Friday, July 31, 2009

Laptop retrospective

Inspired by ma latest post on different cell-phones I have had, I thought I would give it a second go, but now replace cellphones with laptops . I have been using laptops on a regular basis since the 80's because my father had a genuine interests for computers in combination with spreadsheets. I have decided to include these as well since it reflects my overall exposure to these kind of devices, even though they not reflect laptops I have owned, but merely laptops that I have used.

IBM Portable 5155

To call the first laptop a laptop would be to classify the infamous but very effective German Tiger tank of the WW2 light artillery. The IBM Portable 5155 was an awesome computer at the time and the model my father had was equipped with 256Kb of memory. I was at the time barely able to lift the computer; in its heavy-duty plastic case it weighed in at almost 15Kgs!! I had access to this computer from 1985-1987, it was my first experience with a computer apart from using the Commodore 64 at some friends, because I newer actually had one myself.

Power Book 150

The next time I got to use a portable computer on a regular basis after those that my father brought home from work in the late 80's wasn't before 1997 when I had a part time job for SINTEF. The (at the time outdated) laptop was given to me so that I could do some work while doing my military service as a conscript in the Royal Norwegian Airforce. I used the computer to write user manuals and documentation for a system I was working on at the time. I has no connectivity and was offline while doing the work. This was my first experience using a Mac, but I found it quite easy to master.

IBM Thinkpad 380

I got this laptop while I was stationed as a conscript at Kjeller airfield just outside Oslo. I was lucky enough to part of a project programme that was part of a cooperation between Det Norske Veritas, Aerospatiale Missile and Royal Norwegian Airforce. I used it to program a reporting application in Visual Basic for Applications and MS Access. This was the first really nice laptop that I got to work with and the quality and robustness of the Thinkpad series has appealed to me ever since, even though I never got to own one myself. I also used it for a fair amount of gaming, especially Command and Conquer (one of the earlier versions I believe), excellent game BTW. I think that the keyboard on the Thinkpad models have been in a league of their own.

Compaq (unknown)

This was the first laptop that was handed to me for my personal use after I started my first full-time job as a consultant in Sybase, Copenhagen Denmark. The laptop was not new at the time that I got it, but had been used by a consultant that had stopped working there. It had an SVGA screen and a 150MHz CPU. Before started working there I had really been looking forward to the unpacking of my work-laptop, and all I got was this second hand Compaq. To all you guys hiring staff working as consultants. Please give them new equipment when they start working there. This way you will retain loyal staff for a much longer time. I guess however that unpacking a brand new laptop is not much of a big deal now as it was in the 90's.

I haven't been able to retrieve an image of this laptop, and I dond't have have a picture of myself using it so, sorry...

Compaq Armada 7400

Fortunately I got my hand on a much better laptop after complaining about my first laptop for almost a year. This time it was equipped with a 300Mhz cpu and a neater casing. I cannot completely recall but I think it was equipped with 128MB RAM. Decent laptop as far as I remeber, but nothing to be remember as special after I turned it in when I left the company that I was working for at the time, that must have been in 1999.

Dell Latitude (unknown model)

I got my first Dell as my home-office computer while working for Nokia. I did not really need one because I worked so many late hours there that I could not possibly have squeezed in some more office time after I got home from work. It was nothing special with this laptop. I actually didn't use it much as a laptop, it kind of had its home in the docking station at work. It was however good enough to persuade me to get a Dell as my next laptop. I don't remember the exact spec, but I seem to recall that my stationary computer at the time was a 600Mhz, 512Mb something, so I it was along those lines. I really cannot remember how it looked, it was stuck in the docking most of the time. For the same reason I was not able to find a picture.

Dell Inspiron 8100

Equipped with a 1,1GhZ processor, 30GB harddisk, 512MB memory, DVD, WIFI and a 15" 1600X1200 screen this laptop is the most expensive piece of equipment that I have ever bought. Bought in 2001, it was a true kick-ass laptop at the time, and I still have it although I don't use it. Staying at the top of the throne is costly, and you don't stay there for very long. I actually kept this laptop for a record-long period of 3,5 years, so it paid itself in the end. The lesson learned was however to use another long-time strategy; buy cheaper equipment and upgrade more often. This was the first laptop I bought after founding Zenior, also the place where I still work. I could choose whatever laptop I wanted, I guess that is one of the reasons it ended up to be a bit too expensive.

Dell Inspiron 8600

I had been quite happy with my previous Dells so I wouldn't change a winning team. I actually believe that Dell being the only vendor having a decent site allowing for massive customization of the equipment was one of their reasons behind their success. The laptop had a Intel mobile 1,6GHz CPU, 1GB RAM and a 60GB Hdd running at 5400. The display 1600x1200 screen which was good. Apart from the CPU and double up of memory, 2Gb, , it's specifications wasn't that much different from the previous Dell, but the price was about one third. This was to be my last PC, possibly ever.

MacBook Pro

After using PC-based laptops (apart from the brief encounter with a PowerBook in 1997) for more than a decade, I finally decided to give in and get myself a MacBook Pro. I must say, apart for some annoying issues when running Mac-OSX I am very happy with the Mac. My Macbook has a 2,33 GHz CPU, 2Gb RAM and a 15" monitor. I have never regretted to not getting the 17" screen, it is simply too big. I believe that even my graphics-card is the same as in the 17" model so why bother. I got this laptop in 2007, and given my adopted two-year replacement strategy, I am now opting for a new MacBook Pro. I am planning on using that computer as a desktop replacement for my workstation as well. The MacBook is one of the more pleasing products I have ever bought, regardless of category. I am not an Apple-addict, I just find joy working with pleasant technology in an appealing wrapping; the MacBokk fits these attributes nicely.

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