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May 07, 2007

The New Laptop

newlaptop.jpg

After an appropriate time for grieving (like, five minutes or so), and after my super-important executive business lunch, I headed to a local computer store here in Ann Arbor to procure myself a new laptop, and after some perusal, settled on the new and reasonably tricked-out Toshiba you see here in front of you (in the background you see my friend Anne, who is ferrying me around Ann Arbor today). I also bought a new backpack, since the new computer definitely wouldn't fit in the old one. Total price tag: Not cheap, although not stupid expensive either. Two things ameliorate the cost: one, it's a tax deduction, and two, I got my royalty statements for Tor the other day, so I know I can afford it. Happy birthday to me, a couple days early.

So: Hi, I'm back. Does this new laptop make me look thinner?

Posted by john at May 7, 2007 03:28 PM

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Comments

Dan | May 7, 2007 03:36 PM

You're Not Fooling Anyone When You Break Your Laptop on a Book Tour.

It looks nice. That silver is certainly going to bring out your eyes.

Matt | May 7, 2007 03:48 PM

Does this new laptop make me look thinner?

No.

Kate | May 7, 2007 03:50 PM

You did clean up your mess right? You didn't leave the Quick Start Instructions for your friend Anne to clean up.. right?

Right????

Seriously though, glad you're back up and running. I had my bets that you wouldn't last a whole day without getting a new one. ;)

Anonymous | May 7, 2007 03:53 PM

is it pronounced:
toe-SHE-ba

or

TOE-shh-ba

MisterStinky | May 7, 2007 03:54 PM

is it pronounced:
toe-SHE-ba

or

TOE-shh-ba

MisterStinky | May 7, 2007 04:01 PM

sorry for the double post

DPWally | May 7, 2007 04:16 PM

Is the laptop huge? Or is Anne really tiny?

Lisa | May 7, 2007 04:23 PM

You're in AA visiting Anne? I'm stuck at home just a few miles away while a "fix-it" guy installs a new door on our house.

LizT | May 7, 2007 04:33 PM

Waves from the other side of Ann Arbor.

Sorry to miss your signing, but the kid had a piano recital, and the kid won. Nice to see you getting hooked up on the laptop!

Chang, for rizzle. | May 7, 2007 05:09 PM

If it makes you look thinner, I'll buy six.

Then again, a Macbook makes you look cooler, soo...

jeff | May 7, 2007 05:17 PM

Next time you're in town, John, the first beer's on me.

Kero aka Kevin | May 7, 2007 05:37 PM

On you it looks good.

Andrew | May 7, 2007 06:07 PM

Model? Specs?

Steve Buchheit | May 7, 2007 06:07 PM

Does this new laptop make me look thinner?

No, but it does make you look taller.

jimmiebobobbrain | May 7, 2007 06:47 PM

So you stuck with Toshiba, but not the tablet, I've been thinking about making my next laptop a tablet, so I'd like to hear why you didn't stick with it.

John Scalzi | May 7, 2007 07:06 PM

Mostly because I wasn't using the tablet features with any frequency, and also, they didn't have a tablet option available while I was shopping around.

Mike Stanley | May 7, 2007 07:13 PM

Glad to hear you got yourself a new laptop, even if it isn't a MacBook. :)


My favorite PC laptop was a Toshiba Tecra. I also had a Toshiba Libretto for a while, when they first came out. Tiny but neat.

Jemaleddin | May 7, 2007 07:49 PM

To continue the Mac-dogpile: If you really wanted your laptop to make you more attractive, you'd have gotten a Mac (like the one I'm using now).

Scientific studies show that carrying a Mac laptop has a greater positive influence on attractiveness than turning around a backward baseball cap.

John Scalzi | May 7, 2007 08:10 PM

Portable Mac = single button trackpad = fail.

Anyway, this computer is pretty damn shiny and nifty.

George E. Martin | May 7, 2007 08:20 PM

John: Portable Mac = single button trackpad = fail.

Which is why I carry a small trackball in the bag with my laptop.

George

Mike Stanley | May 7, 2007 08:27 PM

I use a multibutton mouse with my Macs when I'm using them as desktops and carry around a tiny notebook mouse in my bag, but all of the new Mac laptops support two button functionality by allowing for two fingers to be placed on the trackpad while clicking.


Two-finger scrolling on the trackpad is nice too.

Jeremiah | May 7, 2007 09:19 PM

Is that Vista on that thing? Oh sigh. I'm sorry for you.

John Scalzi | May 7, 2007 09:24 PM

Mike Stanley:

"all of the new Mac laptops support two button functionality by allowing for two fingers to be placed on the trackpad while clicking."

Yeah, but my new one allows for two button functionality by having two buttons!

Remember, I have a Mac at home -- I'm not Mac phobic. I just prefer to have a PC laptop.

Jeremiah: Yes, it has Vista. It's fine.

Adam | May 7, 2007 09:46 PM

Not only does it make you look thinner, it makes you look like a woman.

Oh oops, I should have actually read the post ... never mind!

Julia | May 7, 2007 10:38 PM

Ooooh, Scalzi. I'm over here in the Sexy Macbook User category; your Toshibreakeeba scares me. PC laptops, I find, simply don't have the stamina.

The single button trackpad is only for those smart enough to figure it out *wink*

punkrockhockeymom | May 7, 2007 10:39 PM

Hey! Are you still here (i.e. in AA, in the company of netmouse?).

Because, erm, my roofers had issues the day you were in Novi, and, well, DUDE. They are my roofers. They were finishing my roof. Which I, erm, need. So I blew you off in favor of the roof.

Mike Stanley | May 8, 2007 12:02 AM

Scalzi:


"Yeah, but my new one allows for two button functionality by having two buttons!"


As Mr. PC John Hodgman would say, "Touche"


And I know you're not Mac-phobic. Just an FYI in case some folks didn't know about the two-finger click thingie.


I used to lament the loss of the second button but I honestly don't find myself needing it much in OS X, at least not when I'm doing what I do with it on a laptop.

Mary Kay | May 8, 2007 01:10 AM

I've been using Macs for mumble years and I've never felt underbuttoned.

And it's true what they say (above) about Mac books being sexy. A guy tried to pick me up at Bouchercon just because I was sitting in public using my Mac.

MKK--also, I know where you can get a great bridge really cheap

cisko | May 8, 2007 06:49 AM

Well, to argue from the middle of the tracks, I've been a Mac user for more than 20 years, and I hate hate hate the single-button thing. I have a MacBook Pro and it's a great machine, but that trackpad, ew. If I'm at a table for a length of time, I'll get out my wireless mouse, but often I'm stuck with the trackpad.

It's a great machine in other ways, and I wouldn't want to swap it. But yeah, one button sucks.

cisko | May 8, 2007 06:50 AM

On the other hand: two-finger scrolling rocks. Hard.

Brandon | May 8, 2007 07:42 AM

The laptop doesn't make you look thinner, but it makes Anne look pretty damn cute. ;)

Camron | May 8, 2007 09:10 AM

Wow, aren't we a bunch of geeks? I never knew the one vs. two button thing was so controversial. I guess ignorance really is bliss.

I want one of those laptops that fold into an industrial strength-looking briefcase, like that one the bad/good guy on that TV show Jericho has. Anyone know what that is? (I don't have the emotional stamina to web-surf for it.)

John, I'll see you tomorrow in Richmond! You'll recognize me because my babysitter bailed, so I'll be the one surrounded by three really short guys. I'm desperately trying to finish TLC before then. If I'm up all night, be sure I'll blame you and have something to say about it.

(Bringing little guys, only one of which is reading yet, is kosher for the evening, yes? If not, I'll have to give you a pass, and that would break my heart.)

John H | May 8, 2007 09:24 AM

Camron: It's a Panasonic Toughbook, some of which are made to milspec (meaning they're damn near indestructable, but also cost three times what a regular laptop would run)...

Kafkaesquí | May 8, 2007 10:13 AM

To follow up on Brandon's observation (and hopefully shift away from a geek fight):

So John? Yeah, about you're friend Anne. Is she, um, single?

John Scalzi | May 8, 2007 10:28 AM

Camron:

As long as you police the little ones reasonably well (i.e., they don't disrupt the proceedings), I think it's fine.

Camron | May 8, 2007 10:44 AM

Thanks for the info, John H.! With three destructive boys under 10 in the house, maybe my husband can buy one damn-near indestructible PC for me (For me? For me, is it?) on "Mother's Day" and write off the expense somehow (he’s crafty like that).

John, I just saw the photo from your DC hotel on Ficlet. Sorry you’re in such a “meh” part of town. As a native of DC, I can promise you that there’s so much more and so much better. I hope you can come back when you’ve got time, and bring the smartypants Athena with you. Nothing’s cooler than bringing a smart kid to the Air and Space museum and watching them go

“Whaaaaaaooooooooooowwwww!”

And then there's the rest of the stuff, like the Archives, the Capitol, the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, and LOTS more. Touristy, yes, but important and thought-provoking. Hope everyone visits at least once. (Contrary to press, native DCers are not anti-tourist. We're proud and we like to share the wealth.)

Ooops - I think I just pimped my town in a non-pimp thread. Forgive, please!

Camron | May 8, 2007 11:03 AM

Actually, it just occurred to me that you worked for AOL in Reston, so you're probably more than familiar with the area. Nevermind...

Jim Wright | May 8, 2007 11:48 AM

It's a Panasonic Toughbook, some of which are made to milspec.

Yeah, speaking as somebody who has used a number of Toughbooks, they're not nearly as indestructible as advertised - they also suck. Worst keyboard on the market. And they are seriously over-priced (which is a given for anything built to milspec).

John Fiala | May 8, 2007 01:07 PM

I've got a (considerably older) Toshiba laptop, and it's done just fine for me. I'm quite happy with it.

Old Jarhead | May 8, 2007 01:10 PM

"Scientific studies show that carrying a Mac laptop has a greater positive influence on attractiveness than turning around a backward baseball cap."

I would try and test that hypothesis except that here in Tacoma there aren't any stores that sell the baseball caps with the bills in the rear.

Bryan Price | May 8, 2007 01:18 PM

Don't tell me your birthday is the same as my youngest twins?? The oldest set's was the 3rd.

Happy birthday (in case I'm late, or otherwise engaged...)

Joe Rybicki | May 8, 2007 01:29 PM

Two-finger trackpad ≠ two-button trackpad. You can do it, sure. But the bizarrely over/undersensitive Mac trackpads make it a chore.

Sticking with the one-button thing (especially after introducing a standard two-button mouse with their desktops) out of principle is just stupid. There's no advantage to it unless you're handing it to a person who has never, ever had to use any other computer before in their lives.

Sorry, we've just hit on my biggest pet peeve with Apple.

Jeri | May 8, 2007 01:58 PM

Congrats on the new toy! Uh... it's so big, that don't know about thinner but it just plain makes you look smaller. ;)

Hey! I just received the most recent F&SF in the mail. And guess what was on the back cover? A lovely, very prominent Last Colony ad! Your publishers must be seriously rolling out the ad budget.

(just finished it.. great book, btw!)

Jeri

Scott Elyard | May 8, 2007 03:06 PM

Joe: "Sticking with the one-button thing (especially after introducing a standard two-button mouse with their desktops) out of principle is just stupid. There's no advantage to it unless you're handing it to a person who has never, ever had to use any other computer before in their lives."

I guess all my three-button experience on IRIX machines is null and void, then.

Seriously, have you guys every considered using the keyboard? That's where all the buttons belong in the first place. I hate the second button on PeeCee laptops. I'm always pressing it and then smashing it repeatedly with a hammer out of irritation. So not only are they worthless, they cause far too much damage to the machine.

The keyboard is all-powerful. Trackpad buttons, very much less so.

Nick Stump | May 10, 2007 12:26 AM

I love my HP Widescreen. Makes for nice DVD watching when I'm on the road. I don't do much real computing when traveling but I sure do like to watch movies. It's also been very dependable for the scoring work I have to do, though when I had it for about two weeks the damned 3 key stuck. I think it was the crackers I had in bed while watching Band of Brothers in Chicago. Alway all is well. I have both PC and Mac, needing them both according to which platform people are using in out of town studios. It used to be all Mac, but these days I'm seeing a lot more PCs out there.

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