changing my digital habits

5 March 2013

No, this isn’t a post about going offline. (Though I think it’s a really valid and important thing to do as necessary—or even before it’s necessary.)

When I filed my taxes, and saw what my federal return was going to be, the first thing that popped into my head was OMG NEW MACBOOK PRO!! But since receiving my refund, letting go of that money to get a new shiny MacBook Pro was a little harder than I expected. I mean, that’s a nice chunk of change to drop on one thing. No matter how nice that thing might be.

So I decided, before letting go of all that money, to take a harder look at how I was using my computers and digital toys. I wanted to justify my purchase, not just buy something because it was shiny and I could.

Here’s what I came up with…

My main digital needs:
– Access to Google Drive, in particular, offline at times. Spreadsheets must be easy to update.
– All of my merch info and inventory is in Google Docs, and more-so now, for my creative writing for class.
– The internets. I mean, yeah.
– Adobe Creative Suite, but not as often any more.
– Movies. eBooks. That entertainment stuff.

It was pretty easy to see that most of what I was doing was pretty simple tasks, and as much as I love the super shiny MacBook Pro, I didn’t necessarily need it.

I can still do my creative stuff. I have my old MacBook Pro for now, and even with the messed up screen it’s still usable.  I also have my old iMac for the time being (until I donate it to the studio space). And I have a really nice iMac at work that I can use for personal stuff during non-work hours. I also do not take my current MacBook Pro with me any more. It lives on my coffee table. So why am I going to spend all that money on a new one?

For entertainment, I have my Wii U at home, and my iPad does books and movies while I’m traveling*. (And I’m going to be selling my current iPad 2 and getting a mini.) I’ve got email on my phone.

So really I just need a machine to do interneting, writing, and merch work. And the idea of a multi-thousand dollar machine going on tour and getting damaged or stolen is absolutely unnerving to me. So, it meant leaving my favorite OS behind and trying something new. I wasn’t about to get a Windows machine… so, I decided to give it a go and get a Chromebook.

Photo Feb 27, 8 32 57 PM

Meet Bartók. It’s my new MuccaBook. You can see my MBP behind him, and it’s messed up screen on the left. So far I’ve really enjoyed the Chromebook.

It didn’t take too long to adjust to the fact that everything is browser base, rather than stand-alone apps. I really like the search button, though I wish I could organize my apps in that menu. I also like switching easily between windows. It’s just like Spaces on a Mac. And other than accidentally hitting the alt key instead of the ctrl, there’s not too much I don’t like. I’m always surprised at how light it is.

It’s not a laptop laptop. It’s a Chromebook. It’s also not a tablet with a keyboard. It’s my “I can do anything I need to on the internet” book; “I can access my google docs offline” book; “I can actually keep up with the merch inventory” book. And for $250, it’s really not that bad. I told myself that if I didn’t like it, or if I wasn’t using it much, I’d return it. But I’ve only used my MBP twice since getting my Chromebook.

In the end I guess I’m not really changing my digital habits too much. I’m just acknowledging what they are. And for me, I don’t need a super portable high-powered machine right now. Bartók does everything I need, for the most part. And he’s still pretty shiny.

*What’s kind of sad is that my iPad also pretty much lives at home too. I don’t need it while I’m at work, and as fun as the new keyboard was, exporting my writing off of it wasn’t great. Google Spreadsheets on it was crap, so I couldn’t use it for inventory. Basically it’s an eReader that I sometimes watch movies on. Which is why I decided to go for the mini, better for traveling.

Oh. And I was totally not compensated, or even asked to do this post by anyone. This is just a purchase that I like, and wanted to share about it.

  • I have an HP laptop and Asus netbook. When I was in the market for a new laptop, I really wanted to buy a MacBook Pro, but it would’ve been ALL of my savings, and at the time I wasn’t comfortable spending all of my money on one computer. Idealistically, though, I’d rather have a 13″ MacBook Pro and iPad Mini. Like you, I only use my iPad for reading. I also use it for internet browsing and have a bluetooth detachable keyboard built into my case, but they have those for the minis, as well. It would be nice to have only one laptop to use for everything. My HP stays home and my netbook is what I take with me to my internship. My iPad goes with me to work everyday in case I want to go to the coffee shop on my lunch break and write. But I’d really just like to have the one computer, and I want the 13″ because it would be the lightest and easiest to carry around with me. Maybe one day I’ll get to buy them, but for now I’m stuck with what I have, which does the job well enough.

    • Erini

      I think that’s why I’ve loved the MacBook Pro, being able to do everything with one machine. But I don’t do design on the road, so the set up I have now is what works best.

      What do you use for writing on your iPad? I mainly used Daedalus in the past–I love the interface–but had some hiccups with getting things exported.

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