Deciding what to take with me for a year has been difficult. I'll have two 50 lb. bags which I'll check, and two carry-ons. I need at least one of those bags to be entirely full of books. Luckily, I found a good bookstore/lending library in Beijing. That should help.
I'm also packing my laptop and something called a PC6. I have a problem becoming fascinated with outdated technology. Our apartment is filled with old slide projectors and typewriters. Recently, I've also started acquiring a few older computers/word-processors. This addiction to older typing machines might relate to my writing process. I think that the internet destroys productivity, or at least, it has the potential to do so. One thing I like about laptops is that they allow me to get away from my house. I do a lot of my best writing away from home, I think. However, I get easily distracted by checking my e-mail, etc,. when what I really need to do is focus for a prolonged period of time on things that I'm writing. After a lot of research, I bought a PC6 for several reasons. This is a word-processor usually marketed to primary schools. I read someone's blog that mentioned one of these machines before getting one. I wish I could find the blog and link it here. Here are the reasons I bought it:
1) It has a 36-hour battery life. Mine has a rechargeable battery pack, but it can also run on 4aa batteries. I hate how I have to keep plugging in my laptop. I could take this thing on a trip to Beijing and not have to plug it in all weekend.
2) It was designed to be used (primarily) by children. You can drop this thing on the ground and it won't break. I could probably submerge it in water and it wouldn't break.
3) It weighs less than 3 lbs. and I'll be bicycling everywhere.
4) It comes with a receiver that connects to any USB port. You can "beam" any text file you create on it into ANY text program on your computer--word, e-mail, etc., etc. I could connect the receiver to a Mac and send my text file to a mac.
Alright, this is sounding like a commercial, so I'm going to stop. The only sad part about the PC6 is that I'll likely retire my IBM Thinkpad. I won't actually get rid of it, but I can't take the 30 lb. thing to China. My wife will be happy about this. She hates the loud beeping noise the Thinkpad makes when you turn it on. Here are some pictures of my poor Thinkpad:
Here are some pictures of the PC6 and a short film of me "beaming" something. Erin and I keep laughing and saying the word "beam" each time we look at the PC6. Erin commented that "beaming" technology sounds like something a computer company would have talked about in the 80's, when they thought about the future. I'm still waiting for my hover-skateboard that Michael J. Fox had in Back to the Future. I wish someone would get on that.