Always a Compromise

In my continuous quest to simplify my work process and limit the amount of equipment I need to be productive on the road I try to avoid unnecessary equipment upgrades. I’ll use what I already have most of the time. Portability is more of an issue than processing power. Connectivity is still a major concern, however this is becoming less of a challenge as 5G is deployed in more locations. An up to date smart phone is usually the perfect portable daily driver. A lightweight laptop comes in a close second as my most depended on tech solution.

There is no “one design fits all solution”. I carry an iPhone and my preferred laptop is a Chromebook, but I sometimes find that the laptop is too much extra to carry, and the iPhone isn’t quite enough. A tablet fills the gap nicely. I’ve used Android devices and an iPad. The iPad was a good solution most of the time. The mini was the easiest to carry, and I didn’t worry about being separated from my equipment. Mobility to me means having what you need with you wherever you go and the potential to get work done quickly if time is limited. The only issue is that sometimes I need to use an application that requires a different operating system.

I use Wireshark a lot and I don’t want to carry a Windows laptop, a Linux Distrobution on a PC, or Mac OS. I have been able to use TCPDump and Tshark on my Chromebook using Linux, and can run Wireshark as a viewer and decoder to look at packets. It works, and therefore allows me to leave my larger machines at home. I had a Macbook Air and a Macbook Pro, nothing with a M1 or M2 chip, but they were still very good Intel based machines. To me they just felt like overkill for what I used them for, and the cost of replacing them with newer models isn’t very appealing. I still use old Thinkpad notebooks for Windows 10 and Ubuntu that I should consider replacing at some point, but they still work. I just don’t want to upgrade to a new pc just to run Windows 11, and I see no benefit in doing so just yet.

I’ve grown tired of both Windows 10 and even Ubuntu seems less interesting as a desktop. Chromebooks are less expensive, and a few are built on very nice hardware. The efficiency of these devices is the big draw for me. I think my Pixelbook is the best laptop I’ve ever used. I got a Pixelbook Go to replace my Macbook Pro and I have no regrets. Between the Pixelbook, an iPhone, and an iPad I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything.

Now it’s time to replace my iPad, and this is where I really don’t want to make the wrong decision. The new M1 chips and new operating system would seem to present an easy decision, but the latest iPad Mini 6 Uses an A15 bionic chip which is more powerful than my old iPad’s A12, but the new iPad Air has a M1, and now with the new Macbook Air sporting a M2 to replace the older design’s M1, the decision forward seems less clear. I could see the next iPad mini getting a M1 or M2 chip. Maybe I should wait and see what this Fall brings. I’d hate to buy a new Mini 6 and see an even more powerful design released in the Fall to support the new IOS release. I am interested in the iPad Air’s potential to serve as both a laptop and a tablet due to its larger screen and M1 chip. I really need to visit an Apple Store and hold both devices. The iPad 5 was a great replacement for may old Kindle mostly due to its size and form factor. I liked the ability to use it as a writing tool.

The most generalized factors to weigh are mobility, convenience, and cost vs processing power, memory, and more viewing area. Both devices are still very good options. It’s how you use the devices that will eventually determine if you make a good choice, but since both choices are both good I guess it will be up to me if I put the device to good use. Having the right tool for the job is only relevant if you actually do the job. Motivation must come from the user.

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