TBT: “Acquiring” the MintTin

A failed surprise turned out to be a computer…

After a devastating house fire reduced our entire lives (including mine) to ashes in October 2010, it was depressing. While you’re thankful that everyone – including our two dogs (both pugs) made it out unscaved – we lost everything. For me, that included childhood memorabilia, video games, movies, electronics, and most importantly: my HP Pavilion. We left with the clothes on our backs, and my parents lost years and years worth of memorabilia, priceless photographs, and et cetera.

The day after the fire, when I woke up in one of my cousin’s spare bedrooms, I was drowsy. I still couldn’t believe what had took place the night prior. However, an unknown neighbor turned that “frown upside down” by buying an Acer AspireOne netbook to me. While my cousin didn’t have internet (and I didn’t have a cell phone at the time – I was only 11 years old), it was still nice to have some form of entertainment.

Well, the AspireOne served faithfully as my only computer for almost a year. It was clear that I wanted something more powerful, and something that I could use to complete homework for.

A failed surprise

One day near my birthday, me and my mother was arguing. I’ve long forgot what she was mad at me about, but needless to say she spilled the beans on the entire thing.

In the middle of the conversation, my mother said “Well, I guess you’re not getting that computer” (or something like that.) My father immediately looked at her and she immediately realized that she had spilled the beans.

When my birthday rolled around, we visited my grandparents house. When we walked in, I instantly knew where the computer was being located. In fact, it was covered (by a tablecloth) in the living room next to the door. However, promising my dad that I’d act surprised, I kept my mouth shut until later in the visit.

When the cloth was removed, I was shocked. For some strange reason, I thought it would’ve been an ancient dinosaur running Windows 98 or Windows XP (like the Gateway 2000 that they gifted us.) No, I was wrong – it was a fairly new Asus Essentio Series desktop that ran Windows 7 Home Premium.

Windows 7: The Full Experience

The Acer AspireOne ran only Windows 7 Starter, which was a boiled-down version of Windows 7 with reduced customizability and features. Starter always annoyed me, as one thing I liked to do (customize the environment – change the background, etc.) was omitted. Plus, the AspireOne (as with many other Acer’s I’ve worked with) was plagued with bloatware.

The Asus, on the other hand, ran Windows 7 Home Premium. I was able to customize, and there was no longer an abundance of bloatware. The Asus even came with Microsoft Office 2003, which was really nice – as I enjoyed playing around with Office 2003 when I was in elementary school. (We did not have Microsoft Office on the Pavilion – instead, we had OpenOffice.)

It wasn’t long before where I discovered where they purchased the machine. When you logged into the Guest account, the wallpaper was set to a local pawn store logo. Hey, as long as it works! (Plus, this was during a time where I did not work – so “beggars can’t be choosers.” Besides, the machine ran really well.) The machine came bundled with a keyboard, mouse, and monitor. My grandparents gifted us a HP Officejet the Christmas prior.

Working Hard

My desktop in 2012, including the Asus Essentio desktop displaying Crimson Editor

The Asus was the machine where I “developed” my HTML and CSS coding “skill” (no pun intended.) During Elementary school and right after the move, I designed webpages using WYSIWYG/”drag-and-drop” interfaces like GeoCities, Webs, and eventually Weebly. However, I wanted to open my own website design business. I started learning code step-by-step. Things didn’t make sense, but I didn’t give up. I kept trying it, and before long I was able to make crude websites. Eventually, they got better and better. (I didn’t experiment with graphics. I made majority of my graphics in Paint [yes, MS Paint!] and GIMP. So, the graphics were horrible. I didn’t get Photoshop personally until I got the T420.)

I also did a wide variety of homework assignments using the computer. At first, I enjoyed having a personal copy of Microsoft Office 2003. After a while, I upgraded to Microsoft Office 2010, which did not include Publisher (my favorite part.)


I had used the Asus Essentio all throughout middle school and my freshman year of high school. During the start of my sophomore year, it was developing some issues.

I can recall it being extremely slow, and occassionally it wouldn’t even start. One day, it just stopped booting into Windows completely altogether. It immediately booted into the Windows Diagnostics Center, which in most cases that I’ve observed typically means one thing: a failed hard drive.

The hard drive was removed and determined it was just that. Now I had a decision: repair or replace? I decided the latter, as I wanted to try something new. Windows 8 was a nightmare that I was experiencing at the time (our school had it), so I decided to move to Mac OS. And that’s when I got the MacMini.

But I kept the machine, and I acquired two 40GB hard drives (free) through the computer networking teacher at the local vocational school I attended. One of the drives worked, and the other did not. She also recommended Linux Mint as a free operating system, and that’s how I decided to use Linux Mint on the machine. Thus, the name MintTin (or MintMachine, I use the names interchangably.)

The machine was later completely disassembled and completely cleaned out, and a replacement 250GB hard drive purchased. The machine became my “file server”, although it quickly ran out of disk space. I also used it for some light gaming, mainly for Linux-based free games such as SuperTux and SuperTux Kart.

Today, the machine sits unused unless I need to grab a file off of it. But it works fine when I do use it.

Due to the T420 being “down”, I originally prepared the text in a HTML file in Notepad using the T42.