ONE SIZE NEVER FITS ALL

Just when I think this subject has been dealt with, finished, over and done … it pops back up again. For reasons that remain a bit murky to me, a few large software and other organizations still believe the tablets and mobile phones are going to replace computers. Laptops and desktops … gone. Everything now gets done on tiny little thingamabobs.

side view alienware closeup computer

NOT!

About four years ago, tablets were the thing. Articles everywhere explained why tablets — and other small devices — would replace computers. The laptop and desktop are dead! The techno-pundits agreed: no one would need a computer because everything would be done on a small, portable device.

The short-sightedness of that statement still echoes in the air. Of course it didn’t happen. Sure, everyone bought a tablet. Or two or more. But no one threw out their computer, either. Turns out that each device has a purpose and an appropriate use. It isn’t and never will be “either-or.”

Venu 8 size compared to phone

I don’t have anything against portable devices. I have a smart phone. Sometimes, I even use it. I have a couple of tablets and have had as many as four, including an iPad. I didn’t like the iPad (gasp!) and gave it to my granddaughter who had a valid need for it in school. The others, I passed on to people who didn’t already have a tablet or three. The price of tablets has dropped so much — frequently offered free when you buy a cell phone or laptop — it’s getting hard to give them away.

I have a terrific gaming 14-inch laptop on which I’m working right now. I also have a desktop with a big HD monitor. I rarely use the desktop, but I keep it because you never know. Garry has one too. Ditto.

The big desktop monitor is a touch screen. It used to go nuts if a fly or a mosquito walked across it. I eventually gave up and turned the touch functionality off. It was a viciously difficult angle at which to use ones fingers, especially if you have a semblance of fingernails. It killed my wrists and shoulders.

WHAT ARE TOUCHSCREENS GOOD FOR?

Not much, actually. The little ones are good for checking email and making brief responses … and sending texts. Taking a quick glance at a website. Reading a book. Looking at (but not editing) pictures. Listening to music.

SO WHAT’S MISSING?

The ability to create anything or do any actual work. Too small for a spreadsheet. Without a keyboard, no writer would try to do anything longer than a paragraph or a quick typo fix.

And then there’s the inaccuracy. You cannot edit a photograph — or anything really using a touchscreen.

my office and desktop computer

YOU CAN’T DO “BIG” USING “TINY”

Those who extol mini devices as a total computer solution have never designed a book, made a movie, edited a photograph, used Photoshop (or any Adobe product), converted a book to a PDF or edited a manuscript. I know this because it’s impossible. All other problems aside, little devices are too small.

This is not my opinion. It’s fact. Mac, PC, Android, Linux — size matters. You can argue this until you’re blue in the face. It won’t change anything. Oh, and some of us really can’t read tiny type. Like more than half the population, for example. Far-sighted people and anyone over 40. Just saying.

VIRTUAL KEYBOARDS ARE FOR VIRTUAL TYPISTS

I read an article that explained how you can type just fine on a virtual keyboard. No, you can’t.

tablets kindle iPad

IT’S A BIG WORLD

I like choice. I like having different devices for specific tasks. You can’t replace everything with one thing  and there’s no reason you should.

Diversity makes life interesting. We don’t have to go to the same church, read the same books, believe the same stuff … or use the same computer

One size never fits all.



Categories: Computers, Media, Operating System, Technology

Tags: , , , , , ,

38 replies

  1. I agree with you Marilyn. I have a computer and laptop and nothing beats being able to edit photos and having a big screen to work on. My son writes programs, makes his own games and has 3 screens. There’s always going to be reasons to need more than hand held devices.

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  2. I think you were really correct when you send it tool has a function. I do most of my work on a desktop with a monster 40 inch monitor, but I do use my smart phone more that I ever thought I would. It is such a wonderful tool to answer e-mail on the bus and keep up on FB. I have never used a notebook, I’m trying to keep the number of devices under control.

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    • In my experience, anything that is supposed to do everything doesn’t do anything well. So I use what I believe the best tool for each job … for me. Although I love my huge HD monitor, I prefer working in the living room with life going on around me, so most of my work is done on a 14″ high powered gaming laptop with a very high def screen. It took a bit of getting used to, dropping from a 28″ monitor and there are times where nothing but the big bad monitor on the desk will do the job. For writing, though, 14 inches is big enough while still being portable and not breaking my back. I have managed to keep computer stuff down by asking myself — and giving honest answers — “do I need this? For what will I use it?” If I know I don’t need it and I cannot see a real use for it in my work flow, I don’t own it. I wish I were equally disciplined about my camera equipment!

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  3. I have a brilliant computer but still have to ask my son how to use all the keys. I have an old iPad which is nearing the end of it’s life. There are so great apps on it to edit photos – in a fun way, including Aviary which has some Photoshop functions. The iPad is great for reading my newspapers

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  4. Size definitely does matter. For me, the perfect size of phone would be that of the iphone 6s, which I bought 2 months ago. But now, they just keep expanding the size left and right. I have seen some pretty wacky phones lately. A phone the size of a tablet and a micro-mini laptop. Each device has its own uses so why mess with the size, which does nothing but limit its functionality.I prefer a phone big enough to be able to watch netflix or video chat on, but small enough to fit in my hand and jeans pocket. Ipads (I have never understood those things) have been used as basically a thinner laptop, but the touch screen gives us so much room for typing/editing errors. Why not just get a smaller laptop so that way we can use all the functions and not have to spend a couple hundred bucks for something that is half as effective. Technological advances are so weird sometimes but hey, to each his/her own. That’s just my opinion. Anyways, I loved your analysis and commentary on all these devices. Your posts make me want to stay here till I finish reading all your entries. Please check out my blog at https://morescoopplease.wordpress.com/

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    • I bought a small “gaming” laptop and a normal size cell phone (Android) because the Samsungs have the best audio … which matter because we are old-fashioned enough to actually make real phone calls. I hate texting. Those tiny virtual keyboards are for the birds or teenagers who are apparently born with pointy little fingers 🙂 I will check out your site, but I warn you, I have been reducing the number of sites I follow because I decided I needed some time leftover for me. I know, how selfish, right?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh wow I have never seen a gaming laptop before. Aah Samsungs have good quality and iphones have great camera quality. Trust me, even if I am from this generation , I prefer talking face to face, or worst case, over a good phone call. No worries! But once you check out my site, I warn you , inspiration will follow and everyone needs a little bit of that for their next post. Thanks for viewing!

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        • There are quite a few of them. Some of them are so big, there’s nothing portable about them, so they are more like a “one piece” desktop. But a lot of them are like mine … small, powerful, with high quality graphics. This was as close as I could get to what I wanted. I don’t do serious gaming, but I use Photoshop and for that, you need a kick-ass graphics card and a lot of RAM. I got as much as I could afford … more, really, than I could afford … but now at least I don’t wind up with my computer locked when I’m editing photographs.

          Text is “light.” You can write any kind of documents and use very little space, but photographs are big … and video and music are bigger still. I have a good friend who edits music (he’s an audio engineer) and he has some very serious equipment.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. So, size DOES matter! That’s what I’ve always thought. (Ducking head slap)

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  6. Computer sales are down for one reason and that is because people are using and keeping their machines for much longer periods of time. The same holds true for business customers as well. The upgrade cycle has slowed and as a result the pundits believe that computers are fading out. My current laptop is more than 3 years old and runs Windows 10 just fine. We don’t need no stinking touch screens.

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    • I agree. I’ve always bought high end computers because in the end, a computer that will run well for 6 years is a better investment than one which falls apart in a year or less. Touch screens are fine for a little tablet, though I still find them difficult and rather painful to use, but nothing beats a keyboard and pointing device. My weapon of choice is a mouse!

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  7. I thought when I first got my Android tablet (free with my new cell phone) that I could maybe use it for posting while away from home, say at the car dealership or something. I quickly found out that the tiny keyboard was a pain in the you-know-what for my fat fingers. And forget about trying to copy, paste, delete or insert, or use photographs of any kind. Now I just use the tablet occasionally to see what my blog looks like on devices other than desktops and laptops and to make sure WP hasn’t slipped in some advertising I don’t want, even though I’ve paid for the no-ads feature. WP doesn’t know my tablet exists, so I get the truth.

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  8. Just bought my lad a rather swanky laptop as pictured. Large keyboard, large screen. Agree the limits of the human eye and the need for a level of tactile connection to your work persists.

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    • I love that there are nearly infinite permutation for computers these days. Huge laptops, gaming machines, powerful desktops … and yes, tablets and telephones and iPods and all the rest. I’m such a gadget enthusiast that I’m always going to try everything … at least once. Some stuff “sticks” … as have laptops and Kindles. Others don’t turn out to serve me as well as I’d like. Almost everything find a niche in my arsenal of technology. And I’m sure there will be more to come. It’s exciting and fun. Why would I ever want to “only” have one kind of thing? What fund would that be?

      Liked by 1 person

  9. This is so true! You’ve totally nailed it!
    I don’t have a pad shit and I probably won’t have one either, because, like you point out: you can’t edit anything on them. They can be handy if you need to look at a recipe while cooking though.
    Smartphones are only good for things like quickly checking the weather, using them as phones or just entertainment while you’re taking a shit, but you can’t reallty tell if a photo is good or not on those smalll screens – people post all kinds of crap and they get away with it.
    I use my powerful stationary for almost everything and my laptop when I’m travelling.
    Touchscreens are totally useless for my needs.

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  10. Interesting. I have also made my experiences on this problem of computer diversity and have formed my own opinion (will be blogging later about it – thanks for the idea Marilyn). I am not sure what the difference between a tablet and iPad is, although iPads are exclusively Apple, the others just copies.

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    • The iPad is a tablet, just made by Apple. It’s a very expensive tablet, but a tablet nonetheless. It’s a more versatile most tablets, but for the price, it better be. I had two of them and I was underwhelmed. But I know a lot of people really love them. They are nice, but I need a full size screen to write or edit photos. I need a KEYBOARD.

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  11. My fingers and touchscreens don’t mix. When I peck and peck at a touchscreen and it does nothing but laugh at me or go haywire, I sometimes question whether I’m really a vampire. I would ruin a smartphone if I had one…

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  12. The one thing that tablets have become somewhat useful for is as a control surface for REAL gear. Live sound engineers can wander around a venue listening in different positions to check sound coming from house monitors and make adjustments. But then you have to buy a mixer that will allow you to control it that way. My iPad which I bought, Lemming like, is great for watching TV series on NetFlix, or reading a book, while I’m waiting for my car or Motorcycle to be worked on. It’s a great quick check of my email when I’m out and about, and last but not least, it’s a great size to carry with you while traveling and with a proper adapter you can load photos for better viewing than that little LCD screen on your camera. Mine even freaked me out the first time it channeled my cell phone.., I didn’t know it would do that. Would I dump my laptop or desktop computer for a tablet.., HELL NO!

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  13. I love to read stuff like that in the morning, thank you, there are still people who get it 🙂 I agree with everything you said. I can not carry my destop PC in my pockets, that’s where tablets or smartphones make a lot of sense. But when it comes to usability, a place to work and relax, the seat in front of my desktop PC is the first choice. Not only because I am a comfy human, but also because that’s the machine that gives me performance (PC gaming, video editing, graphic editing as you said, and so on).

    I laughed at tech authors of big magazines who predicted that desktop PC’s and even notebooks will die. Of course the mobile market got traction when technology progressed, of course that was the reason why now also the mainstream is lurking through the internet, of course companies can make money with the mass market, of course the mobile market is big, but there is no way that small devices will kill desktop machines. At the moment it’s the performance that is missing, and apart from that it’s about screen size.

    I can not think of any gamer (and all my friends are gamers) who would prefer to play games on a small device like a tablet (unless we talk about small Facebook puzzle games or what not), that’s not where we expect performance. In fact it goes the other way, they put 2 graphic cards into their system to be able to stem 3 large displays at once, it goes into the direction of 32 GB ram, SSD drives, 8 core processors, water cooling of the processors and so on. To be honest, my analogy is that tablets have the power of a goat, while desktop systems can be built on a way that they have the power of a train, if needed. Games become more demanding, and the software you mentioned too, and the mobile devices a far away to get to that performance level …

    I can think of so many stuff, even developers create their applications for phones and tablets in a windows or linux environment, to port the stuff to the mobile device later on. Nobody would write miles of code on a device with just a few inches of screen, in a closed environment like Android or IOS. Also there is a reason why 3d artists create there stuff on desktop PC’s, they need large screens and performance, in fact they do let their stuff render by server clouds, thousands of processors, otherwise small scenes of movies like the new Star Wars would take millions of years to render.

    As bloggers we have our own personal opinion about usability too. Of course, I would upload an image and two sentences via mobile device, and I do this at times, but writing a large article is another story, I am happy if I can do this on my PC.

    I have no idea why this idea got traction that mobile is the way to go…it sounds so tech-strange to me. I see it like you, there is a field of use for different devices, and I like mobile, but it’s certainly not the type of device where I would or could do all the stuff I am interested in.

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    • You should take this comment, copy it and post it as a blog. You have said it very well and you have a big audience of your own. It’s also really well written and I completely agree with you!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I believe I had this topic a few times on my blog, especially when WordPress decided to introduce “mobile for everyone” (laugh). Also this topic comes up from time to time again, because some developers of other products I use did go the same route or want to go the same route. So, you can expect that write about this or similar things in the future again too, and then your article will be worth to mention. I let my comment stand here 🙂 When I write a long comment, it means that the subject touched me a lot. While I like to share my opinion in detail on my own blog, I do also like to contribute to other bloggers with a comment, no matter the size. 🙂

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        • Okay. You said it so well, it seemed worth mentioning. I don’t understand why this subject is still “hot.” Doesn’t everyone own multiple devices? Everyone I know does.

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          • Thanks, I thought this was nice of you to mention it.

            Related to the topic, the mobile market did overtake the desktop market in 2014 when it comes to the number of global users (with internet access), although the difference was minimal, the speed of increasement was not. Still I think there are some companies that put too much weight into all this and don’t see the differences in the user groups of both type of devices and neglect all logic facts why the market share of mobile is increasing over time.

            People want and need phones, but there are people who can live without a desktop PC. Providers throw phones at you for free if you sign a basic contact, and as you said, a tablet on top. Kids get their first phones gifted by the parents due to this fact before they even own a PC. My grandma is happy with her newes smartphone, she would use any kind of phone, but she doesn’t want or needs a PC. Some of my friends have a phone, a HDTV and a PlayStation but they are not into PC’s like I am. Cheaper and cheaper phones are developed now, especially with those new and not too bad Chinese brands. Africa is a potential mobile device market if they get free internet access (Google Ballon), that would increase the market share further…

            The market for mobile devices will increase for quite some reasons, but that doesn’t mean that every mobile user will touch certain software products used by the PC userbase, and that’s the fallacy of many software companies. They simply take a look at the increasing market share and make their software product look mobile-friendly-only, because they expect that’s how people will work in the future, it’s insane. I think it doesn’t even have to do with the developers or CEO’s of those companies, it’s typical logic of investors, I believe those design decision are driven by investors only, because they look at basic numbers, in this case increasing numbers of mobile market share, but don’t understand the products or the users of the product. The real solution would be to make it work for both target groups, developers could do it, but they don’t make decisions.

            Funny is that whoever makes decisions for a company, CEO’s or investors, they don’t learn from other companies. Microsoft for example thought it would be a wise idea to force a mobile design on it’s users with the Windows 8 tile interface, we know how that ended, the OS was not accepted by people and Microsoft had to introduce an option to disable the new design to increase the sales at least a little bit. There are other examples, but some companies will not learn. I don’t get it either, forcing desktop users to look at a mobile design is like forcing mobile users to use a mouse and a keyboard with a smartphone, it makes no sense. I don’t get the trend, it’s just strange to me. I really think it’s investors logic rather than developers logic. 🙂

            Like

            • It never seems to occur to some of these development companies that some people aren’t interested in using their phones as a computer. Phones are great for communication. The world is a huge market and it’s a bigger market for mobile phones since they tend to get swapped out every 6 months to a year. While a good computer can keep going for years. It doesn’t mean the mobile phone is “instead of” a computer. It may belong to someone who never considered buying a personal computer (and many people have one at work, but don’t bother to have one at home). My son has no compelling need for a computer and when he does, he comes here and uses one of mine. He doesn’t write, doesn’t work with graphics, prefers texting to email plus an occasional phone call. But. He owns a computer anyway, because you never know what life will throw at you.

              Liked by 1 person

  14. I couldn’t agree more. I have a tablet now and I like using it for reading books, emails and it’s OK for social media and shopping online but anything that requires a lot of typing definitely not. It’s painfully slow and awkward. The tablet, a Samsung Galaxy Tab, was given to David by his sister for use in hospital but his stubby fingers had a hard time with touch technology so I bought him a bluetooth keyboard for it. I don’t use that much myself as my preferred place for using the tablet is in bed. on the couch or on the bus, not good places for typing. Handheld devices are fine for casual use but to write a blog post or edit pictures. No thanks. The other thing which I had suspected would annoy me is that I’m always having to clean the screen as I can’t stand fingerprints all over it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have a 9″ Kindle I use in bed. Listening to audiobooks, reading Ebooks, checking to see if anyone’s left a comment (but I usually don’t answer till the morning when I’m at my real computer). I like my Kindle, but it’s no replacement for my computer. I don’t know why ANYONE would expect a writer — as WordPress obviously does — to write on a tablet or telephone. Clearly these people aren’t writers. Or editors. Or photographers. I’m not sure what they do, actually.

      So we agree. I think everyone agrees. Everyone I know has a tablet. And a laptop. And as often as not, a big desktop too. I don’t understand why there is anyone who thinks we have to choose one or the other.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. So agree. Without a proper size keyboard I can do very little no matter the fancy apps and gadgetry.

    Liked by 1 person

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