Sunday, October 08, 2006

Do I need my computer? Busy week!

Last week I wondered what we might do - educationally - with the newest hand-held devices that provide Internet access and a growing array of other functions. This week I'm wondering how close I am to getting along without my laptop. Because, for at least a few days, I don't have a choice. Since my laptop died last Friday, I've been both preparing to replace it and figuring out how to continue doing my work without it. Like writing this blog message right now!
See from last week: "My phone is now my wallet"
- Educational Implications Looming

This wasn't a good time - if there ever is one to lose my laptop capability! Educause, Hybrid Tuesday, Cultural Diversity etc. FridayTHIS TUESDAY Thanks to our growing relationship with Educause, Steve Ehrmann & I will be hosting an informal gathering this Tuesday Oct 10, 12:30 - 2pm CDT, Meeting Room D160 & Wednesday Oct 11, 12:30 - 2pm CDT, Meeting Room A133/134... and I'll be participating in a truly hybrid event DURING the Tuesday "gathering" We'll be connected synchronously to an online live session about "Dangerous Discussion: Policy Issues for Blogs, Wikis, Newsfeeds & Aggregators" from 1-2 pm CDT.

Also, pls click here to read about this Friday event, ask questions, suggest resources for Cultural Diversity, Student Engagement, & Tech session.

Upon landing in Dayton on Friday afternoon I discovered both that my luggage had gone to Rochester, NY and that my laptop computer was completely dead. I used my cell phone to get some help from the Gateway service people, which cost approx $3 per minute for first session because the warranty had expired and I was still naively hopeful. During those several conversations with the polite, competent Gateway staff I was constantly worrying about running out of power because the cell phone charger was in my luggage. By early Saturday morning my luggage had been found and delivered to me, and I was pretty certain my laptop was not going to revive easily.
HINT: When traveling, never leave your cell phone charger in your checked baggage.
OBSERVATION: There is some advantage to getting older. I didn't become totally stressed out, and I was even able to talk politely with the people who were trying to help.

What I've been forced to recognize is how many parts of the work I always do on my laptop are not really dependent on it. Fortunately, I can monitor and work on my blogs, check and send email, use our new email service, .... I cannot access documents that I kept ONLY on my laptop (even though almost all of them are routinely backed up on a device in our office - which I don't have easy access to from the road.... or do I? So I'm starting to think seriously about what I could do if I jumped to a really souped up hand-held device, portable keyboard, .... and what else? The new HDTV set Sally & just bought last weekend has jacks for connecting a computer, and we have a couple extra old monitors in our office. Can I get along knowing that I can use other, public computers, connect to other monitors, and rely on my portable device as mostly a way to connect with other things, especially with those parts of the Web that store my info?

So, of course I'm going nuts with frustration and upset about the expense arriving before we were ready, but I'm intrigued with these ideas. I suspect it is NOT yet time to give up having a laptop, but it might be close. And, as a consequence of the decades passing by, I have various muscular problems more often, I would be happier not to have to carry the extra 5-10 pounds (I'm referring to my laptop as well as my belly).

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