Sorry for the previously undetected glass ring stain. My fault.

This little ditty is being written on Harold. Harold is an Apple G3 Powerbook from 2000. It is a truly ancient machine, but it was undoubtedly the first sexy ‘must have’ laptop.


Nothing like a bit of good news on the front page of the Guardian. Good to know that David loved Laura.

‘Why you, why now?’, I can hear you ask in a little falsetto voice.

Well, first of all, it looks like a little designer cushion. It’s also one of the coolest and iconic pieces of industrial design ever. When I was a little boy in his early thirties, I used to watch ‘ West Wing ‘. If you don’t remember or never heard of it, it was only the best political show ever on TV, but nae bother. All my favourite characters wrote beautiful speeches, policy papers and devastating memos on G3 Powerbooks, mainly at 11pm, only powered by hoisin sauce and a Budweiser (the staff. Not the laptops). For all geeks, a quick little rundown of his innards: 400mhz G3, 1gb ram, 2x USB, 2x Firewire, Ati Rage M3.

I always had a thing for these beauties, but didn’t really have the cash to get them (by that time I was running around with the less powerful and decidedly more uncool white Ibooks), but I never really forgot about them. Very likely due to the fact that we are still watching ‘West Wing’ at chez Fordie’s.


Somebody in the white house hard at work. Probably writing a birthday card.

So, 14 years later, I finally got one from Ebay. I cleaned it, gave it a bit more ram and a new battery and: hey presto, well working new laptop. It runs OS X 10.4.11, Office 2008, an amazing version of Firefox -compiled for its ancient G3 processor – called TenFourFox.

And it’s fully functional.

OK, there are things it doesn’t do: online streaming is really not its thing, as are elaborate browser games, but it emails, tweets, plays my music collection, browses the web -all it once. Not bad for a piece of 15 year old technology.

Because it’s happily running Dropbox, it’s become the defacto work laptop in the living room. The rather generous keyboard makes writing those annoying Open University essays a doddle and it happily handles the work emails and easily deals with the neverending Excel sheets that seem to pervading my life.

Most importantly, it makes me happy. I have decided to take it to the next meeting at work, to park it proudly between all those Dells, Toshibas and other modern kit.

All I need now is a policy job in the White House.


5 Months with the EEEPC. An interim review. By a female user

Last Christmas, I gave her an EEEPC, but the very next day, I wanted to take it away (because I wanted it for myself). (with apologies to Wham)

In the past I have discussed the reasoning for buying an EEEPC: form factor, operating system and price were certainly the most important considerations. I knew that my significant other wouldn’t be interested in a dual core processor, an enormous hard disc or copious amounts of ram, as all a laptop should do (for her) is email, browse the web (including flash), watch movies, listen to music and synchronize her Ipod. And do it safely. A tall order? Obviously not, as the little EEEPC has been doing this quite happily ever since. So, after 5 months, I asked the best girlfriend ever for an interim review.

FB: What kind of laptop(s) did you use before? B.G.E:  An IBM thinkpad running XP and a G4 Ibook. The former because it was given to me by my employer and I let my IT department deal with any windows related problems, the latter because you gave it to me. Both did what they were supposed to do.

FB: Did you have any problems with the EEEPC’s unusual GUI? B.G.E: No. None whatsoever. It’s self-explanatory and easy.

FB: Did you have any problems with the EEEPCs applications? B.G.E: The original Skype version that was distributed with it crashed and was unusable, but after updating it, everything worked fine.

FB: Are you happy with its multi media capabilities, and what do you do with it? B.G.E: I generally use it for the BBC’s Iplayer and have watched an ripped .avi movie. Quality is astonishingly good for a machine that size, but head phones improve the experience enormously.

FB: Did you have any problems using its networking interfaces? B.G.E: No problems with both Wifi or ethernet.

FB: Do you use it for productivity purposes? B.G.E: I am looking forward to use it away from my desk more frequently in the future.

FB: Are there any limitations in your user experience due to the EEEPC’s size? B.G.E: Some people may mind its screensize and the fact that you have to scroll horizontally much more frequently than with bigger laptops. The trackpad goes on my nerves and could be better. An external mouse enhances the experience immensely.

FB: What’s the best about the EEEPC? B.G.E:  It’s cute looks, its size (it easily fits in my handbag) and people want to talk to you about it in cafes.

FB: What’s the worst? B.G.E: The mousepad.

FB: Thank you. B.G.E: Thank You.