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Laptop News

My laptop died. Yes, my IBM Thinkpad 390 has died. I've had this laptop for around 10 years, and the laptop hasn't had a battery to make it really portable for a good four or five years. I've been running the laptop with OS/2 Warp on it since I first got it, as I don't use it for internet connections and the like - this is my writing computer, this is my setting up stuff for games, this is my laptop. The power cord and adaptor are fine, but the power jack is dead, and there's no way to be sure about the motherboard and all. That was the bad news.

When spross dropped off some stuff for me on the way to work, he took pity on me, and we went to several stores, notably Futureshop and a couple of places that specialize in second-hand computers and laptop repairs. I was advised not to bother replacing the laptop components, due to the cost on the parts, but lo and behold, at the second store we went in they had an IBM Thinkpad T21 which is about four years old, for a very reasonable price. That is the good news.

As you may know from my previous posts, money is tight right now, as I have this thing coming up called Gen Con Indy, but to be honest, I need the laptop as all of my fiction, writing, etc. is on that dead laptop drive - in short, my creative and part of my personal life! I think I have figured out a way to manage to pay for the laptop, and still keep the finances currently reasonable. We'll see, for sure... Plan to check out the T21 on-line, and see what else I can find out about it...

But how am I going to be able to survive the next few weeks without a laptop and no way to creatively write? *sigh*

Note: My mood reflects the fact that I'm more upset about not being able to creatively write on the computer for the next little while, than it is about the fact that I may be able to afford the new laptop in a few weeks.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 26th, 2008 11:29 pm (UTC)
The T20-series of IBM laptops were good kit overall. When I was working at the IBM Software Lab that's what all the developers got. Of course, it's dated now, but for 2001 or so it was pretty good tech.
Jul. 27th, 2008 01:12 am (UTC)
The real question here is whether this is a good buy at $199.00, plus tax.

The machine doesn't come with a smnall disc drive, so how the heck am I supposed to transfer files from computer to computer, when I don't know what to use to do it without a disc drive. (I am not a technical person, you see.)
Jul. 27th, 2008 04:15 am (UTC)
If the other computer boots (which it sounds like it doesn't) then it's easy - either a network connection or a USB flash drive. If it doesn't boot, but the drive is still readable, then you may be able to find a drive adapter that allows you to remove the DVD or CD-ROM drive from the T-21 and put the second hard drive in the bay. Then it's a simple matter to copy the files to the new computer. If I still worked at IBM (and I was in Ottawa) I could probably get one to you, but I parted ways with Big Blue some 10 months ago now...
Jul. 27th, 2008 02:28 pm (UTC)
No, the old 390 laptop doesn't even power up, let alone boot.

The real problem here is I'm not really a hardware person, and I hate having to deal with software these days. :(
Jul. 26th, 2008 11:33 pm (UTC)
Many sympathies at not having a working lap-top.

As a suggestion, you might want to save backups of all your creative stuff up into the cloud (ie. save it into GMail), ditto backed up on an external HD or even a cheapie thumb drive.

Jul. 27th, 2008 01:13 am (UTC)
This is certainly true, but to be honest, I don't know what I want to do in terms of file retrieval and the like. And how do I transfer the files from the laptop to the Linux Suse machine? *sigh*
Jul. 27th, 2008 05:03 pm (UTC)
If you can't get the old laptop to boot I think you'll have to take the hard drive out of the old machine and connect it to the new one as an external drive. You can get a thing called a 'Magic Bridge' which allows you to connect a IDE or SATA hard drive (probably IDE in your case if it's an older drive) via USB to another machine.

I think they're about US$15 or so, judging by a quick online search (e.g. http://www.pcmicrostore.com/PartDetail.aspx?q=p:10504078).

Getting the drive out of the laptop is another matter, but it shouldn't be impossible. Again a quick search shows up http://www.bixnet.com/thin39026262.html as a short set of instructions for changing a drive in a 390, I think.

Jul. 28th, 2008 04:56 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the comments and advice, Myles. To be honest, I'm a computer user, and *hate* (or should that be *loathe*?) having to deal with hardware and software issues, let along the grief and the like I've got to deal with now. :(

Add to that the stress of work before getting ready to go to GenCon and all, and well... :
Jul. 27th, 2008 02:19 pm (UTC)
My current laptop is a T41 ThinkPad which I've been very happy with. I think the T21 is probably an earlier round from the same general design.

USB thumb drives for file transfer are certainly better than shuffling floppies.

I hope it works out for you.
Jul. 27th, 2008 02:26 pm (UTC)
Of course, that assumes that I can attach a thumb drive to the PC that I'm using, too.

The question is also whether I'm making a mistake in picking up a T21, given that these machines are, what? 7 years old, now?
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )


John Kahane

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