In response to my news post on Dell turning 24, Dell employee and Direct2Dell blogger Richard asked me what I thought was the perfect blogging computer. Naturally, when I posed the question to Dell in the first place, it was rhetorical, since I anticipated someone would ask what I thought the perfect setup would be.
So here it is, my first draft for the perfect blogging computer.
I won’t go into hardware specifics here, these things change all the time and who cares what network card I want, other than what it should be able to do. Feel free to add to the draft, I could most certainly forget something, or you could argue any one of my decisions.
Right! So here goes!
The perfect blogging computer should be built to run open source operating systems, which means Linux. I’d recommend a slimmed version of Ubuntu myself, but that’s a personal preference. Either way, the user needs to be able to install any OS easily enough, be it a version of Windows or a Linux distribution (Mac OS X license won’t allow for it, sadly), so there would have to be drivers and support for this.
In that same spirit, a set of good open source software to accommodate bloggers should be delivered with the system, although not installed per default. This would include software for managing images, office-like applications, and things like that.
There should be a “cloud suite”, meaning an option to install one or more shortcuts to online services such as Gmail, del.icio.us, and other things located in the cloud. Personally, I don’t use desktop apps the way I used to, and many bloggers are doing the same. A well-thought solution for people not wishing to crowd their computer with nasty applications is needed, without forcing anything on anyone. That is the key.
The perfect blogging computer would have to be a laptop, because we’re a mobile bunch. These are necessary features.
- Lightweight, below 2 kg if possible.
- 12″ screen with generous brightness settings. I want a really good screen, but when I’m low on battery I want to be able to set it down a lot, easily. Some people will want a bigger screen, but personally I think 12″ is enough for most things.
- A good keyboard, which is indeed possible with a 12″ screen. It won’t be full size, but it’ll be good enough if the manufacturer doesn’t cut corners. Windows key should be universally labeled, no need to MS-ify a keyboard people.
- We’ll cut down on the graphics card, a low power little thing that handles everything normal, no gaming. It’s a blogging computer, remember. However, not cutting down too much, because we want DVI out (mini-DVI is OK for size issues) and possibly HDMI out so that we can get our stuff on the big screen when needed.
- 3-4 USB 2.0 ports, and 1 FireWire port. Yes, FireWire, lots of digital video cameras use that, and we’re videoblogging, remember?
- Screw the optical drive, who needs ’em?
- Decent webcam for video.
- Wireless network card supporting the 802.11n standard.
- 3G card built in, or on the network card if possible.
- I think we’ll want an ethernet port as well. Sometimes wires are better, still.
- Bluetooth, of course.
- Clever controls for managing brightness, wireless/bluetooth on/off, sound, power saving mode, things like that.
- Microphone and earphone jack is a must, of course. We travel, and we want to be able to use our blogging computer for music and movies. Decent speakers, but not at the price of bulkiness.
- Long battery life and easily swapping batteries. Separate battery loading bay optional, so that I can load my extra batteries while working.
- Who uses the Kensington lock?
- Multicard reader, supporting the popular formats, like MemoryStick, SD cards, MMC, and so on.
- Touchpad, with dual touch.
- Ideally a big solid state disk, but that’s pretty expensive so I’m guessing we’ll go with a regular one. 7200 rpm, or 5400 rpm at least. No less, seriously.
- Plenty of RAM, starting at 2 GB. We’ll settle for two RAM sockets, but three or four is better of course.
- Intel Core 2 Duo at 2.0 GHz would be cool, but somewhere around 1.6-1.8 GHz would cut it. Then again I’m used to multi processors at twice that, but that’s not even doable today, is it?
The laptop needs to be sleek and tough, I want to be able to cram it into a bag and get out there. If I can personalize it, Sony Vaio Japan style, then that’s even better! This baby needs to look great, design is essential here.
Expensive? I think this would be a pretty expensive road warrior, but nowhere near the crazy MacBook Air range (which fails on several points above). Then again it isn’t as cheap as the charming Asus Eee PC series either (also failing). Closest I’ve seen was a very nifty little Sony Vaio in Japan, but it was pretty steep.
Power it up even more? If I could crank something up on this setup, it would be the graphics card. Being able to play games on a little beauty like this would be sweet. Maybe add an additional DVI out for dual screen setups. Not very likely on a 12″ though, but we’re talking the perfect blogging computer here.
What Do You Think?
This is a start. What do you think? What’s missing? What’s over the top? What would it cost? Is it perhaps even out there, in one form or the other? I’d reckon it is, although probably pretty overpriced and in need of additions to the basic setup. Integrated 3G isn’t that common, and smaller computers rarely have any beef in them.
First draft. What’s good and bad in this? What are your preferences? Speak your opinions in the comments, as usual!
Thord Daniel Hedengren is a designer, writer, and blogger, and also the former editor of The Blog Herald. He used to be a hotshot in the gaming industry in Sweden, but sold everything and went International. Most recently he wrote a book called Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog, and does loads of kickass design.