Stranded in Starbucks on Sunday

I moved over this morning to Starbucks to read news on my iPad Pro 9.7 device. After years with Android devices from the early days, I felt the need for a break from some of the business as usual stuff that goes on there. The last device I had were two different Note 7’s which left me bitter and disaffected. I had no real phone for about a week while I cast about for a replacement. In previous work I had used an iPhone and iPad Air 2 and it was only okay. I don’t think then that I had had enough and wanted a basic sea change to a thing without carrier bloat, upgrade issues, OEM/ODM apathy. Where to go? 

At the current work using AirWatch, IOS devices are heavily favored and I can use the native mail and calendar app which is worlds nicer than what exists now on Android there. The Android choice is the AirWatch Mobile email application. That one application sucks at a level that basically made me rethink the whole OS thing. It operates completely exclusively of the native calendar so one has to see events in completely different applications. Why? Why make Android users second class citizens? 

So I moved to an iPhone 7. Not the plus. Just the 7. I thought at first I would suffer from size of display frenzy and not be able to deal with the smaller phone display size. Not true! The phone size works in so many good ways. It fits in the pocket, easy to carry when walking, battery life is stellar on it. Soon thereafter I bought the iPad Pro 9.7 because if you do want a tablet what else is there basically? Now I just bought a refurbished iPad Pro 12.9 device to play on. They are cheapening up with holidays and new versions coming. Now I get a few things on this side of the OS wars. I considered this before stranded in Starbucks. First thing, there are no winners and losers in this stuff. A person picks a thing or things because she can use them. Its about use and functionality for that use and features for that use. If a thing only comes in at XX percent and you need YY percent why would you consider with the use case? Gizmos and devices are not cheap granted but we are talking about your being more productive and using a thing which fits your use case. We are all tool users whether its an obsidian projectile point or a iPad. But these same devices create the same thing back one us. They create a wider world and net for us to gather in and they affect us as much as we them. They allow us a view into a world which should not be limited by your choice.

Imagine traveling the world for a year with only one device choice to make. I would definitely not bring a smart phone. All the sim cards and the networks and stuff. I would depend on a device with WiFi and at a screen size that is useful but not overwhelming. One that is replaceable and does not depend on bunches of inter-twined DLLs and INI files that can break at a moment’s notice. One that does not cost an arm and a leg and lets you use an ecosystem of tools. I’ve thrown out things like Macbooks and Surfaces and really the choice is on a device that is smaller and more flexible.

Back when, I traveled to Asia in 2011 with a Motorola Xoom tablet. It was great. I had the best of a few worlds. It was easy to carry and I got WiFi all over and tethered it to my phone in Chennai with a sim card that my friends there arranged for me. I could probably have done without the phone and just relied on WiFi but I also wanted the Google Maps thing in Singapore and my phone was an unlocked Nexus device so it was easier. Now sitting stranded with my Latte I think a single device is best. My choices are simple ones. I think a Chromebook would be a fantastic choice. We’re talking cheap here and with access to an ecosystem I use a lot. I can replace it easily with another of the same kind, a different kind, etc. An iPad Pro 9.7 with the smart keyboard is another natural choice. Smaller, faster, able to be packed easily. I don’t see a compelling Android device out there now. Tablets of the old form factor are going away I think. At some point we will have converged devices that fulfill many functions. Lets be honest though. On the road, why cannot I use Skype or Google Voice for those calls I need to make? No need for the classic phone with more WiFi. 

Now I sit here wondering about that life on the road. Stranded at more Starbucks with the people coming and going with Christmas sweaters. Then there’s me. I sit here with the latte and I wonder about the tech choices we make. Do we do them knowing that we will actually be using these things or is our alliance and love to the device itself and not what we want to tap into. Its a fact that Google develops and releases IOS applications which let me be very productive. My journal lives in Google Docs shared across everything. My little budget spreadsheet is the same. The whole Google Docs suite is sweet. It does exactly what I need to use. I do have MS Office applications installed but to what end? I don’t use them on my tech except for some work stuff.

Now I’ll let you all pause and look at what your hand carry is. Does it fulfill or do you do it out of loyalty to the operating system?

Author: Michael Perry

I've been blogging for over 20 years and now am living in Southeast Asia. The blog is about my slow vagabonding wherever I want to go. My home base is in Cambodia but I'm rarely there.