Dec 122011


What’cher lookin’ at, is the sum total of all my computer equipment. The whole fritter electronic universe on a table top. With this small mess of cables and circuits I can run my entire blogosphere, maintain contact with the outside world, and generally run my life. Here is the inventory for those of you keeping count:

iPad 2 with power cable and earbuds.

Camera interface with cable.

Camera memory card.

Tracphone with power cable and earphone.

Cocoon carry all with Gridit system.

Not shown…Olympus Tough Shot digital camera.

Not shown…Verizon wireless Mifi modem with cable. (About the size of the phone).

That’s it. That is all I need to produce these blogs, go online, pay bills, email, get the news, and do just about anything else I want related to computers. No desktops, no mouse, no keyboard, no monster tower, no media ports, and most importantly…no printer.

I stopped printing last winter. Just went paperless. I saw no further need to drag around a big ass clunky machine that required constant refeeding of ink and paper when I was no longer printing. I have no need for a scanner or copier either. There is an app for that…JotNot Scanner Pro – MobiTech 3000 LLC. There’s an app for just about anything actually. And more coming.

If you are looking to downsize, your computer and the uses for it would be a good place to start. What do you use your computer for? How much room does it take up? Where the hell did all those extra cables come from? Look again at the photo. Everything, except for the camera, fits in the case. I can throw it over my shoulder and travel anywhere with it…except underwater. Within seconds I can be online, up and running, blogging, checking whatever I need online. The iPad has 8 hours of effective battery power. I can pretty much go all day on a single charge depending on what I am doing. I don’t need to be at desk, table or anyplace in particular. It is small and light enough to be used just about anyplace I need it.

I had an iPhone for a while. Three actually. Two for the business and one personal. I got smart and got rid of all three. The iPad duplicated all the iPhone functions. I use Skype when the wifi is good but I got a $10 tracfone as backup. Minutes are cheap, there is no contract, and for all the more I talk on a phone it does the job.

As for the Mifi from Verizon. I got it as it was a bit of an emergency at the time. I had lost my access to free wifi and this was the best option at the time. It’s slow, expensive, and has a data cap of 10gb per month. Which I routinely go over. I’m not real happy with the set up but there are currently no better alternatives where I live. The upside is it is portable and doesn’t need to be connected to the iPad. It has a four hour battery so I can travel with it.

The camera is exactly as the name implies…tough. Waterproof and shockproof. 12 megapixels and it does take some nice shots although nighttime action leaves something to be desired. I found a great deal on a 4 gb memory card and I can shoot 1200 photos or 2 hours of video. It was a gift and something I use damn near every day, as you have seen on this here blog.

The case is one of the nicer ones I found. Here is a link on Amazon if you want to see more detail…Cocoon for Ipad. It’s compact enough to not be in the way yet carries everything. The Gridit system is nothing more than a pad with a couple dozen elastic web straps to hold down whatever you need. It’s padded and water resistant.

And that’s it. About as simple a computer system as you can come up with. Total cost, including the cost of the camera…$1100 give or take a couple dollars. About the price of a MacAir or IMac.

From a minimalist point of view this set up or something similar is ideal. No extra peripherals. No need for media like cd’s or cd players. No mouse, no key board, (although a separate Keyboard
is available if you can’t get used to typing on the iPad screen. No desks, no special chairs, no special place in the house dedicated to the computer. No need for climate controls, no tripping over a web of cables. The whole system is right there at hand when ever you need it. Carry it with you, leave it on the bed stand at night, hide it in a safe secure place when you are not using it. A nice compact system if you are tight on space or want to keep possessions to a minimum. Especially ideal if you live in an rv, a boat, or are roaming about the galaxy with just a backpack.

I used to swear by the MacAir. A beautiful thin laptop that I highly recommend if the laptop is still the way you need to go. But the sheer minimal design and ease of use of the iPad convinced me to drop the laptop and try my hand at just using the iPad, which I have been blogging about over on Livingwithanipad . I have found only a few bits and pieces where I could not complete a task or function on the iPad that would work on the laptop. And for the most part I have been able to find work around solutions. There may come a time where I may need to get another laptop to do some things but for the moment it is not needed.

Again it all depends on what you are using a computer system for and if the iPad will suit your needs. From a minimal standpoint, it makes sense. Compact, efficient, not terribly expensive, and easy to use. That whole system you see in the picture above suits my lifestyle to a tee. You may be considering something similar but looking at the less expensive alternatives to the iPad. I cannot speak for any other brands. I make no secret about how fond I am of the Apple brand. But if you are looking at competing brands, make sure you test drive them before buying and make sure they will do what you need them to do. The whole point of this post is not to promote the Apple brand, but to show you how simple and minimal you can downsize your complete system to suit your lifestyle. Again. Look at the photo. That’s it. That’s all I need for a computer system. That may be all you need, possibly less. It’s minimal and it works. Do some research on your own and if you have any questions, drop them in the comments or check out Livingwithanipad for more answers.

Capt. Fritter

For you Off The Grid fans, here are some options for solar chargers for portable devices. Research them carefully before making your choice…iPad solar chargers

Can anyone guess the origin of the screen saver image on the iPad in the photo? Post your guess in the comments.

  4 Responses to “Minimalism…Computers…”

  1. I thought you also had a cube card reader. I don’t see it in the photo or text. Am I remembering wrong?

    • Damn, you don’t forget anything. Forgot I had it. It’s in my backpack someplace. Haven’t used it in quite awhile and it’s so small it got lost in the shuffle.

      What Linda is referring to is a credit card reader from Square Up, an excellent credit card app. Sign up and you get a little card reader about the size of a sugar cube that plugs into your antenna slot on the iPad or iPhone. Bring up the app, swipe the card, enter the amount, it gets approved, you get your money, and email a receipt to the customer. No merchant accounts, fees are simple, 2.75% if you swipe, or 3.25% if you type in the card. Here is a link to the site…


  2. DON’T PANIC… From ,Hitchhickers Giide to the Galaxy,by Douglas Adams . One of my favorite books.Love your blog…keep up the good job!!