Can you replace a desktop with a Kindle Fire?
I recently wrote about my desktop failing (probably due to a transformer exploding near my house). It seems to be toast…it has tried to repair itself, and can’t. I’ll try some more things over the weekend, but then we’ll have to decide if we are going to buy…something else.
We have a Toshiba netbook, and it does work okay (I’m writing on it right now), but it doesn’t replace the desktop. For one thing, the screen is simply too small: I have to scroll a lot to see what I would see easily on the desktop.
I had fantasized about replacing the netbook my Kindle Fire 8.9″ even before I got the latter.
Well, in the last couple of days, I’ve seen the real difficulties with that.
The first thing is the lack of multitasking on the Fire. When I’m writing, I’m often going between composing the post and checking source material. That’s just impractical on the Fire. If I’m working in the free WordPress app, I can’t have a second “window” open with an article on the web. I could go to WordPress directly through one of the web browsers I have on the Fire (Silk, Maxthon, Dolphin), but it’s much easier on Windows to switch between two open programs (Alt+Tab) than it is to switch between two tabs in a browser.
I would sometimes also on the desktop have two windows on the screen at the same time (rather than switching back and forth). Not an option on the Fire.
Another issue is the difficulty in copying and pasting. Oh, it can be done, but it’s often a bit of hit and miss. On a webpage, I long press (hold my finger on the text for about a second), and I’ll get a choice to select text. Then, I have to move around two little “goalposts” (one at a time) to select what I want to copy. I’m reasonably deft, but it’s still hard. They tend to jump up and down lines, go over to a sidebar, and so on.
Next, I have to convince it I want to copy. That’s a long press, but it sometimes deselects before I get the option to copy.
After I’ve copied, I then have to get it to past somewhere…that shouldn’t be hard, but getting the focus where I want it to be can be a challenge.
It’s doable, but it’s much simpler to click and drag with a mouse.
Another issue is finding text on a page. On a Windows based computer with a physical keyboard, it’s simpler: CTRL+F. On the Fire, I can’t even find it as an option all the time.
Typing on the Fire is fine, because I use a Bluetooth keyboard. That one will eventually need to have batteries replaced, which I don’t like, but it does work fine.
Not having a full version of Microsoft Office is also an impediment, although not a huge one. I’ve done some pretty sophisticated things in Excel (years ago, I was a certified expert), but I can probably do what I have to now with other options (including Google, which I access through Maxthon, usually).
My Significant Other and I will probably discuss options this weekend (after I’ve tried, and most likely failed, to “reanimate” the current desktop). I think we would consider a desktop again. They are relatively inexpensive, and interestingly, I don’t feel like we would benefit as much from a laptop as we used to do, since we use the Fires for mobile computing. I want a writing computer, and it’s just going to sit in the den…so I don’t really need mobile.
I’d be interested to hear what you have to say, though. Convince me I can do it with a tablet. Argue for a laptop or netbook over a desktop. Cost is a factor for us, because we don’t feel like this is a real need at this point. I’ve never owned an Apple computer (I’ve used them), and the Agency Model issue makes me disinclined to do so, but I’d listen to advocacy for them. :)
Give me any advice you like about replacing the desktop by commenting on this post. You do have a stake in this, since we probably wouldn’t be considering it if it wasn’t writing for you. ;)
Update: thanks to everybody (and there were a lot of you) who have commented! To respond to one thing, I did have the computer plugged into a surge protector (but not the brand one commenter named), but not an Uninterrupted Power Supply. The other devices plugged into that surge protector appear to have been okay, so it might have been a coincidence.
It looks like I’ve been able to restore the computer! I was a bit surprised to find that I had recovery discs, and I used another device to check how to get them started. That worked, although it was a restore to factory defaults. I am currently running the restore from Carbonite (we pay an annual fee to have that service back up our files).
That could take days to run, although I don’t think it will. I can let it run over night and see where it is and what it actually succeeded in restoring.
Again, thanks for all the advice!
Update: the computer is up and running, and Carbonite did restore my files…whew! It took it…oh, on the order of 16 hours to restore 20,000 files.
I may have to reinstall some programs, but there may have been some advantage in wiping out programs I don’t usually use.
Maxthon was a huge advantage…it restored my favorite internet sites in a way that seemed easier and smoother than Google Chrome (although that did work as well).
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.