General discussion

Why am I still tied to my laptop?

May 18, 2018 4:20PM PDT

I want to cut the cord to my laptop but cannot. I am on my fourth iPad (Pro 10.5” now) and my fifth or sixth iPhone. My newest laptop is 5 years old. I rarely use it but can’t get away from it. The problem is twofold:

1) Frequently used mobile apps, like my banking apps, credit card apps and my streaming video apps, limit the functionality of their mobile apps. They require you to visit their web app/web site to use all the available features/functions. For example, to manage/activate devices for Vudu, Amazon or Netflix, I must visit their websites; ditto to order checks, to request a replacement credit card and even to enable IMAP to get Gmail emails in the native iPhone mail app. So on and so forth.

2). Many times when I use my phone and sometimes my tablet to visit a website, the site does not give me the option of viewing the full site. Instead it loads the mobile (responsive design?) for my device/screen size, which -- guess what -- limits the available features/functions.

It is frustrating to have to abandon the convenience and ease of use of my phone in the middle of what I am trying to do and power up my laptop, assuming I am at home, to complete the task. I think laptops would go the way of landlines were it not for the limitations companies impose on the use of mobile apps and mobile versions of their websites. Do any of you feel the same way I do? I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you.

--Submitted by Joyce S.

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A Fix (Sort of)
May 18, 2018 5:28PM PDT

I understand! My fix for an app or mobile site is to use the ‘Request Desktop Site’ function. It’s still a pain, but nice when I’m not near my laptop. You can use this with your iPad as well.

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Sometimes"Request Desktop Site" doesn't work
May 18, 2018 7:21PM PDT

It's not always what device you're on; some mobile sites won't let you switch to a desktop version. I've run into it numerous times.

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May 18, 2018 11:24PM PDT

Yes, this is true, though not having the functionality to switch from a mobile site to desktop has only happened a handful of times (to me). It usually works just fine.

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Hopefully more and all sites will eventually will offer...
May 25, 2018 4:41PM PDT

that option.

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Check the Desktop Site box
May 25, 2018 9:51PM PDT

This has always worked for me on my smartphone and tablets. Until 2 weeks ago, I hadn't my used my laptop for 3.5 years. Though I can't say that I've tried all websites, the majority that I don't like the UI for with their Mobile version and prefer the Desktop UI, it has worked for me.

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It is the Power
May 18, 2018 5:47PM PDT

Your iPad/iPhone simply doesn't have the power of your laptop. I still do most of my computing on a 17 HP laptop with 4K display. How anyone gets any real work done on a tablet or phone is beyond me.

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17" 4k display to order checks?
May 18, 2018 7:30PM PDT

We're not really talking about serious work here. I'm sure if @cristinp was doing something like spreadsheets or document writing, this would make sense, but we're taking about companies/websites that make a big deal over how great & convenient their mobile access is...until it's not & you can't perform some very simple functions outside of a full computer.

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May 18, 2018 11:33PM PDT

That’s exactly right. I think the person asking the question (Joyce), is just frustrated by, for example, wanting to look at a function that isn’t available using an app or the mobile site... like Hulu. You have to log in to their website (non-mobile) in order to look at or change billing information, etc. This happens to me all the the time. I usually just request the desktop site, and 99% of the time it works. It is a hassle, and sometimes I’m not near my laptop. I understand Joyce’s frustration. I gather from her question that she’s referring to casual use, not actual work. For a casual user, a tablet and phone would be fine—it’s really just a preference.

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Never had that problem with Hulu
May 25, 2018 9:55PM PDT

I have found that I only need to sign in via a browser to update billing and plan details. I've always used my phone and tablet for this. You just can't do it via app.

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May 26, 2018 9:38AM PDT

My i7 processor and 27" screen is wonderful..... tablets & phones are great when you are doing more simple things.. but if you really want to utilize a site to the fullest, having a real computer is where its at.

So when it becomes effective to link a tablet to a full size screen & keyboard/mouse.. that will be the best.

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laptops aren't going anywhere
May 18, 2018 5:54PM PDT

No, I don't think laptops would go the way of landlines. For some of us who actually use our computers for work or to read or write things longer than one or two paragraphs phones just don't cut it. Phones are fine on the fly, but sometimes we need something bigger and more functional. Perhaps you don't and that's fine, but it's always a mistake to judge something's value based solely on your personal needs.

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Mobile Devices such as phones & tablets are limmited.
May 18, 2018 6:33PM PDT


I have an iPhone and it is limited in what it can do due to size on storage (32gig) and an inability to upgrade without replacing. I use it when out & about for phone calls, texts, emails & taking pictures.

When I'm home I prefer to use my laptop because it has a decent sized keyboard, 500 gig SSD, 8 gig of ram and an i7 quad core cpu. It leaves all mobile devices behind in speed, storage & usability. I can run all the programs I want; render videos shot on my phone, Professionally remaster photos taken on my phone, Pretty much do anything I like and not squinting at a small screen.

You say your laptop is 5 years old. Probably has a conventional HD & 4 gig of ram. An upgrade to a SSD (Solid State Drive) and upgrade to 8 gig RAM (Random Access Memory) would give it new life & capabilities well beyond the next few versions of phones & tablets and at a fraction of the price of a new phone or tablet.

I really cant see that phones or tablets (iPads included) will ever replace laptops completely as their size limits their ability to do everything you need. They certainly cant do everything I need.thus my laptop rules.

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Your Problem is the iPad
May 18, 2018 7:24PM PDT

I am not sure how you can go through 4 iPads. Mine is an iPad 2 that I purchased from Verizon in ???? and I use it every day? I must admit that I do have a keyboard for it as well.

Anyway, the iPad is a great device as long as you are playing games, reading email and surfing around the Internet. But if you have very specific needs that are not being met by the Apple apps then what you really should consider is a PC tablet or 2 in 1 PC laptop. These will give you all the features of an iPad as well a full blown computer. I am the same way in that I can use my iPad for most of my daily work but in the end I always fall back to my laptop or desktop PC to perform the tasks that I simply cannot do on the iPad. There are ultrabooks that actually weigh less than an iPad and far more versatile, depending on exactly what you need to do. My biggest problem is the fact that I find a machine that I love, but then it does not offer LTE. I really don't not understand why more of these machines do not offer LTE. Yes, I could use my Verizon hotspot or my iPhone as a hotspot, but there is still nothing better than a tablet, or laptop that has built-in LTE. (At least for My Needs).

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May 26, 2018 7:10AM PDT

I knew I liked you, Waytron! It is nice to find someone else who recognizes that a Windows box in any form is a tool, whereas an Apple is a toy.

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Agree on most, but ...
May 27, 2018 1:49AM PDT

OK, as working on PC Support, sometimes ago I had some iPad, Android and PC tablets in use, but skipped them as unnecessary extra equipment, as seemingly many others also been doing for different individual reasons, finally classifying them as toys for surfing, playing etc. The real needs for me were fulfilled by a 5.7" phone, nowadays already 6" (but, 7-8" would be too big used as phones, lol!), which is the best size and suitable for calls, messages, mail, surfing and whatever small scale, but, great(!), enough capable even for remote control for PC's for quick check and need for limited support!

But, of course a PC tablet with k/b or 2-in-1 would be the best for anyone liking/needing the tablet size, in addition to a (larger screen?) phone, despite it's weight or space needed, but anyway my choice is in case anywhere to run onto any around available running Win/Mac/Linux/Android machine. And, heck!, anyway I'm already sitting quite much and long time at them for support, technical or personal purposes! And, then having a real and real size k/b, mouse and screen for fluent (and thoughtful?) typing for real/long texts on mails and documents and for smooth and flexible surfing etc., not to mention the right (size) tools for everything, as someone on a post above there also aptly and enjoyably is pointing!

Post was last edited on May 28, 2018 12:34 AM PDT

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Gave Up On Tablets
May 18, 2018 8:06PM PDT

I used an iPad for quite a while, but kept running into the same problems you are voicing. I gave up and bought a 2 in 1 laptop. Has full PC functionality and can be used as a tablet. A little heavier than the iPad but not limited by anything. Problem solved.

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People obviously are different ...
May 18, 2018 8:36PM PDT

my phone (not, as it happens, an "i" phone) has a greater screen resolution than even my desktop, but the screen still is small enough to be hand held. I have it set up so I can use the PC version of web pages in my browser. I do allow the mobile friendly web pages of most sites I visit frequently, but in most cases I refuse to even install their apps - figuring that if I can do everything I want with the "generic" tool (the browser) I shouldn't need to allow them to run their custom-made code (the app) which can breach my privacy more easily - and I wonder why everyone is so keen for me to run their app.

One difference is that apparently app users are generally willing to pay higher prices when ordering things on the net, so you don't even get to see the lower prices that are possible.

But there is still this as well: I read your post here on my phone, and even though my laptop was right by my side I came to my desktop to type this response. Bigger screen (lower resolution - "only" full HD) - bigger and better keyboard, proper mouse, much easier to run multiple browser windows and so on.

To me it all is a tradeoff between mobility and convenience. The phone wins in the one area and the desktop in the other. The laptop is a compromise, not scoring very highly in either. But it allows me to run some PC only systems - albeit at lower specs than the desktop - and thus fills a niche.

You may notice that in this "universe" there is no niche for a tablet.

Your universe is different. But apparently you also are making compromises on a scale - the essential difference between a phone and a tablet is the size of the "human interface" - screen and touch screen keyboard. That would probably be the main distiguishing factor when you decide which of the two you use. And with "size" I mean mostly the physical size, but also the resolution - in my case the phone has the highest resolution by quite a margin (2560x1440 as compared to 1920x1080 on the desktop and 1366x768 on the laptop - no 4K there, unfortunately Wink but a web page looks awfully small on the phone, nonetheless.

So I am still "tied" to my desktop, but it is by choice.

On the other hand, vendors of corporate software are currently making strides towards enabling mobile devices to perform more and more core functions that used to require PCs in the past. Browser based administration functions are quickly reaching the mainstream. But apps to interact with the corporate systems are also gaining popularity, since they alow the combination of several back ends from different hosts, such as the popular app that combines location data and access to a payment portal with soliciting transport for the client.

But, to give you some hope: The fact that more and more people don't see the need for a Windows based computer has been a concern for Microsoft and they have started to embrache other sources of income - and, as some claim, have started to neglect their Windows user base - Wink

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Slght disagreement
May 26, 2018 7:28AM PDT

Yes Microsoft now makes billions from the cloud but I don't think they are neglecting windows. The opposite is true. Win10 is advancing faster than any previous version. We're getting new features faster including some things users have wanted for years. It's now a joy to use.

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You should still be able to use your browser
May 18, 2018 8:51PM PDT

Don't use the app, use your browser. I on the other hand have an opposite problem. I have had a couple of home security devices, that REQUIRE that my phone connect to them via WiFi in order to set them up. My phone won't connect to non Internet WiFi, it just bails. Making doing a set up impossible. Why the heck can't I simply get the connection through a USB to configure? So, in this confused mixed up world, the problem goes both ways.

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I believe Joyce is also referring to website on browsers
May 25, 2018 11:31AM PDT

Some sites do not allow desktop version of their sites on phones or tablets. Sad

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I did not know that ...
May 25, 2018 12:01PM PDT

... but there then lies your answer:

If there is content out there that is maliciously kept from users of certain equipment then that either forces you back to a supported platform (in this case a PC) or you would need to find out how to fake it - usually not possible for laypeople. If I could not fake such an access I would boycott such sites.

I have heard that some shopping sites quote higher prices to phone/tablet users, because they are assumed to be less flexible in chasing the best offer (or they just don't care.)

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Install Firefox for Android
May 25, 2018 12:06PM PDT

use an app for "user agent switcher" to spoof a desktop.

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May 25, 2018 12:22PM PDT

That could work for what I called "faking it."

Is that also available for "end users?"

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(NT) Hey James, remember me? just wanted to say Hi (nt)
May 25, 2018 6:45PM PDT
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I certainly do!
May 25, 2018 6:51PM PDT

You were here when I arrived over 20 years ago. Shh, we dont' want to give away our ages, LOL. You still in California? Or am I wrong on that one?

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May 25, 2018 7:02PM PDT

And still here too. Happy I was usually over at the Call For Help forum (which I don't know if they even still have now) cause that's where I was a mod with Toni Hackler, remember her? I lost touch with her years ago. Its so nice seeing you. I figured it was ok to go off topic a little since this forum is called a lounge. Happy

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Toni Hackler
May 25, 2018 7:47PM PDT

She only hangs out in Speakeasy anymore. I'm in Maryland still, hope to retire to my property in Florida when wife retires, about 5 years.

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works on android phones
May 25, 2018 12:08PM PDT

Supported operating systems:
Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Chromium OS, Ubuntu, Debian, Android, iOS, AmigaOS, OpenBSD, BeOS, Haiku, Solaris, NetBSD, FreeBSD, Slackware, SUSE, gentoo, Fedora, Gentoo, Mageia, CentOS, Mint, DragonFly, Kubuntu, Mandriva, Zenwalk, Unix, GNU, OS/2, AIX, QNX, BEOS, RISC OS, Symbian, Nintendo, OpenSolaris, Kubuntu

Supported browsers:
Internet Explorer, Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge, WebKit, Avant, Maxthon, Arora, Mozilla, Epiphany, Camino, Chimera, Chromium, Dragon, conkeror, Conkeror, Dillo, Links, Firebird, Swiftfox, Netscape, Flock, iCab, Iceape, icecat, IceCat, IceWeasel, Iron, Meleon, Konqueror, Lunascape, Lynx, MAXTHON, midori, Midori, KHTML, Mosaic, NetSurf, OmniWeb, Tablet, Mini, Phoenix, RockMelt, Safari, Browser, SeaMonkey, Slim, Webkit, w3m
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That might just be the ticket for Joyce! Thanks James!
May 25, 2018 4:37PM PDT

Hopefully they have something like this for Chrome and Safari.

Post was last edited on May 25, 2018 4:46 PM PDT

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Horses for Courses?
May 19, 2018 4:17AM PDT

Old school maybe but any craftsman will tell you that using the right tool for the job produces the best result - a view somewhat out of fashion these daya.

A phone is an individual communication deiece (last time I heard, they still make calls) operating over a public wireless network.

A PC is a personal computing device that can be connected to a secure (wired) network, equipped with human sized KVM units.

A tablet is neither fish nor foul.

Personally, I choose not to conduct financial transactions over public wireless networks, rather I use my PC via it's wired connection to my router.

My personal view but I'm sure, one with which many people's "mileage may vary". But you did ask, Joyce!

And in reply to an earlier post, there are laptops with SIM card slots to use the cell networks - I have two, both Lenovo vPro Thinkpads - and both slots are empty!

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