Geek Zen: Minimizing gadgets (or how I learned to stop worrying and love the Nexus 7)

(Source: Google)

I’ve gone through several computing brand schools through my time. I started at Windows and I still work on it since there’s parts of my work routine where I still deal with it, but let’s face facts. Leisure time is the only time that matters. So after a brief Linux period (a couple of years) I went Apple fanboy crazy. Then I minimized the number of gadgets that I own, vowing to never, ever buy anything… wow the Nexus 7 looks really cool.

I’ve got gadgets aplenty. Not as much as the average geek, but a lot more than a regular person. I’ve trimmed them down to what any of my geek colleagues would think essential but the man on the street will still deem excessive: One desktop (Mac Mini, acting as my entertainment center with the big screen TV as monitor), one laptop (Mac Air, right next to my bed), one tablet (an iPad 2) and one phone (iPhone 3GS). Ok, ok, there’s a dual-booting PC with Windows and Linux on my desk. I don’t do mostly anything on it, I just know I can’t sell it for the price of a USB key so it stays there. I still do Linux crap on it now and then. I haven’t booted into the Windows side for more than a year.

A regular person would say that’s too much tech crap. Any technophile would say that’s nothing. I’m kind of proud I sold or gave away everything else. However… I got a Nexus 7.

(Source: Apple)

Kinda breaks my Geek Zen right there. Why, oh why would I do that? My intention was to get rid of things I don’t use and suddenly I go and buy another gadget. The tablet category, which I’m completely new at is basically middle ground between a laptop and a phone. My Mac Mini (from late 2011) lives plugged into the TV. For me it means comfort, power, speed and space in droves with the drawback of zero mobility. The laptop seems like the solution for long trips where extensive blogging must be done. Tablet is good for small trips and getting away trips. Phone is everyday communication or emergencies.

Right away it seems I should be getting rid of tablet or laptop (someone would say both, but that someone would be crazy).

(Source: Apple)

But here’s where a large tablet like the iPad 2 has starting to fail its intended purpose. It’s heavy and big. It might not seem that way to you, but it means a lot when you travel. You need both hands to hold it. You can’t get it easily out from your bag. I thought I could eschew all this because it still has a large battery (11 hours!) and a large space (64GB!). Those are huge plusses. But you can’t hold it on one hand because it will fall on your face when watching a video or reading a book in bed. Lighter and smaller suddenly started to rank higher in my point of view.

I can’t decide if I got the Nexus 7 for daily use or traveling. Daily use seems to be rocking right now. I even ventured using it for reading a book and it’s actually inviting. It does require some getting used to with a much smaller storage, although the 8-hour battery doesn’t seem that much of a compromise. The whole point is for it to be an easier and more inviting to access gadget and it’s shining in that respect. Not to mention it is a very light device.

(Source: Apple)

My Mac Air gets a daily workout as I prefer to do my blogging on it than on the TV. However, as I am typing this I realize that there’s one guilty pleasure that I can get out of a smaller tablet that I have yet admitted to myself: carrying both the Mac Air and the Nexus 7 in my bag at the same time for a long trip. Slowly but surely, I am relegating the iPad 2 to becoming unnecessary just by considering that possibility.

Strangely enough, getting this gadget is also forcing me to re-evaluate and minimize media. I don’t need all seasons of Mythbusters available for a trip. My music can go on my iPhone and doesn’t need to re-exist on my tablet. But the Nexus 7 does play downloaded stuff. Not to rain on anyone’s parade (and I guess most of you know it) but all movie playing apps on the iPad are denied the device’s accelerator. Only iTunes can access it, which means you have to load every movie onto iTunes (or buy everything from Apple… which I guess it’s the point – for them).

(Source: Google Play)

On the Nexus, it’s copy over through a cable and it’s there. Also, the accessible filesystem is a big plus. You can actually copy over stuff from cloud storage (dropbox, box, gdrive, etc) and put it wherever you want. Realize this is not really a full hands-on review on the Nexus 7 itself, more than that it’s been a bit of an eye-opener on not betting everything on the same horse. For the sake of clarity, this is my first android device. I love the interaction with Google… because I use most of their apps already. The device has been built with the idea of being online through wi-fi, but it can also work tethered to a phone (including the iPhone). It also has a lot of functionality offline as a reader, movie player, music player and gaming device. Editing documents might be a bit ambitious – the random email sure thing, but anything further will require an external keyboard.

So, somehow expanding with one more gadget, my first android device, is forcing me to reevaluate the media + apps I really need when I’m mobile. Turns out I don’t need every single app in the planet, and hopefully – not every single gadget.

That will do for now.

, , , , ,

  1. #1 by Jez@Nexus7Blog on September 11, 2012 - 3:14 am

    I wasn’t sure how the Nexus 7 was going to fit into my life, I think I bought mostly for “sofa surfing” but it ended up being my commuting gadget of choice. I quickly got to grips with all the offline apps for storing content on the move.

    As a pro IT geek I think I’ve done quite well to minimise my expenditure / clutter. I just have my self built desktop which evolves over time (I swap in a new component every now and then), my netbook (mostly redundant but the Mrs uses it a lot) and now the Nexus. Oh and a cheap phone which doesn’t do a lot. Somehow the smart phone revolution passed me by (seems expensive for what you get).

    Good luck with your Zen computing!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: