Unintentionally switching to Ubuntu and Android

This post was mentioned on Hacker News recently and it reminded me of all the conversations I’ve had over the years with other developers, complaining about paying over the odds for Apple hardware and thinking it would make sense to switch to a Linux laptop and and an Android phone but never actually doing it.

Interrupted plans

At the start of 2020 my 2016 MacBook Air and iPhone were starting to show their age. I was due to visit my brother in Australia so I thought whilst I was there I’d take advantage of the lower prices plus the ability to reclaim the sales tax upon leaving and refresh the hardware that was critial to the running of my business.

I returned to Thailand from a trip back to London shortly before the borders were closed due to the pandemic so all travel plans were immediately off and remain so to today.

Feeling the strain

Time went on and eventually the Air had it’s first kernel panic and running Kubernetes locally only helped to make it seem more unreliable.

Bangkok now has two Apple stores but the Thai keyboard follows the US layout which means a different number of keys with different sizes than the UK. Paying a premium for something that would wreck havoc with my muscle memory didn’t seem particularly appealing so I put getting a replacement laptop aside for the time being.

Another kernel panic and I decided I needed a backup machine so I got an entry-level PC laptop, installed Ubuntu and setup my development environment on it in case the day came when the Air finally died.

Gradually and then all at once

Towards the end of 2020 I moved into a different unit in my building and I decided to put together a dedicated workspace away from my main living area.

I hadn’t needed to use the Ubuntu laptop but I connected it to an external display and peripherals in the new workspace and quickly gravitated to using it full-time.

After some time I started tinkering with an Android tablet so when my iPhone looked like it was on it’s last legs I already had some familiarity with modern Android and a mid-range Samsung seemed like a safe bet to ensure I still had a device for two-factor authentication and could prove to be an interesting experiment.

Where to from here?

Even though I’d thought about it for years I hadn’t expected to be using Ubuntu and Android full-time and for my day-to-day tasks to date during the lockdown I’ve not ran into any difficulties.

When travelling becomes practical again I’d prefer a laptop closer in spec to an Air and if I ever were to work on-site with clients again I’d maybe revert to the standard issue Apple hardware. Until then though I’m happy to continue with my current setup and you never know, maybe one day switching back won’t seem like an option.