You may remember not too long ago my tale of how I bought an X20 Thinkpad for Yuko. Well, fortunately it worked fine, yet it didn’t have all the features one would like in a laptop. It is certainly fast enough, perhaps partly due to ‘maxing out’ the ram to 320 Mb. But the battery life was pretty low; well, really low, at about 5 minutes. Also, there was no built-in DVD or even CD drive, to maintain it’s thin profile. So, I have since set out to fix these ‘flaws’, with additional forays into the labyrinth of stores hiding away in Akihabara’s Electric Town. First of all, I hunted for a second-hand battery. Eventually, I found one lying around for only 1,500 yen, though it amazingly it had even less capacity- namely precisely 0 minutes, with not a second to spare! Later, the owner of the shop where I’d bought the X20 originally told me that he had found one himself with about an hour, so, telling him about my experience of buying a dead one (which admittedly had no guarantee) said that if I gave him my original one, he’d replace it free of charge… so coming back later, I did just that. It was good to see him again and to know that such honest people are there to be found in Akihabara.
Another thing I did is getting the X20- series ‘dock’- which, in my variety, features a DVD/CD drive, a floppy disk drive and a pair of quite respectable speakers that have a good amount of bass. So now we have a well featured, portable DVD player, which with it’s ATI graphics card and sharp monitor has very nice quality. The last thing I got was something that didn’t even occur to me until I saw them lying around in a bargain-bin for 1,500 yen- to add a wireless pc card. It works fine and according to Yuko provides a very fast internet connection, which for some strange reason is a lot faster than the one in the iBook on which I am composing this very piece. She’s overjoyed with it all now, which just goes to show… for not very much, you can build up a reasonably fast and fully-featured laptop these days. Not only that, but by shopping carefully you can have style and extreme lightness as well as the needed functions- the X20 weighs next to nothing. The likes of the IBM Thinkpad were built to last and not only that- they last well enough to still be worth building.