Saturday, April 16, 2016



Sneak Peak

When Dymion, the second laptop began showing signs that its operating system needed a reformat, my first thought was the raketship and the difficulty of giving up a day's work so someone can reinstall a boot copy of Windows 7 to make it run again. I didn't give it much thought, as my boss, who read what I wrote on my Facebook wall offered to pay half the price, should I decide to replace my old machine with a new one.

Tempting as it may sound, but I lingered with the decision knowing that I do not have the money to arrange for a hasty purchase. The dog  at home had an ear surgery last month while the responsibility of paying the water bill has also been turned over to me. Unplanned acquisitions, such as getting a new shiny laptop will only break my monthly budget.

But I knew that time was running out, and anytime soon, my trusted AI companion will just stop working. The certain breakdown was just too real as the laptop took a longer time to reboot. The applications I have installed also freeze from time to time when this was never a problem in the past. Little by little, I came to terms that the machine demands a replacement as it has been 5 years since the last time I had a new computer. When I was younger, I would have asked my dad for a desktop upgrade long before I made my decision, but since the money now comes from my own pocket, spending for things I may have to pay for years must be thought out well.

"For investment," I assured myself.

So I set foot at Gilmore on a Sunday afternoon to search for a new laptop. It has to be more advanced than Dymion's Pentium i5 to give this enterprise a justification. It also has to run at once, without the need for OS installation as I have no more time to ask someone to do the work for me. Finally, it has to be compatible with the games both the Weatherman and I play. With Stellaris, the much-anticipated 4X space strategy game coming out next month, having a new machine to run the complex game will worth the purchase.

If there was anything that held me back, it was the thought that maybe, a simple OS reformat would put everything back into place. Meaning, I could play my simulation and strategy games while doing my work on the same computer. There won't be a need for bloodletting, knowing it will come from my savings. I also wanted the Weatherman to be there because tradition follows that I have always been with a special someone when I make this kind of purchase. Unfortunately, he was sent to Australia for a ten-day working visit and I feel that replacing Dymion can no longer wait for his return.

I was right because the next day, the laptop that I have been using for half a decade won't launch the operating system despite my repeated reboot.

Securing my boss' approval, I returned to Gilmore to finally decide which laptop to buy. Crowdsourcing on Twitter for suggestions revealed that the most favored among the brands was Lenovo, not Samsung like the last I bought. The suggestion from my online friends and the personal specifications I set for the new laptop served as my guide as I moved from one store to the next.

Going solo, and without anyone to seek a second opinion, I was forced confront with my indecisive self: How much will be my price ceiling? What other specs do I need to check before making a decision? And would I pay using my credit card like what I did in the past? At one point, I was ready to raise the ceiling by moving to buy an i7. For the games of course. But looking at how I played my PC games, and the demands of two jobs that have been sustaining my middle-class lifestyle, I came to realize that I have outgrown my gamer self:

That the time when I can play my games from sunrise to daybreak is long gone.

Having this epiphany, I proceeded to acquire a mid-range laptop, an i5 from a more recent product line. I then bought an additional RAM chipset to make it work faster. With a Windows 10 already preinstalled, I paid the unit in cash and went on to work that same night using the new laptop I named Ishi-bashi.

* A day after getting a new laptop, I did ask a colleague to reformat Dymion so I can use 2 laptops when required. The findings were grim. When Windows 7 was installed on its hard drive, the machine performed more dismally than ever. It appears to be a case of a hardware problem. 

* My boss decided to pay the laptop in full. I am basically getting it for free.

* It was the first time I bought a unit in cash. At a hindsight, it may have used up my savings but I won't have to pay the interest. I also got the laptop at a much lower price.

* Ishi-bashi was the title of a poem I wrote about my experience with crystal meth in college. This is a story deserving another entry.