SHCC WYSIWYG Article from May 2007

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This article was written by Don VanSyckel, the club president, as a part of "The President's Pen".  This article appeared in the May 2007 WYSIWYG newsletter.

Features I Want in my Next Computer

by Don VanSyckel

The Computer Age is flying by. It's hard to image what comes next. Some people think smaller and smaller, like a computer in a watch or a ring. Well I'm going on record to say I'm not. One of the big problems, well not a problem but an issue is the good old fashioned I/O. That's Input and Output for any of you that haven't grown up with computers.

What about the "I"s and the "O"s? No matter how small the computer is, you have to be able to use it and that, for most of us, means a keyboard. As laptops got smaller, the built-in keyboards got smaller. This didn't work very well for many people for two reasons 1) the keys were too small to conveniently type on and 2) the smaller keys are on a different enough of a spacing that the ol' fingers who know where the keys are (on a normally spaced keyboard) had trouble finding the desired keys. Also as laptops got smaller the screens got smaller. I think I don't have to say much about this.

So who wants the latest 'ring sized' computer you can wear on your finger if you can't use it? In fact, It's my observation from the laptop ads that the pendulum has swung back, as it usually does, from the one end, smaller and smaller, and settled in a comfortable location for laptops of 15" to 17" screens full size or near full sized keyboards. The other "I"s and "O"s are all helped by the laptop cases for these sizes. Previously as the laptops got smaller the amount of real estate around the side of the case was also shrinking. This meant with each new size reduction another trade-off had to be made about which connector(s) to drop in the new smaller version. Also as the speed went up, the heat load went up and there was additional need for cooling. More cooling many times meant more air flow. More air flow many times meant larger vents. Larger vents consumed more real estate on the shrinking "case side".

For laptops I consider the following I/O essential:
1) full or near full sized keyboard
2) 15" to 17" screen with a resolution of 1280 X 1024 minimum
3) DVD/CD read/writer
4) network connection (RJ45 NIC conn)
5) USB2.0 (2 or 3 minimum)
6) headphones jack
7) video monitor conn
The following I/O are nice to have:
1) wireless
2) wireless radio switch (extremely handy to save battery life while traveling)
3) S-video
4) parallel printer port
The following I/O could be left off with no impact, at least to me:
1) phone jack (if I can't get wired or wireless internet I don't go there)
2) serial
3) microphone (cell phone and regular phone with VOIP are easier to use)
4) card slot (with so much being USB why mess with a card unless the wireless is not built in)

End of Article

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