What you do with a computer

This question has been haunting in my mind for years and honestly I don’t have a quick answer yet.

Let me collect things I do using a computer nowadays.

Writing word document, spreadsheet, presentation slides, and reading and editing pdf file; using Endnote or reference manager to manage scientific citations; using SPSS to do some statistic analysis; receiving, writing and sending emails; browsing the web and using some web-based softs like cgoban and web-related applications such as bitcommet and blog writing; listening to music and watching videos in avi, mp3, rm, and other formats; editing some photos occasionally; chatting to other people in msn messenger; and last but not least, playing some games.

When I first got in touch with the computer, I knew nothing but to type in some words in Chinese and adjust the system memory, in addition to some small games. Web resources were so limited at that time and emails were not popular, so basically the computer was not used for communication with others but for replacing typewriting and gaming.

Now I am using a PC and have access to a few Macs. Even I am always considering to buy some Mac computer sometime later. Mac looks much more fancy and the maintenance costs much less. I still remember hundreds of the painful experiences to install and reinstall the windows system, that maybe why I don’t like windows and always want to convert to Mac. The problem is, Mac is much more expensive and I have been financially restricted in big purchase.

Now there seems another choice – change to Linux system such as Ubuntu. It looks no less than windows system, it is relatively immune of virus, all the softwares are free, and the hardware is the same as a PC.

However, based on my analysis of the necessary function of my computer, the things I need to use the computer to do, Ubuntu system could not fulfil my need. I have no problem with Open Office system, though I just paid for Microsoft Office 2007 Ultimate, but I will not be able to use SPSS and Endnote.

Now comes my conclusion. If I have only one computer, it has to be a PC based on windows system and run Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat and Endnote and SPSS. If I have another one, then I could have it on Ubuntu system and mainly use it for music and video and photo applications.


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