Monday, January 10, 2005


My poor laptop. A few days ago, I changed its name. Formerly, I had it set to hmibk2. Henry Melton iBook #2. I am currently typing on hmibk, my first iBook. For a few months there was even an hmibk3. That was the loaner machine that Fries Electronics gave me for the two months while they repaired hmibk2.

hmibk2 was one of those unlucky machines that had the motherboard problems. It died after only several month's of usage. After two months of repair, using the replacement, I was able to use it for another few months. That time, I just moved back to hmibk, rather than hassle with the replacement machine. Then after another two months, I got it back and used it for a for another few months. Up until it slipped out of my hands in Death Valley.

I have been using a padded slip cover since I bought hmibk, the first one. I don't know how many times I've dropped hmibk or hmibk2, and each time it had been spared damage using that sfbags slip cover. But not this time. The screen shattered. It looks like frost on a window.

So, I moved back to hmibk. The hard disk is too small, but I can manage for a while.

But then I have a damaged laptop. My first thought was to plug it into the NEC monitor I have at home and pretend it's a desktop system. I have a need for a stay at home system to run backups. Once I got home from the trip I did just that.

I pluged it in, attached the monitor, and installed Retrospect.

Unfortunately, it didn't work right. Retrospect crashed regularly, often taking the machine with it. I re-installed Retrospect. I re-installed the OS. No luck. It still crashed.

Then, the hard drive vanished. As did the internal CD.

As luck would have it, I had a Firewire hard drive plugged into the machine when the internal drives vanished. I copied hmibk3's 10.2.6 installation onto it last year, and after a big delay, hmibk2 woke up thinking it was hmibk3.

So after some cleanup, I could still boot the laptop off the external drive, but there was still something seriously wrong with it. Retrospect would crash. It had no screen. It had no internal hard drive. It had no internal CD.

I gave up and changed the name to jonah. As long as I don't use the machine for anything serious, it will still run, but the instant I can get some other machine to run backups, it's going to be retired to that filecabinet where Mary Ann's Wallstreet is resting, cold and gathering dust.

Tomorrow is Mac World San Francisco. I'm going to be watching closely for new machines.