One of my most exciting memory remains seeing my dad coming home from work with a new cool gadget: a ThinkPad laptop.
I remember how crazy it sounded in the mid 90s to actually have the power of a computer on the go. It sure did look like the future back then. My dad popped the lid open, and there it was: an IBM ThinkPad, in all its glory, including of course the red nub.
20 years or so later, I’ve been on the hunt for a smallish cheap laptop that I could use for all sorts of experiments (including prying it open and messing with its internals). The best choice came in the form of a refurbished Lenovo ThinkPad X200 that I got for about 150€ on eBay.
Why pay so much money for such an old (late 2000s era) laptop? Well, there’s the simple fact that it looks cool and the form factor is perfect (12″ with a very decent keyboard), the design is still spot on and the internals are easily upgradeable (just remove two screws to access the RAM, just one for the hard drive!). This thing is built like a tank and will take abuse with a nonchalant smile. It’s both cheap and cool, not so cheap as to be disposable, but still cheap enough to make it an incredible platform for messy free software experiments.
I look forward to our time together. Breaking things, taking it on the road, servicing it when it needs care, and generally learning more about these incredible machines.