A Brief Farewell to Asimov


Asimov — my Dell Inspiron 1520 laptop — has been with me since the summer of 2007. He was my primary computer through undergrad, through research placements, and summer jobs. Bradbury, my home-use desktop, joined the family as I started grad school in October 2011; Asimov was relegated to mobile computing tasks. Very recently, Asimov traveled with me to the AIAA SciTech 2014 conference.

Asimov is old; he has been through many surgeries, suffered multiple OS changes, and been dropped more often than he deserves. He is beginning to show his age: he gasps for power the moment he is unplugged, he chokes on computationally expensive tasks, and he weighs in at a unhealthy 6.5 lbs.

Well, after all these years of service, Asimov is being retired, quite without ceremony (except for the writing of this post). He is being replaced by Gaiman, a refurbished Lenovo ThinkPad T420.

A few words about the potentially baffling choice of Asimov’s replacement: I needed a small, capable, inexpensive, upgradable, and durable laptop with a 7+ hour battery life. It is easy to find laptops that are small and inexpensive, but they tend not be durable or capable. It is similarly easy to find laptops that are capable and durable, but they tend to be pricey. Few laptops allow for any sort of upgradability. The venerable IBM/Lenovo ThinkPad line matched all requirements, except the price. This was all well and good, since the newer T440 and T430 models were not well-reviewed, and I found a refurbished T420 model that met my price constraints.

To be clear: Gaiman is not superpowered. I have Bradbury and Clarke (my home and work desktops, respectively) when performance is needed. Gaiman is for working when I’m moving around, and my unnamed Nexus 7 tablet and my unnamed Motorola smartphone fall short.

An aside: I find it weird that I choose not to name my tablet and my phone. All my computers have names, and that makes it rather difficult to get rid of them without feeling sad.


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