This entry is only to be read on the strict understanding that my wife is not informed of its contents. I shall not, however, be detailing some mad, passionate extramarital affair: it is far more serious than that. So, you have been warned. Any transgression will be viewed very dimly indeed, and all transgressors – there can be no exceptions – will be crossed off my Christmas card list. There will be no possibility of appeal. Right, now I have got the official stuff out of the way, as the Germans say, zur Sache.
One of the standing jokes at work is the number of mobile phones I own. I actually only use one, and that one rarely, but I do have quite a collections. I shan’t go into detail here, because that would not only bore you, but, more to the point, it would bore me, and I hate being bored. I shall only say that the situation is not quite as alarming as it might sound and there were sound and rational reasons for acquiring each of them (i.e. some once belonged to my daughter etc.) But this entry is not about mobile phones but about laptop computers, because something rather similar has occurred with laptop computers, viz I now own seven and have eight – the eighth is one I have been lent by work to ‘do the puzzles’ (of which more, perhaps or perhaps not) another time. In mitigation I should add – swiftly, to avoid any suggestions that I am quite mad or rich or both – that almost all of them were bought secondhand on eBay. However, three weren’t, and it is about those three which I shall now write.
But for background I should tell you that I have a Macbook Pro, a nice clean one, which never leaves the house, and a Macbook, nice but not quite as clean which I take with me on my travels. Then at my stepmother’s I have another nice clean Macbook Pro, of which I can only say that for the life of me I can’t think why I bought it, but it, too, was something of a bargain. I leave it at her house because quite often she likes watching racing events on TV – the Gold Cup, Ascot and the Grand National, that kind of thing – and I am then on hand to place her bets for her with Ladbrokes online.
This time last year, I was in Bordeaux for my visit to my aunt’s for the concerts, and with me I had the works Lenovo (to do the puzzles). Somehow, I fucked it up and couldn’t use it any more. I had, by then done all the relevant puzzles work for the week and didn’t actually need a laptop any more, but as we computer addicts know – Marianne – there is a kind of withdrawal process which takes place when one no longer have access to the net. So off I went to L Leclerc in Langon to see what I might pick up cheaply. And there I found are rather neat little 10in netbook produced by Acer in their eMachines which had exactly the same chip, hard drive and memory as netbooks produced by ‘name’ brands such as Sony, Samsung and HP, but which was far more attractive as it was selling for around 40 euros cheaper. And, dear reader, I bought it. It was only when I got back to my aunt’s house and unpacked it that I realized I hadn’t thought matters through sufficiently. The problem was that everything was in French, a language of which I know next to nothing. Worse, the keyboard was a French layout, with, for example, Z where the W should be and Lord knows what else. I struggled.
The thing was I rather liked that small netbook. It was neat. So back home in Old Blighty I put it on eBay and got a good price for it. And then I bought the same netbook but with an English OS and keyboard layout. However – there’s always a however- I realized that it was – um, rather slow and, more to the point watching BBC iPlayer was something of a chore. This was because the graphic chip was integrated and nothing rang very smoothly.
I decided to get another netbook and after a lot of research opted for an Acer 722. This had a faster chip and all-round was a better investment. But it, too, had a flaw: the keyboard. As far as I was concerned the keyboard is useless for typing and as I had specifically bought it for writing, I had another problem. So – deep breath – I have bought another, and it is on this one that I am writing this entry.
So far, so utterly irresponsible and mad, but there is a silver lining. This particular model is not sexy and as it is a Lenovo, it is intended for business. It is a Lenovo X121e. But now to the important bit: there are two versions. One has an AMD C60 chip (like my Acer) but Lenovo also produce a more expensive version with an Intel i3 Core chip. And that is the one I have. New the AMD version costs around 345. The Intel is on sale for about 530. But, dear reader, I struck lucky, very lucky: on eBay I found an Intel version which I managed to nab – brand new and still sealed in the box – for just 355. I shan’t go into details, but everything is well above board: I simply struck very lucky indeed. And the keyboard is perfect. And as I have just installed a solid state drive (i.e. no spinning disc, no moving parts) it simply zips along. Lovely. If only I actually needed it. Now just to get rid of the eMachines and Acer, both of which are still in tip-top condition, at prices which will go some way to assuaging my feelings of guilt. Remember: not a word to my wife who isn’t as enlightened on such matters as I am.