It's a spanner
The one I lug around the planet is a spanner. A tool. I have to load all sorts of weird software onto it to talk to PLCs, variable speed drives, data acquisition systems, valve programmers and the like. So, unfortunately, it has to have some sort of windows.
I have to be able to load software to edit vector graphics, compile software, produce reports and communciate over whatever dodgy bit of string the hotel has managed to provide.
What I get is a corporate desktop that folds up. The screen saver comes in every 3 minutes, I am prohibited from installing software, and the start up and shutdown scripts assume I am on the corporate network and hence it can take half an hour of timeouts to start up, and an infinity of time to shut down. And one upon which the loading of software is against policy (although to be fair they havn't banged me up so far)
I have had 3 new ones in 2 years, and on every occasion I have had to reject the first offering because it did not have the parallel and serial ports needed to talk to industrial equipment, often using 15 year old software that the vendors no longer support, let alone maintain.
I try to carry an extensive archive of manuals, data sheets, and site histories, but yet I am given a machine with the smallest hard disk available 'because you are supposed to keep everything on the network'. I wanted one to match the old Dell I had 5 years ago with a 1920 pixel horizontal resolution, that let me run two device debuggers side by side. I get one with a 1080 horizontal resolution because 'large screens are reserved for management'.
All pleas for a ruggedised unit are dismissed. I have to have the latest plastic monstrosity that comes from the same pick-list as the secretarial desk systems. And whenever I go to collect it they expect me to take away a docking station and a 15 inch LCD screen. "thats so you can connect quickly at home". I am not likely to leave that sort of spaghetti monstorisity on the kitchen table for 38 days, against the half day at home at the end of a job. The last plastic one was repaired at least 5 times inside its warranty period, leaving me unable to go to site and earn the company revenue while it was off the air.
The most annoying thing is being treated as 'not a team player' when I bring these absurdities to anyone's attention. 'This is what we do, no-one else complains' they say to every blasted one of us who complains. I would not say it is management by incomeptence, but certainly by indifference.
The latest one no longer dual-boots into W2K, so I am expected to find a solution for the half dozen or so applications that were never ported to XP, let alone Vista. But I can't run anything in a virtual box 'Because we have no budget to licence the extra OS' and 'It is against security policy'.
The suggestion now is that I buy a second laptop to actually use, at my own expense no doubt, and reserve the corporate one for corporate communications only. Take two bottles into the shower? I should coco.