Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I <3 my laptop

It's been about 5 years since I bought my laptop. I needed one, and best buy had a good deal on a bad brand. Except this brand had been recently acquired by Gateway, who proceeded to build the brand into something serious computer users would actually want. (you know, like FSB cache :p)

I bought an Emachines m5309.

The next model up had built-in wifi, and an extra 20GB. But given the price difference between the two, I went with the lower model, because it didn't think the next one up was as good of a deal.

It worked as my primary PC; and as a Linux user, a coder, a hacker, a gamer, and a tinkerer, trust me when I say that it worked HARD.

It played CPU intensive games for enough time to be measured in months, it stayed up countless nights downloading torrents and seeding, it has had at least 20 complete hard drive wipes and rebuilds, its hard drive endured many sessions of live repartitioning, it withstood different flavors of Linux challenging the video card with potentially dangerous settings, (that was mostly me :) countless bouts of tinkering by someone who loves to tinker, (I should note the difference between a dabbling tinkerer, and a professional tinkerer; the latter's hardware still works) it suffered jabs, rubs, and the occasional scrape on the LCD screen, for days it ran (legal!) scans and brute forces that I wrote myself (which meant multiple threads and maxing out resources), it survived a gauntlet of slides, slips, and downright drops (two really bad ones), and it did most of this while baking away on poorly ventilated, unforgiving surfaces with poor clearance (having given up its "feet" long ago).

It only has one flaw; the manufacturer made the elements on the heatsink too close together, and after prolonged use, they can become clogged with dust causing it to shut off during heavy usage. The manufacturer refused to fix it, so I've been popping it open and cleaning out the excess dust myself. I have to do it less than once a year; and it only takes 15 minutes with two tiny screwdrivers, and a q-tip.

It has cracks in the plastic and (cosmetic) pieces missing, the screen shows wear but still shows everything well, the CD whines a little when you use it;
but it keeps working.

I should note that this is what I expected of it.

Recently I've been feeling other peoples' pain when it comes to laptops. New Dells with honest-to-god bad RAM that they refused to replace or refurb hard drives they refused to acknowledge, Macbooks fresh out of the box with dead pixels or broken keys (!!!), Macs with bad hard drives being sent back again and again and again, and HPs and Sonys with all of the above times two (all of the above, except broken keys. That's pretty messed up of apple).

All these people having all these problems with all these different brands. People talking about extended warrantees on their laptops, and mailing it in twice or thrice for repairs.
Why wasn't I afraid of my laptop suddenly dying one of a million possible deaths?

Silly me, simply expected it to chug along merrily, all the live-long day.
Silly it, was happy to oblige.

Every time I look at its beaten case, or pick it up and listen to it creak, I entertain the idea of retiring it to some light server duty. But once I start using it, I wonder if it (or I?) would resent me for doing such a thing. Like an old mill worker, refusing to retire to a life of leisure. Purpose keeps him alive.

The purpose driven existence, and atrophy related dilapidation of tools. If we use them forever, they work forever. They never stop working, we just stop using them. If we don't use them, do they no longer work? If they are not broken, are we?

Maybe it's time to dig up some relics.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

^^^That's how I feel about my old Fujitsu lappy.

But then I look at the sleek, sexy, thin lines of my VAIO, and the way the light hits the carbon fiber shell just right, and the soft feel of the keys that haven't been mashed to death and I'm happy for a minute.

Then I feel bad for cheating on my old lappy with the equivalent of an airhead trophy wife (looks great, runs Vista).