Have you ever seen one of the old 1950s or 1960s computers? The ones taking up a whole room – or more?
If you look at even older, they’re not only big, they tend to be noisy, with moving parts clacking away.
But then as time went on, computers got smaller – from the size of a room to the size of a desk… to something you can put on a desktop, to the laptop and now even smaller laptops called netbooks.
The first laptop I used, well, let’s just say you needed strong knees! But new ones can just about fit in a coat pocket (new laptops, that is, not new knees).
As well as tablets and smartphones, of course, which are technically computers, though they don’t work in the same way as your normal PC or laptop.
But recently, there’ve been a spate of very small PCs that do work like a normal PC – running Windows.
For example, I was reading about the Kangaroo recently – it’s not much bigger than a cassette tape, but you can plug it into a monitor or TV (or even use an iPad as a monitor!), use a keyboard and mouse that connect via bluetooth and it’s a fully blown computer. Difficult to get in the Uk at the moment, though, as it’s an American company.
And there are even smaller PCs now. For example the Intel compute stick. It’s a bit like a slightly bigger flash drive or memory stick. About 4 inches long, costs about £100 and runs Windows 10. Again it can plug into a TV or monitor and use a bluetooth mouse or keyboard.
Personally, I quite like using a desktop PC. I do a lot of writing on it so I like to sit at a proper desk with a decent keyboard and so on. But I can see these might be useful for someone who wants to use a PC occasionally. Maybe browser the web and send emails, with it plugged in behind their TV. No need for a separate monitor or anything like that and there are no wires connecting the keyboard or mouse to it so they could be tucked away in a drawer.
Or someone who travels a lot for work could take one and plug it into the TV in the hotel room instead of taking a laptop.
It won’t be hugely powerful, so not ideal for editing home video or running fast 3d games. But for browsing the web, writing up documents and so on, they should be fine.
Of course a lot of people who just want to browse the web and check email use a tablet – and there’s nothing wrong with that. This is just a different way to do it without needing a fully blown PC set up.
It’ll be interesting to see over the next year or so whether they catch on.
Don’t jump up and down on your tablet just yet
The other day I was heard from someone who hadn’t got my books or videos on using a tablet – but did have a tablet. I say “did”, rather than does…
He’d asked about what we did a while back because he was struggling with his tablet – he’d sounded interested. But since he hadn’t got them, one of the others asked him if something had put him off, in case we’d done something wrong.
It turned out he didn’t need any help any more. Why?
Well, he’d got so frustrated with his tablet he’d literally thrown it across the room, jumped up and down on it and put it in the bin.
So he didn’t need to know how to use it any more.
It’s one solution, I suppose… and I bet we’ve all felt like doing that at some point (I know I have!)
But it is a bit extreme.
Anyway, it leads nicely into mentioning that this is the last time I’m planning to mention my new tablet videos (Tame Your iPad and Tame Your Android Tablet) in this newsletter.
They’re in stock now, so if you were waiting until they were here before deciding whether to order, now’s the time.
As I say, I won’t be mentioning them again,s o if you don’t decide now, you might forget to come back to this email.
And as usual, there’s a free trial, so if you’re not quite sure you can always get a set and see whether they are for you.
The details about them (what they cover, who they’re suitable, how you watch them, what they cost and so on) are here – if you haven’t decided yet, why not have a read now? (And if you do want to order, that’s here too. They might help you get less frustrated with your tablet – and that might save you from jumping up and down on it and chucking it in the nearest bin.)