Home Geek LifeCulture The Lazy Person’s Guide to Computing

The Lazy Person’s Guide to Computing

by Alistair Clarke

Diligence, discipline, and self-control; all qualities I lack, for the most part. I work best in heady chunks, urged along by my desperate fear of failure and the rumbling momentum of oncoming wordy outpourings. Indeed, once my brain gets up to speed and my fingers start punching the keys, it’s dangerous to stop. Still, it’s a delicate thing, being productive on my desktop with all the shiny shortcuts to alluring games and pictures of cats doing things humans normally do, like making faces or filing tax returns. Do as I do, friend, and make everything else you do with your computer as easy as possible. Once you’re done reading, take a break. We’re not savages.

Garry's mod wonderfully captures how the idling spirit can wind up being productive. Image nabbed from this gallery thread, check it out.

Garry’s Mod wonderfully captures how the idling spirit can wind up being productive. Image nabbed from this gallery thread, check it out.

Purchase Efficiently

Computers come in all shapes, sizes and flavors (my tower case tastes like lemon; consult your local retailers for customization options.) Maybe yours is hindering your electronic enjoyment by chugging along wearily, huffing and puffing over the simplest of tasks. It’s tough to be slovenly with tools that require frequent maintenance, so cut yourself some slack and grab an upgrade. Picking through parts and reading specifications are assignments for thorough individuals, so purchase a complete system and be done with it, or try a bundle if you think you can muster enough attention to spend thirty minutes installing parts. Basically, the idea is to pay someone else to put the parts together for you so you have more time to watch YouTube videos.

Smart alternative for those of you with energetic tech-savvy friends: get the components as cheaply as possible and have a buddy do all the work for you. Offering them snacks is an optional step.

Avoid Linux

If your new rig is assembled and ready to go, cooling fans throbbing eagerly, but nothing loads when you turn it on, you need to pay more attention and install an operating system. Some people say “oh, use a free Linux distribution, it’s easy and smoother than ever,” but they are lying, their reassuring words turning to unfathomably filthy dreck in your ears. If you want to learn something new or become familiar with using a command prompt, this article is not for you. Go read “10 Difficult Ways Tech Enthusiasts Can Try Harder” (or go here) and never darken my door again, you hard worker.

Now those people have gone, let’s get to the point, which is that you should use Windows. Simple people like Windows. I like Windows. Most guides out there assume you’re using Windows, and it’s considerably trickier to let someone else solve your problems when very few people are in a position to have (and subsequently learn from) them.

Maximize your Resolution

I’m glad we got through the first two sections. What a slog that was. Anyway, by now I’m going to take as it a given that you’re reading this from a Windows-packing brute, so good for you. Windows loves throwing shortcuts everywhere, and those who prefer to skip spring-cleaning can find themselves overwhelmed by icons. Instead of tackling the problem head-on, drag it out by getting a beefy monitor with a hefty resolution.

I run things at 2560×1440, and I never bother deleting links because I have enough space to accommodate plenty. I can also run several windows side-by-side should the need arise, meaning I very rarely have to switch tasks and can save my fingers from the pressure of reaching for ‘Alt’ and subsequently ‘Tab.’ I can also sit farther away than I would otherwise be able to, allowing for an indulgently-limited range of movement.

Use Autocomplete

Damn near everything online these days seems to want my details, and I can barely make it through five minutes of aimless surfing without something needing log in information. I know what my name is, I don’t want to have to type it twenty times per day. Luckily, Google Chrome has a fairly good autocomplete function. Occasionally I decide to clear Chrome’s data because it keeps assuming a half-typed search term is actually a reference to a website I visited months before, but even then I only have to put things in once for them to stick. It saves lots of time I could be spending not spending it at all.

Enable the On-Screen Keyboard

Here we go, we’ve hit the payload. This is the big one, the idler’s delight. At the best of times and the worst of times alike, my on-screen keyboard keeps its place on my task bar, ready to leap into action. Being a natural slacker, I prefer to recline, and leaning forward to reach my keyboard inevitably disrupts my zen-like mental stillness. Instead, I stay where I am and tap out whatever I need with my ever-present button-providing buddy. Use it with an autocomplete function and you have sheer drowsy inattentive bliss.

So there you have it. That’s your lot. Now leave me alone, I’m going to take a nap if I can summon the energy to remain still.

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1 comment

Avatar of dwarfwoot
DwarfWoot January 22, 2014 - 10:11 pm

Pretty good article, I’ll have to share this with some of my friends.
Although, I must say that you should not fear the Linux. The trick is simply to get your Tech Savvy friends to set up a linux distro that very user friendly, and to make sure they install everything you may need (LibreOffice for word processing needs, and anything else that may be relevant), then to have it essentially not check for updates, so that it’s not a problem (you can probably survive without most updates- although re-bribing the tech friends once a month or so to do maintenance isn’t a bad choice either)

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