Laptop computers have become cheap and reliable enough to replace desktop machines unless you have special cards that need a motherboard. I have several dedicated desktops but, the laptop you see here is the one that currently holds my life together.
Because I am travelling, this is the "trimmed" down version. At home it lives on a docking station, and is buried in a massive tangle of wires connecting a plethora of peripherals including:
+ Barcode reader;
+ Second (much larger) monitor;
+ More external drives;
+ Printer / Scanner;
+ External DVD Writer;
+ Home-embedded sound system;
+ Digitizing tablet;
+ Genuine IBM battleship quality keyboard.
The keyboard in the picture is used for travel. It isn't perfect, but it is tactile and thin enough to fit neatly in a back-pack.
To move from one house to another, I have to pack up everything into the back-pack. Big deal, you say, but, what about moving from one room to another? You have three options:
1. Bundle everything in your arms and hope not to drop something;
2. Disconnect items and make multiple trips; or
3. Read the rest of this i'ble.
Step 1: Start With a Nice Clean Tray.
A discarded breakfast tray comes to the rescue. It was on the rubbish pile at my brother-in-law's and I asked, "Why are you throwing this out?"
"The picture is faded."
Really? There's no yellowing of the plastic, no cracking, and does the picture really matter?
Having sat in the weather, the tray was filthy with gooey muck. A decent bath in the sink, and some judicious scrubbing in the corners got it to what I consider near-new.
Step 2: Put the Power Supply (supplies) at the Back
The mains lead trails off to the left, and you will note that I've used a rubber band on the DC side of the power supply to keep that cable under control.
From here on, the order of placement has been for photographic clarity.
Step 3: Add (optional) Cooling Tray.
Confining the laptop to a tray could upset the ventilation, so I installed a cooling pad ($20.00). You can still see the mains power cable on the left.
This also provided some ideal space to further hide untidy cables.
Step 4: Bring in the Bit That Matters.
The laptop sits on the cooling pad very nicely, and is connected up to the power.
Step 5: Add Your Peripherals, Within Reason.
This tray is actually a little narrower than ideal, but it was free. So deal with it.
At the front right, sitting under the GPS is a USB powered external drive. The larger drive at the back is a mains-powered 2TB unit connected through the cooling pad to save on USB ports.
Both the phone and GPS are only connected for charging.
Note the yellow tag on the USB plug located on the left. This labelling is highly recommended for obscure "proprietary"* USB cables like the one on the camera I used for these photos.
I'm learning to use this camera which is why my i'ble is laden with photos.
* I was sorting through cables for a friend and found an un-identifiable USB lead. My best guess was that it belonged to a camera of some type (probably video), but there was no brand on it, and the owner could not identify any item that was missing its lead.
Step 6: Oh No! I Have to Change Location!
The keyboard sits nicely on the rubbers that stop the laptop from sliding off, and when sitting at a desk, this is, personally, an ideal placement of the keyboard for use.
Step 7: Bundle Everything Together.
All the human-interface devices: keyboard, mouse, headphones are stacked up. I don't normally use the headphones. They're just there for Skype.
Step 8: Finally, Load Up the Power Cords and Carry to Your New Destination.
Have you noticed these days that in a world of soaring energy costs, no one seems able to manufacture a non-electrical product? Even the humble can-opener is hard to find in manual form!
Step 9: Moving In?
Connect up your power leads.
Step 10: You're Ready to Go.
Now you can move your laptop from one room to another without tangling wires and fighting with plugs.
Yes, the Michael Okuda LCARS appearance is deliberate.