Skip to main content
A cartoon depiction of the author, wearing a hoodie and smiling

Hey kid, I'm a computer

I’m back in Northwest Indiana after almost two weeks away. I left my iMac here rather than bringing it down to Indianapolis since I was only there May 15-17 and May 26. Before I left I synced up my iPhone with the latest podcasts and made sure that Things Touch was synced to Things Desktop properly. I had my work laptop, which has a Firefox profile with links to my standard bookmarks (Twitter, Tumblr, Google Reader, Instapaper, LJ, Hype Machine, and NeoGAF) and standard extensions so my web browsing experience was intact.

But it still wasn’t a suitable replacement. If I come across a wallpaper image or an mp3 I want to save, I still do that on my computer, so it gets left in Instapaper for two weeks. Things Touch isn’t a replacement for the desktop app. Managing multiple items and moving things from category to category is so much easier on the desktop version, not to mention typing a quick task on the keyboard being so much less of a hassle when I’m sitting in front of a keyboard over 75% of most days anyway. I can’t easily check for new podcasts, since iTunes enables that with one click whereas the iPhone app requires you to go to each podcast’s page to check for new episodes (I now have almost 75 new items queued up in iTunes to download on my extremely slow DSL connection). I left some text files on my Desktop that I couldn’t get to because I don’t have an SSH connection set up. I thought of an album that I wanted to have either on my iPhone or on a CD so that Gretchen and I could listen to it on our way up to visit her family for Memorial Day weekend.

When I’m on a real vacation, a lot of this stuff doesn’t matter. I try to stay away from the time-wasting portions of the internet, I try not to get caught up in managing tasks, and well I guess I’d still have the huge queue of podcasts left to download when I got back but in general I don’t think about this stuff. Having just spent this time traveling but living my life, going to work, coming back in the evening, sitting around, browsing the internet, I found myself really wishing my iMac was a Macbook instead.

Overall it’s probably a dumb wish, to switch to a laptop next time I buy a new computer (which is still a number of years away anyway). My iTunes library is too big, so it would live on an external drive, and that’s a pain in the ass. I don’t go traveling often anyway, so it wouldn’t really matter that often.  But man, it would have been nice to have a piece of home last week like the kind I felt when I sat back down at my computer tonight and my brain started flying— queueing up downloads, noting the location of text files and projects and in general seeing so much more data at once than I can on the iPhone screen, clearing out inboxes in Gmail and Instapaper and It’s pretty pathetic to admit but totally true that doing this stuff for half an hour left me feeling so much more at ease than I have felt in quite a while.