10 February 2005

Shall I invite the blue men to the funeral?

I got a new ThinkPad laptop last week, a T41p. I think the old T23 knew. It saw that the newcomer had built-in WiFi, rather than an old Orinoco silver card sticking out the side. It saw how the bright new LCD panel illuminated the room. It saw all the little flourishes, like the built-in keyboard light and the titanium screen casing, the gigabit ethernet port and the LED indicating Bluetooth. The poor T23 knew it was hopelessly outclassed, that its battery was dead, that its space bar often didn’t work, and that it would soon begin gathering dust somewhere, or perhaps be sent back to the factory for recycling.

So as I sat installing Linux on the new machine, the old T23 began to emit unpleasant grinding noises. It sounded like an asthmatic vacuum cleaner full of wasps, and it would have kept us awake if the weeks of hotel living next to the Interstate hadn’t accustomed us to noise.

I kept the old machine running while I sucked all my data across. Then I used the new machine for a couple of days to make sure it was completely stable. Today the old beast went eerily quiet.

Just now I rebooted it, and discovered why. Two beeps, an a message:

ERROR
Fan error
F1 to enter setup

Yes, the fan has died. And with no fan, any kind of exertion will make the machine get hotter and hotter, until the CPU shuts down. My old laptop is literally threatening suicide in a desperate plea for attention.

But it won’t work. Not only do I have a far better machine now, I’ve also found a Linux distribution even better than Debian. But more about that later…

This sequence of events, of course, demonstrates the real difference between the anointed computer priesthood and the parishioners they share office space with. I don’t believe in luck or divine favor, of course, but I can’t help reflecting that most people’s computers crap out before they get a replacement, rather than waiting until the very day they finish transferring their data across to the new device.

Ah well. Crashes to crashes, dust to keyboard.

© mathew 2017