An Old ThinkPad Creates a Lifelong Fan

Matthew Lanetti's late grandfather, Mike Zurratt, was a longtime IBMer who joined the company after serving his country as a United States Marine. Here he is standing with what is believed to be an IBM 704 that was installed on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. Matthew recently added the X1 Carbon to his ThinkPad collection. We think his grandfather would be proud.


Matthew Lanetti represents a younger, vibrant generation of ThinkPad enthusiasts – he has a DO spirit, is not afraid to challenge himself and is always connected. With many technology options available to youth today, he reveals how an old T30 and a special tie to ThinkPad’s legacy turned him into a ThinkPad fan.

I discovered ThinkPad when my father gave me an old T30 he found in a stack of junk that was to be thrown away in his office. I had started to get into computers and my dad thought an old laptop, that probably didn't work, would be great for me to learn from. Being a tech enthusiast, I had heard of ThinkPad and had seen them in stores. My maternal grandfather had worked at IBM as a field engineer manager for 35 years until he died in 2002, when I was five years old. I don't remember much about him, except that he loved his job and IBM.

I will never forget the moment when I first saw that ThinkPad. I was amazed when it started up with no problem. I remember staying up very late that night just playing with the T30 and reading about ThinkPads online. I couldn't believe just how nice that keyboard was, and after a week with the T30, I couldn't stand typing on anything else. Using a ThinkPad is truly the only way you can understand why people love them. Let me tell you, holding that matte black boxy laptop and experiencing what a ThinkPad is made me realize just why my grandfather had loved his job so much.

 (Matthew studying on the T30 he rebuilt)

Each ThinkPad is a little different, almost like they have their own personality. The T30, for example, was the first model in the T series to have the forward and backward browser keys. It had that great solid feel like all ThinkPads, and was thicker than all models succeeding it. There is a true diversity within the ThinkPad brand, and this is why I like it more than other brand. Some are thin and light but with no compromise in power (X1), some are true tanks made to withstand anything (X130e), and some look like they're from the future with two screens (W701ds). They have also had models with 30-hours battery life, folding keyboards, digitizers on the palm rest, and titanium casings. This shows that there is a ThinkPad made specifically for your needs.

I hear people say that ThinkPad has changed too much and that the new designs are nothing like the old. The new designs have always been improvements on the old. As long as ThinkPad continues to be a brand known for extreme reliability and performance, it will still be ThinkPad. That is where I would like to see ThinkPad continue: always being a leader in innovation and technology. We must move forward, creating new designs and technologies, but not forgetting our roots of great design history. 

A decorated Eagle Scout, competitive swimmer and honor student from Malvern, PA, Matthew Lanetti’s (far left, kneeling) recent DO project was creating a 50-unit computer lab at The Don Guanella School for boys with physical and mental limitations. His next mission is to create a club at his own school that will provide tech support to the lab.