The Weight Of Technological Advance



This is a picture of my HP laptop that I bought in 2006, with my daughter, delivered in 2013, taken on my Nokia 920 phone (originally released in 2012).

The laptop weighed slightly more than my daughter when she was born. It had half the RAM and the same storage as my phone (although my phone’s storage is all solid state and fast, not a lumpen old hard drive) and no webcam, whereas my phone has forwards and back facing cameras and probably a better screen. The child has delivered the most joy and the least frustration of the three, before you ask.

I’m amazed I kept the laptop this long, but then for the last three years it’s been hidden in the bottom of a drawer, and it was only when I realized the waste of effort we’d had in carrying this enormous lump of portable computing around that I finally dug up the determination to ditch it.

I tried powering it on for one last hurrah but it wouldn’t even start up. We had pulled out the hard drive from it in 2011 so there was nothing left for it but to consign it to the grave. My daughter neglected to give it much of a send-off; a few desultory taps of the keyboard, quite unlike the attention she devotes to our Mac, and then goodbye.

I remember when that wasn’t the heaviest laptop I had in my possession, which goes to show how horrible the hardware policy was at my last employer. The worst was when I carried both my work laptop (an ingot of purest lead with a Dell logo stamped on it) and the HP lump around the world in the same backpack. Hello, extra bends in your spinal column. Although to be honest, I’m surprised it didn’t weigh enough to break the X-ray machine at Seattle International. Some things we can be thankful for.

It wasn’t even as if this would have been much good in a fight. Made of flimsy plastic, the first time you swung it at an attacker you’d probably just snap the lousy thing in two. And then feel bad for breaking an antique.

It’s odd, nine years later, to think how much I must have cared back then to have a laptop with a built in DVD drive. That must have added more unwelcome thickness to the monstrosity. My Surface, on the other hand, is light enough to be carried one handed and though it’s lacking when it comes to USB ports, (1 to the HP’s 3) it has a touch screen, four times the storage, a backlit keyboard… If we’re not living in the future now, we must really have been in the past back then.


One response to “The Weight Of Technological Advance”

  1. Children would be more amusing if they came with their own integrated webcam.
    Enjoyed the amusing trip down computer memory lane 🙂

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