Friday, September 13, 2013

A tribute to a dying laptop

The heavy clouds seemed to weep God’s own tears as I turned on my netbook to discover that several keys no longer functioned.

This little laptop has been my constant companion for almost 5 years, and it was on this compute that I composed nearly all of Mad Science Institute, as well as the bulk of the Mad Science sequel and countless other writing projects.
A boson is a sub-atomic particle only detectable in powerful particle colliders. The desktop background of my Boson is a rendering of such a collision.
I called this laptop the “Boson” because of its minuscule size. With a mere 10” screen, it was perfect for wielding on the bus, which, given my day-job, is usually the most productive time of my day—and often the ONLY productive time of my day.

For 5 years, the Boson has been the R2 to my Luke, the Coulson to my Avengers, and the Rusty to my Soap. Its birthday would have been in November, when it would have retired to sail around the world on a yacht named the Live-4-Ever.

Like a trooper, the Boson has endured spills, crumbs, bumpy rides inside my bike’s saddle-pack, TSA X-rays, and even a few accidental drops to the carpet. Though all of that, it never complained or showed me a blue screen, and it stayed strong right to the end of my most recent major project, the Mad Science sequel, which was finally re-finalized at the beginning of this month.
Note the battle damage. This crack in the case was acquired in the first year, but never daunted the Boson for a nanosecond.
Within a few days of typing the last word and deciding I was happy with this version of the sequel, the Boson finally gave in to its accumulated wear. Several of the keys ceased functioning: namely the “V” (as in Very, Voraciously, Virtuous), as well as sometimes the “T” (as in Tower, Twain, and Tesla) and often the shift key (as in everything that’s capitalized).

Since its purchase, all major manufacturers have ceased to build netbooks of this size (tablets are now filling that niche), so my little companion will be difficult to replace.

I even considered keeping on with the Boson by copying-and-pasting those missing letters whenever I needed them, but the keyboard shotcut is shift-V, so that simply couldn’t work. Sadly, if the Boson were a horse, it would be time to load the rifle, take it out behind the barn, and then make up some lie about moving him to a distant pasture so the kids wouldn’t ball their eyes out.

Goodnight, sweet laptop. May flights of calculators sing thee to Silicon Heaven.

This post was the last piece I composed on the Boson. The Vs, Ts, and capital letters were edited in later with the assistance of my desktop computer.

Sechin Tower is a teacher, a table-top game designer, and the author of Mad Science Institute. You can read more about him and his books on and his games on


Jordan Dane said...

You have my deepest sympathy. I will include your Boson in my prayers.

Sechin Tower said...

Yeah, okay, I admit there might be worse tragedies playing out on the world's stage right now. But this does mark the passing of an era for me :)

Jordan Dane said...

You should have seen me crying over an electric hair curling set I had from GE. The damned thing would never die. It was a gift from my mom when I was 8 or so and had lasted until I was nearly 40. I finally cleaned it up and gave it away as a white elephant gift. The person who got it thought they'd discovered GOLD. As far as I know, that set might still be working. They definitely don't make them like they used to.

I feel your pain, buddy. I'm just glad you got to enjoy writing your sequel on it.

Ilsa said...

Oh, I know your pain. It's amazing how much you can get attached to a piece of hardware.

Goedkope tablet covers said...

I admit there might be worse tragedies playing out on the world's stage right now. But this does mark the passing of an era for me.