I’ve had the Lenovo X61 Tablet for 11 days now, and been using it extensively in tablet mode for in class note-taking, meetings, etc. My unit is spec’d as follows:
- Intel Core 2 Duo L7500 1.6 Ghz
- 1 GB of DDRII RAM
- 12.1’ 1024×768 XGA Multitouch display
- 120 GB, 7200 RPM Seagate hard drive
- Windows Vista Business
Here are my initial impressions:
Design and Aesthetics
carries the unmistakable genetic characteristics that is true to a long and deep-rooted ThinkPad heritage: functional, minimalistic, non-nonsense, sans frills design. The X61T
is not a pretty
machine, but it is not ugly either. Its character doesn’t say “look how cute and pretty I am!” every time you set your eyes on it, but rather has the productively refreshing aura of “c’mon, quit dicking around and lets get things done!”. The matte, all-black magnesium alloy finish is as aesthetically pleasing (in my opinion, at least) as it is functional (no finger prints and smears!)
Here is where I have mixed feelings. Read on…
I’ve been lusting after one of those since it was announced back in May. This is the successor to an already great tablet, the X60. I received it a few days ago and instantly transfered all my data and apps from the Fujitsu P1510 for a semester of intense use. In a few days I will be posting first impressions and later extended review (in the context of my usage pattern as a graduate student).
The least favorite part of my workout routine is running. I used to be a good runner back in my handball days, but when I went to college I neglected long-distance running in favor of more training for strength and speed. My aerobic fitness dropped to what I though was an acceptable level until I was jerked back into reality by way of getting my ass kicked by a certain 56-year old runner in a short run in Alexandria back in March 2006. Anyway, that’s another story altogether (that will not be told- by me anyway- in the interest of keeping such embarrassment under wraps).
If you have visited my blog sometime in the past few days, you were presented with either a broken page displaying nothing but remnants of a digital existence long gone, or the default WordPress theme with the following solitary post:
Yesterday, a series of unfortunate events that was triggered by a combination of of trying to relocate my WordPress directory, modifying the permalink structure and configuring a domain has led to the instant evaporation of over three years’ worth of posts. I have a partial SQL backup and another of my WP files that I am not able to restore for some reason. Combing the wordpress.org documentation and support forums is yet to yield a solution.
Life goes on.
I’ve managed to get my hands on this super sexy machine to play with it for while. After a week of continuous usage, I think I am in love.
This model was released a couple years ago (I think) but has seen some hardware refreshes. One thing is for certain, this is one of the sexiest notebooks I’ve ever laid my eyes on. Leave it to Sony (and Apple) to design such slick-looking stuff. While not as tiny as the Lifebook P1510 I reviewed recently
(it measures in at 27.17 cm x 19.55 cm x 2.8-2.1 cm), it is actually thinner by over three quarters of a centimeter at its thickest point. At that thickness (or rather lack of it), you gotta hand it to the designers to be able to cram in a built-in optical drive.
Aside from the convenient ambiguity of utility theory that makes decision making in buying newfangled technology products a no-guilt issue under a constrained budget, the start of a new semester is always a good excuse for me to splurge on new electronic goodness. Remember, this is all stuff I need, not simply want.
You can never have too much storage is a creed to live by. I also finally decided my risk tolerance to data disasters has hit a plateau. Besides, the fact that is designed to look like a book (My Book, geddit?) makes for “keeping it real” in a year where I will be taking lots of classes that involve an inhumane amount of reading and a small fortune spent on textbooks. It also looks funky on my desk. The problem is that the amount of storage you buy is directly proportional to the accumulation of crap on your computer; I already filled up 75% of it. Now I am probably going to need a backup device for my backup device. Another good excuse to buy something else soon.
iMON PAD PC Remote Control:
I had enough of climbing out of bed to pause a movie or change the volume (yes, I watch all my movies on a PC). And I had to jump on the “media center” bandwagon. Ite iMON PAD is a reasonably prived and functional alternative to super cool but astronomically priced Logitech line of remotes.
Qstarz BT-Q1000 Bluetooth GPS Data Logger Travel Recorder
I ordered this one a week ago and I am yet to receive it. This is a device that does two things: Coupled with a bluetooth-enabled laptop or smartphone and some sort of navigation software, it acts as a GPS receiver. It is also a standalone GPS data-logger, that is, it logs your navigational path as you walk/drive/cycle for up to 32 hours (as claimed by the manufacturer), and has a little button that you can push to record “Points of interest”. You can later download the logged data to your PC and display your recorded path on Google Earth. When it gets here I am going to show you how to do cool stuff with a bluetooth GPS, laptop and Google Earth.
In economic theory, the main objective of Homo Economicus
is to maximize his well-being given knowledge of his environment and what it entails of opportunities and constraints. That is, Mr. Economicus will make decisions that maximize his utility (or the extent of satisfaction gained from a good or service) at the least possible cost. In other words, Homus Economics is a perfectly rational being who only seeks self-interest under perfect information
In the realm of the consumption of the latest and greatest gadgets, Homo Economicus doesn’t exist.
Not just because the whole concept of perfect rationality, according to behavioral science, is bullcrap, but also because – simply speaking, in the realm of the gadget world a hypothetically Homo Economicus simply cannot stay rational faced with the rather potent combination of Moore’s Law, modern marketing techniques, and stuff made by Apple.
Those who know me know that I am a sucker of all things tech. Yes, I am all for being exercising self restraint and only buying things you need with respect to getting things done and having your gadgetry ecosystem in a good working order, but I am also an expert at self-deceit when it comes to drawing the line that separates “things I need” from “things I do not need” or “things I need but can live without” or “things I need but not right now”. That line is often drawn and redrawn depending on three variables:
- The relative coolness of the “thing” in question
- My marginal utility of buying said “thing”
- Budget constraints (which is always a deal breaker)
That is, the purchase of a new gadget can only be justified by the extent of change in utility between the two states of being without and with the gadget. And since quantifying such a change in utility depends on my own definition of usefulness, or the magnitude of change in the aforementioned states, such wonderful ambiguity makes it always legit to splurge on technology!
That’s why I love economics.
Reuters reports that a town in Germany is taken the rather radical action of removing all traffic lights in order to lessen the frequency of road accidents.
From September 12, all traffic controls will disappear from the center of the western town of Bohmte to try to reduce accidents and make life easier for pedestrians.
I say that Cairo has “implemented
” that approach since, well, forever. Of course, the results so far are questionable, to say the least, but that’s besides the point. The point is we have been pioneers in a ground-breaking approach to road safety and we didn’t know! They call it “Shared Space” in Europe, but I will reclaim our right to name the approach as the “Cairo School of Thought on Traffic Management”. Hell, Cairo is essentially one large “shared space”. It is not just shared space, it is a friggin traffic battlefield.
[the ideas] have already been implemented in the town of Drachten in the north of the Netherlands, where all stop lights, traffic signs, pavements, and street markings have gone.
Any Cairenes reading this will immediately have a familiar mental image of such fine disregard for the aforementioned unnecessary urban ornaments.
The beauty of the Cairene system is that we have not completely done away with traffic lights. We merely discarded their functional uses and decided to retain the hardware for purely decorative and psychological purposes. They still flash red, yellow and green and make for a neurovisual sedative (is there even such a thing?) for road-rage crazed Cairene motorists.
I predict a few problems will face our unsuspecting German friends though:
- The German town in question, Bohmte , has a puny daily traffic flow of 13,500 cars. That’s weak, at best, by Cairo standards. Traffic is just not intense enough for even a pilot phase!
- German pedestrians have not been adequately conditioned to cope with the dynamics of survival in the so called “shared space” of people and vehicles. Releasing such green subjects into the freshly liberated traffic wilderness is potentially catastrophic. For an excellent example of this see this story.
About a year ago, I obscurely mentioned putting a tablet pc to use as part of devising a personal workflow setup in the interest “going paperless” (or at least semi-paperless). I spent a year using the Fujitsu Seimens Lifebook P1510, and, well, I’d like to tell you about the whole “tablet experience”.
It is important to start by noting that this is not only a review of the unit itself, at least not one that goes into the little specifics of the hardware and software (such review are abound on the web) as much as it is the summary of my own experience of using it given my particular intended usage. Reviews, like test drives, are good for forming an initial quick opinion about a certain gadget. On the other hand, spending a significant amount of time with the device in question makes for forming a more in depth opinion on its functionality given extensive use and testing within the context of the usage patterns intended. That said, I primarily used the P1510 for:
- Frequent business travel
- In class note taking
- Reading and digitally annotating e-books and magazines.
- Organizing and archiving research and class material with Agilix GoBinder , among other applications (more on this in another post)
- Occasional GPS navigation (with a bluetooth GPS receiver)