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This is a tragady. It may also be funny.

One of the reasons it took me quite so long to buy a laptop was because I don’t trust them. I trust, to some extent, every machine on this network, because I built it by myself out of the very-expensive-lego that is the PC hobbiests stock in trade. Zephyr was built by me, Boilingpoint is made out of old bits of Reef is made out of old bits of Atoll is made out of old bits of Maelstrom, the circle of life.

I have owned, in my lifetime, three laptops. The middle one is Nemo. It’s a 486, it has no battery, no network, no memory. It’s single use is if all my other machines are dead and I need to vent in text format.

The first one is called “Despair”, and this is its story.

The Prince is the only person to have kept his psudonym from the days when I was writing in Opendiary as Ithen and was scared silly of real people reading my diary. He is one of the vanishingly small number of people that I’ve kept in touch with since pretty much playschool. He’s a very good actor, a very good friend, and we both gloss over the fact that we’re both too disorganised to meet up more than once every nine to twelve months or so. I have sung duets on stage with him, screwed up dance routines with him, and watched him wade deep into “Dude, that’s a bad idea” territory by asking one of our close-knit group of dramatists if the reason she’s so on edge (At the last rehersal before exam performance) is because she’s on her period. Okay, on that last occasion I remained as far away from him as was physically possible in the suddenly-awfully-small drama room, but – despite my desires – I was still there.

I was on holiday from university, and was wandering up to London to window-shop on Tottenham Court Road when I ran into The Prince at The Fictional Railway Station. Somehow I found myself a couple of hours later sitting on a couch in another actor’s apartment, fixing his computer. Actually, trying to get a P133 running windows 95 at 640*480 in 256 colours to access the Information Superhighway via the man’s Virgin.net subscription.

Geeks quite often find themselves in this situation.

There is a canonical Head and Shoulders advert that ran for many, many, many years on UK Tv, where they wash half a mans head in normal shampoo and half in Head and Shoulders. The man whose flat I was in was at pains to point out that he didn’t have black hair anymore, and never had dandruff anyway.

In return for getting his damned machine onto the New World, he gave me a laptop. I played Solitare on it for an hour or so until the battery started to go, so I plugged it in.

There was a series of entertaining crackling noises, then nothing. The power supply never spoke again, and neither did Despair. It was named later on.

I tell this story because my Powerbook power supply did exactly the same thing this morning. Blew the fuse on the lead that goes into it. So I tried my co-worker’s one (Recharging from his power supply worked fine) and it blew the fuse on that too.

I now have less than one hour’s charge left on my powerbook, and no way to recharge it.

Looks like I’m going to the Apple Store tomorrow.

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