New old writing machine

June 15, 2021 – 100 days to offload countdown #90

My workhorse is 17 inch laptop. It’s a couple of years old, but when I bought it, 16GB of ram, an SSD drive and a 4 core 8 thread core i7 were nothing to sneeze at – it still holds up and I like working with it. But it is a bit on the heavy, impracticle side of things when it comes to tasks like writing a quick post here, or jotting down an idea. So I decided to buy a smaller more tablet like machine. My first choice was and still is a pinebook pro. But, thanks to global shortages for all kinds of semiconductors, they are out of stock. There was one available on ebay, but it sold for more than the price of a new one.

I considered bying a chromebook and turning it into a pure linux machine, but after a bit of research, I found that a chromebook with the performance I had in mind would be too expensive for a writing companion, and the process to get my distribution of choice onto a given device could end up being way more involved than I have time and mental capacity for right now.

Browsing for alternatives, I found and bought a thinkpad x201t without much research - I figured a battery replacement couldn’t be that expensive, and adding a small ssd – 128GB are more than enough – would turn it into a reasonably fast machine to read and write with.

Manjaro is my linux distribution of choice for a couple of years now. After many years using gentoo linux, and loving it, fiddling with my computer in this way lost its appeal. I’m the IT person of this famliy, and I have to support 3 computers beside my own machines – pine64 as media server, a NAS, etc. I wanted a roling release distro – having to handle the update process for ubuntu every couple of years at work and being used to the seamless update process of gentoo, every thing else was not an option. Manjaro was the fastest and easiest install process I ever encountered – in large part due to the generall advancements of linux, but with a cherry on top. The laptop came in a bit dysmal state – picking hairs and dust out a keyboard is no fun when i know it’s my hair and dead skin cells…

Linux has come far since I started using it in April of 1994 - even the wacom pen just works almost out of the box – I had to install the wacom x11 driver, but that’s it. The touchscreen is not working, but that seems to be a hardware failure, not the problem of the software/driver side. the device is detected, but does not generate any events.

This post is the second I wrote on the new machine, and I’m beginning to like it. For all its shortcommings compared to my normal working setup with a Model 01 and a roost 2 laptop stand, this is a relativly old machine, that is small, fully functioning under linux hardware failure ignored, with the new battery and the ssd arriving sometime this week, I have what I wanted. A new laptop would have been much more expensive, and overkill – and to reuse old hardware is my preferred way anyhow.