Bertha is the somehwhat shameful name given to my laptop by Syndi, because at the time I bought it, it was considered huge. Bertha seemed a “fat” name, and this was one of the first laptops I’d ever seen with a big screen and a keyboard so wide, it included a numeric keypad like the ones on my usual computer keyboard.

Buying Bertha was a purchase of pride, like all good gadgets are, to the boys keeping score. It was better than yours. Bigger and faster and better in the stats.

For the last few years, Bertha has been like a hurt child. She was injured while in the service of others. When she lost the ability to grip the power cable properly, and couldn’t regenerate, she faded away and was nearly gone. I spent the money to put her on life support by purchasing a special chair, much like the one the original Captain Pike ended up in. A docking station which tethers an alternate power connection. Life support in an odd frame that limits her mobility. She became a laptop that couldn’t be used in my lap.

After that, she became my bedside companion and confidant. I turned to her when I was depressed, or excited, or felt alone. She knew my secrets, and my videos. My personal blogs that never got published.

Bertha was special. The first and last of her class. A laptop with the power and size of a desktop, boasting a severely overpowered computer CPU running hot in a big laptop. They called her names, like desktop replacement to build her confidence, but these never really caught on.

Her blowing fan would heat my food with warm air, and occasionaly accidentally melt anything I absent minded left sitting beside her.

Her numbers looked great on paper, and I bought quickly as though love at first site. Emotion combined with a deal. A laptop the style and size I’d never seen, priced to impress. Of course in hindsight, I realize she was priced as a failure. A model discontinued right out of the factory, and shipped to wholesale outlets.

Betha has enjoyed a rich life before her disability. She has travelled with me socially and professionally. We’d been road buddies in cities where I worked conventions across Canada. I tattooed her with my Frogstar logo and we were constant companions on many adventures.

I remember one story, triggered by a photo on her drive, where I Bertha and I attended the opening day line up for one of the newer Star Wars movies, probably episode 1.  I knew this group of dedicated Star Wars costumers, and some had been in line for days. Bertha and I arrived and took enough photos to make a music video slide show, which Bertha was showing off to the line moments later. I had done video processing and production right there on the sidewalk in front of a movie theatre.

Now, she sits in her new home with me. Still by my bed, but running warmer than ever. She takes a lot longer to power on, and doesn’t respond well. Her fans whirr distractingly loud and everything is a chore. She mostly plays music now, or other bedtime media. I don’t blog on her because the time between idea and boot-up and Word can be six or seven minutes, and for me, that is way to long to hold a thought without distraction.

Tomorrow I may wipe her memory. Clean her out and give her a fresh new try at life… maybe Windows 7. We’ll see if it helps, or hurts more. I fear Bertha’s time may be over soon. I’ll be sad. I can’t afford her replacement so she’ll just go into a box somewhere.

Edit. How right I was. The next day while backing up her memory to another, she errored and failed. Now she won’t boot. Goodbye Bertha. We shared some good memories.