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.