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You can never be too thin...

10 Mar 2003

I was just having a look at the new superthin Actius MM10 laptop from Sharp. I used an Actius a few years ago, when I was having back trouble and wanted the lightest possible laptop to carry around. Eventually, I gave it up — the 2.8 pound machine I had just kept falling apart, and the battery life eventually crapped out at 45 minutes.

This new Actius doesn't appear to have solved those particular problems, but it does make me start to rethink something else entirely: where does your data live? The laptop is displayed in the article nestled in a doc that turns the machine into an external firewire drive for a desktop PC. Supplied software keeps the appropriate data in sync. Which means that this machine, more than most, can instantly serve as a remote view of your working environment.

I've been living for the past 5 years or so with a laptop as my primary machine, with occasional stints on a desktop. That's because I travel so often. And there have been too many instances of finding myself somewhere unable to access a file I desperately need. Or a contact. Or a piece of email. Switching to IMAP helped tremendously. But what about the hundreds of megs of files on my laptop?

Ultimately, I think I'm less interested in syncing another processor with my data, as Sharp would have me do. Rather, the keychain USB drives -- now approaching a gig -- seem like the better solution. I could just keep everyting encrypted on one of those, and work right from that device on whatever machine I was using. Backups would have to be automatic whenever I was home, though. I've lost my keys more often that I care to think about. Having a few thousand documents crammed under the cushion of an airplane seat makes me more than a little edgy... ​