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Eulogy for a dear, departed laptop.
September 20, 2006 4:27 PM   Subscribe


 
I... don't get it?

Maybe that's the problem with ready too many well-crafted, somewhat snarky FPPs: I'm looking for a hidden message EVERYWHERE.
posted by rossination at 4:33 PM on September 20, 2006


too many well-crafted, somewhat snarky FPPs

This isn't one of those.
posted by timeistight at 4:37 PM on September 20, 2006


Sam Brown is a guy who draws a comic called explodingdog. He has a very simple, straightforward, and (in my humble) often moving sensibility in his work. This spartan eulogy for his dead tool fits that mold, and as someone who grows weirdly fond of specific tools (and worn out pairs of shoes), I appreciate it.

I'm not sure if rossination is saying that this is supposedly a "well-crafted, somewhat snarky FPP" (which it isn't), or if he's saying that this not being one of those has caused him some cognitive dissonance, or what.
posted by cortex at 4:41 PM on September 20, 2006


Clarification: it's not somewhat snarky. While it's not elaborate, I think it's perfectly well-crafted.
posted by cortex at 4:42 PM on September 20, 2006 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the link, timeistight. I enjoyed that.
posted by dobbs at 4:46 PM on September 20, 2006


Five years? That's all the more he got out of it?

Dude likes to beat the shit out of his gear. That thing's a mess. That's not normal wear and tear. That's bordering on downsy poo-flinging mistreatment.

I still have a bronze pismo powerbook that not only works, but looks more or less new.
posted by stenseng at 4:48 PM on September 20, 2006


i keep my laptop in a laptop case when i travel with it.

not sure if he did.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 4:53 PM on September 20, 2006


Waaaaaaaaahahaaaa. Oh God that's sad. No, I'm not being snarky. Go away. *sniff*

I feel the same way about my old, old Toshiba Satellite 330CDS, which still mostly works. Well, as hard as a Pentium 266Mhz can work, anyway.

It was my first "real" laptop. The 4 gig drive seemed so huge. I could load up a few dozen CDs worth of Mp3s and carry them around with me. I could rip audio CDs to the drive in the field! And dump my camera to it! I even had an oldschool Orinoco 802.11b card for it.

And it was a freakin' tank. I could beat back crackheads with it, overthrow small banana republics, and even kill men in Reno just to watch them die.

No, it wasn't excessively heavy, just durable. Considering that it's been rained on, dropped down a flight and a half of brick stairs while it was on, had many cups of coffee and/or water poured into it and much worse. I actually had to use it as a hammer, once.

After all that, it still mostly works, well enough to be a basic web browsing station, mp3 server/controller, MAME box, etc.

They don't make 'em like that anymore.
posted by loquacious at 4:54 PM on September 20, 2006 [2 favorites]


The only snark I can detect is from the link title's allusion to the Civil War "Jon Brown's body lies a molderin' in the grave" song, whose tune was ultimately hijacked to become the Battle Hymn of the Republic as described here.
posted by heresiarch at 4:56 PM on September 20, 2006


.
posted by TimeTravelSpeed at 4:56 PM on September 20, 2006


This was strangely moving. Thanks.
posted by brain_drain at 5:22 PM on September 20, 2006


This was strangely moving. Thanks.
posted by brain_drain


agreed.
posted by cholly at 5:28 PM on September 20, 2006


Rest assured, I don't think you're being snarky. I just didn't get it at first.

After checking out the other links, I can sort of understand the angle here. I can dig it. I'd probably be equally sad if/when my iBook loses it.
posted by rossination at 5:32 PM on September 20, 2006


Ahh, a dead PowerBook. In my years of doing IT stuff, I have never seen anybody get any sort of emotional attachment to a PC laptop, but the Apple stuff was different. People *liked* their machines and grew attached to them. It was like an inanimate best friend. (Yes, I know, it's still just a computer, but..)

Then again, I have PC-100 RAM sitting around that I paid a pile of cash for. Nothing I have can use PC-100, but for some reason I can't bring myself to pitch the RAM into the recycle bin because somewhere in the back of my mind is some little voice reminding me that I paid a crapload of money for it.
posted by drstein at 5:37 PM on September 20, 2006


Not like the brazen giant of modern fame
With conquering screens astride from side to side;
Here on our fake-wooden, laminate desk shall stand
A mighty laptop with a battery, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Powerbook of Jobs. From her blinking-screen
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild webcam commands
The air-bridged port that twin speakers frame,
"Keep, modern machines, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent beeps. "Give me your slow, your cheap,
Your obselete hardware yearning to overheat,
The wretched refuse of your teeming markets,
Send these, the broken, tempest-tossed to me,
Incompatible forever-more!"

(apologies to Emma Lazarus)
posted by blue_beetle at 5:59 PM on September 20, 2006


drstein, loquacious. Briefer, but a PC and still, I'd argue, a moving remembrance.
posted by cgc373 at 6:01 PM on September 20, 2006


I am that way about my ex wife
posted by Postroad at 6:10 PM on September 20, 2006


I have one of those. These words are written on it. It's almost as beaten, it's covered in stickers, and yeah, it barely functions. I'v bought a new laptop, and i'm getting it soon, but I don't think I'll be as fond of it as this one. There's just something about the G4 Titanium, it has a kind of character that the newer Apple laptops don't have. The later powerbooks and macbook pros are kind of nondescript in comparison.

I might imagine that the new black macbooks might come close though.
posted by svenni at 6:15 PM on September 20, 2006


At least the shift keys are in new condition!
posted by zsazsa at 6:25 PM on September 20, 2006 [2 favorites]


Five years? That's all the more he got out of it?

Dude likes to beat the shit out of his gear. That thing's a mess. That's not normal wear and tear. That's bordering on downsy poo-flinging mistreatment.

I still have a bronze pismo powerbook that not only works, but looks more or less new.


In his defense, the titanium powerbooks are widely known to be less durable (at least cosmetically) than the Pismo Powerbook.
posted by gyc at 6:35 PM on September 20, 2006


I had one of those TiBooks, and this post reminded me of what I really hated about them: They were so freakin' brittle, especially around the edges . Mine cracked in like 5 different places before I was through with it. And don't get me started on the screen hinges. The iBook g4 I replaced it with was refreshingly unbreakable. In fact, I'm typing on that iBook right now while apple fixes my RSDing MacBook.
posted by boaz at 6:38 PM on September 20, 2006


I read this earlier and thought it was great.

There's just something about the G4 Titanium, it has a kind of character that the newer Apple laptops don't have.

Only in your mind. Did you notice someone already said they'd feel the same when their iBook dies? It did scratch easier, if you want to call that character. Was easy to break, character?

I might imagine that the new black macbooks might come close though.

A color can bring back the character? Wow, apple's marketing team needs a raise. Every laptop in the world is black, but turn the white macbook to every day black and it has character. Amazing. Character is only an additional 100 bucks.
posted by justgary at 6:41 PM on September 20, 2006


I'm typing this on my Ti Powerbook that I bought when they first came out. I can understand Sam's strong attachment to a good tool. Mine has never broken down, and has only one small crack near where the headphone jack is, despite being used daily for five years. It has been the best performing, most useful computer I've ever owned. I hope it never dies.
posted by wKen at 6:50 PM on September 20, 2006


it's a mac thing...

I felt his pain! Let's face it, we hang on to these things until the bitter end... I still have stuck away in various places, an apple IIe, a mac plus, several 475's, a 550 (ok, two of them), a g3 desktop, a g3 powerbook, a 1400 powerbook, a 20th anniversary mac, a 15" flat panel imac, and, this little baby, a G4 powerbook..and all of them work!

May his machine rest in peace.... Is there going to be a service?
posted by HuronBob at 6:51 PM on September 20, 2006


Like heresiarch, I keyed on the old song, of which I learned a version as a child, John Brown's body lies a-molderin' in the grave.

I think that's a little wierd for the present context.

I would be just as bummed if either of my PC laptops died as any Mac user I know. My tools are like my friends.

And I had a titanium glasses frame once. It was brittle and did not serve.
posted by taosbat at 7:18 PM on September 20, 2006


I have OSX on my PC laptop, using Mac OSX x86. Does this count? I like it a lot more than windows XP.
posted by Dean Keaton at 7:50 PM on September 20, 2006


Moving indeed. Thanks for the link.
posted by chudmonkey at 7:53 PM on September 20, 2006


It is so not just a Mac thing.

Heck, I still miss my CP/M based NEC PC-4800 "laptop", which was like this TRS-80 102, but in a clamshell with a larger screen. Basically the same thing as the TRS-80 202. (I can't seem to find pics or references to either the Tandy 202 or the NEC 4800.)

Mmm. 300 baud built in modem. 32 31k of RAM - 1k reserved for CP/M OS load, 32k of programs in ROM, which included a Terminal program for the modem and a text editor. Runs off of 4C batteries for a week. Relatively lightweight, just a pound and a half or maybe three if I remember. 40 column ANSI display, no backlight.

I actually had my first real glimpses of the internet through that old beast. Not 'doored' through a BBS or anything, either - a local university had a public dialup pool that served a library search tool which could be crashed or escaped with a ctrl-break sequence or something, which dropped to a real (but limited) shell that allowed telnet, gopher, archie, etc. It was such a vast, awesome thing, then.

I still have one of these with the 16k expansion pack.
posted by loquacious at 7:59 PM on September 20, 2006


Too soon.
posted by lalochezia at 8:30 PM on September 20, 2006


I really miss my old IBM A22e - it died about a month ago, after doing fine service (designed for Windows 98! Wow!).

800Mhz, 128MB RAM, 15GB HD...nope, they *really* don't make them like that anymore.

I'm now the happy owner of a MacBook, and I suspect I'll get the same emotional attachment (although I doubt it would be able to survive some of the things the IBM went through).
posted by djgh at 9:20 PM on September 20, 2006


Another happy TiBook owner going strong. A bit of peeling paint and a replaced screen (right before my AppleCare expired). My copy of Photoshop 7 won't open anymore, but I blame Adobe for that one.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 9:57 PM on September 20, 2006


I kind of miss my old Gavilan laptop. I definitely miss my old Model 100.

I kinda-sorta miss my old Osborne, just a little bit. I would miss my SX64 if I'd ever been able to get my mitts on one in the first place. I almost miss my Dell CPiA, because it served me well and was nearly as badly battered as this guy's TiBook. I don't miss my Dell CPxJ at all, that thing was a piece of crap.

I'll almost be glad to see my Solo 9300 bite the dust, only because it obstinately refuses to die with any finality.

But when my Powerbook croaks -- some time in the distant future, I hope -- I'm going to be heartbroken. It's been a hell of a solid machine and served me well. I know how this guy feels.
posted by majick at 10:27 PM on September 20, 2006


i had a powerbook g4/500 that i loved dearly too. Then I went and spilled a glass of water on it. It ran fine for four years though. Happy with my new Blackbook, even though it has a smaller screen
posted by CCK at 10:39 PM on September 20, 2006


"There's an unreality, delusion of disbelief, an incredulity that affects--perhaps even protects--the feelings of each of us when we lose, and miss, [a laptop that] has shared our emotions and thoughts, yet none of us can know the extent of another's inconsolability or the degree of his sadness. . . . I am sending this note as I would reach out a hand, to bring you sympathy and affection, dear friend."
--Cary Grant to Clifford Odets, February 26, 1954
posted by black bile at 11:33 PM on September 20, 2006


Thanks, magick, for mentioning the Model 100. God, that thing was great (and built like a tank!). My mom bought one back in 1985 and my brother still uses it periodically to write or talk to old RS232 devices.

( I hold my 12" Powerbook in the same esteem. It's the best computer I've ever owned. )
posted by Kikkoman at 11:58 PM on September 20, 2006


I have never seen anybody get any sort of emotional attachment to a PC laptop

I cried like a little girl when I drunkenly spilled a glass of water a couple of years back into my bedside reading laptop, a semi-ancient PII 366 IBM Thinkpad. Thank goodness, after good airing out, it came back to life, and still works beautifully (although the screen explodes into pixellated shimmers once in a while, which is its way of telling me it's time to blow the carbon out of the valves with a reboot). I am excessively fond of it, perhaps because I've transferred my love for all the books I've read on it to the device itself.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:14 AM on September 21, 2006


I had one of those titanium powerbooks that died a few years ago. It had seen even more wear, and was a similar experience when it went. I was (at that time) a laptop musician, playing a lot of gigs. That computer had seen all sorts of hell, from a beer being poured into it, to the bassist from a punk band smashing his bass into it, to 6 foot falls off of a stage. It soldiered on for three solid years, though, and eventually gave up the ghost. It's primary use being a musical instrument made it even more sentimental to me. *Sniff* Little guy, you're not forgotten.
posted by nonreflectiveobject at 1:31 AM on September 21, 2006


Those first gen. TiBooks were a little rickety, with notorious hinge problems and such. i thought that I'd evaded the reaper until about a year ago and the thing stopped closing properly and then the LCD screen would cut off randomly, and then i accidentally spilled green tea onto the keyboard and it stopped working properly...

And I decided that the $$ I'd spend getting the hinges fixed and upgrading the optical drive and adding RAM and whatnot would be better spent on a new laptop, which brings me to the spiffy iBook that I'm typing on now. Now my G4 Sawtooth and it's death, that's another matter altogether.

posted by vhsiv at 1:43 AM on September 21, 2006


I never felt "affection" towards any of my computers until I started using Apple products. Before then, they were just ... tools.

They're still tools, but I love the design, the user interface, and the way I get things done quicker than on a Windows machine or even another UNIX/Linux system.

As it is, I'm surprised people's Ti powerbooks survive such damage - I went from a 12" iBook G4 to a 667Mhz PowerBook temporarily (before upgrading to a MacBook) and the Ti seemed incredibly fragile.
posted by mrbill at 1:54 AM on September 21, 2006


.
posted by Flashman at 3:02 AM on September 21, 2006


I'd never fallen in love with a machine until I got my first iPod. It was a 3G and it died a month ago. I got a new 5G, which is "better" but I haven't fallen for it (yet?). I haven't had the heart to throw away the 3G. It's now an honorary coaster.
posted by grumblebee at 5:41 AM on September 21, 2006


I handle my Thinkpad the way a soldier treats his rifle; it must be clean, oiled, and in perfect working condition. I am able strip it down and replace any part in approximately ten minutes.

And when i produce the device in a coffee shop or other public computing space, its presence should cause a distinct feeling of unease in those around me, as if I were a member of the American Secret Police, or perhaps carrying around a portable Monolith.
posted by solipse at 6:22 AM on September 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


*fondles grubby keyboard of stickered iBook*

Nothing like that will ever happen to us, right? I mean, you're going to live forever, aren't you? Aren't you? Yes! Yes, you are, yes you are!
posted by jokeefe at 8:21 AM on September 21, 2006


Thanks, magick, for mentioning the Model 100. God, that thing was great (and built like a tank!). My mom bought one back in 1985 and my brother still uses it periodically to write or talk to old RS232 devices.

Dagnabbit. I mentioned it first. Huh. I didn't know that the 100/102/200/202 series and their NEC equiv. were made by Kyocera. Here's the NEC version of the model 100/102. My PC-4800 (the Model 200 equiv.) looked much like my 4800.

Sigh. Such a loooong time ago. "You came here in that thing? You're braver than I thought."
posted by loquacious at 8:39 AM on September 21, 2006


I miss the keyboard from my old Kaypro II.
Damn, that was a fine keyboard.

B.
posted by digibri at 8:40 AM on September 21, 2006


The only snark I can detect is from the link title's allusion to the Civil War "Jon Brown's body lies a molderin' in the grave" song, whose tune was ultimately hijacked to become the Battle Hymn of the Republic...

It was just a riff on "[somebody] Brown's [something] lies " etc. No snark intended.

I think that's a little wierd for the present context.

I don't see why. Maybe not being USian I'm missing some context here.

I just thought this was a nicely written little piece on a theme that many mefites could relate to. There is no subtext whatsoever.
PERSONS attempting to find a motive in this narra-
tive will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find
a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting
to find a plot in it will be shot.
posted by timeistight at 9:59 AM on September 21, 2006


My tired old Pismo decided to give up the ghost on a rainy night last week, and much like Frankenstein, I managed to resurrect it using spare parts and lightning (actually, I didn't use the lightning, it was just for effect).

The next day, after hearing my story I had gifts of two older broken PowerBooks, in the hopes I would "give them a good home." Apparently they had died and the owners (two different ones!) had been hanging on to them in just this hope.

I don't know what causes this insane love in portable computers, but I happily complied. One I kept, dissected and used to further prop up the Pismo with the still working parts and my PowerBook has been chatting away happily ever since. The other has gone off to help a poor student. *sniff* Goodspeed you black devices! Godspeed!
posted by 1f2frfbf at 1:26 PM on September 21, 2006


Good one zsazsa!

(better late, than not I suppose...)
posted by baltimore at 4:00 PM on September 21, 2006


Powerbook: Teacher, mother, secret lover.
posted by blue_beetle at 4:35 PM on September 21, 2006


.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 4:58 PM on September 21, 2006


Maybe not being USian I'm missing some context here.
posted by timeistight


It's no big deal, the allusion to John Brown just seemed a little out of place. Here's some context (in addition to the links already provided).

I still feel for anyone who loses a good computer.
posted by taosbat at 5:36 PM on September 21, 2006


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