How many computers do I need to get my job done?
When I was new to Microsoft, I new that my first goal was to collect as much hardware as possible. I figured that with more computers, I could do more cool stuff.
With two development machines, I could work on two problems at once. If one machine was running a build, the other one would be available.
If I’m not sure that today’s drop is good, I only have to roll the dice on one machine, and keep working on the other.
Maybe I could implement distributed builds. With 20 machines, even slow ones, maybe I could build in a fraction of the time.
Then a dedicated machine for email, web browsing, etc., since the dev machines were often corrupted, being rebooted, or had their CPUs fully loaded.
And another machine as a file share, which would never be rebooted, to share out my batch files & utilities to the other machines. I didn’t want to work to keep them in sync.
And another to run as a rolling build over our sources, which helped the team find build breaks more quickly.
To keep the noise in my office from getting out of hand, I checked out Terminal Services for Windows NT4. I started pushing these machines out of my office, into a lab upstairs. My office ended up with just a single, low-powered machine, with 2 video cards.
I also implemented an automated checkin verification system for the team to use. It has grown to ~35 machines, that run a series of builds and tests over every checkin. They’re certainly NOT in my office; I TS to them remotely.
These days, I also use a laptop. I go to a lot more meetings. I use my laptop on the bus to/from work. It makes it easy to take work home, and I can keep up with email while watching a movie.
But sometimes I leave the laptop at home. Or I need something with more CPU power. So, I still have a dedicated email machine at work.
Then my manager gave unto me a new Toshiba Portege M200 Tablet PC. I like it a lot. I started to use it, but I keep finding things that are on my old laptop.
I’ve been thinking about how much the stuff in my life creates a drain on me. I have some stuff I don’t use, and that I should of course get rid of. But there’s other stuff that I do use, and maybe should get rid of, too. (All my life I’ve been in ‘acquire’ mode, so this will take getting used to.)
Can I get rid of some of my machines? What’s the simplest thing that could possibly work?
Here’s my goal:
Get rid of the laptop.
Use the Tablet PC for email, browsing, listening to music.
My dev machine has 3 displays, get rid of 2.
Keep the file server where it is. It requires near-0 effort for me, and it adds a lot of value.
Stop using the dedicated mail machine. I’ll keep it on for a while, just in case, but try not to use it. In a couple weeks, I’ll turn it off.