I wandered into my local recycling shop today, which is a bad thing for me to do. My real reason — I swear — was to see if there were any high(er)-end Thinkpads on the shelves (which there weren’t), but there were two interesting machines in the “antiques” aisle, if I can call it that.
One was a Thinkpad 560E, with the maximum 80Mb of memory and a 2.1Gb hard drive. Knowing my affection for Thinkpads, it was difficult to walk past that one at the ridiculous price of roughly US$20. It looked mostly complete, with AC adapter, intact keyboard, no major damage to the frame, and a CDROM.
I don’t know if I need another Pentium though. The one I have is head-and-shoulders above this, in terms of physical condition. And even if it has its share of eccentricities — like no proper framebuffer extensions, and lack of an internal CDROM — I think it is still challenging enough for me to side with it, over the possibility of picking up a 150Mhz Pentium MMX.
I’m still thinking about it though. At a price like that, I can afford to stack up another one in the closet.
The other was a little more unusual, and probably not in as good a condition (none of these machines are plugged in while on display, I have to ask the attendant to turn them on if I want to make sure they’re working). This was a Fujitsu FMV5200, which was written up as a 200Mhz Pentium (which would make it somewhat rare, if I remember my chip sequences right) with 96Mb of memory.
This one came with a docking station, which is why I considered it at all, since that meant the laptop itself could be pulled away from the external drive mounts, and used solo if the CD wasn’t a consideration. It also had USB ports on the docking station, as well as a few other now-pointless connections at the back. Provided it was working, it probably would have been useful to a degree.
But I say that about everything. In the end I bought nothing, partly because today is a holiday in Japan and I didn’t have enough cash on me to buy much more than a box of Pocky, and I didn’t feel like running down the road to an ATM just to buy another leftover computer. I may be lazy, but at least I don’t impulse buy.
Walking out of the store I considered that I’m rather lucky, to have a hobby that takes up so little money. Short of electricity and an occasional hardware upgrade, there’s little that I require to keep myself entertained than an occasional 1000-yen note and a 10-year-old piece of electronic junk.