13 March 2011

Decision 2011: I'm getting an iPad (2)

I have obsessed over portable cloud-ready devices that I can keep in my purse for long enough.  It is time for me to make a purchase.  And the decision is... (click play below for the drum-roll)

iPad 2!

You may be surprised to hear this (unless you read the title of this post).  I have never been a Mac junkie.  I pledged my loyalty to Microsoft long ago.  And in fact, my first impulse was to get a netbook.  But there were a couple of things holding me back from committing to the netbook.

First, the nipple.  I've said it before, but I hate touchpads.  I love trackpoints.  When I asked the guy at Best Buy if there were any netbooks with these eraser-head pointing devices he said "those things that were on the old ThinkPads?  They haven't made those for years."  First of all, he is clearly dead wrong.  Several big laptop companies still include nipples on all their normal-sized laptops (Lenovo and Dell, for example).  Second of all, the nipple is clearly the superior pointing device, as it allows manipulation of the cursor without having to lift one's fingers from the keyboard.  So that guy can go jump in a lake.

But I digress.  The point is only one netbook includes a nipple, and it is the Sony Vaio P.  The Vaio P, simply by virtue of being made by Sony, is prohibitively expensive (~$1000), especially among netbooks, which typically range from about 200-400 bucks.  Sony claims it is not a netbook, just a small laptop, but give me a break.  It's a netbook.

Sony Vaio P display at Grand Central Station

As for weight, most netbooks really aren't that light.  The smallest netbook is (sigh) the Sony Vaio P.  And guess why they can cut out so much weight?  Because by adding a nipple and getting rid of the touchpad, they could cut off all that extra stuff below the keyboard!  It all comes back to the nipple.

Before you go thinking that the Sony Vaio P would be perfect and I should just save up for one or get financing or something, the P is not perfect.  Its tiny keyboard is apparently difficult to type on, and it's tiny screen is difficult to read on. Since one of my major impetuses for purchasing something is for reading PDFs and traveling, this is a big deal.  Not to mention the fact that nipples have been linked to major finger joint problems (I've probably already done too much damage to reverse).

To be honest, my 3 year old ThinkPad is about as small and light as a laptop gets, so getting a netbook really  just seems redundant.  I would just be getting a crappier computer than I already have to shave off a little weight.  I want to shave off weight while expanding my computing capabilities, rather than replicating them.  I want something that can do things my ThinkPad can't.  Like be at my disposal on the bus instantly.  Or last 10 hours without having to be plugged in.  Or turn into a piano.  All while still letting me surf the web, read PDFs and books, Skype, blog, and take notes in class.

Let's go over a few of the iPad's downsides and why they aren't downsides at all:

No physical keyboard?  No problem! I took one out from the library last week, and it turns out I can touch type on it like a maniac! I'm not saying I'm going to write my whole dissertation on it, but if I want to bang out a chapter or two on a flight to Maryland, no biggie (yes, I can write 60 pages in 6 hours shush).

No file system?  No problem!  If you think that I'm a fan of saving data locally, you clearly have never read this blog, or talked with me for like fifteen minutes.  Pages (Apple's touch word processing program) integrates with Dropbox, as do several other common apps.  Having no files system will only accelerate my move to the cloud.

No Flash?  No problem!  I have already figured out how to play Flash on my iPod touch using something called  iOS Flash Video.  There are also several iOS web browsers out there that can play Flash, and that also allow downloads and tabbed browsing, unlike Safari.

As for the lack of USB ports, I have no excuse for Apple here.  Now what am I going to do with all my awesome food themes USB sticks???  What the heck is wrong with you Jobs????  You popularized it, now use it!!!!!

It's okay iPad, I forgive you.  Did I mention it comes in white?

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