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What Carelessness Brings - Car v. Laptop

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When Morpheus says in The Matrix that "fate it seems, is not without a sense of irony", you can count me as a firm believer. This article for the Last Viner Standing writing contest is the result of the complete physical destruction of my notebook computer, and had it not been for this contest, it would never have happened.

To be completely truthful, the fault is mine and mine alone. My own carelessness was the true case of what happened, but if you take a step back and look and it with a keen eye, you might see the irony in it.

I was going to catch a ride with my father for a short 20 minute trip to the relatives for an early Easter dinner. Because of the contest, I felt it wise to take my notebook with me so that I could write my entry for today and then post it when I got home. I put the notebook in a thick leather carrying case and leaned it against the open door frame.

My dad keeps a small cooler behind the front passengers seat which keeps the seat pushed forward. To fit, I had to take the cooler out and move the seat back, which I did by putting the cooler in our garage.

Unfortunately, I forgot about the notebook. We pulled out, felt an unusual bump, and the very distinct sound of plastic being crushed.

The pictures tell some of the story, but the damage is far more clear when you can see it with your own eyes. The LCD resembles the cracked surface of a hard boiled egg after you've rolled it around on a hard surface. The plastic bordering it on the top is broken away in a couple of places.

The main body appears permanently warped and there is no way the main board is undamaged, and although I was able to get the hard drive out and it looks reasonably intact, it rattles when you shake it, which is never a good sign.

Without a doubt, this notebook has been destroyed, but there is an upside to it all.

This notebook is an IBM ThinkPad 600, with a PII 300Mhz processor and 128MB of memory. The hard drive was a paltry 4GB and at the time of death, had only about 400MB free. It wasn't exactly an expensive or new piece of hardware by any stretch of the imagination, but it hurts nonetheless because I can't afford to replace it.

As stupid and careless as I appear to be, I'm happy to report that such boneheaded mistakes are very uncommon. As such, there wasn't a single file on the notebook of value. As old as the hard drive was, I never trusted it to hold anything for more than a day or two at most. All of my writing -- about 500 files spread between blog posts, articles, short stories, and scripts -- is stored on my desktop computer which has the writing folder shared out over the network.

All I lost in this ordeal was the hardware itself, but it still sucks. I used this notebook every single day and had bought a brand new 3-hour battery for it just six months ago.

I think the Linksys 802.11g PCMCIA card that was in it at the time may still work, but I can't be sure. It's cracked a little.

The AC adapter despite being crushed under a car seems ok. The wires are nicked a little is all.

This entry is both short for you and bitter for me. Had I not been invested in this contest, I would have never taken that notebook with me today, and I'd still have it sitting on my bed waiting for me to get home and squeeze another couple of years of use out of it.

It goes without saying that I am not a happy camper.

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The text of this article is Copyright © 2006,2007 Paul William Tenny. All rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Attribution by: full name and original URL. Comments are copyrighted by their authors and are not subject to the Creative Commons license of the article itself.