The Pop Method

by Nicholas Bernhard // // Broomfield, CO

© 2024 NJB

CC-BY-SA 4.0

I had a true disaster yesterday. I spilled Coke all over my main laptop, and seem to have completely fried it.

Here’s the good news: I was able to pull out the SSD and load it into another laptop.

The laptop was a ThinkPad T60, my daily driver for the past three years. I am very sorry to see it go.

You may wonder why I use a laptop made in 2006 for work. There are many reasons why: First, the T60 has my favorite keyboard of any laptop I’ve used, writing with it was a true pleasure.

Second, the T60 was sturdy and serviceable. When my ThinkPad fell off the coffee table a couple years back, I was more worried about the floor getting damaged. When my MacBook Pro fell off a table back in college, the aluminum body revealed itself to have the toughness of soft cheese.

The third reason is that the T60 helped keep me disciplined. Unfortunately, the current tech mindset is to optimize hardware for software, and not the other way around. If a game runs slowly, the answer is not to program the game more efficiently; no, you are supposed to buy a more powerful computer. A C2D processor and 3.1 GB of RAM has led me to embrace GNU/Linux, alternative front-ends like Invidious, and simpler social media sites like Mastodon and Lemmy.

The fourth reason was support for Libreboot. Libreboot is a free-software BIOS. Back in 2021, the T60 was one of a few laptops that supported Libreboot without any complicated external-flashing processes. This is not so today: Libreboot is supported by an ever-growing list of PCs, including some with i7 processors and 16 GB (!!!) of RAM.

I suppose I have one more reason for choosing a T60: it was to prepare for moments like these. I have never been more grateful to have a cardboard box full of cheap ThinkPads and MacBooks running Libreboot. I can buy a replacement T60 on eBay for under $100. I am not out thousands of dollars, as I might be with a MacBook Pro or a Microsoft Surface.

The obvious concern is my data. Yes, my SSD was fine, but what if that had fried, too? Yes, Nantucket E-Books is version-controlled, and backed up, but what about—everything else?

This has been a wake-up call that I need some kind of backup system. I need something like Time Machine (or its GNU/Linux equivalent), or cloud “other people’s computers” storage.

For now, I’m grateful for my low-tech setup, which means this Coke catastrophe isn’t the end of the world, hardware-wise. It could have been much worse, data-wise, so this is my opportunity to do better.

  • No comments yet.