Tales Of Computeria

On this last day of November, I’m contemplating the benefits of my under-utilized laptop. Sure, my kids get a lot out of it — we share — for their school work and such, but I’ve yet to really put my RTX-enabled GPU to work (ok, play). That’s because I prefer to stay comfy in Apple Land — my iPad is my computer (is that hipster-ish?). It’s practical, but more than that, I truly like the synergy and ease of use between my iPhone and iPad (and Apple Watch).

My iPad works much like a laptop with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse that I frequently use. And Apple has truly made iPadOS function more like MacOS in recent years with “Desktop-class browsing” in Safari — let me tell you it’s true because it really works great (cursor hover states!) in the WordPress CMS and in Google Drive/Docs.

That said, when it comes to laptop-like functionality (are you sitting down?), my Windows laptop actually works better! I mean, you know, because it’s an actual laptop and all.

I had to download a game from Steam, which can’t be done on the iPad. So to my Windows 11 laptop I turned (Win 11 is super nice BTW, though it’s still Windows). As I used my slick gaming laptop, it impressed me. The Edge browser, Discord App, Twitter, and Steam all looked and worked nicely on a much more expansive display (over 5 inches larger, which can also easily connect to a giant external monitor or TV via its handy built-in HDMI). Suffice to say, it’s a nice laptop.

So as one who typically swings back and forth between computers, it’s not surprising that I’m feeling certain attraction toward my laptop…but I’d never break up with my iPad, right? Of course not…

But here’s the thing. While I was on Steam grabbing a game demo (Rise of the Third Power if your curious), I noticed another game, Tales of Arise. It’s a recently released AAA title from Bandai Namco, and it’s a JRPG. The thing is, it was made for the PS4 and PS5 consoles, so I never considered it available to me. In other words, since it’s not on Switch, I can’t play it, so I had no desire or real interest in it even though it’s generally considered a great RPG. But after seeing it available on Steam, on my laptop, and within my ability to purchase and play it without the need to buy a new console, I was smacked in the face! I can play Tales of Arise since it was ported to PC (as opposed to Switch).

Not only can I play more great games now, I realize, but I can play them very well since my laptop has a new Nvidia RTX GPU; I’ve already enjoyed RTX-enabled Minecraft on it. So my laptop is like a PS5 or Xbox Series X; it can handle big fancy games as if it’s a latest hard-to-find console. This really flipped a switch in my brain.

After widening my eyes to the fact I can play some great games I previously thought I had no access to, my laptop started to seem like a new console to me (I’ve only been a console gamer really, with some handheld on the side, not counting mobile). So I quickly decided to soon buy an Xbox controller for it. But something else then occurred to me: not only can my laptop play AAA games like a console, it can do so much more because it’s not just a console, it’s a computer. While that seems obvious, it’s the kind of no-brainer fact that takes on renewed significance after seeing it from a fresh perspective.

A good gaming laptop can play new and great AAA console-level games, and it can perform many other tasks, run programs, and of course surf the web. Yeah, you don’t need real-time ray-tracing to send out a snarky Tweet, but does it hurt? Not really. Actually, if we move into “the Metaverse,” a strong GPU might be required just to email in virtual reality, who knows? If so, the chip shortage will be lengthened, but I digress.

So all that said, I’ll keep enjoying my iPad as my main computer, and I’ll put my laptop to good use otherwise. I won’t switch machines, and I won’t not switch either. I’ll just use whatever I feel like using or whichever fits my needs at any given moment the most. I’ll leave it at that for now.

Contemplating Another Computer

Howdy, y’all. I had to take a break for a bit so I could step back from the edge of the stress cliff. My day job has been undergoing a huge transition from the rubble and remnants of one company to the promise and potential of a new company. It’s been a rough ride. Okay, that said, this post is about my core geekery – computing. I tend to switch things up, and like my job situation, I’m wanting to switch out my Chromebook for a “real” PC.


This switch is directly related to my job transition. As I was forced to work from home on my work laptop, which is a very capable Windows 10 machine, I decided to use it as my personal machine too. It was easy to do because there was nothing to set up. Having been solely using a Chromebook, everything I did was cloud based via web apps. So with Chrome installed on my work laptop, I logged into my Google account. And that was it; all my stuff was there.

My work laptop (which I can’t use anymore – that’s another bump in the rough transition road) is no slouch. It was used for CAD design, having quite a mobile spec load out: 32GB RAM, core i7 CPU, SSD storage. Given all that horsepower, it made my personal computing fly compared to my Chromebook. Plus, since it ran Windows 10 instead of Chrome OS, there were no limitations. I could do pretty much anything with it since it ran desktop apps and not only a browser.

The capability and flexibility of that Windows 10 machine has made me want my own. So I’d like to switch off my Chromebook and replace it with a desktop PC. In fact, I’ve already been on NewEgg building a custom PC wish-list. I have found that it’s hard to save money when building a PC of your own. There are areas where you can save a few dollars, but overall it still adds up to a lot. In my case, I need to also buy Windows 10 software and not just PC hardware, which adds a good chunk to the cost. Anyways, it’s fun to custom build my own PC hot-rod. I make a budget build, a dream build, and then I build something in between that’s neither compromised nor crazy. You can buy just a new RTX GPU that costs as much as an entire computer! As much as I want to run Minecraft with real-time ray-tracing, that will have to wait a long time.

Being mostly an Apple guy when it comes to mobile computing, there’s a question: why not get a Mac? Because I want to do some PC gaming, stay more compatible with my wife’s Windows PC, and be able to use my own PC in lieu of my work PC if the need arises.

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to buy anything for a while. But that’s no big deal. My needs are basically met. But I’ve got some wants and maybe some future needs to consider. Even a budget-friendly Windows PC offers greater flexibility than my Chromebook, and that alone is enough reason to switch. That said, I did learn a good lesson years ago: never buy an entry level Windows machine. Not only is the build quality sub-par, it’s not future proof, and it’s also painfully sluggish.

Here’s the rub of all this. I also still really want an iPad and plan to buy one. So I figure I’ll be replacing my Chromebook laptop with two things: a desktop PC and an Apple tablet — a computer and a mobile computer. I’ll probably keep the Chromebook around too and let the kids use it for school, so I’ll still have access to it if the switch-a-roo bug bites me again. And I’m sure it will.