‘Tiny’ will kill some of us..

It was the usual cold Ontario kind of day, snow on the ground, freezing rain, sub-zero temperatures, the kind of day where one wraps up warm. I was in the elevator, en route to the Jeep in the underground parking lot. The elevator stopped on the forth floor, and a person alighted, full weather gear and face half covered.

Within a split second of entering, the person’s woolly glove clad hands started typing feverishly on a cellphone keyboard so small that I couldn’t even see it. So I came out with a well used cliché and got no response. I remarked on the ability to wear thick woolly gloves while typing, and got an “oh yes.. ha-ha”, and then it was back to typing. At the ground floor, the door opened, I said “We’re here” and got the same reply as before ““oh yes.. ha-ha”.

What a way to start the day! What is it that people have to type messages on cellphones as soon as they get out of the door in the morning? And how do they see what they are typing? I have problems seeing a number on tiny cellphone screens, let alone the numbers and letters on the keypad.

So, when I read that tablets are the future, laptops are  on the way out and the desktop is dead, I shudder and say to myself “Not in my humble abode, they are not”.

I struggle to type on a full size 104 key keyboard, really struggle on an 88 key laptop keyboard, and wouldn’t type at all if I had to use a tiny onscreen keyboard and a touch pen. It would be as tedious as making labels with a handheld Dymo machine.

I have two 19” widescreen LG’s in front of me and there is not enough room. Laptop screens are too small for my liking and require much scrolling to surf the average web page, and laptops with 17” screens are not exactly portable in the true spirit of ‘portable’. I tried out a Sony Netbook for a day, but it was so small that, if I was distracted, I struggled to find it again, but at least it had a keyboard which raised its profile.

Tiny is all very well, and the technology is amazing, but it is not for everybody. Eighteen months from now, I will hit 60. My fingers are becoming arthritic, and I need a magnifier to read small stuff. What use will a tablet be to me or to the millions just like me. And I can’t walk far enough to make it worth putting a computer in my pocket, and don’t like over-sized pockets anyway.

A message to all of you tablet makers, typed on a full size keyboard and a screen I can see:

You are not going to win me over. If I had enough disposable cash, I would get one for bragging rights maybe, but as a day to day computer, my desktop is and will always be anything but dead, and my cellphone will be used for voice calls, the type where people on the other end hear me.

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