X61p brief review

Lenovo X61p Laptop & Monica Belucci Since I have got the new Lenovo X61s laptop I am getting used to do things slightly differently then before. For one, I don’t have to lug around with all the beauty of T60p with two hard drives and all the data on them. Even though all the e-mail isn’t here (it’s insane to try to synchronize two Outlook instances), but all the work-related correspondence is backed up on two Gmail accounts plus I have IMAP access to same e-mail accounts (POP3 instance of Outlook doesn’t delete messages from server unless it’s spam). Additionally, a Samsung BlackJack that I use in conjunction with AT&T “laptop tethering” provides to be a decent cellular modem in case I get to spend some more time waiting then expected.

Windows Vista Home Basic that was installed on it initially didn’t quite impressed me, so I upgraded it to Ultimate flavor, since I purchased a license a long ago, but never got around to install Vista Ultimate on my main laptop. Overall impressions are mixed. System sometimes momentarily freezes for no apparent reasons. Only today (two weeks after arrival) Windows Update was able to successfully find and install PS/2 Trackpoint driver. It was a miserable experience before…

Carrying weight is almost non-existent. Keyboard is large enough for convenient typing in non-convenient locations (my previous post, including Excel spreadsheet and chart, was compiled in a waiting area of a medical office. The only concern I have is the placement of USB ports – two on the right side very close to hand rest and one on the left, approximately in the middle. If you are in a crumpled space and want to use a portable USB mouse the sticking-out dongle will take up the precious space. Sometimes I really miss backside USB ports of T23.

To sum up the impressions – getting X61p was one of the best things I could’ve done to ease the stress on my back. With recent Lenovo discounts my unit cost me much less then I anticipated initially, so my budget wasn’t that much harmed either. Spacious enough screen and near-full size keyboard allows basic work to be completed with minimal discomfort and in almost any place. The choice of OS (Vista Home Basic) is questionable, but XP flavor would have cost me around $80 more and I already had Vista Ultimate license laying around. 6 hours of battery life (I never worked on it for 6 straight hours, so I cannot neither confirm nor deny this, but so far it looked close enough) sounds pretty good too. Additionally, Vista has “battery stretch” feature that allows you to literally stretch your battery when you’re at your last 20% of charge by powering down unnecessary activities (radios, hard drive, peripheral devices, etc). Overall – very nice piece of hardware, but with showing signs of degradation of quality. T40 that I still have has a more robust and solid feeling, whereas X61p handles and feels like cheap plastic.


New baby in town!

Lenovo ThinkPad X61sGot myself a brand new blogging workstation, thanks to a very good deal on Lenovo’s web site. The screen is as small as I could get (12.1″ with 1024×768 screen resolution), the whole thing is so light I almost forgot I am holding something while was carrying it between rooms at home.

The unit I ordered came with 2GB memory and large 8-cell battery that, as Windows Vista Home Basic shows, should last for as long as 6 hours. Of course that Vista thingy will be the first to go, since I don’t really have a need for latest and greatest in such a small laptop. Perhaps Ubuntu or trusty old Windows XP (given that Service Pack 3 is almost upon us) would do much better.

The reason for purchase was (again!) my recent trip to Chicago. I had a dozen things to do, but hesitated given the size of my primary workhorse laptop (15″ 1600×1200 IBM ThinkPad T60p). X61s, however, is much more convenient in this sense and (aside from taking a lot less space and weighting a lot less) has much better battery life.

The only thing that is truly missing is the Ultrabay Slim extension bay, so if I would want to watch movies on the road, my best bet would be to rip them to hard drive.

technology vista windows

Vista Shoots Itself In Both Feet

While anxiously anticipating Windows Vista to arrive on shelves accessible by consumers, I keep doing my homework researching how it will handle my collection of DVDs, CDs and mp3s. In other words – I’m thinking of using Vista not only as a productivity center, but as media one as well. However, the DRM craze seem to be putting away this idea for good.

While following links from Slashdot to originating site, I discovered the Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection. This is, obviously, not an accounting cost-analysis, but a well-weighted walk through all the issues that arise while implementing a protection for premium content. While I do think author exaggerates a little, however, the hammer is about to fall.

Microsoft, by implementing this customer-unfriendly scheme, is preventing regular users from watching premium content on Vista PCs/laptops thus tossing away a share of market for Media Center PCs. After all – why bother with $1000 Vista PC while there are a lot of much cheaper options, like set-top players?

The whole story actually (in my view) is giving Vista a very bad rap. Personally, I don’t want it anywhere near my movies. Nor anywhere near my laptop. At least not anytime soon.