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┬áThink 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┬ádetritus 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!”

A little while ago I purchased a second hand Fujitsu-Siemens Scaleo EVi 2535 Home Theatre PC which ran Vista and now runs Windows 7. I recently upgraded it from the original 1.86GHz Core2Duo processor and 2GB of RAM to have now a Q6600 quad core 2.4GHz processor and 4GB of RAM (using a Zalman fan to keep it at a good temperature. I also supplemented the on-board Intel graphics with an nVidia GeForce 210 graphics card with 512MB of GDDR2 RAM (capable of also sharing 1.1GB of system RAM). Overall the only thing left to upgrade is the noisy DVD drive tobe a quiet BluRay.

I wondered if I could do better than Windows 7 and so I looked towards Linux. I installed Kubuntu 8.10 easily enough, but getting the nVidia drivers working was a pain, then when I installed LinuxMCE it took me hours to try and resolve the dependencies. After this it finally launched, but got stuck in a loop because it didn’t install correctly and you can’t un-install it.

I then re-installed 8.10, in order to use MythTV and updated the OS to 9.04 as it suggested. Then I also had to have the nVidia packages installed and that was grief because the wifi refused to authenticate for most of the time I had allocated. Then when I got the nVidia drivers installed it started freezing at random. So, I removed the hard disk and returned to Windows 7. Windows MCE isn’t perfect and I like Linux as a server but overall I can’t live with dependencies like that.

I will continue to look at Linux and welcome any suggestions but overall I can’t spend days of my life just to get something not working.

Continued…

Venice is a nice place to be for 2 to max 3 days. I don’t know if I would like to live there. The cold penetrates you to the bone and personally I had troubles to sleep because of the horrible pain to my body’s joints caused from the humid. I also got back with a terrible cold which still exhausts me one week later. I know that you may think that it can’t be that bad, how can one nag when being in one of the most romantic places in Europe! Indeed it is an exciting place which combines the unpreserved matured beauty with the modern facilities and luxury. While approaching the island you have the feeling of entering an industrial zone or a shipyard. Once sailing slowly down the Grand Canal, penetrating the island you begin sensing the blows of the city’s charm.

Amazing buildings, great Venetian architecture, arched windows supported on double roman columns, soft pastel colours, decayed walls, green with moss entrances emerging from the sea level, grandiose heavy double wooden doors, geraniums hanging off the windows reflecting their beauty into the still sparkling murano crystal window-screens formed by hundreds of little glassware circles bonded together. But the best is yet to come…

As the dark falls the town is dressed in its heavy black velvet cloak, covers its face in a golden Venetian mask and strolls into the narrow allays or sails in the dank canals. If you are lucky enough, you may find her in one of those little bars offering you a glass of deep red fruity wine, drinking with you and telling you amazing stories for ghosts and secret lovers. This is Venice. A town stopped in time but never forgotten.