This is a sad story about technology.

I own two very nice laptops, a Mac and a PC. The PC is my office machine, and is normally hooked up to a second monitor, a Firewire audio interface, a USB hub, a router via Ethernet, and so on. The Mac sits by my easy chair in the living room, and I use it mainly for idle hobbyist stuff in the evening.

This week I wanted to do some idle hobbyist stuff with a Windows program called TADS Workbench. Fortunately, I picked up a free copy of Crossover last fall, during Codeweavers’ one-day giveaway. So I can run Windows programs on the Mac.

Sort of, but not quite. Workbench loses its preferences every time it’s shut down, and its Options box doesn’t display properly. A bigger issue is that I would like to use a very nice freeware applet called AutoHotKey, because there are some QWERTY keystroke combinations I like to use in Workbench. And AutoHotKey is so system-level that it won’t run at all under Crossover.

So last night I turned off the PC, unplugged its cables, and took it into the living room to mess around with Workbench. Now I’m happy with the software side, but the hardware is driving me crazy. The PC laptop has a quiet but annoying acoustical 60-cycle hum, apparently due to a physical connection between the power supply (or possibly the fan motor) and the exterior case. Also, it runs hotter, so my lap gets a little toasty after a while.

While I’m using it, I can’t check my email or do anything on the Web, because I’d have to buy and configure a wireless router to do that. And when I’m finished playing around with Workbench, I have to hook up all the cables again.

Buy a cheap PC laptop just so I can fiddle around with Workbench? That seems strangely misguided. Plus, it would take hours to set it up. First I’d have to verify that Workbench and AutoHotKey are even compatible with the new OS.

I have two powerful laptops, and I’m still not satisfied.

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4 thoughts on “Never Satisfied

  1. Wah, f’in Wah. I only have one laptop to be dissatisfied with, you lucky bastard. Some day, you may buy yet another, so you’ll have the great good fortune to be dissatisfied with all three.

    Some people in this world have no laptops to be dissatisfied with, and have to settle for being dissatisfied with desktops.

    And I don’t know about you, but it gives me personally absolutely no satisfaction to think that it’s people like me (and you) who run the economy, since the fundamental principle on which the economy is based is that there is no end to human consumption.

    I’m in the process of moving, which means I’ve now got to trip and stumble past all this crap I’ve bought over the past few years just to get out the door to eat an unsatisfactory lunch and go window-shopping.

    C.

  2. If you had a wireless router, you could use your Mac to connect to your PC via Remote Desktop Connection.

    Run RDC full screen, and TADS Workbench and AutoHotKey should work normally.

    The service is built-in to Windows XP (and up) and the Mac client is free. You could pick up a cheap router for $30 or so from Newegg.

  3. Good suggestion, guys. I hadn’t considered that option. I’ve never used anything like RDC myself, though I’ve had folks hundreds of miles away running my PC for me a couple of times in order to troubleshoot weird issues.

    I was basically just having a little fun whining when I wrote this post … like, “Oh, poor me! Only two fast laptops!” But the ergonomics issues are definitely real.

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