Today is Day 5, after my laptop refused to boot after turning on early last Wednesday morning.
In these last five days, I feel like I’ve experienced the five stages of grief (one of the few things I managed to retain from high school Health) –
DENIAL: “No this CANNOT be happening to a Mac. I have a Macbook Pro for goodness’ sakes!!”
ANGER: “What do you mean you can’t fix it? Do you really work for the Apple Store?”
BARGAINING: “What do you mean I need to pay $1,200 to fix it? I’m still covered under AppleCare!”
DEPRESSION: After sending the Mac to a third-party Apple Authorized Repair person. I don’t think I’ve been physically separated from my computer for so long (except non-working vacations or trips).
ACCEPTANCE: Well, I guess I might have to look into a new computer. I’ll hear back from them about the status of my computer tomorrow, but if it costs more than $300 to fix (I think it may be a motherboard issue), I’ll probably just get a new computer. I hope I at least get all my files (five semester’s worth of essays – and music!!) back though!! :(
Haha – so this is what happens after your laptop dies at MIT. I feel like this is almost a side-effect from being here for so long – you become tethered to your computer through your daily life.
Case in point – walk into any common lounge at MIT where a group of people are clustered watching a movie on TV, and you’ll see open laptops although their owners are still very much engaged in watching the movie. Walk into any communal psetting area, and you’ll see laptops dispersed throughout the sea of papers.
Although it says somewhere that MIT students can theoretically get by without owning a laptop, I have to say that that probably takes great moral fortitude in its own way. MIT probably has a higher number of computer labs dispersed throughout campus (we call them “Athena clusters” – based on the name of the computing system that the computers run) than any other college, and clusters also exist likewise in all MIT dorms. However, I feel except for diehard Course VI majors, personal laptops have really taken over the scene and is most definitely the norm now for most MIT students after its wide availability in the previous decade. (wow I sound so old after writing that word)
That, and factor in the incredible wireless network that MIT has (i read somewhere that we have the fastest, broadest-coverage wireless network in any university in the US – perhaps even the world. i usually can get MIT signal in even peripheral buildings in Cambridge like the Marriott Hotel in Kendall Square).
Anywhoo, for me personally, the only inconvenience that I can (or cannot, really) whine about is physical proximity. I’m the odd pure science + humanities major in a school full of engineers, so I never had to sit down in a Athena cluster chugging away at Matlab, Maple, Python, or the like (fact: in my 5 semesters here at MIT so far, I have only used Matlab for assignments twice, and the only regular Athena commands that I know how to do is pine (to check email), zephyr (to IM, once in a blue moon), tellme combo (to figure out the darned code to the Athena clusters every time it changes), and lpq (to check printer status)). All of the other times I spent in Athena clusters involve using OpenOffice Word Processor (we don’t have Microsoft Word on Athena) and Firefox. Haha. I’m probably a terrible “MIT student.” You can laugh at me now. (the irony is I used to be quite proficient in Python back in my junior year of high school because of SSP. kids, it’s a great program, apply to it!!!!)
But in all seriousness, I’m taking four history classes this term and I’ve never really realized the convenience of being able to type an essay in the comfort of one’s own room or research the Russian Land Decree of 1917 in the common lounge rather than being holed away in a barren Athena cluster (although I must say this GREATLY helps with productivity, since there are no speakers on these computers so you can’t get distracted with music or youtube).
So far, I’ve spent six or seven hours in the New House Athena cluster these last few days drafting summer internship applications and writing essays for my history classes. I must admit this had been a really new experience, but I’m still feeling some withdrawal effects….
So if you’re a MIT student and doesn’t own a laptop, I commend you from the bottom of my heart.
ps. Valentines Day pictures will have to wait till I figure out the status of my laptop…
pps. No pretty pictures this time :(
ppps. US WINS IN MEN’S HOCKEY OVER CANADA!