Thursday, May 28, 2009

Salient facts about the Lenovo X series notebooks

I get asked about my Lenovo X61s all the time because it's an attractive little computer with a full-size keyboard.

Here's a quick summary for those of you interested in these machines.

1. If you can handle a laptop without a trackpad but only that red pointing device, you can go with the X200 or X200s for a new machine or an X61 or X61s for a used machine (check out the Lenovo refurb site). (I can't use a trackpad because it instantly gives me carpal tunnel.) Difference is that with the switch to the X200 series, they went from a more vertically oriented 12.1 inch screen to a more horizontally oriented aspect ratio--with Lenovo's regret but unfortunately that's the direction other laptop makers are moving and therefore screen manufacturers. You need to get a removable base unit for these units to house the CD-ROM drive. Without the base, these units are a little over 3 lbs. The "s" versions are almost indistinguishable. They run processors which are slightly slower but have more efficient power consumption. They are very slightly shorter in height, very slightly lighter. Also, they have a more rigid screen enclosure. Only the X200 unit has a built in camera (for Skype etc) if that is important to you.

2. If you can't handle a laptop without a trackpad you can get the X301 (or the predecessor X300) which goes up against the MacBook Air. Unfortunately you can only get this machine with a solid state hard drive which raises the price--and you really only want the 128gB, not the 64gB drive, which raises the price further. It weighs about the same as the X200/X61 but has a CD-ROM built-in and a larger 13.3 inch screen.

Downside of Apple design: dongles galore!


I use a Lenovo but have tremendous respect and love for Apple design. However, the number of dongles they've come out with to connect a notebook to an external monitor or projector is insane!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Lotus Evora



An example of why the Brits do the best car reviews.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

E-mail Fail?

This post is inspired by a recent post by top internet technology venture capitalist Fred Wilson, titled "Email Fail" (LINK).

Basically, as I understand it, he's been struggling for years with an e-mail client that will handle masses of e-mail. Programs such as Outlook, Entourage and the like can't deal with the size of his e-mail archive. Thunderbird choaked. GMail is the answer but he can't get used to the way in which GMail threads all e-mail, without a choice to view e-mail in the more standard way.

I've said this before, but GMail works for me because:

- The threaded conversation interface is a true innovation--get used to it! Having all your e-mail in a conversation, with both the incoming AND outgoing e-mail all pulled together is so much more effective. To me, this is the "killer" feature that prevents me from trying anything else. This design is what truly distinguishes GMail from everything else.

- It can handle a seemingly unlimited amount of e-mail, seemlessly, without choking.

- The search capability is great.

- There are wonderful add-ons like GTD Inbox (LINK)

- It has you tag e-mails instead of putting them in folders allowing any e-mail to exist in multiple places

- Google for Domains provides great, small workgroup e-mail management services

- Being able to have all your e-mail searchable via the BlackBerry GMail client is wonderful (and so what if it's not "push" in the same way that the regular BlackBerry client works--a slight wall against crackberry addiction is ok with me)

- Google's junk mail filter seems to work better than any others

I also occasionally use Thunderbird via IMAP for:

- offline GMail (although I have found the offline GMail function to be perfectly useable)

- as a backup, just on the off chance Google loses all my data
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