I received a special invitation in my inbox today. It was sent by my dear friends at AliExpress and explained that I should backup my important data (a very good idea), preferably with a storage devices by one of their vendors (not quite such a good idea).
Given the somewhat suspect quality of the genuine Samsung gazillobyte SD cards you can buy from the Chinese website, I very much doubt that I should move years a holiday pictures to a $26.99 KingDian SSD drive.
What I am doing, on the other hand, is to backup my important data to sync.com, a zero-knowledge cloud storage platform. Hopefully, they do not get their hardware from AliExpress...
I'm on the move. The only “computers” that are accessible are my phone and a tablet. Neither of them features a physical keyboard.
So, how do I write? Poke one letter at a time on a tiny screen? Try to swype my way through some complex thoughts? Maybe even try vice definition voice recognition?
The point is, when it comes to creating text nothing beats a physical keyboard.
On a related note: Some time ago, I saw the Lenovo Yoga Tab at the airport and fell in love with it's Halo keyboard.
I needed one of those!
I also need to learn to think before I buy stuff.
Long story short, while the tablet itself is super cool looking, the typing experience is mediocre at best. It's like typing on the table in front of you. Only with a lag and the need to constantly check where your fingers are.
The other day, I visited a Computer Museum in Kiel, Germany and had the chance to look at (and play with) the Cambridge Z88.
I have secretly lusted over this computer for quite a while and even contacted a seller in the UK who had the machine available. From the reviews and descriptions I found on the Internet it sounded like the perfect mobile word processor with a rubbery, but very usable, keyboard.
But boy, was I underwhelmed! Trying to write anything was like typing on a pocket calculator.
I have always like Clive Sinclair's machines, from my first ZX81 to the QL, despite all their quirks. And even though I would still like to own a Z88 I am quite happy that I don't have to produce text on those mushy keys.
Having said that: Is there any dedicated (and affordable) mobile word processing hardware out there? I already do own a Pomera DM100, a Japanese only note taking device, that is let down by its lackluster keyboard.
The digitization of our daily lives seems unstoppable. And, generally speaking, I don't have a problem with that. Being born without any sense of direction, GPS has made my trips to friends, restaurants, or holiday destinations much easier. Digital photos are a blessing (again, generally speaking) and I do prefer a word processor to a typewriter.
My only concern is that digitization reduces the half life of about any product to little more than two years.
I can live with buying a new mobile phone or a camera when the (built-in) battery dies or the file format becomes obsolete. But I'd rather not buy a new car on a semiannual basis. My last car was a mechanical beast that lasted almost 20 years. But what do I do when the CPU in my current model goes wonky after some seasons in the rain?
Sure, exchanging a chip is easier than replacing a drive train, but what about DRM and other digital protection schemes? If you think you we will be able to replace the main screen of your car with a better third-party equivalent try to install a cheap ink cartridge into your printer. You see where I'm going with this?