In 2005 I wrote an article How Do Normal People Survive With One, in which I outline all the benefits of running multiple computers. In just over six years, it seems that everything has changed…
I no longer run multiple computers. We have one computer only, and it’s a Mac. Of course I switched to a Mac years ago, and haven’t had any reason to switch away since.
This one Mac, combined with Windows running in VMware Fusion, does everything that we need it to do. Even more interesting, though, is the slow evolution to “cloud computing” we’re making. I would call it baby steps. One thing at a time, and only if the benefits outweigh the cost and/or risk.
Here are the things I talked about in 2005, and how I’m solving them today:
1. SENDING LARGE FILES TO PEOPLE
I rarely do this any more. I used to send and receive most pictures via email in the past, but now I and most everyone else are simply posting them online (Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc) and then sending people the link (if they haven’t already been notified by virtue of association).
2. BACKING UP MY DESKTOP COMPUTER
I use Time Machine, which came bundled with a Mac OS X upgrade a while ago, to back up my computer to an external hard drive. I also use BackBlaze to back up that same data. This two-step approach (with one step being off site) has made me feel a lot better than even doing my own backups to a local server.
3. EASY UPGRADES OF MY DESKTOP COMPUTER
Last time I upgraded it was a breeze – Mac OS X came with some kind of “move your stuff to a new computer” program, and I used it. It was painless. But even if there was a problem, I knew that BackBlaze was there to save me.
4. RECORDING TV SHOWS FROM REMOTE
I love our new solution to this one: we don’t watch TV. OK, we watch a tiny bit, but it isn’t conventional broadcast programming; we do not have cable or satellite. We have an Apple TV, and we do stream YouTube, TED talks and such – but there is no Saturday morning cartoon watching around here. Our daughters don’t seem to be traumatized by the lack of television, so I think it’s going to be like this for a long time.
5. UNLIMITED EMAIL ALIASES
I switch to using HostGator for web site hosting, and discovered that their web site control panel allowed unlimited email alias creation. I still do create a new email alias for each new web site that I sign up to, so I do have over a hundred aliases now. Apparently you can also do something similar with Gmail, but I haven’t tried it.
So all of the reasons I gave years ago are now no longer relevant. And all of the new solutions are related to cloud service providers.
There are two more benefits: we no longer need to consume space for multiple computers, and there is no longer maintenance costs for multiple computers. I gave all of my extra computers and computer parts away a few years ago, and haven’t looked back since.