Friday, January 11, 2013

Cheap Lean Writing Machine


I've had quite a few computers in my life. Some of them I loved more than others, and always for a simple reason: They helped me to get lots of writing done. Writing was pretty much all they were set up for. The first one was a cobbled-together PC with parts that scraped together when it ran. It had a black and white screen and a basic text editing program. That's also the computer I learned my first programming skills on, writing adventure games populated with fully simulated herds of virtual creatures that no one ever believed were actually there because I never added a graphics interface. But I digress. This was twenty years ago or more.
My last favourite, years ago, was the first eeepc model. I managed to unlock the operating system and install Celtx on it, and happily wrote the script for my first graphic novel.

All other computers I had were much more powerful and much less good for writing on. Less reliable. More distracting. So this year I am abandoning my heavy, hot, wheezing old MacBook. I'm refusing to buy a stupid overpriced bread-slicingly sharp MacBookAir. I am going back to the good old days.

I picked up a very small, old ASUS EeePC 900 on ebay - there are loads of them about, hardly used because they are extremely limited and slow. It has a tiny flash memory, but people insist on running Windows on it anyway, then it makes them very cross and it goes straight up on ebay, no reserve.
Mine arrived groaning under the load of Ubuntu - about as useful as a horse on rollerskates. I replaced it with Puppy Linux, which transformed it into the fastest computer in the house.
After that I got stuck and needed some help to install Dropbox and Scrivener for Linux... but eventually it all worked.
I celebrated by putting a badger sticker by Becka Moor on the shiny, shiny lid.

I'll be taking it away to Australia for a month soon to work on a novel.
It's my favourite computer of all times already. Well, the one with the invisible virtual animals on was also pretty good.

1 comment:

Carryl said...

Brilliant. Hooray for puppy power :p