Continuous Discontent with Personal Computing

This post comes out of a discussion I had with some folk on IRC this past weekend and then further encouraged by the Apple event that happened on the 30th of October, 2018.

For a while now, I’ve had this sense of a general discontent when it comes to what I use daily for my personal computing needs. When I was younger, I chalked this up to boredom, I would often say things like “I was bored with Windows on the Surface Pro 3 so I bought a Macbook Pro”. I have since given away that Surface Pro 3 to my brother so it was not a total waste of money.

My current state is as follows:

  • Desktop computer running Windows 10 – this is my main computer, the one I use for work (I work from home) and personal use.
  • A Macbook Pro as my primary laptop machine – all this does these days is sit on the charger at home, as I don’t really have a need for it anymore.
  • iPhone XS – this is my go-to portable computing device these days.

Of all of these, the iPhone is the one computing device that I am most happy with these days. Even though in many ways it is the most limited of all my personal computing devices. Maybe that is significant in some way, I don’t know.

My job as a sysadmin involves a lot of working with remote Linux systems via SSH. I know for sure that this would be a better experience if I was using a *nix based system with better terminal emulators instead of PuTTy on Windows. No offence to PuTTy, it is a perfectly serviceable for what it is but it is not the same as using iTerm 2 on macOS or Konsole on a KDE based Linux desktop. Also, I vastly prefer the font rendering on macOS over the way Windows does it. Sometimes it’s the small things.

To that point, Apple just announced new Mac Minis which would be ideal as my daily desktop machine. Except for one thing. I like to play a fair few Windows only video games on my fairly beefy desktop machine (for example, Overwatch). This makes a Mac desktop a non-starter my PC gaming needs.

I have considered an alternative setup:

  • Mac Mini desktop
  • iPad Pro for portable computing
  • PS4 Pro and Nintendo Switch for all my gaming needs

The problem with that is that I vastly prefer playing games on my PC than on any of the consoles I have. This is for various reasons:

  • Flexibility of control method – I can choose to use either mouse/keyboard or a controller for games. Mouse and keyboard for FPS like Overwatch, Xbox One controller for racing games like Forza Horizon 4. I especially don’t like playing FPS games with a controller which would be the case with any of the consoles.
  • Flexibility of performance – I can play games with the amount of visual fidelity and performance that I need. For example, my usual target for gaming on PC is 1080p at 60 frames per second. If I need to sacrifice visual fidelity to get that smooth 60FPS, that is what I do. Such flexibility is still fairly new and rare on current generation consoles.

You can probably see how going all console for gaming is not ideal for me.

So I am stuck, no one platform will really serve all my needs (or wants) so I will need to have a mishmash of platforms to make stuff happen.

I am not really seeing a solution here other than a change in personal priorities. Not to mention, any sort of change to my current state will be monetarily expensive so it is not a decision to be made lightly.

In any case, for now I stay in a holding pattern of continuous discontent with the state of my personal computing. Ugh.