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I post here with a heavy heart.  Maria, my IBM T20 (700Mhz CPU, 256M of memory, WinME), will be officially put down today.  She was 11.

Maria was the second laptop I ever bought.  At the time, I had Stella, an IBM 760EL.  Stella had a lot of limitations.  120Mhz CPU, 64M of memory.  And the CD drives made for her could only read pressed discs or high quality burns (Tayo Udens or Verbatims).  Plus, compiling C++ programs on her took about three minutes per meg.

I went looking for a replacement machine, something much zippier, and a DVD drive would be nice.  Low and behold, I found Maria at a computer trade show.  The battery held up well, although the system settings indicated it came from India.  It was running Win2K.  I goofed, wound up putting ME on it, and I was off and running.

Maria has been through a lot.  She was a great machine.  However, she was created at a time when IBM wasn't paying strict attention to quality control.  The connector for the monitor was in a place that put extra wear on the cable and losing contact at the socket eventually happened.  Surgery every year or two to make sure everything was still working correctly was typical.

Maria was my first exposure to Linux.  Unsure if my other machines could handle the OS, I put SuSE 8.2 on Maria, figuring IBM uses lots of standard parts, it would have the best chance of working there.  Other than the ethernet port (the first year models used standard parts, I had a 3M port that no one had reverse engineered), she worked like a dream and ushered me into the wonderful world of Open Source.

However, Maria herself continued to have problems.  Lately, the keyboard started malfunctioning.  Powering on became hit or miss.  Indicator lights didn't work.  The battery wouldn't charge correctly.  And display, despite a brand new cable, started having problems again.  The shell was starting to crack.  Screws vanished.  SHE'S BREAKING UP!  SHE'S BREAKING UP!

Truth be told, the only real use I had for Maria now was testing out new programs (she couldn't run anything but low level code efficiently anymore), watching pressed DVD's (couldn't read burns), and word processing.  I have done most of my work to date on Project X on her.  It was all because I knew, sooner or later, she's bomb out, and I wanted to get as much use out of her as I could.  You can't say I don't get maximum mileage out of my tech.

Well, today, that day has come.  The problems are becoming too great.  She has enough left for one more great experiment through a Linux boot.  After that, she retires to the mausoleum along with the other computers I've owned but can't get rid of.  My Timex/Sinclair 1000, my Mattel Aquarius, my Sharp EL-5500 II, and Stella.  Still unsure what to do with them, but they are all there if I ever figure out what.

Goodbye, old girl.  You have served me well, Maria.  Enjoy your well earned rest.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 17th, 2010 03:42 pm (UTC)
My condolences. It's always hard to put an old & faithful machine out to pasture.
Jul. 18th, 2010 12:11 pm (UTC)
Aye, that it is. But at least I can honestly say I got good use out of her, I didn't just cast her aside just because of something new. Throwing out perfectly good tech depresses me.

I think part of it is the Linux thing. There are so many builds for whatever purpose, I don't view computers as going obsolete unless they are really really old, and even then, it's iffy (I got Damn Small Linux running on Stella just before she went down). It doesn't have to have the latest Win build to be a good machine. As it is, I have only dumped one machine before it went down, a Cloudbook that gave me fits. I searched over hill and dale, under Roy and Dale, before I found a Linux OS that worked reliably and sold it. The people with it love it and think it is the coolest thing in the world, and I got half my money back, so I call that a win.
Jul. 17th, 2010 10:01 pm (UTC)
So long Maria, and thanks for all the phish. (j/k)
Jul. 18th, 2010 12:06 pm (UTC)
-1 for the pun, but +10,000 for the Douglas Adams reference. ;-)
Jul. 18th, 2010 08:18 am (UTC)
I'm very sad for Maria; I haven't named my little iBook, but unless I can come up with some other fix idea it seems to have breathed its last breath, as of (ironically) my birthday.
Jul. 18th, 2010 12:00 pm (UTC)
Naming my computers is not only geeky, but helps me keep track of which one suits which purpose.

My main desktop was created because, initially, I had been trying to create a Linux machine as cheaply as possible. I was about halfway done when my Win machine (Lenny, a 900Mhz custom build, named after the character in Of Mice And Men, I had that many problems with it in general and ME in particular) got rooted. Unsure what was now on him, I refused to go on the Intertubes again until the Linux machine was finished. I did it in one weekend (1.6G CPU by AMD, total cost $240), and dubbed him "Darwin", as he was an evolutionary step. The other tower, the one I use for making DVD's, is Becket, as it has a 3G CPU and other stuff that makes him a quantum leap, not just an evolutionary step.

On the laptop side, I have three left. First is Pam, my Compaq Presario 1247. 400Mhz and she's running Puppy Linux. The only thing I can't do on her is watch YouTube because she seems too slow. I think. I've seen 400's that can do it, so I'm guessing I just need to tweak stuff (Linux LOVES to be tweaked). There is also my IBM S10 netbook running Ubuntu. It's a tiny, sleek, hard working, entertaining, and sexy little thing I named "Kylie".

The last computer I have is Genny, a HP that I have dual booting XP and Linux. It is huge, with a 19" widescreen display. I got her just as XP was being pulled off the market for Fista, and I refused to get a Fista machine. The game engine I use? Only the XP version crosscompiles, the one under Linux doesn't compile anything, so it's a practical consideration. Still, it's the funniest thing in the world to have Genny and Kylie side by side. I will joke Kylie is Genny's pet.

I've noticed that I name my towers after men and my laptops after women. Kylie is also the only laptop that break a naming convention. When Atari was first creating game machines, it code named them after secretaries. The 2600 was Stella, the 5200 was Pam, and the 7800 was Maria. "Genny" is a reference to the Sega Genesis, my favorite game system of all time.

He's a super geek...super geek...he's super geeky!
Jul. 19th, 2010 04:36 am (UTC)
You're definitely super geeky!

I had a conversation recently with one of those guys who has an entire basement lined with various working computer equipment. He told me he hated Macs, and when I asked why he said because it was so hard to get into their innards to tweak them and such. I told him that's one of the main reasons why I *do* love them so much! I want my computer to be like my car, or my plumbing: To just go on doing what it's supposed to be doing, without me having to work on it. I am so *not* geeky ... but I'm still a nerd.
Jul. 18th, 2010 12:12 pm (UTC)
Oh! Almost forgot! I have one more tower. It is a Dell (1.1G CPU) that I use to test programs and OS'es on. 10G hard drive so that, if I hose the system, I can wipe it and start over without it taking all day.

I call it "Super Dave".
Jul. 19th, 2010 04:30 am (UTC)
Clearly, Super Dave rules!
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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