The Laptopocaplyse and other First World Problems

Regardless of what the end of the 13th baktun means to the world (does it signal a new era? A new way of thinking?) it’s going to be talked about.  The 400-year 13th baktun has been one of the Industrial age, a whole lot of really big wars, and endless invention and discovery.   We are at the very beginning of this change – this 14th baktun.

We are to our heirs in 2412 (I have no idea when the 15th baktun will begin – find yourself a Mayan Astronomer) what we see of ancestors from the “early modern age” beginning in the 17th century – in the US, that equates to the Jamestown settlers and North American natives.

I freaking love the idea of being that far back in someone’s past. This kind of stuff sets my imagination on fire. It makes me light up and want to think about 2400, and how they will look back on our age.  Are we hard working? Lazy? Are we advanced or unenlightened?

(Oh, and all of the doomsday prepper people will have to warrant their own post. I love them. I want to join them for research.)

On a more personal front, there really is an era coming to an end.

My hard drive is dying. My beloved, bestickered laptop is a short gasp away from konking out entirely.

The signs are there. It overheats. It clicks. Keyboard keys L and I require multiple taps to get a single character to appear on the screen.  Sometimes, it messes up where the shift key and space bar were supposed to be deployed, and I end up typing in gibberish. I took it to the helpdesk people, and they talked about replacement cost.

I’ve been preparing for the laptop apocalypse.

I’m slowly cleaning out and organizing files. I’m dumping things into the cloud, or onto jump drives. I still have several hundred photos to port over, and I can only hope that itunes will hold onto sync files of all of my music. I don’t know when it will happen – but it’s coming. Soon.

I know that this is the age of  perceived obsolescence. I’m supposed to want a fancy, shiny new laptop because mine didn’t come in blue. I’m supposed to be willing to give mine up in favor of something smarter, faster, newer, trendier.

I don’t work that way.

This little inanimate object has taken a lot of my time, energy and attention since I bought it in 2007.  It’s been the vehicle of novels, of websites, of dreams. It has gone to coffee shops and jury duty. It travels with me from room to room, from job to job. I freelanced for a while, and this was my one tool for employment.  It served up the songlist at Brett’s 40th birthday party, at our wedding, and at other less-landmarky events.

My laptop is like the droids in Star Wars. It’s my narrator, my translator, my secret storage place for light sabers, and my whirring magical USB port to disable garbage compactors.

Yes, that other R2 unit will do just fine, but this one… I’ve been through a lot with this little unit.

The problem is, it’s not the only necessary gizmo in my life that’s on the fritz.

In July, when my iPhone 3 took a nosedive and shattered, I used my upgrade to get an iPhone 4 (something, I don’t remember the suffix). I had the most awesome case ever from Pad and Quill that looked like a moleskin journal.  Less than 2 weeks into this contract, I lost the phone in a public place.  In spite of searching, police reports, and many, many tears, someone swapped a sim card in a brand new phone.  The cost for the replacement plan and the deductible for a new phone were far outside my budget.

A kind and lovely coworker actually GAVE me an old iPhone 3 that they had around the house. This was beyond wonderful of her, particularly since I don’t have a home phone beyond my cell.

Don’t know if anyone else has an iPhone3 out there, but here’s what’s going on with us fogeys stuck in the Apple dark ages: the 3 won’t be upgraded beyond iOS4. While this means I still get to use Google maps (hooray!), many many apps are no longer supported in the old iOS.  This means that most of the apps that I’ve paid for and have installed, and most of the free apps as well, don’t work.  I can’t install new apps from itunes because my OS is unsupported.

Planned obsolescence, you bastard consumerist schmuck.


So, now that my smartphone is completely idiotic (I can’t use Facebook on my iPhone, y’all) this is also on the list of things I will eventually have to budget for. (Especially since I’m locked into a 2 year contract until July 2014 for the iPhone 4 that I lost.)

Hmmm, what if I downgraded instead of upgraded?

I keep thinking about these first world problems – in the light of the pending end of the world tomorrow.  I think about them in the light of the 400-years in the future descendant reading the technical equivalent of a microfiche of this blog post.   I think about people who would like to have more than the pair of pants they are wearing.

What’s real? What’s necessary? Can I do without a laptop? Without constant, ever-present connections to Facebook?  What if I just used a simple phone and only texted when necessary?

I’ve only watched 90 minutes of television in 2012. What if I were to eschew other kinds of input?

  • I still need to write (I have at least a dozen blank journals, and a few really good pens).
  • I still need a phone (does it have to be smart? does it have to have an operating system? How much is a landline, anyway?)
  • I will need to blog/tweet/check email for the author-platform plan (Can I do that at the library? Can I use Brett’s computer?)
  • I could write letters, or meet for coffee, or see friends face to face to stay in touch

What do you think? Should I let my gadgets die their slow painful deaths and then see how long I can go before I feel compelled to replace them?


4 thoughts on “The Laptopocaplyse and other First World Problems

  1. Get another laptop. The advantages over having your own PC will far outweigh the stress of not having your own space.

    As far as the phone. I only recently FINALLY got a smart phone. Went with one of those no contract, unlimited everything for $50 a month. I don’t care about apps so much as does it do what I need it to do? Make phone calls. Check my voicemail and get free long distance. Yep. The rest is just window dressing – I’ll admit I like to text and use the google maps. But if you just need a phone, I have an old T mobile pay-by-the-month and a new unlocked simcard…you can have it.

    • My dumbphone still works – but thanks for the offer. If it really konks out I’ll let you know. I’m just figuring out which expenses are absolutely necessary in this brave new world.

      I kinda wanted to just get a hub for media storage and a netbook or a tablet instead of a whole new laptop, but the reviews all say you still need a home computer, that these other things are just “accessories” and not replacements. I really only use it for writing and internet and then storage, so it is frustrating to have to buy something that weighs more, has features I’ll never use, and will obviously die in 5 years.

  2. Pingback: Laptopocalypse Averted! « A.K. Anderson | Science Fiction and Fantasy Author

  3. Pingback: Delayed Gratification « A.K. Anderson | Science Fiction and Fantasy Author

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