Simplified computing

Computing has become radically simpler in the past couple of years.  Everyone in Silicon Valley knows it, and everyone under 30 knows it.  This post is for the rest of the world.

How much time do you spend on these tedious tasks?  Most spend dozens of hours a year.  I spend zero, and you can too.

  1. Delete spam.
  2. Search for misplaced messages or files.
  3. Guess at, reset, or retrieve forgotten passwords.
  4. Install and maintain virus software.
  5. Install, remove, update, or otherwise wrestle with printer drivers.
Here is the prescription to avoid all that.  It generally follows the principle of “Fewer, nicer things.”
  1. Use one email address (auto-forward or abandon the rest).
  2. Access email from Gmail.  It’s spam-proof, instantly searchable, and backed up offsite.  Gmail works with your own-domain email address for $50 per year.  Gmail can also store and search all your old pre-Gmail email, so you never lose anything.  Changing from Yahoo/AOL/Hotmail to Gmail saves tons of time.
  3. Use Mac.  Time is money:  don’t waste it wrestling with drivers and antivirus software.  (Windows does still make sense if your time is of very low value, say below $10 per hour.)
  4. Use one computer.  If you work in more than one location, use a laptop.  Get rid of your other computers, or you’ll be tempted to use them, which wastes a ton of time.  Each computer requires your time and, more critically, your attention.  Own as few as possible.
  5. Automate password entry with 1Password.  Never remember or enter a password.
  6. Automate backups with Time Capsule.  Again, time is money:  don’t waste it “managing” backups.  (Soon it will be cheaper instead to incrementally back up to the Web.  Same principle applies.)

If you do all these things, you will save time, and may even find computing more fun.


One Response to “Simplified computing”

  1. Laptop Ergonomics « Mitchelldom Says:

    [...] Two computers:  costs you more money, yet makes you less efficient. [...]