I have a MacBook Pro Laptop computer that I love. However, it has it’s limitations and there are times that I need a Windows PC or even a Linux PC (Ubuntu XFCE is my favorite flavor). That got me to thinking what would be the ultimate computer which I am going to call the TRINITY computer.
To begin with, the ultimate computer would be a laptop. Why? Because I have discovered that the portability of a laptop is amazingly needed. No longer do I have to get on my computer desk or kid my kids off–or my wife–of playing a game or being in a separate room when the family is watching television. And long gone are the days of needing wires to have internet connectivity. Enter the laptop. I can be on the computer in my bed or at my desk or on the porch on a nice day. Not to mention if I travel, my computer can go with me. Laptops are the ultimate in computers.
THREE IN ONE (TRINITY)
I love my MAC OSX–running Lion–for the ease of use for many every day items. However, as mentioned there are times that I need a Windows program or even a Linux program. I know that I can run Parallels or VMWare Fusion and they work good but not great. If I want to play Half Life fan made Black Mesa (Awesome game) which runs on Windows only I can not do it through these virtual machines. In addition, if I want to code in most languages Linux is a much better way to go, at least for me. And with regards to a Linux (Unix based computing), almost every job that I have had as a software engineer has run on Linux driving home the need to have a Linux computer. That means that I need to have three computers.
The solution is to make a laptop with basically three computers inside with a built in KVM (Keyboard, Video, Mouse) switch so that I can toggle between them easily. This probably sounds like a lot of computer, but it could easily share resources like the keyboard, the hard drives, the optical disk, the video display, video card, audio, microphone, external ports (USB, Firewire, etc), etc. That would mean that essentially, we need three processors and a stable way to switch around between them. This is done all the time in rack systems at major companies and I think could be easily done with today’s technology. This would probably increase the footprint of the computer some given that there would be three computers inside, but I like 17+ inch displays with full 1080P HD anyway giving extra room inside for the two additional processors–in theory. And when you consider how small the Apple MacBook Air is, I think this is a very possible proposition.
As mentioned, I like bigger better than smaller and have no problems carrying around my MacBook Pro 17-inch laptop. I was so disappointed that Apple has dropped the 17-inch line of MacBook Pros. I believe that the ultimate computer would have at least a 17-inch display. This would work great for real estate when working with software as well as the aforementioned extra space for the extra processing components.
The hard drives can easily be mounted on all three processors allowing for easy access of file across your single laptop. One drive, partitioned or not, could handle this very easy. However, I think it would be better to have four hard drives inside this laptop. Three of these drives would be solid state drives one for each operating system. This will allow for great speed of each of the operating systems. Since these are designed to be just for the operating system and any operating system specific applications, we could keep these at probably 250GB each. The fourth drive is for storage of everything and anything the user creates from documents, to pictures, to videos, to save files, to game files, to everything. This fourth drive should be large probably in the order of several terabytes and does not have to be solid state in order to reduce cost some.
Since both Windows and MAC OS have special keys for commands, a special enhanced keyboard would need to be created. Personally, I would love to see a keyboard that has a separate detached keypad as well as arrow keys, function keys and the editing keys (insert, delete, home, end, etc). Since I am advocating a large display, this should be able to be easily accommodated. Especially since I have already seen this on a Windows Laptop and would only need to add a couple additional keys for the MAC OS (actually think this would not need to be as some keys can double up like the Windows/Command, Alt/Option, etc).
Sharing memory would be great but I can see where this might have issues. Therefore, I recommend that we have three pools of memory one for each processor. In addition, I recommend at least 8GB of memory in each of these pools which would allow for the best performance across all operating systems. However, with memory the more the merrier so bumping that up would only help the overall computer.
When it comes to processors, I am not completely up on the latest. However, I recommend that each operating system have at least the latest of the Intel Core i7 processor line. I have an i7 on my MacBook and it works great even when I am running virtual machines for linux or Windows. There may be a great AMD equivalent but as far as I know right now MAC OS does not run (at least easily) on AMD processors.
While we are at this, let us make sure that we put in quality stereo speakers. I love that my MacBook Pro can be used to play music extremely well without having to plug in external speakers or us the headphones.
The only thing that I do not like about laptops is that touch pad mouse. I would much rather have some kind of external mouse unless someone can come up with an idea. That said, the laptop would need to have one of these touchpads. I would recommend separate buttons for the mouse buttons. I hate it when I accidentally lift and lower my finger and it thinks I tapped.
Oh and one other thing, those little stick mice that they put in the middle of a laptop keyboard is a bad bad bad idea. So no stick mice.
Believe it or not but right now this TRINITY computer can be built today as a desktop mini-rack system that will include three separate computers with a KVM switch and a network attached storage (NAS) device that is RAIDed for no loss of data. Of course, you would have to custom build this (or have built) yourself. However, in the day and age of blade computers (entire computer on basically an expansion card), one would think that a multi-computer single system with a built in KVM switch would be listed on every computer makers website as a high end item. But it is not. I mention all of this to simply say that technology is not the limiting factor.
All in a laptop might be an issue due to lack of space. This is one of the reasons that a larger display would be required. And while I do like larger displays, the size needed to cram everything in may be too big at this time to be realistic.
I think the real issue would be trying to get Apple approved computer as one of the three computers. Windows and Linux are fairly easy as you can just purchase the software separate from the hardware. However, Apple likes to have everything play together and it might be an issue. Then again, they just might be open to the concept.
I am adding this section because I am sure someone is thinking that the array of Tablet computers could be the answer. While I own an iPad and have used Kindles array of stuff, I have to say that they have some serious limitations that can not yet be overcome that would require one to need to have an actual computer running the three operating systems mentioned.
That said, there is something that could be learned here where adding a touch screen and gestures and maybe even a fourth processor that would run Apple’s iOS (sorry Google but iOS is worlds better than Android right now). I could just imagine playing some games on my giant 17 inch touchscreen tablet style. Sweet! But this would be gravy not required.
I realize that there are probably more specs that would need to be worked out and there would be issues sandwiching three computers into one small space. However, this is my concept of the ultimate computer and I would buy one as soon as it came out (or probably have to save up for it because I imagine it would not be cheap).
What is your idea of the ultimate computer?
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