I recently downsized my hardware collection at work.  I always used to have one or more desktop machines and a laptop.  Laptops have become so powerful these days that I felt it was time to simplify my life and buy a good laptop as my only computer at work.

What’s made this possible?  Two things: VPC and Terminal Services.  I used to use partitions on my desktop machine to install iffy pre-release software.  Now I use VPC on my laptop and take advantage of the terminal servers my team and others set up.  Isn’t that slow as a dog you ask?  Well, it is a bit slower, but I can dedicate a full GB of memory to VPC since my new laptop came with 2 GB (and 2 GHz). The combination of VPC and terminal servers means that I can participate in bug bashes with out worrying about polluting my main work machine.

How to pick the single laptop of my work life…

My top criteria for laptops are long battery life and small size.  Since the advent of wireless networking, I no longer need to be tethered to a wall by a network cable, so I don’t want to be tethered to a wall by the power cord either.  As for size, the laptop must fit in a particular green shoulder bag I have had for many years and am quite fond of.

There were quite a few machines from the major manufacturers that fit the bill; all the major manufacturers had small, sleek laptops with lots of power.  Ultimately I chose a Dell Latitude 410.  It came down to Dell’s online site and the sales person I worked with.  Dell’s online site made it super easy to compare models—I was able to narrow down my choices very quickly to just two models.  Then I worked with Chris Clark and Julianna Smith, who answered all my questions quickly and helped me pull together the proper specs.  It was a pretty painless process.

So far, so good

So far, my Dell 410 is living up to my expectations.  I bought the expansion station so that I could continue to use my large flat panel monitor; I can hardly tell the difference between working on the laptop and my old desktop.  Battery life is excellent so far; I don’t even bother to take my power supply home with me on weekends any more.

I really like having everything I need on one machine everywhere I go; the simplicity of having one work machine can’t be beat.  There are some risks having all my data in one place; I have to be more vigilant backing up data more frequently.  I am also using the My Documents Folder Redirection Service—that makes My Documents available on all my VPCs.