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©02 The Media Desk
The Desk's Laptop- a 286 Zenith with dark green and 'white' screen, no battery, and tendency to eat floppy disks on a regular basis, died for keeps over the weekend.
The Desk had paid something like twenty-five dollars for it somewhere on the order of five or six years ago, if not more. It runs... rather... it RAN Word version two or so. In DOS you could play ZORK 1 or 2 on it, and a version of strip poker pirated from the Atari game console (with some of the lousiest graphics ever committed to disk). And that was it. But it could edit the heck out of text files, and that was its primary use. It simply would not run a modem, could not drive a printer, and was useless for anything more complicated than making a mass change converting [obscenity deleted] Politicians to Snakehead Fish Politicians.
And for all those years, it was all the Desk had as far as portable computing went.
It had served faithfully on camping trips, vacations, hours on end in hospital waiting rooms, and the occasional class. It cranked out untold Web Pages since HTML is simply a TXT file with a new extension. And it helped pass the time, and led to much gambling frustration when the Desk tried to beat it in cards and would loose the hand when holding three queens to the computer's three kings. Yes the Desk thinks it cheated.
But Saturday on the late shift at the Shelter the Desk kept getting Disk Error messages. All sorts of Disk Desk Error Messages. It wasn't able to read from the device, corrupted file, could not find file, directory invalid, incorrect format, and so on.
The Desk cleaned the drive, twiddled the wires, lit a candle and faced France (the original home of the Zenith company) and chanted a prayer to Isidore of Seville, the proposed patron saint of the internet, in what turned out to be a vain attempt to revive the thing.
Without its floppy drive, the laptop is useless. It has something like a twenty meg hard drive, and does not like being connected to other computers via serial cable.
The Desk shut it down and unplugged it and let it set for about an hour, then tried it again. Now during the boot sequence it said there was a problem with the A drive, and froze. It was attached, and seemed to be getting power, but something inside had evidently gone south and that was that. So it was put back into its beat up old briefcase and the Desk said a few words over it.
Last time it died a couple of years ago it turned out to simply be a matter of a dead motherboard battery. No problem, upon boot, reset the time (lie to it) and go on your way. But this one isn't going to be that simple. You never even get to the point of it telling you there is a CMOS date and time problem. It looks at its systems and stops. So this thing is probably toast.
Is it worth repairing? No. Probably not, even if you could GET the part, which it doesn't look like you can.
The Desk Needs a laptop capable of composing and editing text files. And that is all it needs. If it can still play Zork or something, so much the better, but it is not a requirement.
It does NOT need to compile Flash or Powerpoint presentations. It does not want to download full motion full color video, play DVD movies, or convert CD's to MP3s. It is not going to play EarthInvasion 2999 version 3.5 on it. It's not going to hook the machine up to a scanner or digital camera or a cable modem to record the new version of Apocalypse Now.
It just wants to read and write text files on it.
But looking at online auctions and calling local used computer stores in the area there simply isn't anything available that doesn't have all the latest and greatest novelties and gadgets on it.
Laptops from that cow place, and Big Blue, and outfits the Desk can't pronounce, and one that just merged with the other one, and some it has never heard of. Used, Demos, Factory Reconditioned, Stolen, and maybe a couple found in a taxi regularly used by State Department Employees.
And they all come complete with the latest and greatest price tags supported by Manufacturer Trained Personnel to boot.
Pentium III Blueman edition notebooks with multi-gig hard drives and a convenient cel phone adapter built in. Last year's best AMD processor in a laptop that can run a small country's entire educational system.
You can hook up a projector to show your presentation on the side of moving subway cars and even dictate your resignation into it to be replayed into an answering machine at your convenience later.
Not quite what the Desk was looking for. Especially since it has bought cars the same age for less money.
And right now, with Mrs. Desk not working even part time hours and the Desk itself missing work to take care of her.... OK. The Desk is NOT too proud to Beg.
Here's the deal...
SOMEBODY out there has to have a 486 or maybe a Pentium One laptop they don't have a use for.
It does NOT have to have a CD burner onboard.
Joystick ports not required.
Wireless mice and cel-modems and a full color plasma display is optional. Very Optional.
Network Unready is preferable.
In fact... all it Requires is that the thing have a word processor on it or a way to load one onto it and a floppy drive that works.
How much can the Desk pay for it? Not counting postage...
If you have to ask... the Desk probably can't afford it.
Contact the Desk at drleftover(-at-)themediadesk(-dot-)com
Please put LAPTOP in the subject line. Thank you.
WEBMASTER NOTE: Zenith®, PENTIUM®, AMD®, Word®, Zork®, and all other terms and expressions associated with them used in the article are registered trademarks of their owners and are used only to identify what the Desk had and what it is looking for within the terms of Fair Use as the Desk understands it. No infringement or harm is intended.
The Desk is not a Computer Guru, but it is an experienced user of the things. It's appeal for a replacement laptop is real.
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