Because when you're dropping an inconceivably huge amount of money on a house anyway, a little thing like a laptop doesn't seem that big a deal.
Well, my old HP Pavilion had served me through most of my grad school career. I got it in the fall of 2000. It had a cranky, clanky hard drive that needed to be replaced in the first six months I had it, but it was under warranty, so that was all right. In recent years it has started hyperventilating whenever we ask it to do something demanding, like, well, anything, and for as long as I can remember, it has frozen rather frequently for no particular reason. I think this might have something to do with Windows ME, not to mention the computer STDs it has picked up hanging out at unsavory websites. Also the battery doesn't work worth a snot, so I always need to have it plugged in, and if it is accidentally unplugged, as often happens, it shuts off immediately. And it doesn't have a wireless card. I could buy a wireless card and a new battery, and expand the RAM to the maximum 256 MB, but...at some point, you just have to face the fact that a five-and-a-half-year-old computer is inevitably obsolete, by several generations, and likely to give up the ghost right in the middle of an as-yet-unbacked-up chunk of scholarship.
Also we need two computers anyway if we think we can even pretend to write two dissertations at once. Justin got his Sony Vaio, which is light and cute, and I got another HP.
This is the HP Compaq nx6125, and it is a very Crawford computer. Practical, quiet, not too flashy, but it has a big brain. One gig of RAM, a 2.2Ghz processor, and an 80 gig hard drive. I used to have 10 gigs. Which seems so huge compared to my first computer when I started college, which had 80 megabytes. Last summer when Justin and I were shopping around for an mp3 player, the hard drive space was the main reason we didn't buy an iPod. As I understand it, you need to have all your music on your hard drive to use an iPod, or at least it makes life a lot easier if you do. There wasn't much point in buying a 40 gig iPod if we only had a 10 gig hard drive. So we got an iRiver, which functions like an external hard drive that plays music, and named it Sven, so that (I hoped) Justin would not later suggest this as a name for our firstborn. (I'm not sure this will work.)
But anyway, my computer. It weighs just shy of six pounds, which is not the lightest but is lighter than my old computer, and I'm not trekking the Andes with the thing so it doesn't really matter if it would exceed by a pound or two the maximum load of my llama. It is fast (Justin confiscates it to play Civ) and the fan is pretty quiet. The only thing is that the screen, although big (which I like for reading large amounts of text) is kind of dull and hard on the eyes, especially when it's running on the battery, although I haven't really tested the battery yet. In all the reviews I read, though, that was the biggest complaint, and I figured I could live with that. On A/C power it's fine, as I've had ample opportunity to prove since I got it.
And the coolest thing is we have a wireless router for our DSL, so we can both play on the Internet at once, anywhere in the house! Although that could be dangerous. Hmm.
I have named my new baby Minerva, although I have a hard time thinking of her as a "her" yet. Justin's computer is Nestor. We are geeks.
2 months ago