Monday, February 20, 2006

Lovely IBM X40

I've had my IBM X40 laptop for about a year now and she still does the business for me. I can't believe I've had it this long without formatting/installing, but I suppose there are a few reasons for this.

1) it comes with all kinds of IBM tools that aren't part of a vanilla Windows install and would probably be hassle to reinstall, especially the recovery stuff. Maybe the IBM CD takes care of this (I'd love to hear from you if you know)

2) it's a day-to-day tool that I can't afford to be down for a week while I reconfigure it

3) I'm getting too old for this reformatting lark anyway...

Ahhh, back in the day I'd think nothing of spending a weekend downloading drivers, reading HOWTOs, playing at BOFH with a user base of one. These days though, what with girlfriends, home improvements and business ventures, the nerdy stuff hardly gets a look in. Well, I only have the one girlfriend and everyone who knows me knows the 2nd one is a downright lie, but just keeping up with e-mail correspondence and bug fixes seems to override more fun tasks such as keeping up with the latest Linux distro (err, Ubuntu has a nice homepage - let's try that one!).

Anyway, the little black box from Big Blue is doing exactly what I hoped it would for me. Tiny enough to carry it and its PSU around without noticing while still having the luxury of a decent sized keyboard for those super-fast in-the-zone coding moments (not like those stupid Vaoi yokes). Battery life is adequate at 1hr30, but by no means the 3 hours I'm sure I read about when I did my research. Performance isn't exactly lightening fast either, which you notice when you startup from cold or hibernation (I'm sure mine has 4 fingerprints drummed into the corner).

Performance and battery life aren't my key concerns though, since I just want to do a bit of programming on the train between home and the office. At least the estimated time left in the battery is accurate, unlike the Dell I had previously that went from 3 hours to 10 mins in less than an hour. Bluetooth works with my phone (don't get me started on that piece of junk), wireless works with the office and client networks. Both of these, a modem and 1000Mbit Ethernet are built in so I don't have to worry about remembering/losing dongles. Yes - 1000Mbit on a baby laptop - those IBM guys are nuts.

Build quality seems good and sturdy, although there's a piece of plastic on the top which is either a grip or an antenna that has recently taken to stabbing me in the thumb when I undo the latch that keeps it closed. I can live with that as long as the screen doesn't start doing twisty tablet PC impressions that it was never designed for (yes, the Dell did that too and earned itself a lifetime downloading access logs as punishment).

Multimedia centre the X40 definitely is not. Ultra portable, durable and functional it is, and I don't see me changing it anytime in the next 3 years. If you're a travelling geek I'd definitely recommend one. If you're worried about the high price, just forego/trade in the iPod and use your X40 as an MP3 player! (I mentioned the size didn't I? Good).

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

First Post

I've been lazily posting to my own site for the last year or so and until now didn't bother looking into getting a Blogger blog. So this is a trial to see:

  1. If being on blogger exposes me to a wider audience
  2. If I prefer the funky interface to FTPing static HTML

I also wanted to reserve my usual username as I've done with other up and coming trendy services such as Skype, Flickr and Eventful (aka EVDB).

I wish we'd get our act together and settle on a secure single login that can be shared across websites. Like Microsoft Passport (has anyone implemented this using non-MS tools e.g. PHP?). Google have their own user authentication which is shared across Gmail, groups, alerts, Froogle, Orkut and their personalizable home page. Not sure I want any single sign-on system to be based in the USA though, lest dubya spies on me!