Why I buy thinkpads

I never know why people buy any laptop that isn’t an ultralight thinkpad. The mixture of light weight, robustness, and service seems to me unbeatable. Until, yesterday, on an aeroplane somewhere south of Nova Scotia, I flipped the thing over to change the battery and it wouldn’t start. Two beeps and a sign saying “Fan Error”.

Cue 12 hours of intermittent panic as I pondered the loss of all my notes, my todo list, and the articles and letters I had written on the plane. The machine is still under warranty, and I am scrupulous about backing up, so all my data lives on three physically distinct hard disks but that’s not very much consolation at such times.

It’s not at all easy finding the phone number for IBM tech service (1-800-IBM-SERV) on their web site. But when I finally got through to a human, named Sydney, he was not only polite and competent, he fixed the damn thing in minutes. “Have you got compressed air?” he asked. No. “Well. put your mouth against the fan slots, and blow as hard as you can, three times”.

I blew. It worked. The machine boots. And now I must dash to Manhattan.

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2 Responses to Why I buy thinkpads

  1. Charles says:

    Wow, CPR for laptops. I’ll get the proposal for “Thinkpad ER” written right away. I mean, “stat!”

  2. Andrew that’s a wonderful story. I can’t help wondering what somebody wandering past you would have thought, the phone handset tucked between your ear and your shoulder, your two hands on the edges of your thinkpad and your mouth over its vents. Is there a picture?


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