Remember the time when a hard drive was a trip down the A1 and the world wide web was the kind of thing Stephen King wrote about?
It was not that long ago. It is sometimes difficult to imagine a world before the gadgetry that has taken over our lives, but it is worth remembering that, if the web were a child, it would only just have entered secondary school last September. Microsoft's Windows operating system would be in its first year at university.
This Brave New World we have stumbled into is a funny place. Imagine, a wag once suggested, that your PC is a car. You think nothing of it if your computer crashes twice a day. Sometimes it locks you out and refuses to let you in until you simultaneously lift the door handle, turn the petrol cap, and grab hold of the radio antennae.
Occasionally, while executing a simple manoeuvre such as a left turn, your car would suddenly freeze completely and you would have to reinstall the engine. The airbag would ask you "Are you sure?" before going off and the oil, water and petrol gauges would be replaced by a single "general car fault" warning light. Every time the lines on the road were repainted, you would, of course, have to buy a new vehicle.
What makes this Brave New World so extraordinary is that most of us are more than familiar with our computers' shortcomings and yet we can't help but lust over the newest gigabyte-packed models to hit the shops. Computers bring out the Jeremy Clarkson in us. We may use them for emailing and a bit of word processing, but many of us will spend thousands keeping up with the latest 64 bit chip.
Computers may eventually revolutionise our lives but, in the meantime, they are good old fashioned status symbols and all the more desirable for that.
There is nothing quite like the appearance of a shiny new laptop to bring discord to a workplace as one fiery discussion on the TES website demonstrated. One contributor wrote: "What is this about all teachers receiving a laptop eventually? Three have just arrived in our school and been handed out to various teachers in no particular order of importance!! I am soooooo jealous."
Another respondent said they had seen a "ridiculous amount of jealousy exhibited over laptops" while another admitted: "I was the person who was 'instructed' to sort out the laptops for schools paperwork and didn't get one. When I was 'asked' to organise the training on how to use them I told the head to shove it."
But don't get mad, get even. The TES is giving away a Toshiba Portege A100 (above). It will make your deputy head go green at the gills and what better recommendation is there than that?