ThinkPad and the love story

May 13, 2016

In 1992 IBM introduced a tablet computer called the ThinkPad. IBM president, Thomas J. Watson in the early 1910’s would often use the word «think» in order to inspire and motivate employees. Then in 1992, IBM employee Denny Wainwright suggested the name «ThinkPad» for this new tablet computer.

ThinkPads have traditionally been black and it’s often called the «black box». The ThinkPad concept was a creation of corporate design consultant Richard Sapper, who got inspired by the Japanese «bento lunchbox». A bento lunch box is a box-shaped container with assorted food.

In 2005 Lenovo acquired the ThinkPad brand from IBM and continued the tradition of black boxes with the remarkable red trackpoint. ThinkPad has a rich history for being the first laptop to be in space. In fact, until 2003 ThinkPads had been the only notebooks to be allowed in the International Space Station. In 2012 while the ThinkPad celebrated its 20 years of existence in the tech industry, The Verge wrote an excellent retrospective article.

Since I’ve started using computers, watched computers in movies, read about them in magazines, I’ve been amazed by Thinkpads. I always wanted to own one. I could never find ThinkPads in the local computer stores and that would usually sadden me; until last year, during the Infotech event I saw a Lenovo ThinkPad E440. The Edge model of ThinkPad is a 14 inches notebook with an Intel Core i5 processor and 4 Gigabytes of RAM. The price was Rs 25, 000. I could not get away my eyes from that ThinkPad. I spent few minutes making up my mind to buy it or not. On my right, Nayar, a good friend of mine would whisper «why spend Rs 25,000 when you already have enough laptops». To my left, Shelly, my fiancee whispered «take it geek». Yes, she’s always onto pampering me with geek habits. I ended up buying my first ThinkPad that day and so happy I was.

Then in January, the Prime Minister’s Office received threats by email and someone told them «Ish Sookun is behind that». Police rushed and seized all my computers including my much adored ThinkPad. :-( I was arrested, I was detained in Police custody for ten days, I got bail and after two months the court struck out the charge. I was free but not my laptops. While the magistrate in court said that Police has to return me my laptops, the Assistant Commissioner of Police replied my lawyer’s letter saying that his team’s enquiry is not over and the same can’t be returned. I was sad again that after hundred days the Police force of Mauritius could not finish their work and that I have to constantly remain stressed that at any moment Police could show up with some cooked up story or maybe with «new information» that they receive. Although «information» does not amount to «evidence» our local Police have the tendency to rush to conclusions and seek arrest warrants.

The constant stress and missing my ThinkPad was so visible. My projects timeline have been hampered with the Police actions and obviously I cannot just go around and spend several thousands in another laptop. Besides ThinkPads are again not to be found in the computer stores. At some point I considered buying a second-hand ThinkPad.

On 10 May 2016, I got a beautiful surprise from the one who has always supported my geek habits. Yes, Shelly gifted me an awesome Lenovo ThinkPad X250. Woohoooo! I was damn surprised at her ability to find this piece of jewel locally. Oh, yeah, I should not forget the ex-MSP girl has contacts. Adding more fun to the surprise, the lady was not alone in the operation «find the ThinkPad». She teamed up with her parents and fellow geeks from the Microsoft Student Partners. I now call the ThinkPad «a gift of love» because that is what it is.

Lenovo ThinkPad X250

Lenovo ThinkPad X250 is a beautifully crafted notebook. I love the design. The screen is 12.5 inches and the weight is just under 1.5 Kg. It has an Intel Core i5-5200U processor and one so-dimm slot that supports upto 8 Gb (DDR3 1600Mhz). The keyboard is the best thing about the ThinkPad. It is based on the island-style (Chiclet) and it is spill-resistant. The ergonomic keyboard is another feature that makes me fall for the ThinkPad again and again.

ThinkPad has been tested to military specifications, against eleven parameters: high pressure, humidity, vibration, high temperature, temperature shock, low pressure (15,000 ft), low temperature, solar radiation, fungus, salt fog and dust.

I am running openSUSE Tumbleweed on the ThinkPad X250 and it’s just great! The battery life goes upto 10 hours while on Wi-Fi. Life is back to beautiful thanks to Shelly.