Monday, November 1, 2010

Tech that WORKS: My Legendary IBM Thinkpad

A few years ago, when I entered my first year at the Karel de Grote college, all IT students had to buy their own laptop to use during the lessons. I bought an IBM (Lenovo) thinkpad. Not the sexiest laptop (damn, I swore to only use this word when referring to women, but now I failed). It's just a black, business-like laptop, and nothing else. It doesn't try to be anything else. But it's damn good at what it does, and that's the important part.

"Technology doesn't always need to be the latest brand new gadget stuff to be in my liking."

During the first years of its life, the thinkpad was really put to the test. For 3 years, it travelled almost every day from the rural town of Wuustwezel to the big city of Antwerp in my backpack.
Shamefully I must admit that I often moved it around while it was powered on. I can remember a few cases where it was dropped, or hit by something. Cables were constantly plugged in and out. Its videocard got pretty hot when I used it to play 3D games for hours. Its harddisk was under heavy load with every other install of school-related development software like IDEs, Database Servers, Webservers, and Virtual Machines. Its processor, RAM and motherboard were constantly working to get everything done.

Around me, laptops of my fellow students started to fail. Power cords and adapters got broken. Screens started to fall apart. Memory got corrupted. Keyboards started to break. Or their casing just got all messy and worn off. In some cases, the poor machines just got dumped by their owners, who wanted the newest and flashiest stuff. And who can blame them? Because obviously, times pass and technology advances. For quite a while now, I'm using a fancy new pc that runs on Windows 7.

But the old thinkpad is still in service. I haven't replaced it with another laptop. I carry it around the house, or my girlfriend uses it to do some work when she's here. The thinkpad still runs after 4,5 years without ever reformatting. It still has the same Windows XP installation, stripped of all graphical effects for maximum performance. It's still fast enough, and it even runs some "heavy" games of a few years ago. There are no signs of any wear and tear. No broken keys, no loose screen that sways in all directions.

There was one minor defect during its entire lifetime. Suddenly it started overheating. I solved this by opening the thing up, blowing some air into it, and closing it back up. Surprise, surprise, it worked! Probably something was blocking a fan.

In the video below, you can see a a guy that pours water over his thinkpad, which keeps on running fine. I obviously didn't try that myself, but it wouldn't surprise me at all. There are similar videos as well.

Anyway, let's hope this machine keeps on running for a while. But if it suddenly decides to cross the river and enter laptop-heaven, I totally understand. If not, this thing is very welcome to stay with me for eternity, as it will always have a place in my "tech that WORKS" memories.