In fall of 1999, I surrendered to an Internet avalanche
becoming so much more than hyperlinked text documents of early
WWW days: I disposed of my personal computing companion of 15
years--a workhorse Apple II/e--and bought an IBM ThinkPad
model 1412i. Set me back $1,400.00. At the time, it seemed
reasonable for a computer whose display would give me GUIs,
graphics, and text in more than one font. Besides, the Apple
II/e had cost $2,000.
The Apple II/e had served well, allowing me to publish short
stories and book reviews to Webzines from 1998 on.
Still, the Apple II/e had to go: New software was scarce and
priorities for Apple, Inc. were the Macintosh and its devoted
For a laptop, I thought the ThinkPad had a good keyboard
feel--to be expected from the company that produced Selectric
The ThinkPad quickly passed its first test: The possible Y2K
bug on 01/01/2000.
A few weeks later, moreover, I got an email from an editor at
had a hard drive crash and did I still have that story I'd
submitted a year before? She remembered it. Was it still
So good things began
happening with the ThinkPad and it's seen me through many a
But laptops are laptops. Fragile and not cheap to repair. No
viruses, really, because for most of its twelve years, it's
run relatively malware-free operating systems like BeOS and
Linux. But replacement keyboards: two of those. A dead battery
and a replacement that went dead faster.
Then the roar of a hard drive I'd hear before I went into my
attic garret. That loud. I got a hard drive with fluid, not metal,
bearings for $60 and replaced it myself, a demanding,
intricate task I'll do only once.
Later, the screen began acquiring an odd pinkish tinge in one
corner of that usually blended with web pages if they didn't have not
too much white space. If the screen was going bad, I also
imagined the display was more
normal once the screen warmed up.
That is, until a few weeks ago. The screen went dead and
dark. While the machine was on, supposedly in screensaver
I checked the computer with another monitor attached and
things worked fine.
I decided, No more fixes. Not on a laptop with a by-now
sluggish 367-MHz processor.
So time for a new laptop.
I got a successor from the folks that bought the IBM ThinkPad
brand. Lenovo's budget laptop offering, a 2.2-GHz
stormer, for a mere $399.
(p.s. My other computer, a $80 recycled Dell OptiPlex tower,
now handles the writing projects.)
Read Charlie Dickinson's
story collection, The Cat
at Light's End, as an ebook in these downloadable
.epub (most other readers)
.pdf (for PCs)
7:25:13 Le Havre by Kaurismaki
7:20:13 This Ain't California
6:27:13 The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking, a book review
5.29.13 My Linux (Mis)Adventures
5.25.13 Southern Cross the Dog, a book review
5.5.13 Russian Tumbleweed
4:16:13 "The Machine Stops" by E. M. Forster
3.25.13 Moore's Law
3:13:13 Grocery Shopping
2:28:13 Razor Blade in Moonlight
1:27:13 Made in Russia: Unsung Icons of Soviet Design, a book review
12:9:12 White Bread, a book review
12:4:12 Update on Old-School Shaving
11:12:12 Ten Great Buys at Dollar Tree
11:6:12 My New Russian Camera
10:29:12 Leaf Day
10:2:12 The Russian Navy in New York?
9:21:12 The Righteous Mind, a book review
9:14:12 Revolution, 1989, a book review
8:23:12 Train Whistles in the Night
8:2:12 Why I've Stockpiled Light Bulbs
7:22:12 Old-School Shaving
7:16:12 Злектроника МК-52, computer de minimus
7:4:12 Ivan's Childhood by Tarkovsky
6:21:12 The Unabomber, a modern Thoreau?
6:12:12 Do the gods exist?
6:7:12 My "Retail Therapy"
5:28:12 On Taxes, We Should Go Green
5:17:12 Portland's Trash
5:6:12 The Toaster Project, a book review
4:24:12 No Seconds
4:12:12 Portland's Runaway Utility Bill
4:8:12 The Repossession, a book review
3:30:12 How I Got Published in Mississippi Review
3:9:12 The End of Money, a book review
2:18:12 Beauty Plus Pity, a book review
2:5:12 Kirk's Castile Soap
1:29:12 Confessions of a Fallen Standard-Bearer, a book review
1:22:12 Thirst, a book review
1:17:12 My IBM ThinkPad 1999-2012
1:11:12 String Beans
12:22:11 Spiritual TMJ
12:16:11 1Q84, a book review
12:11:11 How Portland Became Portlandia
12:1:11 The Fixie
11:20:11 Camus' Insight
11:13:11 Old & Worthy
11:7:11 Life Is Tragic
10:31:11 A Matter of Death and Life, a book review
10:25:11 Dead Letter, Email Fatigue
10:18:11 Reinventing Collapse, a book review
10:11:11 Rereading Pirsig
10:1:11 The Sisters Brothers, a book review
9:26:11 The Great Stagnation, a book review
9:16:11 Coffee, The Affordable Luxury
9:12:11 The Genius of Value
9:5:11 Death and the Penguin, a book review