Give and Take

This morning I gave my Chromebook to my other half, leaving me without a laptop. She had been soldiering on with a second-hand laptop from the place I work for the last couple of years, and it has slowly been falling to pieces. I don’t think the hilariously bad battery life, or variously broken keys were the deciding factor – it was more a case of Windows taking several months to boot up, and churning ridiculously all the time – usually while trying to look something up quickly for the children. Faced with a Chromebook that just works, lasts all day away from a plug socket, and that boots from cold in seconds, it wasn’t much of a decision to make.

Of course there had to be another laptop somewhere in the house. The one my eldest daughter got for Christmas three years ago, and never used. She inherited my previous chromebook, which she immediately preferred over the laptop. If I was Microsoft, faced with an army of college kids that have used Chromebooks, I would be very, very worried about the future of any kind of consumer market for Windows.

Anyway. I plugged the cast-off laptop in this morning, to see if I might make some use of it. It had Windows 10 on it, which almost crippled it before you used it for anything. A couple of hours later it was re-installed with Ubuntu Linux. I won’t bore you with having to re-install it three times while learning the vagueries of UEFI, and “Secure Boot”. I’ll reserve a special fiery seat in hell (if it exists) for the person that invented Secure Boot. I won in the end, but not before almost losing the plot with the damn thing.

So – I have a laptop once again. I’m not sure how much I’ll use it, because I prefer sitting at a desk with a proper keyboard than slouching on the sofa with a laptop. Even when I do use a computer for any length of time in the lounge, I sit at the dining table (our dining table is at the far end of the lounge, surrounded by bookcases). I suppose the anarchic part of me is quietly pleased that it’s running Linux instead of Windows – perhaps an ice breaker while sitting on a train, or in a hotel lobby.

“What on earth is that operating system on your computer”

“Oh, please excuse me while I slip this propeller hat on my head, and start preaching about the open source software movement, and the life and times of Linus Torvalds, Mark Shuttleworth, and Richard Stallman”

“Who?”

“You have a Macbook in your bag, don’t you?”

“Yes.”

“Pffft.” (I roll my eyes theatrically, before pretending to call somebody on my Nokia 3310)

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