Sunday, April 25, 2010

Au revoir Dell Mini, bienvenue iPad

It's been mostly fun running OSX on the Dell Mini, but eventually I got tired of using an underpowered system for the type of work that I do.  No amount of tweaking could stop the system from crawling to a halt after several hours. Any and all browsers seemed to consume inordinate amounts of memory and sleep became a game of russian roulette that might require multiple safe boots to reset boot caches.  Compiling took lots of time and running the Android emulator was glacial. I took to dragging around my old 15" MacBook Pro to get things done, but this defeats the purpose of a lightweight travel machine. It was a great experiment because I learned a lot about OSX even though I had been running it for three years before loading it on the Dell Mini. 

The replacement(s) are a MacBook Pro with lots of RAM for running VMs (something the Dell could not do with it's N270 processor) and an iPad.  The MBP is a prosaic machine for doing prosaic things. The iPad does what the netbook is intended to do, except far more elegantly. It's a great media machine with an incredible battery life. It is indeed a great device for consuming media, but its also a good device for capturing media and placing it in your personal catalog of information. I use Evernote to grab web pages, images, pdfs, and to take notes. iPads are inherently social, I've shown the iPad to lots of people by handing it to them and letting the play with it, which is something you can't do with a notebook form factor.  Watching people interact with the iPad made me realize that it is the future UI for the internet of things.