I am now on my second Lenovo machine and I have to say I love the physical build quality and capabilities of these products. However one thing bugs me and that is the bundled productivity software that comes with a new laptop, most notably on the Lenovo products is Think Suite. This is a set of tools that comes with a Lenovo (formerly IBM) computer and deals with things like the function keys, the on screen display of indications (such as display brightness and volume) and most significantly network connection management. It is worth noting that almost every Microsoft Windows laptop sold, from Samsung to HP, has some sort of detritus installed to increase your productivity. I think it was about 13 years ago a friend asked my family to help him buy a really top-notch PC, and the best thing on the market at that time seemed to be the IBM Aptiva Stealth and thus we facilitated the purchase. It was really impressive, in matt black with a separate monitor base/stand with a CD-Rom, a disk drive and a power switch all built-in matching the very good (and very black) monitor. After wrestling with the Windows 95 and it’s extensive IBM customisations they actually returned the unit and we custom built a “beige box” with twice the performance for the same price. Now we are in the era of Windows 7 and the problem is that the productivity tools seem to have grown more tentacles and seem to fight even more with the Windows native tools than ever before. Continue reading “Lenovo Think!”

Yesterday I was looking at the O2 Joggler device and thinking how, despite the environmental concerns, I wouldn’t mind a UMPC as a digital sign in the lounge giving information such as weather, travel status, internet connection status and domestic energy consumption. However the Joggler is locked from customisation and the Hack the Joggler website seems to be offline at the moment.

But I was stumbling around the net as I usually do and I found that DealExtreme (those fab people in China who sell cheap stuff to the world) are selling a little but potentially powerful UMPC called the Smart Q5, this little devil runs ARM Ubuntu, has a 667MHz Samsung S3C6410 SoC chip, 1GB of flash and a modest 128MB of RAM. Now the 128MB of RAM is a little on the short side but it is workable and the fact that the chip has some video acceleration could be an advantage. The big hesitation for me with this product was the fact that it only has a 4.3in display and that isn’t very big compared to my HTC Touch HD mobile phone. This brings me to find the Smart Q7 which has the same specification but with a larger 7in screen.

Overall they are fun little devices and not without their flaws, but they have potential to make a big impact, especially if they had a little extra RAM. With this in mind I have purchased one for ‘testing’ purposes and will report back my findings.

Well, after the disaster that was the HTC Touch Diamond I had a while ago, I decided I needed to call Orange and sort out my phones. I had been fancying an iPhone but I was loathed to move to O2 for it. I had been tracking the news around Orange because they were rumored to be selling the iPhone this year. But it being the end of November and there not being a press release in sight I decided just to call them and see what I could blackmail them in to providing.

I had seen the HTC Touch HD and thought, being the most expensive phone in the residential section I thought I should try it. I spoke to the nice lady at upgrades, she said she wasn’t authorised give me that for free and I should speak to “retentions”. I was duely transfered and speaking to the crack team; I mentioned that I wanted a good upgrade or an extreme downgrad. I asked about the HTC Touch HD and said I was looking for something like an iPhone. They said I had to pay £50 for it, I don’t normally pay for phone upgrades, however they offered me a halving of my line rental. So, I am now paying £22 per month for 1200 minutes, 900 texts, unlimited internet and I got a top of the line phone.Win!

The HTC Touch HD is much better than the Diamond, it is faster (although the processor is the same), it has a better display (a large 480×800 touch display) and all in all despite it’s relative weight it feels good to the touch. I was at a PR event last night for our company where our PR agency invited a group of journalists and we were discussing such devices. I bought out my phone and the considered opinion was that it was quite nice.

I think it won’t be going back and I can be quite happy with what I have.