Dusting off my Sony Vaio U1

| geek


Years ago, my dad gave me his Sony Vaio PCG-U1 – one of the smallest laptops around. It had an 867MHz Transmeta Crusoe processor, 256MB memory, a 1024×768 pixel screen that measured only 6.4” diagonally, and a total weight of 820 grams with the regular battery. It used 30W per hour. It was tiny. It turned heads at computer conferences and at cafes. I even managed to sell advertising on it during one of my experiments.

The screen was small, but I managed to write a lot of code on it anyway. The two-handed mouse and scroll-switch even made it easy to use while walking around. I used it so much that the keyboard showed obvious wear and the mouse cap was completely worn away. I have a lot of memories bound up in this little device. It was quirky-fun. It had personality beyond that of my Fujitsu Lifebook, my later Eee netbook, or even my current X220 tablet.

During the Labour Day weekend, W- dusted off the PCG-U1 and worked on restoring it. He removed all the keycaps, brushed all the debris out, and painstakingly rearranged the silicone domes under keys until the regular keyboard worked again. He’s so awesome.

I don’t know what we’re going to do with it yet, but we’ll keep it around instead of donating or recycling it. I thought about just keeping a picture of it, but there’s something about picking it up and holding it that a picture just doesn’t communicate. It’s so cute!


  • Picture frame
  • Dashboard
  • Flashcards
  • Cooking recipes
  • Portable notetaking device when a tablet is overkill and a smartphone isn’t enough; say, if I want to use Emacs or speech synthesis

Ah, technology…

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