The Tech Arms Race

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martyndarkly
martyndarkly's picture
The Tech Arms Race

 

Hey Guys,

I was just wondering what your thoughts were on something I've been pondering recently.

I'm puzzling over my technological direction. Many of my devices are heading towards the time when they need replacing and I'm wondering whether to stick with Apple or branch out into Linux? Over the past few months I've tinkered somewhat and found Ubuntu to be an interesting and easy to use OS. I know that there can be some compatibility angst with laptops and such things, but in the main it seems like these issues are fading. I've been listening to your shows, along with a couple of others, and I'm now confident that I can brave the wilds of Linux without too much fear or trepidation. 

The thing is I love Apple products and their ease of use, but one aspect I've noticed is how the technological arms race is making me feel less pleased about my purchases in a shorter time than I like. My original iPad is now being treated as the red-headed stepchild by Apple, with many of their best apps not even allowed to be bought for it (even though they run perfectly well on the system), and my 1st Gen iPod Touch suffered a similar fate. 

What I'm wondering is whether my feelings of redundancy are simply a modern complaint from someone who spends far too much time thinking about gadgets, or whether it's being fuelled by Apple's sales techniques which tell us to buy the newest hardware all the time?

If you use Linux does this affect you as much? I mean we're all obviously into tech, but does the nature of Linux, the handmade aspect rather than polished, expensive, premium feel free you from the clutches of wanting to constantly upgrade to the newest thing, or is it just a mental problem I have? So far I've built a Linux box from some old spares and some new parts and I'm enjoying the feeling of working on a machine I put together myself. I'd love an Ultrabook due to shoulder problems I have which negate carrying even light laptops around, but will Linux work on them soon, or will we be waiting a year or so for drivers to emerge?

Sorry if I'm rambling, the thoughts are still pretty raw and need refining in the forges of good conversation.

 

Thanks for your time and the excellent podcast.

 

Martyn

Mark Cockrell
Mark Cockrell's picture
Re: Tech Arms Race

Martyn,

  I think you're just dealing with a condition known as "Being a geek."  Let's say you move to Ubuntu, they put out a new version every six months!  If you think Apple is making you feel out of date quickly, you'll be curled up in a fetal position 18 months from now when your OS is three whole revisions back.  On the plus side, however, it's free and easy to upgrade as you go.  So, you probably won't have that "left behind" feeling with Linux, but you'll probably still feel like you're on a never-ending upgrade merry-go-round.  It'll just cost a lot less. ;)

Shawn Kibel
Shawn Kibel's picture
Re: Tech Arms Race

Martyn,

 

There is one thing that stuck out to me in your post.  When you asked if our approach frees us from wanting to constantly upgrade to the latest greatest.  I can say that working in the environment that Mark had created, it was refreshing and amazingly liberating to be able to escape that NEED.  Being geeks, you can't always beat the WANT, but you can definitely beat the NEED for the latest greatest.  Working in education, I think it is imperative to at least be asking the types of questions you pose here so I'll give you a big pat on the back for that!  Listening to our shows, I have no doubt you know I am not an Apple fan and your post gets right at the heart of why I feel that way.  I have nothing against the products.  They are great.  I fear that education can literally not afford vendor lock-in tactics and Apple is the master at this.  There are other companies I feel the same way about (cough, cough, Pearson).  I applaud your insight and wish you a great journey as you experiment with Linux.

Warmest Regards,

Shawn Kibel

Co-Host

​The Tightwad Tech

 

martyndarkly
martyndarkly's picture
Thanks guys!

I appreciate the feedback. 

 

Sorry for my tardy response, been researching a new article and have been buried in ZX Spectrum retro material. All good fun. 

 

One thing I was wondering was whether you guys knew of any universally available laptops (UK & US really) that work trouble free with Linux? The real difficulty I have with planning a migration across to Ubuntu is the issue of hardware compatibility. I know it has improved massively but when looking to purchase a laptop it seems that I need to get a full schematic and then work through each component piece by piece, which is a little time consuming not to mention stressful - what if I get it wrong! :)

I have a shoulder injury that means I need a light laptop and the new Ultrabooks seem like a perfect solution if I knew they could run Ubuntu with no issues. Have any of you guys tried them out? If so do you know how they perform on Linux?

 

Thanks again for the great show.

 

Martyn

P.S. Bacon. 

Mark Cockrell
Mark Cockrell's picture
Linux Laptops

Check out System76.com.  They sell a line of computers wit Ubuntu pre-installed.  I've bought several of their servers and they've always been very high quality.

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