I can’t think of a computer I’d rather have break on me, mind you. Frame.work laptops are designed to be repaired, hacked, and upgraded — it even comes with a screwdriver so you can take it apart. It only took a few e-mails to support for them to send me the part I needed, under warranty.
My daily-driver laptop — a frame.work 13 — carked it a few days ago, and while I’m waiting for a replacement part I’m back to using my spare computer: a ThinkPad T420. People who like old ThinkPads really like them: they have a nice crunchy keyboard, the kind they don’t put into new laptops anymore, they’re nigh-indestructable, you can hotswap the battery and repair or upgrade them really easily — they’re great. (Also some people really like the little red keyboard nub, apparently.)
This particular T420’s showing its age a bit, though. It’s got a low-res screen which zaps my eyes for some reason, and it doesn’t work as a laptop any more: if I disconnect the charging cable, the computer dies in about five minutes. So for the time being I’m effectively using a very slow desktop with a very small, fuzzy screen. Also — my fault for not doing proper backups — I don’t have my new passwords in my password manager, don’t have the last few weeks of notes in Obsidian, and I don’t at the moment have my drafts for new blog posts. (Hopefully they’ll survive the laptop dying.) Anyway, maybe that’s for the best. My draft posts were getting too long, anyway. So here’s what I’m thinking about right now:
In other news
Reading:Titus Groan, by Mervyn Peake. Very good. I was stopped at a cafe by an older man who said he’d read the same book when he was my age. He said shyly that seeing the book again had made his day. I believe him.
The BBC serial from 2000 is up on youtube. Not the way I pictured the castle, but good fun all the same:
Also reading:The Dying Earth, by Jack Vance. Not, as I was expecting, a novel, but rather a collection of short stories in the same setting. I’m reading it as a kind of homework before I start in earnest on Book of the New Sun.
Also also reading:Dune, by Frank Herbert. I took it off my shelf to lend to a friend and found myself reading it instead. Must be my fifth re-read or so.
It’s a lot shorter than I remember!
I forgot that you’re not supposed to know that ‘Liet’ and Dr. Kynes are supposed to be the same person until halfway through the book.
Watching:Russia 1985–1999: TraumaZone, by Adam Curtis. At this point, you know already whether you like Adam Curtis or not. His new series about the end of the Soviet Union and the rise of the oligarchs skips narration and lets the BBC archive footage speak for itself.
Other things I’m thinking about
Welcome to the Grind. ‘A guide for new and recent architecture school graduates’. Makes for interesting reading, even if (like me) you’ve never been to architecture school in your life.
The premise of this instrument is that Montessori architectural patterns can be recognised, documented and therefore defined in examples of good design practices; and the Montessori pattern language can be translated in any cultural context and applied regardless of the environmental conditions, economical possibilities or, even, educational approach. In other words, there is no obligation to offer only Montessori education in a school which is built accordingly.
Notebooks. The best size for a book small enough to fit in a jacket pocket but big enough to write in without feeling cramped is ‘B6’. (A5 is good, but only useful if you have huge pockets or a bag.) Dotted or blank is best.
I usually use the Leuchtturm1917, which works well with pencils and ink pens.
There’s also this leather-bound notebook with Tomoe River Paper, very thin crinkly Japanese paper which is supposed to show off ink nicely. I’ve never used it; I’m tempted, but I don’t like the idea of paper being thin enough to see the last page on the back of the sheet.
E-ink devices. I’ve had an old Kindle for ages, which I never use except when I’m travelling (and then it comes in very useful). Now the technology used for the screen, e-paper, is becoming more widely avaliable for other devices. I’m glad; I can’t wait for an era where our primary mode of interaction with digital devices isn’t staring into a lightbulb.
E-ink computer monitor. I’d love one of these for home; I’d use it for reading and writing and save my laptop screen for videos and pictures. At the moment monitors like this are still very expensive but the technology will only get cheaper over time.
Remarkable Tablet. A lot of people seem to like these things, and I can see why. Kind of a combination tablet / e-reader / notebook; you can take notes and annotate PDFs and documents and articles from the web. It’s a neat toy, I’m surprised they don’t seem to have caught on more. But to use most of the features you need to pay for a monthly subscription, which disqualifies it from being something I’d consider buying. Too bad, because I like the idea of this thing a lot. It would be nice to have a physical e-ink device for interacting with Zettelkasten notes.
The Light Phone 2. E-ink not-very-smartphone. Hard to tell who the target market is for this thing besides me specifically, but I do like the idea. Apparently it doesn’t work very well, though. I’d consider buying one if they come out with a new model that fixes some of the problems.
On the whole: promising stuff, but I’ll stick with paper for now.