13.2.11. To Laptop or Not To Laptop

PyCon 2011 is coming soon, and as it does, I find myself facing the question "do I bring my Macbook this year or not?"

My Macbook has spent most of the past couple of years serving as a vehicle for viewing DVDs, Hulu, or Netflix streaming from bed. It does get used occasionally as a home / travel development machine, but that use has declined significantly over the past year. I'm fortunate to be at the place in my life where I can leave work at work; but I also have been rather uninspired to do personal development work. Hence, the laptop is basically a DVD viewer.

And for DVDs, it's quite nice to watch TV series DVDs from bed. I only watch about 20-30 minutes a night before tiring out. It's a fun way to revisit personal favorites like HBO's The Wire and Deadwood. I'm currently watching Twin Peaks, seeing season 2 for the first time.

But for DVDs, it's also starting to become a liability, as I own more and more blu-ray. As soon as I decide to get a blu-ray player for upstairs (either a portable one or getting a second television), the laptop's uses will be near zero.

One potential use is for travel, at least for technical conferences. I brought the Macbook along to PyCon last year. I did the whole trip out of my day-to-day backpack, which accommodates the Macbook just fine. While at the airport and in flight, the extra weight and space did stand out, but that was only a fraction of the trip. I'm trying to remember now just how much I used it once there. I took far less notes on the device than I expected, and have done little with the notes I did take. They still sit in a folder on the Macbook's desktop.

I know I did some coding while there, but not much. I don't believe I made any major commits or pushes while at the conference. I wasn't involved in tutorials or sprints last year and won't be this year either, so there's little need to code while at the conference.

Finally, my co-worker had brought his laptop and while he did use it to maintain some situations back at the office, he told me he never used it on the conference floor. I think the most use we got out of our laptops was for watching movies on the plane. And hey, I've got an iPad for that.

So as this next tech conference comes up, I'm seriously considering leaving the laptop behind and just using good old pen and paper. Maybe my personal era of the laptop is officially over. Weird.


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