I got a great iMac G4 for my home office. I loved it (though, of course, Apple has a way of making great machinery look old and decrepit within a year. No one told me dual core intel chips were on the horizon). It had some overheating problems but they were fixed for free.
For awhile however, I had a great deal of trouble getting stuff done. The reasons for this were nine, seven, five and two years old, juxtaposed with an office door that didn’t even latch, let alone lock. I dealt with this by acquiring an iBook (remember the iBook?) and going to the library or, if I needed internet access, to Panera. At least that was the plan, and it worked. But it also worked in a different way. My workspace became my lap. And as Jennifer took on various jobs it became sort of important for me to be flexible when I was at the house. Between times outside the home with no interruptions, and times in the home where I turned the playroom into my office and typed while Barney entertained my child, I actually got caught up on some projects. The laptop was a great blessing.
But I felt guilty.
I joked and told people that the my iMac had become essentially a wireless external hard drive. I used it for storage to back up projects on my laptop. And that seemed wrong, even though I joked about it. I had this awesome computer and I wasn’t often working on it for work.
Well, we moved and my office arrangements went through another iteration and I once again began doing a great deal of my work on the iMac. I really liked that. I still do. I probably average 65/35 iMac/iBook.
And it is a big pain. A few months ago I lost <em>three days</em> of work by backing up the wrong way. When I look at my routine the time I spend trying to sync my calendar apps or the worries I have about backing up wrong again, or the headaches I have trying to respond to that email that is on the other machine, and it is simply a lot of wasted energy.
And it occurs to me that I have no problem typing on the smaller keyboard, or reading the smaller screen. And I could always plug in the mouse if I wanted something faster than the touchpad (but the truth is I don’t use the mouse/touchpad that much anymore).
So I’m actually considering using the laptop for all my work, email, and scheduling. This would involve the ridiculous spectacle of working at my laptop at my desk with the iMac screen looming behind it.
So maybe some sense of propriety will end this experiment. Or maybe not. Sometimes realizing you don’t have to utilize an option is the key to piece of mind. Jennifer and I spent over a year in our former home trying to figure out how to make the basement work for our bedroom. How were we going to allow for the flow to the back door? We racked our brains. The perfect arrangement came when we decided we weren’t going to use that back door. Everything clicked.
I’ll use my iMac, of course. I don’t have the disk space on my laptop to not have it as part of my system. But I don’t want to have to try to remember which way to do my back ups and which calendar has the fresher data.
This means, I’m beginning to think the ideal workspace has
- A mouse waiting to be plugged in.
- An external harddrive waiting to be plugged in.
- Maybe a big flatscreen.
I say “maybe” for that last one because I find the screen size fine on the laptop and I’m not sure how easy it is to use a widescreen when the laptop screen is open. Unfortunately, I understand that iBooks cool through the keyboard. If that is true, it means the laptop must stay open. Otherwise, the laptop could become a flat spread out mini.