Tech questions, and mobile/cellular in laptops


Marco Arment discussed the pushback he and his fellow Accidental Tech Podcast hosts received for suggesting they wanted SIM cards in Mac laptops, emphasis added:

Just because a solution is good enough for you, doesn’t mean that nobody could possibly want a better one for themselves, or their needs, or their priorities.

When people say “just tether”, they’re saying it defensively, because they just tether and it’s fine for them, so why can’t it be fine for us? It’s something than many people never understand. Just because you don’t need something, doesn’t mean no one needs it.

This has become a theme here of late, because I’m so wary of having to justify decisions on why I want to do something. By all means offer alternatives, but if the substance of your answer to a technical question is “why?”, or something condescending like “well, did you consider just not getting sick?”… you’ve contributed nothing.

Just like a couple of Linux people said in response to my recent FreeBSD hypervisor post. They thought they were delivering a burn so sick I’d need a skin graft, but in reality it was just their insecurity showing.

But back to the core question: tethering has several what I would consider obvious drawbacks. You’re draining power in two devices. Pairing doesn’t always work, because iOS 13 is a thing. You could have two different data plans or carriers, so you can fall back to one if another stops working.

And something I hadn’t considered, from Marco:

One of the big changes that happened when you went from dial-up to broadband—yes it did get a ton faster—but it was also always connected. As opposed to having to go to a thing in your menu bar and say connect to the internet please, then wait a few seconds, and have it connect. That’s exactly what tethering is!

This lets me easily forgive him for saying the RAZR was the only Motorola phone people remember. One day I’ll make my FreeBSD-powered Raspberry Pi SIP FrankenTAC, just you wait.

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