Posts Tagged ‘lenovo’

Windows 10 Installation Notes

I downloaded Windows 10 as an ISO from Microsoft. To make a bootable USB disk, I followed the instructions in this article, basically using the Boot Camp Assistant.

The installation went on without a hitch. I was never asked for any product key, presumably because Windows 8 Pro did boot on my device once, before it was wiped to replace it with Ubuntu a few months ago.

Updating software makes sense of course so I did that. I found it odd that you could login to Windows using your Microsoft ID (i.e. your email address + password). Good thing it supports setting up a PIN, because I use a password that I can’t remember (hello 1Password).

Setting up Chrome and ensuring you’re logged in means you get a similar environment everywhere (so for me, this is the same across the Mac and the Chromebook).

The Lenovo ThinkPad X240 comes with a fingerprint reader and once your PIN is setup, you can ensure that the fingerprint reader works as well. I followed the instructions on the Lenovo forum.

Figuring office software would be important, Office 365 was installed in a rather quick fashion. To save a license seat, I removed it from the Mac using AppCleaner, saving 7.61GB of space!

Drivers seem to be something one needs to install (which is unfortunate). Lenovo requires their System Interface Foundation, and the Lenovo Settings application, since the battery management benefits from it (otherwise you get a famous message, “plugged in, not charging”). Lenovo Battery Gauge is another from Lenovo’s support site. Shockingly, you have no idea what you need to install to get things going.

Windows does have an app store now but it’s not complete so to speak (i.e. some apps require things outside the app store so you get it via a browser). Installing software that affects the system naturally means you go through a reboot cycle fairly often (which is still an annoyance in Windows land it would seem).

I enjoy my Caps Lock key being an additional Control key, and the easiest way to do this is via Ctrl2Cap. Unsurprisingly, this also requires a reboot to take effect.

Unfortunately travel beckons, and I am only planning to take one laptop with me, so till the next month till I provide updates on my Microsoft Windows adventures.

What has happened to Dell’s online shopping experience?

I tried to buy a Dell laptop in Malaysia. The old way was such that I would place the order online, and checkout with my credit card. A process that would take 10-15 minutes.

The new way? Configure it, and call up someone at Dell. They then send you an email within a few hours. You are meant to then go pick it up at a distributor, and pay them via cheque or cash. No more credit cards. 

So I walked to the Lenovo store in MidValley. Plonked down my credit card (an Amex was accepted; and there was no extra 2% charge like you may get at Low Yat), and walked away with a Lenovo laptop, with the same 3-year next day on-site business warranty. I think I even saved some money compared to the Dell that I was speccing out.

I have to admit that this is a step back for Dell in Malaysia. The contrast to Apple? It takes about 5 minutes to configure everything and just make payment online. It’s that easy. Even many of the monitors I used to enjoy buying now basically say “call dell”. This can’t be a good way to move the company forward, eh?

Ubuntu updated on the ThinkPad Edge 11″ (magorian)

Breakfast of champions! Soft boiled egg done correctly w/o cup/holderI’ve been using Ubuntu on my Thinkpad Edge 11″ (which has the machine name: magorian) for quite some time now (from 10.10). Today I did an update from 12.04 to 12.04.1 and found my wifi stopped working. Turning the card on/off using the Fn+F9 key seemed to be the fix. Minor niggle.

Some resources: Ubuntu on Thinkpad Edge 11/13/14/15 is a great place to see common problems & fixes. The ThinkWiki also has a page for the Edge 11″.

The update to 12.10 is currently going on and is expected to take 1.7GB of downloads.

I’m thinking about upgrading the RAM from 2GB -> 4GB (I’m seeing prices that are really cheap for this kind of RAM – less than RM100 ~USD33). I have to admit that the machine definitely feels a lot snappier than my aging MacBook Pro (lovegood). 

First hour with Ubuntu 10.10 on a laptop

Recently, I’ve only used Mac OSX based laptops from Apple largely because I needed a few things to work: suspend/resume, WiFi, video out. Over that time, I’ve also grown used to some closed source software: Evernote and OmniOutliner are on my dock, and I really cannot live without them. OK, TextMate is also on my dock, but I’m still nimble in vim as I still use it daily.

Where have I used Linux? On servers. Plenty of servers, running CentOS and Ubuntu mainly. Servers that I am regularly SSH’ed into on a daily basis. The other place I use Linux widely is virtual machines (without X).

I picked up a Lenovo ThinkPad Edge 11″ today with no OS loaded. Much props to Lenovo Malaysia’s PR agency Text100 – they read the post, and attempted to solve my problems for me by liaising with Lenovo. Paid for it today with no extra charge on the credit card, and they threw in a case as well.

Coming from a Mac, I have to say Ubuntu 10.10’s initial experience nailed it. I popped the 64-bit ISO that I had burnt to a DVD into an external optical drive, and it just booted. Ubuntu installed with ease, and during installation it detected my WiFi card (so I could connect to the network), and also had working sound out of the box.

During installation, it decided to go on the Net to download packages, and that took about 180MB. It rebooted. And like magic, everything just worked. I tried suspending the machine by closing the lid. It worked. I opened the lid to see if it would resume – it worked. I did this more than once and I’m pleased to say the laptop works as expected. The hardware keys to control sound, brightness and more all just work. I have not tried video out (there’s VGA and HDMI) yet.

Ubuntu has this concept of certified hardware. The specs don’t match, but it does list the Thinkpad Edge 11.

There are over 300MB of updates to download, which I’ll do when I get away from unmetered Internet. Quick verdict? A world of win, Ubuntu might be exactly what people are looking for when it comes to Linux on a laptop/desktop.

Is Lenovo Malaysia interested in selling their stuff?

I’m trying to buy a Lenovo Thinkpad Edge 11″ without an operating system in Malaysia. I’ve seen prices widely quoted at RM1,899. With Microsoft’s operating system, it costs RM2,099.

Lenovo Malaysia does not have an online store like Dell or Apple. I’ve had no problems purchasing Dell and Apple based machines before. Even with a credit card, none of Apple’s or Dell’s resellers attempt to charge me 2% extra so that I bear the cost of credit card processing fees.

Cue to Lenovo. I call up their help line today. They direct me to Ingram Micro who very helpfully tell me they do not deal with end users.

So I visit Low Yat. They seem to have an authorised reseller there. Here’s where it gets interesting. If I buy the Windows version at RM200 more, I get free gifts (USB hub, thumbdrive, and some other random stuff) plus they’ll waive the 2% credit card fee (which they should not be charging to begin with). If I buy the OS-less version, they will not provide me with any gifts, and I would pay 2% on top of the cost of the laptop.

All this seems ridiculous since if I wanted to deal with Dell or Apple I’d never have this problem. And they’ll never tell me to pony up an extra 2% so that I bear the processing costs.

The problem lies in the fact that I like the Edge 11″. I think it will make a perfect portable Linux machine. It might only have an i3 processor, but its a portable 64-bit machine, quite unlike most netbooks one can buy today.

My only problem? I can’t buy it online. And if I have to walk into a store, I’ve got to bring cash or pony up a 2% fee.

I have not given up getting this laptop yet. If anyone has suggestions on how I can get this laptop from a retailer who knows that sending credit card processing fees to the consumer is not allowed, please leave a comment or shoot me an email.

P/S: Lenovo should train their support staff better. I called them with the intention to buy and they led me to a dead end that wouldn’t deal with end users.

Netbook shopping

I was in MidValley today, looking for a tiny power adapter for the power adapter on my Eee PC. After much searching, Ace Hardware seemed to have what I was after. However, post-dinner, it became clear to me that walking by the IT Mall there would be kind of useful.

Walked into the Acer shop to check out the Aspire One. I had seen one at, and Ow had recommended it to me. They were retailing at RM1,499 and were unfortunately out of stock. I walked by and saw the Dell Mini 9, and wasn’t impressed by the overall size of the unit. Heck, the keyboard seemed like there was little improvement from my Eee, and if I were buying Dell, I’d hold out for the newly announced Mini 10. I mean, who wouldn’t want a TV tuner, built in GPS, built in 3G and more, right?

The Eee PCThen, it was into the Lenovo shop, and I was taken away by the Lenovo IdeaPad S9. This is a tiny cute little machine, that has an Intel Atom 1.6GHz processor, with 1GB of RAM, a 160GB hard disk, and a lot of ports. Its also dead light, but gets heavier with the 3-cell battery attached. I’ll admit to actually liking the Lenovo S series quite a bit, The keyboard was of the right size, there was tactile feedback, I could type normally, and I even managed to crash the built-in Internet Explorer! Yes, it comes with Windows XP, which can be a minor annoyance, but I think I could live with it.

SD card slot, check. USB slots, check. It even comes with an ExpressCard slot, and for a little over RM600, I can buy a 3G modem, pop by GSM chip inside, and never have to worry about the USB modem ever again. I was almost ready to make an impulse purchase, when I thought I’d give it some time, come home and give it a little research.

Good thing I did that. I found it quite limiting that both the S9 and the S10, have a resolution of 1024×600. One of my main gripes with the Eee PC 701 is the fact that the resolution of 800×480 just doesn’t cut it – I can’t even read my feeds in Google Reader! (unless I use the mobile version, which also means I lose my keyboard shortcuts). Worse, it seems that the 8.9″ screen and the 10.2″ screen mean you pay less for the S9, but the physical dimensions of the units, are exactly the same!

Come on Lenovo. What kind of scam are you trying to pull? The price tags are just a couple hundred ringgit apart, but the physical dimensions are the same, just that the screen is a little smaller? Good thing I waited, because if I do go out and buy something from Lenovo, its definitely going to be the IdeaPad S10.

However, upon further searching, it seems that the battery lives on the IdeaPad’s aren’t so hot. It seems the Eee PC’s with the Atom processors and SSD’s or flash drives are much better. And primarily, my goal for even wanting a netbook of sorts, is to ensure that the battery life completely rocks.

I have an external APC battery pack, which I use with my Dell laptop. From what I understand, it will probably also work with the IdeaPad’s. I don’t know if it will work with the newer Asus’s. It doesn’t with my Eee 701, the last time I checked.

Then I prodded further. (All on my Eee PC 701, running Fedora 8, might I add). It seems that the Asus Eee PC 1000HE is the latest model that they have, which claims about 9.5 hours of battery life! All for under USD$400 (I’ve not seen this unit in Malaysia, so to speak). It comes with Windows XP, and its the recommended OS. For battery life, I just might keep it – I’ve seen the comparisons with Linux, and the battery lives are remarkably shorter. One wonders why?

So the 1000HE is heavy (1.45KG – even the IdeaPad is lighter), but has an impressive battery life. Choices, choices. Netbooks are becoming so commodity-like now, there’s plenty of choice everywhere, with plenty of configurations. I’m glad I didn’t make an impulse purchase, because there’s been much change in the world of netbooks.