Wednesday, September 28, 2011

quick question on mass production and personal modifications

There's something nice about modifying a computer in even the slightest way. I just yanked off the silly little cover to the headset jack and USB port on my ThinkPad X1. It was put there by the designers so the down-angled sides of the box would be flush, hiding the cutout for the jack and port. Now I'm happier with the machine and it's mine. Earlier I undid the keyboard and put a mSATA drive into the guts of the machine. You could argue that neither of these things would have been necessary if I'd bought the perfectly designed MacBook. True. But I wonder if setting up a computer so that it can be modified isn't a better design. I'm not suggesting such intentionality was present in the design of this laptop, but I wonder, what examples are out there of mass produced, personal products like computers and cars that are specifically designed with mods in mind? Some cars, certainly, like Jeep Wranglers. What else?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

mSATA on a Lenovo Thinkpad X1

There's a type of SSDs (Solid State Drives) called mSATA that takes the form of a mini-PCI Express card (LINK for more info).

For $200 (September, 2011) you can purchase an 80gB Intel mSATA drive (LINK to NewEgg). It's a minuscule thing!

I have just installed it on a Lenovo ThinkPad X1. I'm running a standard 160gB Intel SSD on the computer and now have a secondary drive in the form of the mSATA installed under the keyboard where the mobile broadband card would go. Unfortunately, it's either the mSATA or the mobile card, not both.

The user guide for the X1 has a pretty good explanation of how to do the install. One step you can skip is disconnecting the keyboard. You'll have to remove the keyboard but no need to disconnect it.

Remember that you have to format the drive after you install it and also that if you don't have it as the boot drive, make sure it's set as the second drive in the list for startup.