Really old laptop improves my focus

I decided to upgrade to a newer Thinkpad laptop. Luckily, my old machine had still retained most of its value – I sold it yesterday morning for about what I had purchased it for a year and a half ago, thanks to Craigslist. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet ordered the replacement, waiting for a good sale might take a while, and I have to have something to use in my programming / project management job.

So I find myself typing on an old Thinkpad T23, a seriously amazing computer if we were still living in 2002, that I pulled out of a trashcan a while back. Seriously. It is like a wake up call. First of all, I can’t believe it actually works with the latest version of Ubuntu. It is slow, and I have to watch what I do since it only has 512MB of RAM, but it is surprisingly usable.

In fact, it is like a breath of fresh air in some ways. When I’m running my programming environment, I can’t really have my email program or a web browser running at the same time. So I have to focus on one thing at a time, and it really improved my concentration today since I hop around much less, and stay on track rather than continuously checking email and websites.

Although it is tempting to try and live with this machine long-term, I know that isn’t practical, as it does have some severe limitations that are going to cost me time and energy. But I’m actually looking forward to what I’m viewing as an experiment in tech minimalism for the next few weeks.

7 Responses to “Really old laptop improves my focus”

  1. Stevwe says:

    I now always work with email, IM, web (wherever possible) software off. We are not evolved to do 10 things badly at any given moment, we are evolved to do one thing well and with full concentration.

    Agree totally re old computers – I was still designing web sites on a 300mb thinkpad when the rest of the world had progressed to around 1.5 gh processor speed. I only stopped using it when the screen gave up the ghost.

  2. Laurel says:

    Awesome use of a good old computer. My current workhorse is a Thinkpad T42. I hope to upgrade it to a X100e in the next year, because I need more hard drive space, but not necessarily more power.

    And Linux is great for keeping hold of a computer for more than a couple years, isn’t it? I’m currently running a heavily customized hard drive install of ADRIANE KNOPPIX myself, although I’ve tested out several distros over the years.

  3. Mini-News says:

    I’ve created my 2010 with my old 1999 desktop (6G hard drive and 256M of RAM), – the first and only personal computer I ever could afford to buy in my life!

  4. Chase Night says:

    I did this for about six months with an old Dell. I had a little netbook but it hurt my eyes, so I went back to using my college laptop. Nine years old! Slow as hell, but it did help me focus and write more. I had to give it up when I started blogging and needed a computer with a wireless card again, haha.

  5. PedroM says:

    I’ve been using a 512 of RAM as well for the last 5 or so years and only recently I changed from WinXP to Ubuntu and boy what a wise choice. It is a breath of fresh air indeed.

  6. Dan says:

    Are you replacing a laptop only a year and a half after you purchased it?
    My God, I guess you´re American… what a nonsense, and an environmental shame!

  7. Mark says:

    Dan, he sold it, and used one he had before, so it’s not really replacing, if anything because of him someone bought something used. AND he’s Canadian!

    Fellow Canadian here, and this is my first post and first article. And you make me feel better about my laptop right now 🙂 I’m looking forward to reading the rest of your posts!

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