back to article Is it decadent that I use four different computers each day, at different times?

Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite e-book reader has solved several problems for me and overcome a shortcoming of the iPad. If only it didn't also make me guilty about adding another device to my already computer-infested life. As I slide into middle age, I'm wearing reading glasses more often. I've come to them quite late in life and …

  1. martinusher Silver badge

    Computers are cheap so why worry?

    There's nothing more misplaced than someone trying to use a single computer for everything. You can but typically it is optimized for one task so has shortcomings for others. Since there are computers all over the place these days -- just about any device has one in it somewhere -- it doesn't make sense to count them all.

    FWIW I can use up to six computers in a day (including a tablet and Kindle) plus assorted Echos, a Roku and so on. They're just part of the background of everyday life in the 21st century.

    1. the spectacularly refined chap Silver badge

      Re: Computers are cheap so why worry?

      Agreed, my thoughts on reading this were to some extent how ill-defined it is these days - just what qualifies as computer? Just in the home I have my personal laptop, desktop setups in study and workshop, BSD based server and Windows RDP application server, phone and 6" and 10" tablets - the six incher doesn't get and awful lot of use except when the wider screen compared to my phone is useful. Then I have my work laptop, work desktop, the file and application servers I use there. I figure we're probably excluding cloud and appliances, e.g. printer, router etc too.

      Like you I see it as a complete non-issue. I could simplify the device count because my desktops only really get used as fairly fat thin clients, i.e. they may run Libre office, email, browser, much else is likely to run remotely. I could consolidate them with my two servers but why bother? I actually quite like silent local terminals that don't need upgrading constantly.

      1. Def Silver badge

        Re: Computers are cheap so why worry?

        the six incher doesn't get and awful lot of use

        It's his wife I feel sorry for.

        1. Timbo

          Re: Computers are cheap so why worry?

          "the six incher doesn't get and awful lot of use"

          "It's his wife I feel sorry for."

          How so? She is probably very happy sharing his 10" ;-)

    2. John Sager

      Re: Computers are cheap so why worry?

      Yep. Apart from phone, laptop, workstation I must use dozens every day if you include all the embedded ones in all sorts of kit.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Computers are cheap so why worry?

        A lot of my programming these days is for my Arduino, ESP8266. and Raspi devices that are doing home-brew things about the house.

        1) running my public model trains display

        2) timing the house Xmas light decorations

        3) producing the patterns on the outside Xmas tree lights matrix

        3) sounding door chimes and "visitor" alarms throughout the house and garden

    3. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: Computers are cheap so why worry?

      it doesn't make sense to count them all

      I think there are at least a couple of things going on here.

      First, there's the subliminal message we have been getting since the first camera phones were launched - you now have a powerful device in your pocket that can take the place of several previous devices. First the music player, then the compact or disposable camera, then a laptop (later a tablet) for idle browsing, mild creativity and quick emails, even enterprise stuff through Teams (for example) and phones are perfectly capable of video calls, so there's no need to faff about with a laptop or a USB webcam on your desktop, and you can join work meetings from the beach if you so desire. Now they are trying to persuade us that a phone with a large enough screen - even if you have to connect it to a physical keyboard - is sufficient to deal with most "common" productivity tasks.

      The message is, if you have a suitable phone you don't need anything else. I used to carry a disposable film camera around with me, but not since my mobile provider sent me a Sony k800i. Can't say I was ever seriously into portable music, but I did used to have a minidisc player which was useful for the odd bit of field recording. Nothing since. You get the idea.

      Second, there's probably the angst that most of us who give it even half a minute of thought feel - and that is that every device you buy is ultimately adding to problems with overexploitation of natural resources and quite probably also financing some less than savoury labour practices in somewhere like China. Also it's money. Every device you buy is less money to spend on something else. £180 for a Kindle 32GB Signature as reviewed (leaving aside what that means about being tied to the Amazon ecosystem)? It's a big weekly shop for my household, or I could buy 25 or 30 new paperbacks for that sort of money, and that's ignoring the money you have to spend to "buy" books to read on a Kindle. Once read, a paperback will sit on the shelf to be re-read, or lent, or picked up and quoted from, or sold or given away, or donated to a charity shop.

      Oh, and I wouldn't count the things we used to call "microcontrollers" as computers, because you are not setting out to buy a general-purpose computing device there, not even if you buy a TV. You buy a washing machine, not a computer with a washing machine function!


      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Computers are cheap so why worry?

        I think the number of dedicated devices you might have will depend to some extent on how well a general purpose device will do a job compared to a dedicated device and how often you need it and how much better a dedicated device does the job for your situation. For example, I have a dedicated SatNav. It's much simpler, easier, and for me, far more useful and convenient than an app on a little phone screen. There are probably other people who have similar needs or wants in cameras and/or music players where a phone just doesn't cut it.

        Also, like the author, I also prefer an e-ink e-book reader. It's much easier on the eyes and I only need to remember to charge it once every week or so :-)

        1. Martin an gof Silver badge

          Re: Computers are cheap so why worry?

          Oh yes, I'm not saying that we should all be looking for one universal device which can do everything, what I'm commenting on is possible reasons why people feel guilty for having multiple devices. The smartphone thing is particularly insidious because if you buy into the "this is all the device I should need" sales pitch, and find that actually it doesn't take brilliant photographs, or replying to work emails is a bit tedious, or the mapping is a bit suspect, or the battery only just lasts a day, you'll find yourself looking to upgrade sooner than necessary because "the next phone" has a much better camera, or has faster network connectivity, or has a slightly bigger screen, or a longer-lasting battery. So 12 or 18 months after buying "all the device I'll ever need", it goes into a drawer and is replaced by another "all the device I'll ever need" so you feel guilty for "throwing away" a perfectly functional device. Or you buy a Surface or iPad Pro with keyboard for the emails, so you feel guilty for having two devices when you could probably make do with one.

          That said, I believe that in general guilt - despite what modern consumer society would have you believe - is not a "bad" or inherently negative emotion. It's the thing which causes you to pause and consider your actions and try to rationalise decisions and possibly change your mind about a decision you've previously defended.

          I try to keep things simple myself, and I actually do a bit of sharing, so it doesn't feel so bad - for example, at home we have two desktop computers shared between six of us and a shared laptop for when someone can't wait. You could say that's half a computer each, but there is a NAS, a Pi doing mailserver duties, and an older laptop permanently connected to the main TV and mainly doing streaming duties (occasionally used as a general purpose computer), so now we're up to one computer each, and that's ignoring the phones we all have, and for some of us the computers we use at and for work.

          I don't have a Kindle, mainly because I'm not into e-books, but if I ever do start down that path I would rather a Kindle-like device (probably not a Kindle because, well, Amazon) with a decently-sized e-ink screen for the purpose than to try reading books on a laptop or a tablet or a phone.

          But while photos from a smartphone are pretty good these days and a smartphone has the advantage that you nearly always have it with you, I still maintain and regularly use a DSLR. It's twelve years old this year, only 10Mpix, and wasn't a "high end" model when I bought it, but the photos it produces are still significantly "better" than most of those even from the newest of the children's phones.

          Possibly the difference between me and the scenario in the article is that apart from my phone, all the other devices I use (even those at work!) are shared with other people. Maybe this helps me feel less guilty that there are so many!


    4. Craig 2

      Re: Computers are cheap so why worry?

      Yes. If you're a gardener you don't worry about the amount of different digging implements you have! Right tool for the job...

      1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

        Re: Computers are cheap so why worry?

        "you don't worry about the amount of different digging implements you have"

        You do if your neighbor likes to borrow them.

    5. WolfFan Silver badge

      Re: Computers are cheap so why worry?

      Hmm. Let’s see… computers in daily use… these are in use _right now_:

      1. IPad Pro. Using it now to type this.

      2. IPad 6th gen. Spare, backup to iPad Pro, has a book open in Marvin while I type this.

      3. Ancient company Dell laptop. Not my idea, I hate bloody Dells. Currently open and using Remote Desktop to access a server that’s being annoying. Also has a Firefox window up to a page which will, allegedly, offer a fix for the annoyance. We’ll see.

      4. IMac. Also running Remote Desktop. Has a Safari window open to a different page with a different fix for a problem on a user machine.

      5. IPhone. Currently set to Do Not Disturb. Playing music, the soundtrack from “Gettysburg”. It’s reached ‘Over The Fence’, the Rebs are about to get their heads handed to them. The Irish Brigade is due to engage. Hell waits for thee, traitors.

      6. Mac mini server. Sitting there, working quietly, no problems, unlike certain Windows units.

  2. stuartnz

    A Sage solution

    "I find the Paperwhite a little too small and it doesn't offer landscape mode to offer an alternative grip"

    The Kobo Sage addresses both those issues - 8 inches not 6.8, and with landscape mode. I recently moved from a Kobo Libra H20 to the new Sage, and have found the bigger screen size to be well worth the change. I left the Amazon three years ago, and while Kobo's customer service is bad on a good day, their devices are a very credible alternative to the presumption that Kindles are the only ereader game in town.

    1. Dave Pickles

      Re: A Sage solution

      Kindle readers are not the only game in town but they seem to be the only ones that airport security ever see. This Summer I was pulled over for a bag search because my Kobo reader 'looked different' on the X-ray. Admittedly the airport was almost deserted so Security Theatre were having to work extra-hard to justify their presence.

      1. James 51

        Re: A Sage solution

        Maybe they just wanted a quick look, gives them a righteous excuse to look through other people's things.

        1. NightFox

          Re: A Sage solution

          Yeah, I'm sure the buzz of constantly looking through hundreds of people's bags for hours upon end, one after another, day after day just never dies.

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: A Sage solution

            I bet it's really boring most of the time, but if they ever are curious about what something is, no reason for them to deny their curiosity when they have the power (apart from efficiency or dignity but those are easily ignored). You don't have to constantly commit offenses to abuse your power; once in a while still counts. Meanwhile, I'm also sure there are many people working there who do care about the speed of passengers and only investigate something when they think it is necessary. I'd like to know who they are so I can prioritize travel when they're on duty.

            1. Franco Silver badge

              Re: A Sage solution

              It's happened to me with cars. I used to have a client whose office was in a bonded warehouse complex, and security was tight for obvious reasons. Almost every time I was there (once a month at most) I was selected for their daily spotchecks (just a cursory look in the boot and under the seats etc) because at the time I drove an Alfa Romeo 159 and they were rare enough to be a novelty for them. It's also the only place I've ever had an HGV driver compliment my car.

            2. NightFox

              Re: A Sage solution

              "...but if they ever are curious about what something is..."

              But isn't that *exactly* the sort of thing they *should* be taking a closer look at?

              1. doublelayer Silver badge

                Re: A Sage solution

                That depends on what you think their job should be. How much are their scans needed and how do they need to do them? They'll see some unusual electronic item and require a look at it to determine that it is... an unusual electronic item. I don't see that this helps verify that it's not a bomb in an unusual electronic item, as any information they have about it will have come from the scan of the contents. I don't want to point this out because they might end up taking it. Perhaps the better question is what they could see in a non-Amazon ereader that would prove it to be dangerous, because all a visual check will show them is a flat thing with a different-sized screen on it.

                The appropriate level of security is a subjective thing. I have doubts that many of the frequent tactics have any security benefit, and they have occasionally failed more blatant tests. This makes me dubious of the utility of checks as they currently exist.

    2. Steve Graham

      Re: A Sage solution

      I've just bought a Kobo Libra 2 and I'm very pleased with it. It will auto-rotate the text to landscape, or left-handed, and supports headphones. Those are two of the Kindle shortcomings mentioned.

    3. K Cartlidge

      Re: I recently moved from a Kobo Libra H20 to the new Sage

      I'm on the H20 (left the Kindle ecosystem many years ago and never missed it). Every now and then I check the Kobo site for new hardware as I'm wanting a larger screen, USB-C, and a faster UI. The Sage meets that criteria but it's expensive, making it feel like I'd be overpaying because they've chosen to include stylus support (which I'd never use).

      Having made the leap yourself (and appreciating tastes differ) does the cost feel worth it as the H20 is pretty good anyway?

      1. stuartnz

        Re: I recently moved from a Kobo Libra H20 to the new Sage

        "does the cost feel worth it ?" Frankly, no. I had a lot of extra work at the time, and decided to treat myself, so I wouldn't say that I regret the decision, but if I had the same opportunity again, I would probably not bother. From everything I've read, the new Libra 2 is a bigger upgrade of the H20 than the Sage is of the Forma.

        That said, having 32GB instead of 8GB, and an 8-inch screen instead of 7, are nice enough upgrades to soothe the slightly underwhelmed feeling I got. Not exactly buyer's remorse, just a feeling that it was a bit of a gnabgib - although my wife loves the Libra H20 which was mine and is now hers. :)

        1. K Cartlidge

          Re: I recently moved from a Kobo Libra H20 to the new Sage

          Thanks - I appreciate the thorough response.

  3. Matt Brigden
    Thumb Up

    Landscape mode

    Kindles do landscape mode . Click top of screen. Click Aa . Click layout tab. Click landscape. . Only drawback is it doesn't affect the homescreens.

    1. Pedantic

      Re: Landscape mode

      I alway say, "if I havent learnt something new everyday, then Ive been asleep!" Today already! learnt that my Kindle (owned for yrs!) has a landscape mode!!! Thank YOU! lol

    2. Timbo

      Re: Landscape mode

      "Kindles do landscape mode . Click top of screen. Click Aa . Click layout tab. Click landscape. . Only drawback is it doesn't affect the homescreens."

      Indeed....but on my Android tablet, I just turn the phone (physically) from portrait to landscape and the view changes...

      Why do you have to click through 4 "options" to do something that can be done automagically...if only Amazon put a sensor in the thing to understand its orientation.

      1. mdava

        Re: Landscape mode

        Why do you have to click through 4 "options" to do something that can be done automagically...if only Amazon put a sensor in the thing to understand its orientation.

        I prefer it not to - reading in bed I don't want to have to tell it to show the text in portrait whether I am lying on my back or (either) side. I think the use-case for a Kindle is very different to a phone or tablet in this regard if you are reading novels (and it is probably not the best tool for anything else like comics, reference books etc).

        1. Cederic Silver badge

          Re: Landscape mode

          Entirely with you.

          I'd support adding autorotate as an option for those that want it, but don't force it on us!

          1. Spanners Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Landscape mode

            don't force it on us!

            It's an option in Android so it's not forced on us either.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Landscape mode

        "Why do you have to click through 4 "options" to do something that can be done automagically...if only Amazon put a sensor in the thing to understand its orientation."

        How many options does it take to turn off auto-rotate in Android when reading in bed and it keeps rotating when you don't want it too? I suspect the default on many e-readers is based on the fact reading in landscape mode is less common and can be irritating when reading laying down such as in bed or on the sun lounger by the pool :-)

        1. the spectacularly refined chap Silver badge

          Re: Landscape mode

          AFAIK Android has always allowed you to lock the screen in position instead of auto-rotation. It was the case that it either auto-rotated or you had to delve through the menus again to change it. However on anything fairly recent you can keep it locked. If the tilt sensor detects a change in orientation a button appears on the menu bar so you can ignore it (if it was accidental or incidental) or stab it to swap the screen over if that's what you wanted.

          Which brings me to my own pet peeve... why is it stock Android allows you a portrait display, or landscape tilted left or right, but you can't invert it? It would seem a common desire to be able to use the device in bed or slouched on the sofa, while on charge, with the cable facing away from you instead of being damaged by being bent 90⁰ away from your body.

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Landscape mode

          1 swipe and a tap on mine

      3. katrinab Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Landscape mode

        The problem with a sensor to detect orientation is that when I'm in bed reading something, I want the text to go from bottom to top or top to bottom depending on which side I'm lying on, never left to right.

        1. MrReynolds2U

          Re: Landscape mode

          I just tested my 'droid and I can do landscape in either orientation but only upright portrait... weird

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Landscape mode

            upside down portrait is there but locked out on most. It can be enabled with 3rd party stuff

  4. HandleAlreadyTaken

    Only four?

    Let's see, phone, tablet (e-mail, web browsing), work PC, work secure laptop, big home computer (photo editing, some limited video editing, games), home TV PC (two of them for two rooms), the older all-in-one still used occasionally for older games. There's also an older tablet now reserved for watching Netflix while doing cardio. With the Synology NAS that doubles as a Kodi and Git server it adds up to ten - and all of them get used at least once a week.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Only four?

      I don't think the average modern car would even start if it only had four.

    2. DM2012

      Re: Only four?

      Yeah, they're sneaking in everywhere. I have 3 laptops for work, 1 NAS, a Nvidia Shield for TV, a phone, a tablet and a Kindle, all of which are in use just about every day.

      This is probably why I feel the need for a tech sabbatical over summer.

  5. ShadowSystems

    No headphone jack?

    Then I won't bother since there's no point to buying one through which to consume all those audio books from You know, an Amazon owned company that an Amazon produced book device just *MIGHT* want to facilitate?

    But then WTF do I know, I'm just a potential customer who will now go elsewhere to find a suitable device.

    1. Davidmb

      Re: No headphone jack?

      You can use Bluetooth headphones and listen to Audible books - if Bluetooth is acceptable?

    2. Oldgroaner

      Re: No headphone jack?

      Buy an old Kindle keyboard secondhand - had a headphone jack.

      1. Dr_N

        Re: No headphone jack?

        Cannot believe we will finally lose the free worldwide 3G on these starting this month.

    3. Raphael

      Re: No headphone jack?

      I have an older pair of bluetooth headphones connected to my kindle for audio books.

      Even the cheapest model of Kindle now has it.

  6. werdsmith Silver badge

    Only four ?

    Yes, that's a bit decadent for a Reg person. I'm thinking a dozen and upwards is more my usual day.

  7. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Bright little apples?

    > the strong light from a tablet

    Not being familiar with Apple products I admit to speaking from a position of ignorance.

    However, I would expect any decently designed tablet to have a night-time mode or app, that altered both the brilliance of the screen and maybe even its colour.

    1. Ken G Silver badge

      Re: Bright little apples?

      That helps with OLED displays but with LED ones there's always some backlight. The gently back or side lit e-readers are much easier on the eyes.

    2. Blitterbug

      Re: Bright little apples?

      Try telling that to my missus - even at LOWEST brightness on my iPad Mini in the Kindle app, she grunts & grumbles over the light spill to the point I have to read under the bleedin' covers like a ten year old!

    3. Kristian Walsh

      Re: Bright little apples?

      True, backlit LCDs are never completely dark, but I think the real issue for sleep is that the “white” LEDs used in those LCD backlights also emit a small but significant amount of near-UV light too (a white LED is actually a blue or near-UV emitter that irradiates a phosphorescent coating to produce “white” light).

      This is a problem because the blue-to-UV end of the spectrum is believed to stimulate wakefulness, while longer wavelengths (orange, red) have the opposite effect. These effects are still at the level of “seems right in small studies, but not yet rigorously tested”, but makes sense if you consider the difference in the colour of sunlight between midday (when you should be awake) and late evening (when you should be winding down to sleep).

      Emissive displays like OLED don’t have this issue: if you ask for red, you will get only the red wavelengths from the red emitters, not a red peak overlaid on a low-level full-spectrum white light source.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Bright little apples?

        I have the blue light filter on my reading glasses which give a very slight sepia tinge.

      2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Re: Bright little apples?

        Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the mid-day sun. :-)

  8. Ken G Silver badge

    over 6 years ago

    I noticed I had 5 different OS's spread on my desk. I think it was BB10 phone, Android phone (work + personal), Linux and Windows laptops (work + personal) and an e-reader. The mix has changed but the numbers have only gone up.

    1. Spanners Silver badge

      Re: over 6 years ago

      I think that is an even more interesting list.

      Win 10 - Work laptop and home desktop PC

      Android - phone (work and personal 2 SIMs), tablet

      Chrome OS

      Raspbian (raspberry Pi's)


      Does a FitBit count or even have an operating system?


      FireOS (Wifes Kindle)

      iThingOS (wifes iPhone)

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: over 6 years ago

        It also depends on where you draw the line. Fire OS is basically Android minus the Google bits and adding some Amazon apps, but they're both running Android applications and have a similar UI. I'd consider those the same, but I don't know if everyone would. Does the Kindle count as Linux (the core under the reader application), as its own thing because you can't access the shell or run other programs unless you've hacked it, or not at all because you can't run custom software? It's subjective, but I would count it as not a computer unless you've jailbroken it, and Linux if you have.

  9. Peterml

    Impressions of an early adopter

    I purchased the new Kindle Paperwhite to replace the six year old model that had begun to freeze on a regular basis and was a bit tempermental about turning pages. Unusually for me I ordered a couple of weeks before the release date (I usually buy last year's model of anything to save a few quid) encouraged by a £20 trade in and a 20% loyalty discount which brought the price down for the basic model to below £100. The slightly larger screen is a plus point and the option to vary the warmth of the screen is handy though a bit counterintuitive for a device sold on the whiteness of its screen.... Apropos the headphone issue, the new Kindle has Bluetooth which I presume is there to couple to wireless headphones though since I don't go for audio books I haven't bothered to try this feature out.

    The new UI takes a bit of getting used to but it does provide quick access to the display characteristics and connectivity which you are likely to need more often.

    I get though a book every two days on average (not including re-reads) but manage to find much of what I want on the daily or monthly deals so I reckon it works out cheaper for me than buying real books. The only down side for me is having to deal with Amazon which I avoid if at all possible for any other online purchases.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    As any avid reader knows, the Kindle 4 NT is the last good reader from Amazon. No touchscreen crap, able to read in full sunshine, easy to root, easy on the eyes, no audiboos support.

    Now back on topic: desktop, laptop, second laptop, 4 Pis, Kindle, phone, phone acting as GPS on car, phone acting as GPS on ATV. Oh, wait, do Arduinos and ESPs count as computers?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't often use my phone as a "device" for anything more than variations on messaging apps for different projects and tasks. Despite their best efforts, the browsing experience on a cell phone, even one with a large screen, is incredibly unpleasant for one with poor eyesight.

    One bright side to poor vision: my 2HD monitor is effectively a "retina display" because I can't even begin to focus on individual pixels with this thing. *LOL*

  12. zeltus

    eInk screens ARE too small

    I use an 8.4" tablet for reading eBooks. It's heavier than a dedicated eInk reader like a Kindle, but they are, indeed, far too small to read anything comfortably on them. Ideally, I'd want a 10" eInk reader - I know they are available, but at eye-watering prices and seem to be for "professional" use, with note-taking via a pen/scribe to be the USP.

    As for using multiple computers, pretty much everyone does shurelee? Most modern TV's have an Android menu interface, mobiles are the most versatile of computery things (except for actually making a call, or worse, [not] answering one.) - even yer av'rage car has at least one computer in it, even if you mostly use it for the GPS and/or in-care entertainment functions.

    1. James 51

      Re: eInk screens ARE too small

      The elipsa is 10" and kobo have a four month payment plan to make it less painful to buy.

  13. MJI Silver badge


    Home PC (W), Work PC (W). Phone (AL), TV (L), Console (B), PVR (L), Kindle (?)

    The *nixes outnumber the rest, TV was last before Linux was replaced with Android Linux, consoles run BSD

    Car 5 ECUs, oh 6 forgot the radio as it also does satnav

  14. Zebo-the-Fat

    Love it!

    I'm now on my 3rd kindle and love it (currently using the previous waterproof micro usb version) never had a problem with it, works well with Caibri software... download a book in almost any format, convert to .mobi and email to the kindle in about 3 mouse clicks.

    1. Alumoi Silver badge

      Re: Love it!

      You do know you can link the Kindle to your PC via USB and then send the book directly to it, right?

      1. Cederic Silver badge

        Re: Love it!

        Ah, but you don't need your kindle connected if you email - it can be sat in another room on wifi.

        Although since the wifi has a massive impact on battery life I turn it off and transfer books while charging, if needed.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Love it!

        +1 for that/ Definitely the best way to manage books on a Kindle or other e-reader. Especially for managing grouping books by series etc.

    2. Raphael

      Re: Love it!

      I'm also on my third one (left the first on a plane, and then a couple of years later did the same with it's replacement). My kindle goes with me everywhere.

      1. ChrisC Silver badge

        Re: Love it!

        "My kindle goes with me everywhere"

        Until the day it doesn't, as Kindlles 1 & 2 discovered...

  15. Binraider Silver badge

    Only 4? Computers I am making use of today:

    Router, RasPi PiHole

    Mobile phone (Nokia sledgehammer)

    TV, and it's associated decoder

    Work laptop


    Ryzen / linux gaming brick

    Car... With god knows how many sub-systems containing computers of their own.

    The dozens if not hundreds of servers one interacts with on a regular basis (knowingly or not).

    The Jeavons paradox stated that the more efficient something becomes, the more demand there is. He wasn't wrong. Although another interesting debate concerns software : the more "inefficient" it becomes, the less I use. The stack of stuff I run has definitely shrunk even if number of devices has gone up.

  16. john 17

    White letters on a black background?

    I found that I preferred reading in bed on an 8" Amazon Fire using inverted screen colors. Can't the iPad do that? It is not bright.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: White letters on a black background?

      Yes, the ipad can do that. It has "smart invert" mode that will ignore images, media and apps that are dark already. It also has a classic invert mode that just inverts everything.

      It also has modes to reduce white point, filter certain colours, and differentiate UI items that rely on only colour.

      It's also possible to invert within the app only, if the app supports it. Like Kindle app for example.

  17. john 17

    reverse iPad colors?

    I used to read at night on an Amazon 8-inch Fire, using white letters on a black background. Can't the iPad do that?

  18. dieseltaylor

    Remarkable and Pocket Book Pro 912

    I tend to get slightly irked that other ereaders are unmentioned in this sort of article.

    Because I read very quickly, I like maps and diagrams in books, I read pages in double column, I have been purchasing ereaders with large screens 9.7" since pretty much since they became available. This having found the standard Kindle and Sony pretty much useless.

    My first large ereader , a Boox, did not survive me sitting on it [never have a black cover if you have black leather chairs] and was replaced by the Pocket Pro 9.7" which gives 24.64 sq cms of reading space. It also can deal with all formats natively and it is about 7 -8 years old. Plays music, has multi-dictionaries and has several other tricks.

    These large ereaders still exist but I have no need to modernise as the Pro still works fine. I do have the first Remarkable which I currently use though it is not as gifted as the Pro as an ereader it is lighter and has other uses. I don't expect it to last a month without charging if I am using it heavily. : ) A week or so yes.

    You only have one pair of eyes and there is enough squinting at small screens anyway. For pleasurable reading go large and look at the alternatives.

    1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

      Re: Remarkable and Pocket Book Pro 912

      "I tend to get slightly irked that other ereaders are unmentioned in this sort of article."

      It's a "REVIEW". If he mentioned other brands the manufacturer would be more than slightly irked.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Remarkable and Pocket Book Pro 912

        It's not unusual for reviews to include comparisons. Depends on if it's a paid review or not.

  19. LordHighFixer


    My home office:

    13 workstations, 4 versions of linux, 2 versions of windows, 22 monitors, and 6 servers and a mirrored dell iscsi raid array, gig fiber to the premise, and 4 hours of UPS time. Still looking at backup generators. And that doesn't count the other 'devices', phones, tablets, gaming rigs, roku, alexa, etc..

    You either do IT, or you pretend you do IT.

  20. Warm Braw Silver badge

    Middle age ... quite late in life

    Make your mind up. Some of us need to calibrate exactly how much offence we're expected to take.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Only four.........

    Define "computer"!


    How about counting CPUs? Most mobile phones have six or eight CPUs. Most laptops have two or four CPUs. Most modern cars (i.e. NOT my lovely Morris 1000 Traveler!) have an unknown number of CPUs. Then there's the oven and the microwave in the kitchen. And the smart TVs scattered around the house. What about your Amazon Ring doorbell. Or Alexa. The broadband hub. The VOIP box. The WiFi router. Your two printers. The Bluetooth ear buds.


    Only four? I think you just don't understand......


    .....and that's just 30 CPUs..........before all the stuff "phoning home" THAT YOU JUST DON'T KNOW ABOUT!!!


    FOUR!!!! HA!!

  22. gfx

    3th gen

    Still using a 3th gen kindle with knobs left and right for page forward and back. Didn´t like a newer touchscreen version.

    Doesn´t have a backlight but the reading light above the bed has a dimmer.

  23. Nifty Silver badge

    There used to be a thing going round about how many electric motors there are in a household. If you include the car, it could be over 100. Now it's moved on to computers...

  24. lizjohnson

    Just my PCs....

    T430, X230 and X230 Tablet... The X230 is my daily driver (email, notes and all that), the T430 is my main work horse and the tablet is what I use in bed and when I need to use the pen. My bae might have gotten me a W530 for Xmas, not that I sneaked a peak :)

  25. Eclectic Man Silver badge


    I do not have an e-book, I read actual paper ones. One advantage of that is that with my new, hideously expensive bedside lamp*, I can set the colour temperature to the appropriate one for waking up in the morning (blue-ish) or to pre-sleep mode in evening (red-ish) .

    No wonder your bed-time companion was unhappy about the brightness of the iPad display, but couldn't you have set it to a more evening-friendly colour?

    Besides, I find that a well-stocked bookshelf has far better thermal and sonic insulation properties than a thin electronic hand-held device.

    * Yes, I know, but I weakened, and it is really nice quality of light, and there is no darker patch in the middle like there was with my old incandescent bulb bedside lamp.

    1. K Cartlidge

      Re: I do not have an e-book, I read actual paper ones

      I totally understand.

      My shelves are overflowing with books and there is something about reading a paperback rather than a device that for me acts very much like a context switch into a different mode.

      That said, I also have over 1,800 ebooks (all legal, from various stores or direct from author sites, with normalised metadata and consistent covers, and managed with Calibre). For a while I found it was so easy to get new books that I had become a collector and not a reader. Having realised and got over that, my main ereader use (a side-loaded Kobo) is for avoiding having to wear glasses when I read.

      That's the biggie in my late middle age - on an ereader, every book can be a large print edition.

    2. Franco Silver badge

      Re: Colour

      I much prefer actual books as well, and certain authors I will only read in actual print, but it's hard to beat a tablet for convenience if you travel for work (yes, I am aware that is not really a valid use case at the moment for most).

      Even in leisure use, I take a tablet camping with me because I read too quickly to carry enough books to last me, and can also play games or watch a film or tv show if I feel like it too.

      1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        Re: Colour

        The mountaineering photographer, Gordon Stainforth, tells a story that one winter he was all set up in his tent with a colleague to photograph a particular view in snow, when the weather set in and they were effectively confined to the tent for several days. They were well prepared with food, fuel, cold weather gear etc., but not books. They got so bored they were reading the labels on the canned food for entertainment.

        Book "Eyes to the Hills", Gordon Stainforth, pub Constable, ISBN 0-09-470610-7

    3. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Colour

      Even though my bookcase covers a largish wall -- the books do double duty as sound absorbers -- there's never enough space. This is where the Kindle comes in. Kindle plus external storage plus application on PC to manage non-Amazon stuff means I can carry around the entire library. (...and since our library does loans of electronic books I can literally carry the library around with me).

      One thing my paper books can't do is look things up -- the Kindle its highlight and up comes the dictionary. Useful. But I still like reading physical books.

  26. sokolnik


    With Kindle and Google Play, my Android tablet succeeds.

  27. Gerhard den Hollander

    Only 4 sheesh...

    Looking around I see about a dozen books lying around, plus a few hundred in the book case.

    Including Dickens xmas stories. There used to be a complete set of Discworld books. But it seems the one ppl return to me are not the ones I lent them ( I now have 2 Eric's and men at arms is missing and there are 3 more where I'm reasonably sure I know who has them)

    I've heard about e-readers, have even tried 2 different ones. They are not for me... Sorry.

    Even when traveling light I try to take at least a few ( and buy more at the airport)

  28. PRR Bronze badge

    I developed a thing so I had to lie in a doctor's office for hours several times a month. His table is adapted from a medieval torture table. I don't FaceBook (and the WiFi there is bad or dead). I got a refurb PW 10g Kindle and have been reading the covers off it. Even after I was pronounced "cured for now", just in time for 20+ months of near lock-down. (Not that I am a going-out person.)

    No, the Kindle aint perfect and Amazon is resting on thin laurels. Hardly even refreshing the lipstick on the pig. Menus changed a few months back but did NOT improve (except generation data). Images are downright painful. Large detailed images (technical diagrams) are unmanageable.

    But for straightforward buying and reading old cheap trash it is great. Thousands of pulp novels from the 50s available a buck a pop, half-buck if you get lucky. The lost treasures of my youth (Danny Dunn and the...), and the sleaze my mother wouldn't let me read ("The Countess had dropped her blouse to the floor, stood for a moment in brief step-ins and brassière...") ("Papa grabbed my ten-dollar bill as if it were already twenty shots of bourbon").

    To underline Nifty's point: My forefather 10,000 years ago had one all-purpose cape and kilt taken from a bear. My forefather 100 years ago had two: a suit for work and a suit for Sunday church. The mass production ecology means I now have several pants, several shirts, and dozens of socks; many people have more. 70 years ago a large family had one car, today me and my other own 3 cars (we dismissed the 4th).

    I'm so glad you waited to get old until displays had variable fonts. I was beating the hell out of a TI LED (not LCD!) calculator when I found my excellent near-vision (I was near-sighted) was going away. But as you say, not enough onscreen words at 36pt font.

    I've read paper-books since Nixon was VP. Only a few re-read. It's been decades since used bookstores took-back (nevermind bought-back) unexceptional books. And even here in the used-book corner of the USA, most of the used book stores have closed. A decade of read books is BULKY, and HEAVY if you must move. We trashed them with sadness, we recycled them without glee, now we can't even recycle (pulp glut). IMHO I should never buy another dead-tree book.

    My Kindle supplements a desktop, a Chromebook, a netbook perverted to play a game, and rare use of a cellphone. So that's five already. And I'm shopping....

    > Caibri software...

    Calibre - E-book management

    > even yer av'rage car has at least one computer in it,

    My 2002 Honda has a computer in every DOOR, just to track window and lock operation with a minimum of wires. These and others report to an interface computer under the dash. Completely (almost) apart from the engine CPU under the console. Or the radio manager. No hint of GPS or sellphone in a 2002 so I carry an LG413 with several-core CPU/GPU.

  29. bigtreeman

    when you're 65

    Wait till your 65 and can't see, just ask me

    you just get a bigger collection of glasses

  30. TReko

    No buttons

    I have this model Kindle.

    I find the lack of real buttons for turning pages a downgrade over my previous gen 3 Kindle.

  31. nautica Silver badge

    Those 'computers' you use are only tools. Different tools for different jobs...

    "Is it decadent that I use four different computers each day, at different times?"

    I have all types of writing instruments (different types of pencils, different types of pens, "magic markers", "highlighters"...) scattered about the house and briefcase(s), so that I don't have to search for one when needed.

    Is it decadent that I use at least three or four different writing implements every day?

  32. Artaxerxes

    I enjoy my kindle but the least possible useful interface for it is a touchscreen. I get actively sore fingers using it.

    I have no idea why they messed with the physical toggle of the original kindle keyboard and made the paperwhite.

  33. DrXym Silver badge

    Buy a Kobo instead

    Yes Kobo have their own store but the reader uses EPUB as its native format and Adobe Digital Editions as the DRM. Much easier to buy or be loaned books from around the place with that sort of setup. And with the right plugins in Calibre you don't need to worry about DRM for any books you buy.

  34. Dr_N

    Real Decadence

    Onyx Boox Nova Color: Did I really need it? Probably not. But I loves it.

  35. Jean Le PHARMACIEN

    4 computers, pah!

    I did an am Saturday shift "in" my hospital pharmacy; translated ,== 1hr in Acute Medical Unit using 4 pcs of varying capability (nominally all "identical" ; followed by trawling across 12 floors of wards using circa 3 pcs per ward (all perfectly non-identical in ability to do standard essential tasks) ; then 6 in my department (working-yay)

    That's c 40 odd separate PCs over6 hrs.

    How decadent am I?

    (haven't counted my personal phone; personal calendering server; car CANbus system or hospital "secure" car park system...)

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like