It's been a long time since I've had a post (I've been quite busy working on my PhD), but with the 25th Anniversary of the ThinkPad having recently passed, I want to pay homage to my ThinkPad T400....
Before starting graduate school in 2008, my sole requirements for a laptop were reliability and a great keyboard. My Lenovo T400 handled those tasks with aplomb, despite intensive use for at least sixty hours a week involving anything from statistical analysis, recording data in my electronic lab notebook, or typing a (rather long) thesis. What I was not expecting during this period was the emotional attachment I would form to this seven pound workhorse during that time: As my master’s drew to a close, my friend Marc was deployed to Afghanistan. Though he was unable to make phone calls abroad, he was able to receive Emails…and for the next nine months, as I promised, I wrote daily about my own occurrences, just to keep him anchored to life at home. Fortunately, Marc returned home safely; though I could have stopped cataloging my life at this point, I found that I developed an addiction. For the past six years, my ThinkPad has served as an electronic journal. It has captured memories of a fellow graduate student, Jonathan, and family members who are no longer alive. It has served as repository for the day I met what I would consider a first true love. It accompanied me to Alberta, Canada, where I presented research for the first time in my life (this also marked the first time, at 22-years-old, that I flew in my life); the research that I presented, where we described trout antibody being analogous to a Swiss Army knife, would later result in my first publication, which was also written on this machine. It came with me by train for training in Pennsylvania for my first job as an analytical scientist. It served as a portal for pen pals in South Africa, who I would later visit and with whom I would remain close friends. At times, it seems wherever I’ve been for the past decade, during great times and not-so-good times, my T400 has been by my side.
Sometimes it does feel silly developing an emotional attachment to an inanimate object, so much so that it has been listed under “Six things I could never do without” on dating websites. But this steadfast box has never failed me once in nine years (not a single component has been replaced, other than the keyboard…cat fur under the keys was driving me mad) and has seen me through my early 20s to my early 30s. I suppose when I consider the love some of us form for a leather journal, a family heirloom, or a trusty fountain pen, the sentiment that I’ve developed for this tough guy was inevitable. And though I’ve amassed a collection of both IBM and Lenovo ThinkPads, from the rare IBM TransNote to a 1994 ThinkPad 360C, this commonplace model, its rubberized surface scarred and worn from being repeatedly pulled in and out of my bag, reigns supreme in my collection. I'm optimistic, however, that my latest ThinkPad, the ThinkPad 25, my primary work machine for my PhD, will have similar sentiments attached to it as we grow together.
About Gregory Costa
Gregory Costa is a decent biologist, mediocre writer, terrible formatter, but true Lenovo enthusiast, who admires the use of their products in both the academic and industrial setting...when he's not busy delighting himself in science, nature, or his OkCupid profile.