Friday, January 9, 2004
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Laptop Lessons

Just before the end of the year, I discovered that the Windows laptop we'd pencilled in for 2004 had to be purchased Right Now. (I use a TiBook for most of my work, but Eastgate needs a supplementary Windows laptop)

As it happened, Dave Winer had just been through much the same experience: his laptop failed in the middle of a trip, and he reported his subsequent experience in some detail. Scoble went shopping with Winer. Ultimately, Dave chose an IBM T40, which he likes a lot.

Dan Bricklin wrote earlier this year about tablet computers. He uses the Fujistu, and so I wrote and asked him for advice, too. Dan, in turn, pulled Bob Frankston into the discussion. Then, I had a great talks with Feedster's Scott Johnson, hot Tinderboxer (and ex-CTO) Doug Miller, Avaki's Philip Werner, and lots of other people, compressed into about three days. In some way, the discussion was as interesting as the laptop shopping:

The big surprise was that busy and important computer professionals love to talk about laptops. These are pros, computers are everyday tools for them, many have had laptops for decades, but people were simply interested in these machines. There's an important lesson about the market here.

I started out looking for a big, honking 8-pounder and wound up with the smallest laptop on the table -- a Sony TR2, weighing in at 3.1 lbs, with a 1280x768 screen, onboard WiFi, and a combo drive.

It's called Progress.