One of the reasons that I haven't written a lot in my blog in the last four weeks is my three-week trip with sporadic WWW access, beginning with the EuroPortfolio Conference in France, and then sending my Mac laptop in for repair when I returned last week. I received it back today, and I cannot believe the sense of loss I felt during the week it took to get repaired. I still had access to computers at home and away... even a Windows XP laptop to warm my lap last week, and take on my trip to Vancouver. But it just wasn't the same as my Mac OS X G4 laptop. Then when my computer came back, the memory had been removed (a 3rd party upgrade!) and was sitting in little bags in the box. That was not the problem to be repaired! After I settled my anger down, and the man on the 800 number walked me through putting the memory back into the computer, I was back in business. My computer booted up, and there was the picture of my granchildren (my desktop background image). My anxiety slowly faded, and the laptop was comfortably back in my lap. Is there a 12-step program for laptop addiction?
It is almost frightening to realize how attached I am to this little computer... I spend more time with it than I do members of my family. But I also have to remember how much it connects me to the rest of the world: through iChat that kept me connected by voice to my daughter when she was living in Hungary and Alaska; through e-mail, that is my combination "to-do" list and professional communication tool; with my web publishing program, that helps me share my ideas with the world on my website; with my blogs for reflecting on my work and rarely (as in this post) on my feelings. I was able to function with those tools on other computers, since they had most of the same software or used web-based software, but it wasn't the same: a different keyboard means a lack of fluency when you communicate with your fingers (I've been touch typing for decades). I also find using web-mail to be less productive than using a desktop program where I have maintained e-mail files, many dating back for five years or more. Even though I made backups before I sent the computer off for repair, it just wasn't the same!
I'm planning to replace this laptop in the next few months, probably after I go to MacWorld, maybe even before Christmas. I've had this computer for over 2 and a half years, a record for me and laptops (I always wrote a new one into all my grants)! But I want a faster processor, larger hard drive, Bluetooth and a DVD recorder. I'm trying to decide which size to get: the small 12" screen which is even lighter and more portable, or the 15" screen, which is the one I have now... the size of the screen that works best with my middle-aged eyes. Whichever one I get, I know I will get just as attached as this one.