My Christmas List

Posted: 2022-11-25
Word Count: 785
Tags: computers

My only working1 computer is a used2 Lenovo ThinkPad T400 on which I installed Linux Mint 18.3. It has several issues:

  1. The battery is pretty much shot. I let it run on battery power alone and it abruptly died after about 10 minutes.
  2. Originally I had two adaptors, due to a snafu with the company I got the laptop from.
    • The one I’ve been using has what looks like a nick in the cord to the computer. I wrapped it in packing tape(?!?) to keep it from getting worse. Today it didn’t want to supply power to the laptop for a while, although now it’s fine. Don’t know what that’s about.
    • The other had a loose connection that I had originally set aside. It started heating up and sparked when I tried to use it today.
  3. The lower right mouse button no longer works, maybe from overuse. (Hey, I like opening pages in a new tab. So sue me.) The upper one still works, for now.
  4. The keyboard is filthy. Which is what I get for computing and eating.
  5. A while(?!?) ago the DVD tray on the side kept randomly popping out. I kept pulling it out all the way and pushing it back in. On one of those occasions the whole tray broke off. I sealed the hole with packing tape, but something’s still rattling around in there somewhere.
  6. At some point I think Mint 18.3 was end-of-lifed, because all the little software updates I used to get stopped. (Except for the Chrome browser, which I downloaded from Google. They’re always tweaking that thing.) That’s good in that I’m no longer prompted to upgrade inetd or whatever, but bad because I’m probably missing important security fixes.
  7. Part of the right front corner is broken. I don’t recall if it came that way or it cracked soon after I got it. In any case, I keep it together and smooth out the sharp edges with, you guessed it, packing tape.

Today I remedied the first two problems by ordering a new charger and battery from a company I hope won’t sell me the wrong thing or rip me off. The others are harder to fix. For example, when popping off a sticky key I have sometimes broken the little plastic thing that makes it pop up when pressed; I can’t imagine popping them all off to clean out the gunk that’s accumulated there. Plus, I bought the thing for $150, so I don’t fancy taking it to a repair shop to replace the DVD drive and fix other issues because they might charge nearly as much as its worth.3

What I really want is a Galago Pro, which is a neat machine built with Linux4 in mind. Except it’s just under $1000 … or over $1000 with the memory and disk upgrades I also want. Even if I pay for it in monthly installments, that’s a lot of money to replace something I use (currently) to stream cartoons, send resumes, write blogs (and other things), and fiddle around with scripting languages.

Now I say this not because I expect my non-existent readers to buy me my dream laptop5, or because I’d like said non-existent readers to suggest alternatives on the non-existent contact form. No, I’m just complaining to the Internet, and any who might find this post. Lucky you.

  1. As reported in 2019, my 2014 Mac Mini stopped being usable after I upgraded it to MacOS Catalina. I also have a broken MacBook (video card fried, slightly disassembled), a broken cheap Windows laptop (tea spilled on keyboard, never worked again), and a cheap desktop and monitor that I bought as a Subversion server and test platform that may work but I never took it out of the plastic. ↩︎

  2. I’ve had it since 2018. No idea how old it actually is. ↩︎

  3. I used to have a second, newer MacBook Pro than my current busted one until it broke in 2016. (I got the Mac Mini in a panic because every file I had was backed up in Apple’s proprietary Time Machine format.) After taking it to a qualified Apple service center, they told me the motherboard was shot and the cost to fix it was a few hundred less than what I paid for it. I just left it there. Let them use it for parts. ↩︎

  4. Why Linux? Because I loathe Windows and I’m never entering Apple’s walled garden again. ↩︎

  5. System76 seems to make the best Linux laptops for their price point, and the only other model I might consider is the Lemur, which is lighter and has longer battery life. But I’d rather spend that money on memory and disk than battery life and portability. ↩︎