This afternoon, at 17:13 BST, saw the long anticipated but much deferred final passing of HAL the laptop. HAL was a humble Lenovo R500, with at least several owners, and had had a much troubled existence. External cracks covered its case, while at one time it experienced severe RAM problems, leading me to witness more blue screens of death on this device than on all other post-XP devices I have experience of put together. This serious illness was only cured by deliberately mismatching RAM sticks, a most alternative therapy that should have left it more ill, but which somehow gave it a new lease of life. It was a open question several years ago as to whether it would survive to the end of my thesis. Somehow, however, it clung onto life. It somehow endured being lugged about everywhere, and bore the approximately million (literally – I worked it out about six months ago) key strokes that went into writing my thesis, which in the end was almost entirely written on this device.
Somehow it got to the end, although increasing signs of its dotage were seen, and its successor, Mini-HAL, waited in the wings for its eventual demise. Post-thesis retirement offered at least some relaxation of pressure on its keyboard, but in recent weeks it has progressively sickened. Random and instant power-offs, and bizarre happenings with its trackpoint and touchpad suggested the end was approaching, and finally a succession of rebooting on its own volition culminated in one final power off. Now the lights come on, but no one is home, not even any sign of the Bios on the screen. It had written its last document, and would see no more LAN parties.
Thus HAL had borne the burden of a troubled life, but in the end had gotten the job done. Its owner had been long reconciled to its passing, while Mini-HAL has been champing at the bit to see more use. Due to user paranoia and wise use of cloud technology, there has been no data loss.