I have the pleasure of trying a new laptop right now as we consider them for work.
The Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga.
We have this configured with an Intel i5, 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD with 16GB SDD speed boost, the touch & pen screen.
It is a nice laptop with a screen that folds right over so you can use it as a slightly chunky tablet, the keyboard locks in this mode so you don’t accidentally press keys.
It is great to finally be able to afford a laptop with a proper, pressure sensitive pen interface, it is a joy to use with tools such as Microsoft OneNote.
The touch pad is also the best I’ve ever used. The pad itself is a proper mechanical button and once used, you will never want to go back to a trackpad that doesn’t provide such positive feedback and natural feel.
We have Windows 8.1 Pro on it and the usual ups and downs of that operating system apply. Personally, I find W8.1 less reliable than Windows 7 but I suspect that it comes down to the software you use. I can say categorically that the “Modern UI” apps are a disaster. In particular they do not fully close when you think you’ve closed them (check in the Task Manager) and I’ve often noticed a significant slow-down after having started and “closed” several Modern UI apps.
The laptop is certainly nice to use overall, it isn’t too heavy and can be used on one arm for 5-15 minutes without discomfort, longer than that becomes noticeable though. So not a complete tablet replacement. Great when sat however with it perched on a knee or supported with a table. No more scrappy paper notes for me! It is OneNote all the way.
Pen and touch with Windows 8.1 and Microsoft Office, a great combination.
Fairly thin considering the features available.
The fold-over screen is easy and natural to use.
The Windows architecture doesn’t handle very high resolution screens well. I blame this on the development tools and Windows graphical UI libraries mainly. Too many applications do not correctly scale.
Only 2 USB ports. About average for a thin laptop but very limiting when there as so many devices needing USB.
After many years, Lenovo have finally changed their power connectors. Annoying though necessary, all those spare power supplies scattered around aren’t so useful now. Fortunately, you can buy a converter cable if you want to.
Some windows behave oddly, changing font sizes drastically for no apparent reason. Not sure if this is Windows or something to do with the laptop.
The power button is in the wrong place, it gets clicked by mistake too often. It is on the right hand side of the base at the front. Right next to the volume buttons.
No drive LED indicator – really?! When using a PC this is essential if you want to know whether a pause in response is due to disk activity or something more serious.
Mini-HDMI interface. This is not good for a business laptop, we already have full and mini Display Link adaptors and now we need to have HDMI as well.
No native LAN interface. You have to give up one of the 2 USB ports and to get a USB-to-LAN cable if you want a wired connection. Again poor for a business laptop.
The usual pointless spamware is pre-installed. However, Lenovo are better than most, not installing too much and their own wares do seem to actually serve a purpose mainly (I probably kept 1/2 of their own tools and removed everything else). Driver and software updates seem regular.
Windows 8.1 Modern UI apps continue to be a very uncertain proposition with poor quality being rife and even the better quality apps seeming to regularly result in ongoing reduced performance on the PC. (Not Lenovo’s fault of course).
A worthy, flexible tool if you need or want both touch and pen interfaces. If not, save some money and go for a Lenovo X240. Possibly the most affordable convertible with pen and touch, at last such devices are in reach of mortals!
Individuals and enterprises do not understand the value of their Information nor how to protect it. This article attempts to reveal simple and practical ways to protect IT assets and outlines some of the latest thinking and tools from industry experts.
IT Security changes over time and it is important to stay abreast. New threats are appearing all the time and so threat management also needs to change.
Here are some tips and pointers to the current thinking in IT Security.
Patch applications such as PDF readers, Microsoft Office, Java, Flash Player, and web browsers.
Patching schedules need to be vastly accelerated for most organisations. Having 2 or 3 “updates” a year leaves vast open security holes in enterprise infrastructure that is just asking to be compromised. Patching of key applications such as those listed here needs to happen weekly at least, as soon as possible is best. The bad guys aren’t waiting, they change their toolkits within hours to exploit newly found vulnerabilities.
Patch operating system vulnerabilities, for the same reasons discussed above.
Minimize the number of users with administrative privileges, the highest level of authority to make changes or undertake actions on a network.
Users with administrative privileges are the goldmine for the bad guys. They are the easy back door into the heart of your enterprise systems.
According to these papers, following these simple rules is likely to protect 80-100% of common enterprise attacks right now.
For the latest on the underbelly of the Internet and the current threats, take a look at the blog of Brian Krebbs – Krebbs on Security. In particular, I strongly recommend reading and paying attention to his article: Tools for a Safer PC. Also pay attention to his article The Scrap Value of a Hacked PC that describes just why the bad guys want your PC even though you think there is nothing of value on it.
Microsoft’s 64-bit support is still sorely fragmented as we find out with a brand new laptop trying to access Microsoft SharePoint.
The joys of working with Microsoft products!
So I have a brand-new, shiny 17″ HP laptop. 64-bit throughout. 6GB of RAM and comes pre-installed with 64-bit Windows.
You would think, then, that you would want to use 64-bit applications right? Wrong!!
I automatically use the 64-bit version of Internet Explorer to access some Microsoft specific sites (Outlook Web Access and SharePoint 2007). I install and use the 64-bit version of Microsoft Office. Does this work well with SharePoint (from Microsoft)? No!
For starters, you cannot upload an Excel spreadsheet to a SharePoint list like you should be able to. You get an error:
Next you try to switch a list into a “Datasheet” view – which looks a bit like a spreadsheet. Inevitably, you get another error:
The upgrade of this blog from WordPress 3.3 to 3.4 on Dreamhost didn’t go as smoothly as planned. In fact it failed fairly spectacularly – unable to complete the required database upgrade.
However, many clouds have silver linings. In this case it meant that I brought forward my plans to ditch the horribly slow hosting provided by Dreamhost in the USA and switch over to the new VPS provided by BHost in the UK.
If you have had the chance to compare the two sites, you’ll know that it now runs a lot faster. It will improve again when I do some tweaking. I can now use a proper opcode cache for PHP, something that Dreamhost wasn’t able to provide.
I’ll be doing further optimisations now that I have full control, I should be able to do away with a whole load of WordPress plugins.
Fixing up an SSH login error after moving to a new ISP. “ssh_exchange_identification: Connection closed by remote host” is caused by the lack of a reverse DNS entry.
At home, we’ve just switched from a slow (2mbps) ADSL connection to a wonderfully fast 40mbps connection provided by the excellent Origin Broadband using the South Yorkshire fibre network provided by Digital Region.
“XDI.ORG is an international non-profit public trust organization governing open public XRI and XDI infrastructure. XRI (Extensible Resource Identifier) and XDI (XRI Data Interchange) are open standards for digital identity addressing and trusted data sharing developed at OASIS, the leading XML e-business standards body. XRI and XDI infrastructure enables individuals and organizations to establish persistent, privacy-protected Internet identities and form long-term, trusted peer-to-peer data sharing relationships.”