While I'm pained by the loss of my laptop, I'm more pained by the loss of the data. I've never kept backups as I've always expected gradual failure, not catastrophic. In fact, the hard drive in this particular laptop had died before, but that had taken several weeks, perhaps even months before it bit the bucket. It wasn't a large drive, but it had a significant amount of data. I'm a bit of a pack rat - it had every paper I've written since around '95, DI stuff, my e-mail since '97 or so, etc etc.
I looked at Dell's site last night, and it looks like the laptop I want will run me around $1,800 before taxes. Ouch. There's definitely a part of me that's tempted to buy one of their cheap desktops (probably around $500 by the time I get the RAM and other upgrades I'd want), until I can afford a new laptop. The other part of me is saying the longer I hold out, the sooner I can get a laptop . . .
Looks like I'm going to be computerless for a while . . .