Justin Hall's personal site growing & breaking down since 1994

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all the laptops I've loved before

I love laptops. I love computing on the road. It's a trade off, because you're never fully in your surroundings with 7 pounds of powerbook in your lap. But you can be in your own environment wherever you are. When I am moving around a lot, booting up my computer feels like home.

My first computer I didn't actually use on the road much, but I did start this page on it: an Apple Macintosh Powerbook 180. It was my first Macintosh - I got a Mac because Swarthmore was all Mac.

I customized that Powerbook with coloured trackballs. I later sold it to a fellow when I was working at wired.

And I bought my next machine, an Apple Macintosh Duo 280. Everyone at Wired used Macs (except the engineers, who used Unix (mostly BSD)), and the Duo was a buttkicking concept. The duo was a slender trim powerful laptop that was built to use a docking station. It was so neat to push a button, eject your laptop, stick it in your bag, and go home to the same data and desktop.

I traded that laptop to someone who used to work at Apple who sent me a beta Duo 2300c they'd "borrowed." I guess I got a karmic payback on that - the thing blew a gasket and I lost a lot of my early email I'd been saving.

with my Duo 2300c - December 1996 So my dear Mother bought me one when they hit the market, February 1996. I had that Duo 2300c on my web roadtrip and I wrote my thesis on it. I painted it, drew on the keyboard, stickered it and then had the screen replaced five times (mostly from stepping on it getting out of bed), and then decorated it again. I lost it in a mugging summer of 1998 and I was sad about that.

It actually turned out to be a blessing - short on cash and wanting a faster computer, I switched to the PC platform and began avid gaming. There are just so many more games out for the PC.

Once I was a dedicated PC user, I needed another laptop, so I bought Jonathan's IBM Thinkpad 560. It's a great road machine. I loved Apple's computers because they are well designed and mostly sturdy. I get the same feeling from IBM's computers as well. So after that first Thinkpad wore out on me, around April 2001, I bought "li-n-ku-su" a Thinkpad X21 I used the entire time I lived in Japan. Svelte, black, well-built, the X21 served me well on the road as a mobile journalist. It appears in this photo in JapanInc magazine: Internet Withdrawal in Akita.

When OS X for the Macintosh came out from Apple, I thought I might like to buy one of their intelligent machines again, except they don't make anything that seems both small and powerful. A sleek lap rocket - they don't seem to make anything like their old Duos or the Thinkpad X series. In June 2004, I bought a 15 inch G4.

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justin hall | <justin at bud dot com>