Balcony computing is addictive

8 07 2010

As of  yesterday, I am the proud owner of a new laptop! Woo-hoo! Thanks to the cheap router I originally bought for my iPhone, I can write this blog post while sitting on my balcony and looking out at the city skyline at sunset.

I was amazed at what I could get for comparatively little money. For a bit over $400, I got a simple computer with a 280GB hard drive, 3GB of RAM, a 15″ screen, and an HDMI port that enables me to use my television screen as a computer monitor.

The guy at the store tried to get me to buy a more expensive model: apparently, my computer has only a single processor instead of a dual-core processor, whatever that means. He was reluctant to let me leave the store with this laptop, and offered a refund within two weeks if I got it home and discovered that it was a lemon. But I can type while listening to iTunes and browsing with Firefox, and that’s all I really needed it for. So I’m happy. (He also tried to get me to buy Norton 360 for it, without telling me that my computer comes with a McAfee trial subscription built into it. Grrr.)

Perhaps I’m less demanding because I’m still used to computers that had so much less power and space. I have a working computer from 2000 that can’t read most modern hard drives because its address space can’t handle anything larger than about 16GB or so. And I remember, not that long ago, buying a computer with an 11GB hard drive with a 550Mhz processor, and having the store owner ask me what I planned to do with such a large and powerful machine. (The answer was, “Have it become obsolete more slowly.”)

And I still remember my first computer, an Atari 1040ST that I bought when I was in grad school, which had no hard drive at all. All of its programs were stored on floppy disks. The “1040” stood for the amount of memory it had – a full 1 megabyte of space. Raw computing POWER!

Anyway, this laptop is awesome. Now, all I have to do is not drop it or spill anything on it, and I’m all set.

Totally unrelated to anything: when I become World Dictator, I plan to make it illegal to use the phrase “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity”. No, it’s the heat: we have humidity all the time here. But when it’s 10C out, nobody cares. Hmph.




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