Monday, July 14, 2008

My New Laptop computer.

I finally broke down and bought a laptop. For years I have stayed away from these diabolical beasts. My reasons were simple: I hate the keyboards!

For years now, we have known it was physically possible to miniaturize computer components, and build a really tiny system. But, there has always been the one snag---fat fingers. The keyboard has been scrunched down just as far as possible. If we want the systems to be any smaller, but still be usable, then we’ll have to clone a human with really skinny fingers.

I have been in the computer business since 1963, so I have seen lots of computer systems, some very successful and others abject failures. For example, anyone who was working with small computer systems in the early 1980’s will remember the “transportables.” Radio Shack and Kaypro built models of these. They looked like a small suitcase, and weighed about 30 pounds. The case opened to reveal a keyboard built into one side and a small video screen on the other. There were two 5 ¼ inch floppy disks, and a long power cord. These were not true portables—they required a power outlet. Hence the name—transportable. They could “easily” be moved to different locations. To be truly portable would have required a little red wagon full of heavy batteries. But these were the progenitors of our laptops.

It was a physical problem that finally convinced me to really try a laptop. I developed a stiff neck. Not only was my neck stiff, it was painful to turn my head very far. My friendly Doctor and I tried various remedies, including muscle relaxers, heat, and exercises. Nothing seemed to help. Then I accidentally discovered the source of the discomfort. I spend a lot of time working on the computer. My eyesight is failing, because my cataracts are growing. I now have to get my head closer to the screen in order to read. My monitor was mounted rather high. So, I was leaning forward, to get close, and holding my head up at a strange angle in order to get my bifocals aimed properly. That combination gave me a crick in my neck.

So I bought a laptop. The theory is that I can sit on the couch, with some good sports on the boob tube, put the computer in my lap, and look down at the screen. So far it is working.

But I still hate the keyboard! Anyone know how to miraculously develop skinny fingers?


Glenda (Writerlady) said...

I know the problem. I go back and forth between lap top and desk top and still my neck hurts, my eyes seem to stop focusing and I feel like I have the flu! I'm beginning to think I'm allergic to computers. Good luck with the lap top. I like mine for classes and for taking when I travel. However, I found a neat little gadget called a Neo that is simply a portable keyboard I can use in the car, needs no electricity until I want to transport my files to a real computer. Great for taking anywhere.

Anonymous said...

The best solution I've found is wearing one contact lens for reading, while outfitting the other eye with a distance contact.

Pain in the neck cured!