Landing : Athabascau University

Packing light for conference-going: tablet vs. laptop

The investigation of the tablet's functions and affordances for academic work that led to such a productive discussion here in the Landing continues at my Wordpress blog, with a reflection on the process of planning the annual Congress trip around tablet use instead of laptop reliance. Way I see it, the tablet can replace a whole lot of last-gen tech. (Not that I ever needed it all for the trip. But once you get locked into a serious tech habit...)


  • Jon Dron May 23, 2012 - 11:36am

    Having tried Macbook-only, iPad-only and iPhone only, if I am away for more than a couple of days I now typically travel with a portable Apple Store in my SEV jacket pockets - Macbook Air, iPad and iPhone. On the bright side it is still a great deal smaller and lighter than a single laptop used to be, even with the typical assortment of connectors and cables I bring with me for presentations.

    I've found that I can survive pretty well for about a day with only an iPhone, two or three days on just an iPad, but after that the need for specialist tools like decent integrated bibliographic software, word processors that don't mess with MS Word templates etc, or proper development tools becomes a problem - not impossible, but it becomes time-consuming, prone to error and tedious. It's definitely getting better though.

    It will be interesting to see whether Windows 8 lives up to its potential promise as a tablet system - I'd really like to find a single device that works for everything. I've tried hard to love Android but, compared with iOS, it's clunky, unreliable and its computer roots show through much too much.

  • Mark A. McCutcheon May 23, 2012 - 2:09pm

    "Portable Apple store": you know, I've actually seen that in a US airport - it was like an oversize vending machine, dispensing iPods instead of candy.

    It sounds like your tech needs after a couple of days - biblio-ware, dev tools - reflect your work's methodology. I think there's an interesting subject for discussion in how different methodologies require different tools - not just different research instruments, which would be obvious enough, but different apps, if you will, given that most apps (that I know of anyway) aren't designed to be field- or discipline- or even academia-specific. Mendeley is decidedly an academ-app, true, but it's cross-disiplinarily capacious. I'm thinking out loud about this, because over in the Humanatees we're starting a conversation about methodology, and it strikes me that I don't see similar methodological limitations on my own work being imposed by sticking to tablet use. (Of course it could just be that my own understanding of methodology is itself too tablet-like: reductive and simplified :)

  • Anonymous March 6, 2015 - 3:40am

    Great site. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to some friends. thanks for the nice post !
    real tv vancouver
    - real tv vancouver