For a long time I’ve thought I was organised over how I used my machines. But in the last weeks I’ve realised I have been half arsing the entire thing.
The original rule
It all begins with the original rule, derived after years of games ruining perfectly good configurations with wacky hacks to the underlying OS. So the rule was “games on games consoles, computing only on computers”. It’s a pretty good rule as far as it goes. The only fly in the ointment has been the appearance of mobile devices which can do both. But even that has been correcting itself with the appearance of the Switch and the Steamdeck. Anyway, thats the first isolation rule.
The next rule
The next rule has been harder to bring in but partly exists in practice. “Storage on storage machines, computing on computers”. This has been a slow exploration into NAS land (Synology won, QNAPs were too noisy) but the switch over is far from done. What has moved to the servers are archives and playable media and backups. Home directories and working directory sets have yet to move though; SSDs are fast and even though I’ve bumped a lot of things to 2.5GBe, thats still not “snappy” enough. But that transition is happening.
The new rule
And that gets us to now, and the question is now focussing on the nature of computing. It used to be that you needed a desktop to do the heavy lifting a server for the long term lifting and laptops for lighter lifting anywhere its needed. Desktops would have disk and cpu en masse, with big big screens and live in a room. But the world has changed and now my heaviest workloads are well within the capabilities of a laptop. And thats where I pondered a new rule. No desktops, all laptops, because laptops can plug cleanly into big screens and drive them well. I don’t do gaming - see the original rule - so things get a lot simpler.
So the new rule is no desktop computing. Laptops for all the work with docking stations and big screens dropping into 2.5GBe. Laptops I can carry anywhere when needed, but strong enough to live on. Backed up by cloud accessible storage (already done). And that leads on to the servers… well, mostly retired desktops actually but there’s some combined compute/file servers incoming….
It’s going to be an interesting experiment through the rest of the year with some stationary big screens coming in and my old beast of a desktop going to pastures new but local.
But I think it’s all about approaching an un-moded workflow which matches how I seem to work these days. When will I hit a need for an old school desktop, if ever?
How are you reshaping your workflow and personal infrastructure?
Still waiting to find out when one of the servers will be a Turing Pi 2 K8S cluster - see Booting the Turing… but that’s kinda where all these thoughts started. That and how sweet spot filling the 14" Mac Book Pro M2 Max is with a boat load of power and portability.