On Christmas Eve I announced via Twitter the sad passing of Mrs A’s laptop. I was on the phone and from behind me I could hear the unmistakable sound of a hard disk in the throes of death. By the time the conference call had finished, the Windows desktop had disappeared and had been replaced by a black screen with the words ‘disk error’ (or something to that effect). Attempts to bring the old beast back to life failed. And it was an old beast – a single core processor of dubious ability, half a gigabyte of RAM and a hard disk which constantly struggled for space. For the best part of a year I’d been telling Mrs A we should replace it, usually in response to a complaint about it’s speed or the fact that it would give up it’s wi-fi connection at regular intervals.

The hard disk failure has now forced the issue, even if it might be possible to retrieve some of the data (most importantly the contents of Mrs A’s Thunderbird e-mail account which apparently contains items of incredible importance). Thus I started to think about a suitable replacement. Mrs A’s computer usage doesn’t demand a high-spec laptop – it’s mainly e-mail and Internet shopping – so a Macbook would seem to be an expensive option. Something around the £350 mark, with a dual-core processor and 2 gb of RAM is more than enough. I’m not being a skin-flint, Mrs A will testify to my Christmas generosity, but the cheapest option is a netbook. Would it be too small though? Would the portability be a worthless factor given that it would rarely, if ever, leave the house? So here I am considering the technical and logistical issues of a laptop versus a netbook.

Mrs A’s response… “hey, I could buy a Juicy Couture bag for it to fit in”. I rest my case.