Computers for nomadic fun & business

Computers have arguably opened up more opportunity for the modern nomad than just about any other advance in recent years.

In particular computers allow for remote communication via the internet, opening up the possibility to not only work and do business remotely, but also on the move.

Not only do computers allow more flexible work opportunities, but they also reduce the amount of space required to do many things too. When you look at the capabilities of modern laptops (and mobile internet connectivity), you can see that among other things, they often now replace the home stereo and television for entertainment. They can also replace a darkroom for those interested in photography, or a type writer and publishing office for writers, or a recording studio for musicians and a full online edit suite for film makers. They can also be used as a complete set of drafting table and equipment for designers and architects with CAD software. All in one small compact unit, which can be picked up and carried to your next destination under your arm.

Computers do use a reasonable amount of electricity, but when you look at what they are often being used to replace, they soon look very efficient in their energy needs. In the past I have always looked on things needing much electricity as things to be avoided, but nowadays, I think it is worth it for the capabilities offered by the modern computer. Also other electricity savings can be made with the likes of modern LED lighting, which offset, to a large degree, the extra electricity needed to run a computer.

On the subject of which operating system to use; for a long time I used Mac’s and found them easy to use, with a broad and stable range of creative (audio visual) software. Most people use Microsoft operating systems (Windows), but, like Apple, paying for software for Windows gets expensive, fast.

For the last few years, I have been using Linux, almost exclusively. There are a large number of different Linux distributions, which have different strengths. For the beginner, Ubuntu is a good choice. Personally, I run Debian, which is what Ubuntu is based on. While it is true there is a bit of a learning curve, with Linux, the same is true, for both Windows and Macs', if you haven't used them before. Figuring out what desktop to use can take time though. Here I use XFCE, which I find cleaner and more intuitive to use than the more common Gnome3 or KDE desktops.

The real strength with Linux as an operating system, is the ability to be able to fully customise your system to suit, in appearance and software bundles. And all of the software is free and legal.

At this point, the only area that I see Linux lacking in, is CAD software which is still stuck in the domain of Windows. In every other aspect Linux is the equal or better, than what you have to pay for with Windows and Apples' OSX.

(updated 16th dec 2015)