I was back in the US in December and then again in January. The least of all of my objectives was to upgrade my laptop (actually a 10″ Lenovo netbook) and upgrade my mobile phone. Both were 4 years old and I knew that some kind of failure was only a matter of time given the typical lifespan of most modern consumer electronics.

I did my research before I left but I found nothing that met my [very] specific requirements. I didn’t think I was asking for much. I wanted a dual-SIM ‘phablet’ – basically a big screen phone or tablet that made phone calls (via GSM, not just WiFi) and I wanted another 10″ Lenovo type of netbook. But this time more powerful: more memory, dual or quadcore, bigger hard drive, Windows 7 64 bit, and with the same sweet keyboard that Lenovo is famous for.

There were phablets out there – and I won’t go into all of the details – but they all seemed to lack some critical element. So what did I do? I bought a new battery for my old phone. That is/was the part that would be most prone to fail first. It was after all still a pretty awesome phone. Google made it – for developers – it is/was the original Nexus One. I paid $600 for the thing over 4 years ago so $9.99 for a new battery seemed like a cheap short-termed solution while I waited for someone out there to build the phablet of my dreams. Oh yeah. I also bought the new Nexus 7 tablet. I needed something to replace my ancient e-Reader; I live in place where the nearest (worst) bookstore is 3 hours away in Guadalajara and I am a reader’s reader. I only need something like 3 things in life and books are one of those 3 things. Besides the Nexus 7 had all the latest and greatest technology that I wanted: inbuilt GSM, support for NFC, and USB OTG.

The netbook problem remained. I had 4 options and they all sucked. I could buy a Lenovo that more or less had the specs that  I wanted; if I wanted to spend $1300 which is something I couldn’t bring myself to do for a couple of reasons. One, that was over 4X on what I spent on my original Lenovo 10e. And two, there was nothing in the new specs that justified that exorbitant increase in price. Two other options were to switch to a Chromebook or go Apple. Not just no but damn No.

The last option and the only real options that existed in the BestBuys were Windows 8 machines. A truly suck-ass operating system and who wants some hybrid touch screen device in a laptop? Hideous. Some executives at Microsoft should be taken out into the parking lot and all given a good a beating. What a total asshole idea.

So what did I do? I bought a battery for my aging Lenovo ($19.99), upgraded the hard drive to 1TB ($79.99), upgraded the BIOS, and loaded Win 7 32 bit professional on it (which I already owned). This gets around the Windows XP end of support problem and I can now wait for Microsoft’s new and improved Win 9.

Yes, the netbook remains slow with its ancient Atom processor and 2 GB of RAM but it only serves today as my back up machine. I had to put Win 7 on it because the old (but beautiful) XP is now too vulnerable given the pullback on updates and support on April 8th. FYI – I heard that something like 80% of all ATMs still run XP. Makes you feel confident doesn’t it?

But if I need processing power I got the workstation that I humped back from Oregon in December. Sarah bought a MacBook Air so she didn’t want it anymore and I couldn’t bear to just let her give away or sell something I built. It’s an incredible machine. Windows 7 64-bit Ultimate running on a screaming fast SSD boot/app drive. 16 GB RAM. 4.5 TB storage on 3 separate HDDs. Quad-core 3.0 GB processor with an award winning cooler. Modular 750 watt professional grade PSU. And a great GPU. Those specs kind of gives you goosebumps doesn’t it?