Articles tagged in computer

  1. New Computer - Lenovo ThinkPad T410

    Lenovo ThinkPad UltraNav

    Introduce my new toy -- a Lenovo ThinkPad T410. I have been a Dell man for the last 10 years -- having a total of 3 Dell laptops (Inspiron 8000, Latitude D600 and Latitude D630). Well now I am having a change and migrated off Malaysian product to Chinese product :) Built quality is probably on par comparing to Dell Latitudes, but a good $500-$1000 cheaper on a similar configured system, thanks to regular Lenovo bargains that are up to 35% off.

    Spec of my new toy work horse

    • Intel Core i5 580M
    • 4GB memory
    • 320GB SATA HDD with 7200RPM
    • NVIDIA Quadro NVS3100M graphics
    • Windows 7 Professional 64bit
    • DVD-RW, 2.0MP webcam, Intel 802.11bgn, and all the works
    • Legendary Lenovo ThinkPad keyboard with UltraNav

    Since I am doing so much typing on the keyboard, it makes sense to get a notebook with the best keys. That rules out most cheap notebooks and any with chiclet keyboards, consider I was using this at work before. ThinkPad keyboard rocks, even better than the D630 I had before, which I thought was pretty good already.

    And the UltraNav. Wow. Now I remember why I never bothered to use that blue sticky thing on my old Dell Latitude, because it sucks. Lenovo's implementation is so much better (consider they actually popularised it). At the same time I found the trackpad not as responsive as my old Dell, which forces me to use the trackpoint more.

    So far so good. This will be my main computer for the next 3 years, and hopefully it lasts.

  2. NEeew Toy

    Bought a new toy today off eBay.

    Asus Eee PC

    Yes, the ASUS Eee PC 701 with 4GB SSD and 512MB RAM, for a bit over 400 bucks second hand. First impressions:

    • Small. Not tiny, but very small. The above picture shows its size comparing to my Dell Latitude D630.
    • Booting up and shutting down is fast.
    • Very responsive. You don't feel like its a 677Mhz Celeron.
    • Connected to my Wi-Fi at home in less than 2 minutes.
    • Keyboard is probably its weakest link. It can be difficult to type on.

    Actually it reminds me a lot of my old Psion 5mx -- little cute device that is a full functional computer. In fact it actually has a bigger keyboard than the old 5mx so I'll hopefully be able to touch-type on it after some practise.

    Unfortunately I planned to work on my talk for this Saturday tonight so I can't spend too much time on it. A better review next time.

  3. The Ultimate Portable Notebook - Air or Eee?

    Apple MacBook Air All right. I guess everyone has seen the new MacBook Air when Mr. Stevie pulled it out from the brown paper bag. Wow, it is thin! According to the Apple website,

    MacBook Air is ultrathin, ultraportable, and ultra unlike anything else. But you don't lose inches and pounds overnight. It's the result of rethinking conventions. Of multiple wireless innovations. And of breakthrough design. With MacBook Air, mobile computng suddenly has a new standard.

    Thanks for reminding me that I can't lose inches and pounds overnight -- gotta get back to my exercise plan. However, being "ultraportable" is exactly what Apple is trying to sell MacBook Air at. On the scale it weights 1.36kg, which is almost a whole kilo lighter than its fat brethren MacBook the unportable (2.27kg). At 0.4-1.94cm thin, you will have to buy those notebook bags with 5cm of padding so you won't accidentally snap it in half when you throw it around.

    Its CPU is a tad slower than MacBook at 1.6/1.8GHz. There is no optical drive included, i.e. at cost extra. The hard disk is either a small'ish 1.8" 80GB or 64GB solid state drive (as an AUD$1,409 upgrade!), battery is not self-serviceable, and RAM is soldered on... It is the price you have to pay when it is designed for the niche market of ultraportable, where rivals like Sony Vaio and Toshiba Portege were used to charge their customers at a premium.

    Will I buy one? No way. Starting at AUD$2,499 it is almost a whole big one more expensive than equally equipped MacBook. I know I am getting old but 1 extra kilogram is not a biggie to me. Apple knows how to design a beautiful package, preaching a message not why people will need one, but why you would want one. Being a cold hearted pragmatic, unfortunately Stevie's distortion field has pretty weak effect on me. That's probably why I still have not had an iPod.

    Asus Eee PC But let me tell you what other ultraportable notebook has taken my fancy -- Asus Eee PC. It is small. It is light. It sold like a hotcake -- because it is cheap. You can buy a brand new one from OfficeWorks for $488, or less if you shop hard on eBay. It weights only 0.92kg so you probably won't even feel it when you throw one into your bag.

    Obviously there are some issues, and the Asus' $488 Eee PC is probably not a good comparison with Apple's $2,499 MacBook Air.

    • 900MHz Celeron underclocked to 667MHz. Don't expect a speed demon here.
    • 4GB SSD is probably not even enough for your photo collection.
    • 7" LCD at an awkward resolution of 800x480 is not good even watching DVDs.
    • 21-35mm thickness. Yes it is thick.

    • It runs Linux.
    • You need to be a midget to type on it.

    But at less than $500, it has everything a person need to get work done, i.e. press Ctrl-Alt-T to bring up an Xterm -- what else do you need to get work done? :) It has Wifi to access Internet, has a ethernet adapter (which MacBook Air lacks), has a card reader, runs OpenOffice.org, runs Firefox, etc. With the current climate, maybe an Eee PC would be a more prudent decision for ultraportable?

    Which ultraportable would you get? Air or Eee?

  4. Repairing Hinges on My Dell Latitude D600

    How many pairs of hinges does your laptop need? You know what a hinge on the laptop is? Yup, that thing which holds the LCD screen from the base of your laptop computers. Usually you just need one pair for each computer. Then why is someone trying to sell 5 …
  5. A new computer for Anna

    How did you spend your ANZAC day? Last night I have built a new computer for Anna, and here it is: It is probably not the state of the art. It was a retired Compaq Presario at work, added in a few components I've found under my desk, so the …
  6. Would OLPC come to Australia?

    SMH: Australia Trials Low-Cost Laptop. Such a misleading title from the Heralds! The article talked about someone liaising with Australian local governments for trials of OLPC, but (1) no response from the actual government body, and (2) no response from the actual OLPC group/distributor. I thought OLPC was initially …
  7. Need a new computer (and got one)

    A RAID mis-configuration yesterday completely corrupted the hard disk on my poor old home server (yes, I know, again!!). And the reiserfsck rebuild just shuffle everything into lost-found, but since all files are now renamed to their inode number without extensions, it is now almost impossible to recover them. Wasn't …