Category: quandry

Rugged and Flexible

No, its not the title of a M4M personal ad, but a concept I’ve been grappling with. As I was about to head out the door this weekend for a North Carolina Equality Conference I thought about grabbing my computer and taking it along. (The MacBook of course…)

As I thought more about it I decided not to. When I think back about my decision it was a mix of a few things that I’d order:

  1. Ruggedness
  2. Flexibility
  3. Distraction

Part of the reason that I bought the MacBook (as opposed to the MacBook Pro) was its size. I wanted the most portable (flexible) option I could have among the Mac collection. I’ve found though, that I’m hesitant to bring it along because I’m afraid of how rugged it is, and it’s nowhere near as portable as a paper notebook.

The element of it being a distraction was really not comparable to the other two.

I know that this is in part a function of cost. If I could get a new laptop with minimal cash cost, and minimal hassle cost (transferring files and settings and such) I’d probably bring it more places, but not many places – at least I don’t think… That’s because of how portable it is – it still feels like an encumbrance.

So terrific – I’ve basically said nothing more than “My laptop is heavier than I thought it was, and I’m afraid to break it”. It’s a tangible thing so that is clear.

I’m interested in the trade-off between rugged and flexible in other spaces too, particularly in social software. I think we’re doing a great job on ruggedness – We’ve got plenty services that people rely on heavily to get “real work” done and they are performant and stable to a more than acceptable degree. But how flexible are they? Flexible can be defined a number of ways – my highest barrier to entry seems to be the space between my brain and the software.

I’ll have an idea that I want to blog about in the car, and it seems to get lost by the time I get to wherever I’m going. And when I am in front of a machine, the cost of opening the blogging tool, whether its local or form-based on the server, seem high enough to allow my fleeting attention time enough to move me onto the next pressing thing.

There is also one of the biggest costs of entry for me which is pretty much embodied in this post. The part of my brain that says that “not perfect” is not good enough when it comes to, well, a lot, but blogging in particular. I’ve had a few ideas for posts in the past that have completely disappeared b/c I didn’t feel like I had the time to craft them “properly”. (Assuredly a mix of both obsession and continuous partial attention deficit disorder 🙂

I was hoping to try a strategy for working some of this out at the conference this weekend. I downloaded TwitterBerry (the BlackBerry twitter client – a must since I don’t have an unlimited txt plan) so I could tweet throughout the day. As it turns out there was a problem with data coverage / EDGE access / DNS access / something that kept me disconnected. Oh well.

So I guess this post is my first attempt to work it out. I’m convinced my WordPress install is rugged, the tools a sufficient for me to enter a post, and they don’t have to be “perfect”. Lets see how all that works out 🙂