Tools Toys and Technology

About the Tools You Use and the Toys That Make Life Interesting

Tools Toys and Technology - About the Tools You Use and the Toys That Make Life Interesting

The New Face of On-The-Go Computing

In my last article, The New Face of Computers,” I discussed the emergence of the All-In-One desktop style. This article is dedicated to the portable side of computing, an area that has been dominated by the laptop/notebook design for many years.

For the last couple of years, the “Ultrabook” has been taking over the high end of this market. Ultrabooks, in general, are notebooks that are sleeker, lighter and have longer battery life. ( See “Ultrabooks and Windows 8 Tablets” June, 2012).

The Ultrabook/Tablet Hybrid

The latest thing are notebooks/ultrabooks that can be used with a keyboard in the traditional clam shell fashion or converted to a tablet form factor with screens that can be removed, hinged, swiveled, rotated, folded, or otherwise maneuvered to deliver a tablet experience.  It’s these hybrid variations I want to review today.

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The New Face of Computers

Once Upon a Time…

There used to be two types of PCs: desktops and laptops.

Desktops consisted of a hefty case that housed the electronic brains of the machine. To that you added a monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers, and possibly other things. This collection of hardware took up a major portion of your desk, and the thing wasn’t particularly stylish.

Laptops combined all the components into one clam shell-like package, in the name of portability. But even that was a pretty utilitarian and kind of clunky device.

Those were the good old days when computer buying decisions were relatively easy to make. You just decided on a desktop or laptop, picked your favorite components and brand, and pulled out your credit card.

That was Then … This is Now …

Now you have:

  1. Classical desktops
  2. All-in-one desktops
  3. All-in-one/tablet hybrids
  4. Laptops
  5. Ultrabooks
  6. Ultrabook/tablet hybrids that swivel, slide, fold, dock, whatever…

And I’m not sure I covered everything. The evaluation process has become far more complicated.

In this and a followup article, I’m going to try to clarify the increasingly confusing PC landscape. I’ll have more to say about the portable computing options later. Today, I’m concentrating on the latest desktop developments.

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Tech Shortcuts You Should Know… but Probably Don’t

  • So, you know you can page down a Web page by just pressing the space bar, right? Go ahead, try it now. Hold down shift and hit the space bar to page back up.
  • A special tip for SaddleBrookers… Text too small on a Web page? Just press CTRL + as many times as you need to make the text readable. To make it smaller … you guessed it … CTRL –
  • Need to look up the spelling or the definition of a word? Go to Google and type: define anyword

These tips (and many more) all came from a TED talk by David Pogue. Watch 10 tech tips on TED now.


By the way, if you’re not familiar with TED, it’s one of my favorite places on the Web. TED features short talks of almost every genre: educational, humor, technology, business, politics, you name it. Check out TED here.