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New 'Puter, part next

December 15th, 2012 (05:02 pm)

Just some more thoughts on moving to an Android tablet from a Windows laptop. I've now been using it for around a week, I guess, and I'm finding that there are some definite plusses and minuses, and some differences that are neither positive nor negative. On the minus side, I do run into things I just can't do. I can't see any flash video, or let my kids play flash games. If I had a computer, even one that mostly just took up space, I could pull up ones that really seemed interesting. This isn't really a strong negative, but it's an annoyance. Sometimes it's even a plus, because it keeps me from getting too distracted. My understanding is that there is no effort any longer to make flash work on android or iOS, so that's more or less a permanent thing. There are other things i find, though. Some websites force you to use their mobile sites if you connect using a tablet, and the mobile site is, by design, more stripped down. It has fewer options, so that it can take less space to load, and not use up your precious data allotment. I have a WIFI only device (that was a requirement I put on it) so I am never worried about data limits with it. I haven't tried to connect to the internet via my cellphone yet 9because I am running dangerously close to the data limit just now) but I know I could, if I needed to. Similarly, there are some websites that don't play well with android. I was used to this on Windows, used to needing multiple browsers, but there is one site I need to connect with regularly that doesn't work in any browser but explorer. How do I use that on an android device?
On the plus side, I love the size. I have been lugging a laptop around for roughly five years. It gets old. My most recent laptop bag was a backpack because most motorcycle saddlebags won't fit a laptop, but i always felt a little unbalanced riding with it. It wasn't enough to make riding dangerous, but it did take some of the pleasure out of riding. This device (which is currently nameless) is in a camera bag, because all the tablet bags were just a little too small for my keyboard, but it still is a bag that will fit in most motorcycle saddlebags. Of course, that means it looks like I am carrying a medium-sized purse around with me, but that's a non-issue to me. That what I am and what people think I am don't always match up is something I have just learned to accept, so what's one more. If I am somewhere with limited space, I can pull out the tablet without the keyboard, and work that way. Sometimes I enter quick notes on my phone instead, if even my tablet seems too bulky. For short notes, Everyone is my location of choice, so it really doesn't matter where I write it. On a similar note, I am finding that the smaller size is fantastic when it is time to work in a public space, like a restaurant or coffee shop. It takes up almost no table space, and has great flexibility in how I set it up, so I an not worried about having room for my food. Also, with the tablet on it's stand, the only thing that will be damaged by a spilled drink on the table is the keyboard, which was only $70, and which could be replaced with any other Bluetooth keyboard.
I'm also finding I like how responsive it is. With no boot-up time, and the ability to flip between open apps, it really is pretty quick to use. I also love having my screen in portrait mode while writing. It's just a more natural way to see a screen, and it's pretty hard to do with a laptop.
There are some differences that are neither good not bad, just different. Using a touchscreen instead of a touchpad is an adjustment, but it is one that was likely to have to happen sooner or later, just like I got used to using a touchpad instead of a mouse when I switched to a laptop, or got used to GUI when I switched away from text-based OSs. Also, autocorrect is a much greater presence on my new device than it ever was on my laptop. Almost everywhere I can type has autocorrect turned on by default, and there is a reason DamnYouAutocorrect is a real website. OTOH, since I regularly scan back through my typing for spelling errors, it's not hard to catch these too, and sometimes autocorrect speeds things up, especially on long words, where it acts like a text predictor. A different neutral change is that the distractions are different. If I have less ability to randomly view flash videos, and some other content doesn't always load right, I have access to apps that I couldn't install on a laptop (I have a maze one that is a real time-waster). In all, I guess it shows that when I want to let myself be distracted from being productive, I can always find a way.
There are some things I am learning. ESC is the back button. I didn't know it, and it's nice sometimes to be able to press back from my keyboard instead of my device. Typing is almost always more effective with the keyboard, because I can navigate the text field more effectively to correct errors. Bluetooth is not a good way to transfer files from my phone to my tablet (that surprised me). The only profile supported on that connection is using my phone as an internet connection.
All in all, the longer I use my new computer, the more comfortable I am with it. I think that will continue to be true. I think this really will be the next step in the evolution of the computer, and I think it will probably last through about two devices for me.

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