Wearable Computers.

Recently, Sara rekindled my interest in wear and tear, particularly how it manifests in consumer electronics. I have many great examples of wear, but none more profound than my Dell Precision M70.

Few people know that Dell made high quality laptops with an all-metal chassis – the Precision line. This machine had an ultra-high resolution display, Quadro workstation graphics, and near-mil-spec construction. It has survived dozens of things that killed lesser machines. It has outlived every other computer I own. In the process, I’ve worn hand-and-arm-marks into the palmrests, scratches into the screen, polished the capacitive surface from the touchpad, and caused the paint to peel from the bottom. In a way, I think the super-crufty filesystem and ever-crowded desktop are also wear and tear. I feel at home on this machine.

This machine changed my life. I bought it in 2005 with money I earned working on Slator’s projects. On this machine, I came into my own as a 3D modeler[QT]. I authored You Are Not Dead, the album. I processed thousands of photographs and countless hours of video. This machine has been to Fargo, Moscow, Toronto, New York, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Kennedy Space Center, and Kandalaksha. These days, it runs my radio rig, decoding all kinds of interesting things. I think we still have a few solid years of work to do together.

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9 Responses to Wearable Computers.

  1. biche says:

    the person i bought my new (used) topcase from obviously wore a bracelet or watch on their right wrist. it feel sort of strange to have someone elses wear on my computer, cuz really.. me? bracelet? ha!

    I get to see a monster thats been in use for a year. upon its one year adoption day i made it a sweater. its fun to see it get beat up.

  2. Doz says:

    This Precision M70 was key to my senior project presentation (a Doom 3 level map) and handled it well. Thanks for letting me use it that time. It was pretty much the only portable that I knew was capable of handling my un-optimized, buggy 3D environment with real-time chainsawing. They just don’t make Dells like they used to…. and this one is certainly worn. Long live the M70!

  3. danreetz says:

    Oh yeah! Which, BTW, was a seriously badass senior presentation.

    But Doz, you have the ultimate worn Dell… what happened to your little green machine?

  4. Doz says:

    The MicroNecroTron (Inspiron 3800) circa 2000 was just recently laid to rest for good. It was suffering from a nonfunctioning trackpad, keyboard and DVD drive. It only had a 500MHz Celeron, so it was pretty much useless for anything. It couldn’t even really handle the lighter flavors of Linux in any useful fashion. It had one USB-1 port, so that made it difficult to expand the functionality. I basically had it limping along on PCMCIA expansion cards for 5 years. It will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with the whole Inspiron family during these trying times.

  5. James Grindeland says:

    Somewhat relevant…

    I have an Inspiron that goes in slow motion (no matter what hard drive I snap in it), so I feel Doz’s pain.

    However, I recently picked up a Dell XPS M140 laptop at a Flea Market for $80.

    It had been thrown in the garbage by a law student, then rescued by a dumpster diver who turned around and claimed to me to have “found it under a bed in an apartment that he cleaned out”.

    It had a bunch of nasty viruses, but I re-formatted the hard drive — problem solved. Now it functions like a pretty good old piece of shit. Single-core, 2GHZ processor with 1GB RAM which I upgraded to 2GB.

    It can run high-end media software pretty well; the problem is that I can’t trust the monitor. It’s low-res and refuses to be calibrated by my Spyder2.

  6. x0a says:

    Practically no one heard of your “You are not dead” in russia, i havn’t met someone who did at least while i found it by myself about maybe a year ago. And i just wanted to say thanks for your art and stuff.

  7. Noah says:

    I’ve replaced the keyboard, hard drive, motherboard, and have a replacement screen, but the Thinkpad X22 still gets used every day. I love this machine.

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