Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Too old for a new computer?

Recently, I have been shopping for computers.

Anyone who are currently having direct control over more than 2 computers know the truth that it gets harder and harder to shop for another machine. There are just so many things to consider.

Maybe I should talk more about my current situation. I have a fairly powerful office workstation for working in my office, and I also have an okay powerful home desktop for evenings and weekends. Then I have a super light SONY VAIO laptop (3 pounds) for travel and teaching. Until recently, I was fairly happy with my arrangements. I have recently started my own religious schedule of backing up my office machines. I never leave important single copies on my home machine and laptop. All three machines share a virtual hard drive on our department's server (which won't be possible for anyone but for me it is possible since I use Columbia as my ISP at home). And Regina introduced me to this brilliant software--total commander, which compares directories and synchronizes them. I should be happy and productive.

But this summer, I need to go back China for nearly a month. And, God forbid, I am thinking about doing some work during my stay there. My little SONY VAIO baby is just not powerful enough for me to do serious work. It is still okay for powerpoint or LaTex (I maximized its RAM to 384MB) but it gets hot really fast and make extended use of it not quite enjoyable.

So I start thinking about getting another laptop. This just freaks me out. I don't quite like any of the windows laptop PC on market right now (picky, picky, picky). I think the Apple Powerbook looks cool and has a lot of neat applications. But thinking about managing 4 computers and 2 OS (occasionally I also need to do some UNIX stuff) is overwhelming. Am I getting too old? I dread the thought of remembering all the different shortcuts on different machines. That is fair. Maybe I will just get a window laptop then. But I can not even imagine installing all the essential softwares (even freely available) on this new computer. I wonder whether there is a way or a service that can duplicate the working style of my current machines and put it into a new (more powerful) machine. I suppose it is not the age then. It is my progressive laziness.

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