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Retirement computing strategy
Old 02-26-2017, 06:18 AM   #1
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Retirement computing strategy

We're getting near to our retirement date and my laptop battery seems to be dying and I am thinking about what might change in my computing habits in retirement vs now.

For my wife, I can see her going with a 2-in-1 solution. Tablet for browsing, keyboard for political rants on Facebook *sigh* OS not important, but probably generic Windows.

For me, I'm waffling. My current HP laptop has done well, both Win 7 and 10. But I got it when I was doing freelance web development. I'm not going to be doing *anything* for money in retirement except managing a very small investment portfolio, mostly out of boredom I imagine. So I'm open to suggestions. I doubt I'll go back to Linux just because I always regret it and revert after three months. Not going back to Mac for many reasons. So I guess I'm stuck in Windows land. Two thoughts:

1 - I'm intrigued by Remix OS, which will let you run Android on a phone, then connect that to a PC *or* a TV and run all its apps there. Not out of beta yet, but I like the idea. Probably a 'toy' project

2 - That leaves hardware decisions I guess.

So laptop or 2-in-1 hybrid? Here my only issues are repairability (in Mexico) and price. I like the *idea* of the hybrid laptop/tablet but the Surface units seem overpriced. Maybe a different brand? But that still leaves parts and repair options.

Generally speaking I'd like to think I will spend less time in retirement staring at screens. But I do have a lot of projects which involve documents and photos so I'm not going full Luddite. What are your experiences with computing in retirement?
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Old 02-26-2017, 06:47 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by dixonge View Post
We're getting near to our retirement date and my laptop battery seems to be dying and I am thinking about what might change in my computing habits in retirement vs now.
Once change I experienced in retirement was to use some of my new "time freedom" to seek ways to extend the useful life of my electronics. In your shoes I'd look for a good replacement battery and not worry about my future computing requirements - until the future gets here.
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Old 02-26-2017, 06:50 AM   #3
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My laptop is still sitting where I put it after I retired. I used it on the road on business trips a lot. DW's laptop can't be located since she retired 5 years ago. We think it's in a closet use for storage of boxes and old files.

DW uses an IPad daily for her e-mail and Facebook (yuk!).

I use an old desktop because I like BIG keyboards and BIG screens for any computer work (taxes, docs, spreadsheets, etc). I use a Chromebook for diddling on the internet while the TV is on some mindless channel in the study.

DW uses here IPhone for texting and calls.

I use my LG Nexus phone for the same.

We don't like the small screens on the phones for internet, although we occasionally use them for checking weather and getting sports scores.

Once we retired, the use of computers stoppped being as necessary as when we were employed.

On my old desktop, I run Win 7 and on the Chromebook, it runs Chrome (which is quite nice, BTW).
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Old 02-26-2017, 06:51 AM   #4
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Maybe consider a Chromebook? It certainly sounds perfect for your wife's use; maybe for you too. Just think carefully about ALL your needs before you buy.

As for Linux, Element OS is about as good as it gets for me. My needs are really basic though.
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Old 02-26-2017, 06:54 AM   #5
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I'm at the screen throughout the day. Instead of doing work, I browse, do travel planning, track retirement assets, etc.

Many of the same things I was doing before. I did buy a new computer a few months before I FIRE'd and got an iPad Air 2 on a goof Black Friday deal in 2015.

I upgraded my iPhone in 2015 and will probably do so again this fall.

Probably staring at screens about the same amount, which is probably not a good idea. There was a survey released recently about the amount of time Americans spent per day checking emails, social media, etc. It was a lot.

But more than the time spent, there was increased stress related to such activity:

Social media boosts stress | The Columbian
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Old 02-26-2017, 06:55 AM   #6
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I think your needs and wants may evolve. The old notebook moved to guest room, and stays plugged in. Tablets and phones move around the house as necessary. I purchased a new desktop and large monitor.

Not retired, but I think mobility drives what you will purchase. I saw a notebook in Target last night, for $199.

I use a 10" tablet a lot. Easy to travel with.
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Old 02-26-2017, 07:03 AM   #7
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I use a windows 10 notebook for general computing, most spreadsheets and browsing. I do have a virtual box linux machine in this notebook.

More heavy computing is done on a quad core i5 mid-tower running linux only. This is for Android development, EM analysis is most other software development. No, I'm not w@king. Just weird hobbies.
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Old 02-26-2017, 07:17 AM   #8
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Not quite retired.

1. Linux Mint running on a small form factor Dell Optiplex 3020 in a dual boot with Windows 7. I almost exclusively use Linux. The Windows 7 is there so I can revert to it at re-sale time.
2. Windows 7 running on a small form factor Dell Optiplex 3020
These two share a monitor and a keyboard. This PC is for work-related programs such as Visual Studio.

These SFFs are nice because they are very small but not expandable.


I do have a Chromebook. The battery on this lasts for hours. I took it with me the other day to the car dealer for a long wait. Other than that, I rarely use it.
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Old 02-26-2017, 07:18 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
Once change I experienced in retirement was to use some of my new "time freedom" to seek ways to extend the useful life of my electronics. In your shoes I'd look for a good replacement battery and not worry about my future computing requirements - until the future gets here.
Normally I'd do that, but at 3+ years my laptop is feeling a bit old. Yeah, I know...

I may look for something with an SSD to reduce moving parts and improve battery life.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aja8888 View Post
I use an old desktop because I like BIG keyboards and BIG screens for any computer work (taxes, docs, spreadsheets, etc). I use a Chromebook for diddling on the internet while the TV is on some mindless channel in the study.
I actually purchased a mechanical keyboard recently. I like it. We have normally used laptops for everything, but I sort of like the idea of keeping all the computer work at one spot instead of having it so portable that it *can* come with me. If I restrict it to a desktop, I can leave it at home when we travel. The work, not just the computer. Might be a good strategy there, thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by frank2009 View Post
Maybe consider a Chromebook? It certainly sounds perfect for your wife's use; maybe for you too. Just think carefully about ALL your needs before you buy.

As for Linux, Element OS is about as good as it gets for me. My needs are really basic though.
We both used Chromebooks for a year, although I converted them to Ubuntu. The last linux distro I tried was Element OS. I ended up uninstalling it out of frustration. I don't remember why, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bingybear View Post
I use a windows 10 notebook for general computing, most spreadsheets and browsing. I do have a virtual box linux machine in this notebook.

More heavy computing is done on a quad core i5 mid-tower running linux only. This is for Android development, EM analysis is most other software development. No, I'm not w@king. Just weird hobbies.
You're right, those *are* weird hobbies! lol

I like the VM idea. Heck, I might just try running a linux box and keep Win10 inside a VM OK, probably not...
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Old 02-26-2017, 07:21 AM   #10
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Virtual machines is best with faster CPUs and lots of RAM.
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Old 02-26-2017, 07:31 AM   #11
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Desktop only, 'cuz I need full size lighted keyboard.
$50 HP refurb, w/8GB RAM and Win 10.
$89 24" new Sceptre TV/Monitor.

...but I have computers in every room, from a 1983 Adam running DOS, to a Win 95 laptop, through desktops running linux and all other Windows systems. Also cheap $25 fire tablet, and several $15 LG and Motorola phones using only for internet.

My toys. Used to keep the brain alive.
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Old 02-26-2017, 07:32 AM   #12
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during working years had a home desktop and company laptop. Once I pulled the plug went to more powerful laptop (at least compared to my old desktop) at home with connections to large monitor and keyboard. When travelling in retirement the laptop (15.6 inch touchscreen, 2 in 1 model) lets me take everything that I have at home with me. Except of course my big monitor and keyboard!
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Old 02-26-2017, 07:53 AM   #13
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For serious computing tasks like spreadsheets, taxes, online banking, scanning/editing photos, I use a Win7 desktop with full keyboard, mouse, and three 22" monitors. I built the PC from parts purchased on Amazon and Newegg about 5 years ago. I keep it clean and well maintained, and it's still the fastest PC I've ever used.

When we travel for an extended period, I take an old Toshiba laptop also running Win7, just in case I need to do some online banking, etc. It's got most of the same programs and capabilities as the desktop. Otherwise, that laptop is connected to the TV in the living room for the rare occasion that we want to stream something not available on Fire TV. For shorter trips, we leave the laptop at home and just rely on our smartphones.

My Android smartphone is used for casual stuff when I'm not in the office where the desktop is... stuff like email, Google searches, Facebook, reading forums/news, browsing Amazon, and of course the normal phone stuff like calls, texting, photos, GPS, etc.

DW uses her Android smartphone for almost everything. She will occasionally sit down at the desktop if she's doing online shopping and gets frustrated with the small pictures on her phone, or if she wants to type a Word document or something similar.
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Old 02-26-2017, 09:28 AM   #14
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I have a powerful desktop computer with Windows 7, multiple SSD's, a real keyboard and a nice monitor. For any serious work you can't beat a desktop computer. I use mine for programming, video and photo editing, recording TV shows, and for simple home automation tasks (controlling lights, fans, and pumps).

I also have two laptops, a nice 17" i5 machine, and a newer tiny 11" N3050. They mostly just sit in a cabinet, I don't use them much. The tiny one is handy for doing work on our cars (checking error codes, programming keys, etc.). They're also handy for watching a movie during a power outage, though the battery is usually dead by the time the power goes out since I rarely use them.

We have a couple of tablets too. They're mostly used to play games on, or occasionally browse the web or look for movies on Netflix. We never use them for anything productive.

Unless you need to be portable for traveling, I still vote for a nice desktop computer. They're more powerful, can be upgraded easily, etc.
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Old 02-26-2017, 10:27 AM   #15
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Traveling: 2 tablets and 2 phones
Ipad Mini for DW, Nexus 7 tablet for me. Works for eBooks.
On her phone I put Lastpass for me just for redundancy
My phone is a Nexus 6P (size of Iphone 6+) which works for some light reading too.
Most laptops are too bulky for our traveling as we pack very light.

Home: HP desktop running Win 10, fully up to date and around 6 years old with enough memory to keep going. This is good from an ergonomic standpoint. Helps to run larger spreadsheets, etc. I can always transfer a travel spreadsheet to phone/tablet.

Software: Google Drive, Google Sheets etc. can keep some of these above connected. Helps a lot when mobile. So the desktop is not so much of an unconnected island now.
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Old 02-26-2017, 10:46 AM   #16
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DW has recently acquired an HP Spectre laptop/tablet running Win 10 (Clean install/signature edition from MS Store).

Not cheap, but lightweight and allows her to do her photo/video stuff on the road once we start traveling in earnest this year.
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Old 02-26-2017, 10:53 AM   #17
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I recently replaced my 6 year old laptop with a Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 700... a MS Surface competitor... so far very happy with it... fast, beautiful screen, good battery life, etc.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B017OF71Z0..._t1_B015GF4VV2
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Old 02-26-2017, 11:05 AM   #18
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I like this for a desktop... http://nucblog.net/2017/02/kaby-lake...3bnh-overview/
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Old 02-26-2017, 12:02 PM   #19
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So people aren't using their devices less after ER.
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Old 02-26-2017, 12:11 PM   #20
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So people aren't using their devices less after ER.
We're still talking about computers here, right?
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