What is your primary computer?

We live in a day and age when most of us use more than one computing device on a daily basis. Not everyone can afford to actually own multiple computers, but many at the very least have access to a work computer in addition to their home rig. Quite a few of us have multiple machines in the house that are used either interchangeably or that are dedicated for specific purposes.

Personally have 4 devices that I use in my day-to-day affairs:

  1. Windows gaming rig
  2. MacBook Pro
  3. Work laptop running Ubuntu
  4. iPad

I would like to say I use that windows box mostly for gaming, but that is actually not true. As it happens it is actually my most frequently used machine, but not because I particularly like working under Windows. The computer runs Windows so that I can play games, but it is also running bunch of other things – like Cygwin, MySysGit, Python, Ruby, ActiveStatePerl, PHP+Apache via XAAMP and etc.. For most of my coding (excluding the forays into the world of .NET) I would actually be better off using a unix machine (like the MacBook). But most of the time I work on the desktop because of comfort. The desktop has a large wide screen monitor, the Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 and the Sidewinder Mouse and an optimal desk setup. For comparison, the laptop keyboard is cramped and uncomfortable. As much as I love the apple touch pad gestures, an actual mouse is still much more comfortable to work with.

For the very same reason my work machine almost never gets used as a laptop – it almost always works in a “desktop replacement” mode. When I get to work, I plug it into an external monitor and usb hub with an attached Natural Keyboard Elite and Logitech VX Mouse.

I put the iPad on this list because it has been increasingly taking over the spotlight from my MacBook. Ever since I got it, it has been proving itself to be a superior mobile device. In the past I would take my MBP to bed when I wanted to catch up on the online series I follow, check my email, do some redditing or even watch a movie stored on the NAS. The iPad is perfect for all of this, weighs less, has much longer battery life and boots in the fraction of the time it takes for the laptop to properly wake up. Combined with a Bluetooth keyboard it can even function as a pretty decent thin-client workstation. Few years ago I probably wouldn’t even consider classifying such device as a “computer” but frankly, it has earned its place. It is the second most frequently used device in my house.

Sometimes I almost feel bad for neglecting my costly MacBook. It is a great machine, but somehow lately I’ve been viewing it as both too small and cramped for prolonged work (as compared to my desktop with the wonderfully large and padded keyboard), and too bulky and unwieldy for bullshitting online (when I can do that on the iPad). I almost wish I had a second desk where I could set up the mac with a nice large monitor and a split keyboard.

How about you? What kind of a device do you do most of your work?

My main computer is:
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I have mentioned this before, but I haven noticed that the desktops are slowly fading away from people’s households. Geeks and PC gamers still keep them around, but a lot of other folks have replaced them with laptops years ago. I know a few people out there who actually don’t even use their laptops at home anymore. They crack them open every once in a blue moon when they need absolutely to type something up in Word or Excel, and use their iPad (or other tablet) for everything else (everything else being Youtube, Facebook and forwarding chain letters via email). It would be interesting to see how my readers fit into the big picture here. How many of you use big and bulky desktops? How do you feel about desktops fading away, and laptops slowly becoming supplanted by more mobile devices?

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20 Responses to What is your primary computer?

  1. Matt` UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Main computer is a Windows laptop, I’m not trying to do anything teribly clever with it so Windows presents no difficulties. I do own a big bulky box of a desktop, but that’s staying under a desk in my parents’ house for now – not enough desk space here to put it on, and it’s not aging well.

    My phone is dumb, I have no tablet, that laptop is my only computer in active use. Has a nice enough keyboard to not feel cramped, doesn’t have to go anywhere often enough for bulk to be an issue, has enough hard drive space to store stuff on my “to-watch” list, with an external hard drive standing by for bulk storage.

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  2. winston winslo Mozilla Firefox Linux says:

    I had a desktop pc that I used for everything but it crashed and burned. My son gave me his sony vaio. It does everything I want to do quite nicely. Have no tablets or iphones. Have a netbook but it lays on the bookshelf idle.

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  3. Rob UNITED STATES Google Chrome Linux Terminalist says:

    Why not get a KVM for your MBP and your Windows desktop?

    I have a Windows gaming desktop, a Linux Mint DE desktop, a Mac book Air, and a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2. Primarily I use the MBA and the Mint desktop. The Windows desktop is hooked up to my TV so it’s uncomfortable to use for anything but gaming. If I’m not sitting at my Mint desktop chances are I’m connected to it via SSH.

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  4. Victoria Netscape Navigator Mac OS says:

    At work I use my oldie MBP and now the corporate Dell (hate that thing), at home – Macbook Air. But I also have a heavy duty desktop at home, and I do most of my reading/casual gaming/web surfing on iPad.

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  5. Morghan Google Chrome Linux says:

    My Windows laptop gets a lot of use, mainly for Excel, the program I loathe most but am often required to use. Everything else gets done on my Galaxy S3. If they had a better Excw l implementation for Android, and the S3 had a keyboard, my laptop would be relegated to uploading music to Google’s cloud and spend 99% of its time in the bag. I switched to conaoles for gaming years ago, and while I do miss the keyboard and mouse, I most definitely do not miss upgrading for a new game.

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  6. Eric Daum UNITED STATES Google Chrome Ubuntu Linux says:

    I have a Dell Laptop that I use for everything. It serves as the computer that I use to do my homework for school. It replaces my TV and Stereo easily. It is Dual boots windows 7 and Ubuntu.

    I also have an Ipad and an ancient Huawei Android tablet. I don’t really use either of those very much.

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  7. tengu911 UKRAINE Mozilla Firefox Linux says:

    Only linux, only hardcore :) I’m lucky enogh to have linux on my home desktop (true Debian), on my nettop (#!) and on my university desktop (Linux Mint). Haven’t got tablet, but use Android on Nook Glowlight, and (last but not least) Rockbox on Sansa Clip+ mp3-player.

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  8. joek UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Linux says:

    My primary computer is a laptop running #! Waldorf (for all intents and purposes, Debian Testing with openbox). My secondary computer is my old (11 years, now) Dell Latitude D400 (another laptop), currently running Debian stable. It’s used for testing whatever crazy ideas I don’t want to mess up my laptop I use for actual work on. (Currently, seeing how little I can compile into a kernel without breaking everything…)

    As my newer laptop is only 3 months old, I thought I’d also make it clear that the reason I have that rather than a desktop is because I started university at the beginning of the month, and portability was an issue. As soon as my parents give up on our (now 8 year old) desktop, I am annexing it for my room at home, to do testing which my old laptop can’t handle.

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  9. joek UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Linux says:

    @ joek:
    Oh, and it needs to be made clear, these days: I do not have a tablet, and I do not want a tablet. I can’t see what I’d use one for…

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  10. My main system (running Windows 7 Ultimate x64) is a desktop I built in April 2011 and have upgraded along the way. Currently:
    * Core i7-970
    * 24GB RAM
    * MSI GTX 560 Ti 448-core
    * a couple SSDs
    * a pair of 500GB HDDs @ RAID0
    * 2TB RAID1 external eSATA storage
    * a pair of ASUS 24″ 1080p monitors
    * Windows 7 Ultimate x64

    Tons of RAM since I usually run a couple VMs (Win8, Linux Mint, and any new distro I want to check out). I could never not have dual monitors on my main system now. Use it for regular web/email/YouTube, gaming, programming, music creation, photo editing, file server, etc.

    Also have an HP 8710i 17″ Core2 Duo laptop (also running Windows 7 Ultimate x64) that stays shut and hooked to the A/V receiver in the living room via HDMI, and a similar HP 6510b 15″ laptop running Linux Mint 13 x64 MATE.

    I grabbed a 32GB HP Touchpad (dual-boot webOS and ICS) during one of the fire-sales last year. This is what I use when I go out of town — it’s good enough to check email and look at maps and much smaller than a laptop. 3G/4G would be nice but I just tether my phone (Palm Pre 2) if I need to.

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  11. Tony UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Mac OS says:

    @ Rob: Synergy might do the trick instead of getting a hardware KVM.

    I have three main machines I use:

    * Desktop running Windows 8 Consumer Preview (which has been.. interesting), used mainly for gaming and leisure activities.

    * Laptop running Archlinux on an older Gateway. This is my main work machine for projects and on-the-go tasks. This has actually slowly replaced my desktop as my go-to machine for most work.

    * Mac Mini for work.

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  12. Jason "StDoodle" Wood UNITED STATES Google Chrome Windows says:

    I had a response… but I cleared the browser cache recently, so I hit “post” without the required info being filled in… and there was no way to get back to my existing post. (I got the “required info missing” warning, but nothing else… forcing back was a refresh. So, meh… :P

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  13. hmm.. hard to decide

    I own:
    * a gaming/work-pc with “more power!” (TM Home Improvement)
    * mediacenter PC (Atom330, fanless, ~5-6 Harddrives)
    * ARM-Netbook (Toshiba AC100, fanless, ~8hours battery, Tegra2, but only 512M RAM)
    * Android Phone (Motorola Milestone 1/Droid 1)
    I rent:
    * Server for g33ky.de

    the obvious answer would be “my primary Device is my Netbook, because i use that most often” but that would be exactly as wrong as stating my Phone is it, because i carry it around all the time.
    If i look at what i would miss most if i lost it, then i would have to say “my server”. Most things i do start with SSHing into that and then doing something there. Pretty much everything that doesn’t start like that is using a Browser (i pretty much gave up on that on smartphones), watching some TV series (Mediacenter) or running some Games (50:50 on my gaming-pc/my phone)

    So i’m not sure… either Server, Netbook or even Smartphone could be my “primary” computer.

    BTW: I look forward of buying one of those nice ARM-Chromebooks to replace my aging AC100. :-)

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  14. GermanPete GERMANY Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Well, I’ve never had a laptop.
    I was thinking about getting one (or even better a netbook) when my RPG-books became more and more electronic variants.
    But that step was missed due to getting a tablet (Galaxy tab first, nexus 7 now) and having all the clunky books my gamers haul around in a nice package of not even 500g (including the protective cover).
    For my non-RPG-use there’s the desktop at work (some office machinery with decent enough hardware to run our ressource hungry business software) and my personal desktop with state of the art (uhumm… half a year old so most likely antique now) hardware.
    And that one’s used for gaming. And sometimes when an idea had enough time to slowly bubble into something worthwile writing.

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  15. Saurabh INDIA Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    My main computer is my desktop, despite the fact that it is really old (7 yrs), underpowered (pentium d 2.80), and quite old screen (CRT 15 inch). I have a laptop (which is quite powerful) and a smartphone (which is my second most device for internet browsing). My biggest reason to use desktop over laptop is keyboard, it is more comfortable or maybe I am more used to it.

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  16. SapientIdiot UNITED STATES Google Chrome Linux says:

    I actually have both a desktop and a laptop on my desk and use both at the same time with synergy. My laptop runs CrunchBang Linux, and my desktop currently has Windows 7 although until about a year ago I was strictly Linux only. I picked up an ATI 5830 for xmas last year and ended up using windows too much for gaming to justify dual booting. Having the 2 systems side by side and using the same keyboard and mouse works out really well. A lot of times I’ll end up using the laptop to look up hints on games i’m playing on the desktop.

    I use my Nexus S phone a majority of the time for communications, mostly texting and email, but I also use an xmpp client to keep myself signed in to facebook chat and gtalk all the time. I just don’t see a point in running a chat client on my computer when i have a fancy smart phone that’s perfect for it. Occasionally I’ll use my laptop for email or chatting if I need to use OpenPGP or OTR.

    I also have an android tablet that I mostly use in bed for reading RSS feeds, Reddit and occasionally gaming on.

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  17. mcai8sh4 UNITED KINGDOM Google Chrome Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    At work, it’s a cheap old desktop running XP (thats right, I’m cutting edge)!
    At home, I got rid of my desktop a year ago as it was hardly ever used, I mainly used it for gaming, butI also have an xbox360, so most of my gaming is done on that.

    My main computer is a samsung laptop running ubuntu with wmii WM. It’s in constant use for everything from watching random shows (Sons of Anarchy atm), playing music through my home system, coding, recording for my home studio and …. stuff! It really gets abused, but suits me ok.

    I also have a HP prolient blade server thing. It mainly hosts a few websites, and is used for experimenting/playing on. Most of the time it just makes a noise and wastes electricity.

    The ipad is used for convenience (facebook, reddit, time wasting games etc). And my phone, Samsung Galaxy 1, is used mainly as a phone, with the occasional use of convenient web browsing.
    All my reading is done on a Kindle (or my phone/ipad if I’ve left my kindle somewhere)

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  18. ST/op DENMARK Google Chrome Linux says:

    I have a couple of desktops running a bunch of different OS’s (LMDE, Sid, Win7 and Ubuntu for testing) but I use mostly my laptop, also running LMDE.
    Lately, I got an Asus Eee Pad tablet at work and I find myself using it increasingly. It’s the transformer model, with a removable keyboard, making it effectively a small laptop (or netbook) when mounted. I installed a decent terminal on it and can run SSH, vim and a bunch of other nix tools natively (not over SSH) and my favorite browsers (Firefox, Chrome and Opera). Actually, it can run almost any tool I would use on a normal laptop.
    As it is a work device, I didn’t try to root it and run a stock Android 4.0.3 but this has not been too much of a limitation so far.
    Tablet+real keyboard is the way to go, obviously.

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  19. JuEeHa FINLAND Links Linux says:

    Hello from consoleland! My main computer is ThinkPad T20 without screen (I use external LCD) and battery (plugged is 24/7). It has 700MHz Pentium 3 processor, 64MB of RAM, 30GB of HD space and S3 Savage graphics card with 4MB (if I remember correcly) of video RAM. My main laptop is iBook G3 running MintPPC without X11. It has 300MHz (I think) PowerPC G3 processor and 64MB of RAM.

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  20. Ron Mozilla Firefox Linux says:

    My main interactive devices are a T61 thinkpad, with a nice Intel SSD, sitting at eye level, beside a cheap (from a sale) Samung 20in monitor, and a stero about as old as I am. Currently runing Arch linux, on btrfs, with systemd and awesome wm.

    Currently use a Deathadder mouse and either a Natural 4000 keyboard, sometimes somes working for some reason havnt got to the bottem of it, or a cheap Logitech keyboard, that sticks since I split ginger beer recently on it, oops.

    LG-p500 Android phone, as a cell, and making notes at random times. Wouldnt mind a tablet (Hp touchpad) as I like the device for couch surfing alot but find the screen and keyboard too small.

    Have an old AMD Athlon fileserver too, might need to upgrade to something a lil more recent for more sata ports thou, or try my luck with PCI sata again. And a smaller “cache file server”/download/50+ other things plug pc would be nice, and a few other things, im a bit of a greenie so dont like leaving the bigger machines on all the time.

    Linode 512 for a webserver (currently not active), and a better shell when at Uni (everythings ancient and no zsh).

    Desktop would be nice for the odd game (espescially with some of the Xen passthrough stuff, dont like shutting down, except for kernel upgrades), and a quad core would be nice for some more virt machines and the like.

    Also have another T61 (broken screen) for experimenting with Xen and other random stuff without comprmising a useful machine and an old A21m thinkpad for some random stuff, but the battery recently gave up completly on it. (p3, 256mb ram).

    Guess I do have a few computers :)

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