My laptop won't start. I was out camping, and it had rained during the night, so I was paranoid that my computer had gotten in the quarter-sized drop of water that had entered the otherwise bone-dry tent when I had to open the door once for five seconds. I'm 97% sure it didn't, but I thought that 3% might have come into play until a search at a library revealed that suddenly not booting up is something my model just, for a fun variety of hardware reasons, really likes to do.

I used to have an old bento-box Lenovo with an expansive 100 MB hard drive as a backup, but it also stopped booting either on battery power or A/C months ago, and I never got a replacement. That's a problem, because I had a client who was putting up some potentially-lucrative jobs "that night," and by "that night," I mean "anytime from 12:01 p.m. to way, way past when any library closes." I needed an internet-capable machine, quickly.

Paying Walmart $200+ for its cheapest non-Chromebook wasn't exactly appetizing, but at least the expense would get me some sort of asset that I could, possibly, resell, which is more than I could say for my other option, paying $120 for a month-long rental of a laptop with questionable security measures and software. I was deliberating between these two lackluster choices when I received a call back from that savior of many desperate individuals, the pawn shop. I'd left a message asking about his stock of laptops, and he informed me he had two: an $89 Chromebook, and a longshot he was unloading for the low, low price you see in the title. So I requested: regale me of this $29 machine.

The ShopRite price tag makes the photo.

I think it's worth more than $29, personally. Well, it definitely is, as it netted me more than $29 worth of work, but it's not as hopeless as that price tag would imply. The most salient problem is the nonfunctional battery, which means it has to be plugged in at all times - but I'm always using my machine either at home or in my car, and I have a power inverter for the latter. The previous owner disassembled the casing and evidently lost most of the screws, so the right side of the case unsnaps periodically due to lack of fasteners, and the lower-left of the screen has a kitchen screw subbed in. There's minor aesthetic stuff like practically-invisible marks on the screen from the keyboard and case damage from the kitchen that don't bother me; the touchpad is, as the Post-Its note, a little too sensitive - I think it's actually broken in some minor manner; the cursor sporadically freaks out for no reason - and the specs are several years old, but it's A-OK for word processing and the Internet, and that's what I need. I was going to say, "worst case scenario, I take out the 500 GB hard drive and use it as a backup" - but I've had it for a couple weeks, and it's actually working fine. (Which is needed, because it'll take three weeks and a motherboard from overseas before my main machine is fixed.) I've even gotten it a battery and proper screws.

It even let me Prestige III my Yun-Jin before the big update patch!

I can't play the game, and Yun-Jin's hair looks like straw modeled on a PS2, but at least I got into the interface.

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