheet of paper are things they understand and have spent a lifetime learning to protect against.  The computer is a mystery, from their point of view literally ANYTHING could happen to it.   A computer virus could turn all their files to jelly.  So that’s scary, the unknown is scary.

Working in I.T. I get frustrated by them sometimes.  They get angry because their boss wants them to use Skype for a meeting and they’d rather drive to the building the meeting is happening at.  And you show up to install Skype and suddenly you’re also teaching it too them and you’re thinking to yourself, “I learned how to use skype, on my own, like ten years ago.  What is even happening right now?  I’m explaining that it’s like a phone but on the computer?  What sin did I commit for which this is my punishment?”  And then they refuse to enable to camera because “Communists might spy on me.” and you tell their boss that you installed it and showed them how to log in.  Whether they enable the dang video mode in the meeting or not is beyond your control.

But then I think, “What if somebody showed up at my desk to teach me how to do something I don’t like, don’t want, and don’t think I need?  What if they showed up to teach me the harmonica.  What if the company spent hundreds of thousands of dollars buying everybody harmonica’s and was forcing me to play it every day?  How would that make me feel?”  Obviously you and I know that there are very good reasons and benefits to using computers over typewriters and filing cabinets while there is no good reason to force an entire company to learn the harmonica.  But from the point of view of people who hate computers it feels the same to them.  They honestly don’t know why or believe that computers offer any benefit.  So I think they feel the same about computers as I feel about harmonicas.  So to empathize with them I imagine company enforced harmonica lessons.

And that helps me relax and to be kind and gentle with the users.  It helps me empathize with them.  It reminds me that while I don’t enjoy teaching somebody how to add an attachment to their email (I was doing that twenty years ago people!) they probably hate it even more than I do.  And that shared unhappiness is a bonding moment between us.