In the middle of 2010 I was taking care of the last details for my bicycle tour in Australia, and the only thing that was missing was a computer.
Back in the day it was easy to find cheap netbooks with some random Atom processor that were basically only good for surfing the interwebz, taking care of some basic documents/picture management…and that was it.
I like to play videogames a lot, and the idea of a laptop that would not allow me to do that is outrageous, but there was no way for me to buy a 15,6″ laptop with discrete graphics and ride my bicycle all around Australia with that kind of weight in my backpack.
The Gods of RNG listened to me and Acer blessed me with the 721, a dual core 11,6″ netbook that packed an Ati 4225. The basic configuration had 2gb of ram, which I promptly upgraded to 4. Even though the Ati 4225 was laughable compared to some more serious graphic cards it allowed me to play Starcraft 2 on the lowest settings at 40+ fps, and along with Starcraft 2 I was able to carry with me all my favourite games of the time.
He has been an invaluable little helper for me. Small, light, good performance (and reasonably cheap) and tough enough to survive over 3000kms by bike inside a pannier or backpack. When I was camping in the middle of nowhere I’d switch it on, take care of some pictures, maybe play some videogames and watch an episode or two of The Simpsons or Dr House before sleeping.
We had a couple of hiccups though. The first one was caused by me, stumbling on a box and stepping on its screen. Ebay came to our help and I was able to replace the broken screen. Later on the plug where the charger cable connects had a problem that I managed to fix by opening up the netbook and using a screwdriver to re-position the loosened plug.
Then, today, something happened.
While I was downloading a backup copy of a legally owned Tv show, my netbook shut down and I immediately smelled the stench of Doom. The Cpu was gone. I tried to replace the Cpu with an MP3 player and a chopstick, but it was no use.
He’s gone for good.
What’s going to happen next? Well, HD, ram and the lcd work perfectly, so I’ll take them out and keep them as spares, to make sure that his legacy will live on.
I wouldn’t usually spend time to write about something that broke down, I’d just throw it in the rubbish bag, throw the bag in a river and throw the river into space (Futurama has taught me many useful things during the course of the years).
But that small netbook and I spent so much time together, he had been with me in 4 continents, he allowed to keep in touch with my friends and family when I was only surrounded by bush, kangaroos and weird Australian stuff. I’ve always referred to him as “my little brother”.
Now he’s gone, and while everything we’ve been through together still remains, and his HD full of silly stuff is fine, I felt like I had to write some sort of final message for him.
Well, Goodnight Sweet Prince, you can now frag some angels.