windows-home-serverI’m in the market for a new laptop, come Christmas, and a recent reconnaissance to Canada’s only Microsoft retail store, which happens to be 10 minutes from my home, was illuminating. I wanted something small, light and portable. And option abounded for it—but the battery life for the small and cute things averaged about 3 hours. That is subpar for my needs. The Surface is as portable as my iPad and, I reluctantly admit, more robust. But I could go all day on a single iPad charge…

As for storage, I was worrying about where I would out my stuff, I have gotten more cloud-based in the last few years, and even my hard drive-based Calibre library doesn’t take up much space. But that iTunes library is a bear because they make you keep copies of everything and it’s huge! So, as I was desperately trying to find a  laptop that was small, and light, and also robust enough to deal with the iTunes hassles, the Beloved turns to me and says ‘well, why not just put it on mine?"

Somehow, that had not crossed my mind. I was still stuck in the model of everyone having their own computer for things, with my stuff on mine and his stuff on his. But our needs are different. He still likes the tower PC. I can do 95% of my stuff on a tablet—and the few things I need a computer for aren’t exactly time-consuming business; I could even do a quick sync to iTunes while he was working, and it wouldn’t slow him down one bit. So…why DO we need two computers, exactly?

But here was the interesting part—as he started comparing notes with the staffer who was helping us, it became clear: this is exactly what Microsoft themselves think the future of computing will look like. Every home will have one central computer which will do the heavy lifting—the Beloved was eyeing a television-size desktop computer which has its own port for the Xbox, for instance—and then everyone will have a littler tablet for their own personal stuff. Techies like him who really want the full deal can pull up a chair to the household behemoth, and those like me who don’t care that much can use the main PC to sync our smaller screens, which we otherwise carry around as a companion.

It’s funny because the Xbox is actually the last holdout on our quest to go television-free. If we had a computer that could handle an Xbox hookup with decent screen resolution and play speed, we could play DVDs and run Netflix through the Xbox itself and not need anything else. Then he’d have his little mini-tablet for reading in bed, I’d have my slightly bigger one for working on the go (and my phone for a little on-the-go reading and light email) and that would be that. The days of a two-laptop or three-laptop household may be over…or so plans Microsoft…

Previous articleDaily Deal, Aug 10: Amazon offers 16 Ray Bradbury books for $1.99 each
Next articleIDC delivers follow-up blow to Apple with latest smartphone figures
"I’m a journalist, a teacher and an e-book fiend. I work as a French teacher at a K-3 private school. I use drama, music, puppets, props and all manner of tech in my job, and I love it. I enjoy moving between all the classes and having a relationship with each child in the school. Kids are hilarious, and I enjoy watching them grow and learn. My current device of choice for reading is my Amazon Kindle Touch, but I have owned or used devices by Sony, Kobo, Aluratek and others. I also read on my tablet devices using the Kindle app, and I enjoy synching between them, so that I’m always up to date no matter where I am or what I have with me."


The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail