TechVirtuoso

Finally, I got my Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet 2!

February 4th, 2013 at 7:00 AM  No Comments

thinkpad-tablet-2-verticalMy company has been trialing tablet solutions for the last year.  They have tried out iPad’s and Nexus 7’s at other sites with limited success.  The basic web apps work fine and the users can send/receive email on them, but none of our native apps work and some of the more complex web apps don’t work properly.  I knew that until we got a full Windows based tablet they would not be useful for our management staff.  I was very excited when my boss gave me the approval to order a Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet 2 back in October.  I patiently waited week by week receiving accessories and emailing my sales rep checking on the status.  Toward the end of December I was beginning to wonder if it was every going to show.  I almost gave up in January when I received a tracking number in my email.  It was finally shipped.

When the box arrived I was surprised how small it was.  I thought they somehow made a mistake and sent another accessory.  Upon opening, I found I was wrong.  The tablet was much smaller and lighter then I expected.  Compared to my year old HP Touchpad it is like a cell phone.  I couldn’t believe that this small form factor was a full blown Windows PC!  Keep with me as I go through the Tablet 2 and provide some pictures.  Fore warning, these pictures are taken from my phone and I am not a photographer by any means.

Performance

This was my biggest question when I was pushing for the tablet.  Could this little 1.8 Ghz Z2760 Atom SoC processor handle the day to day tasks and completely replace someone’s desktop machine?  For the Average user, I think it could.  Using the dock, I was also able to plug in a second monitor via HDMI and it pushed the 10.1 touchscreen along with the 23″ 1080P external monster sitting next to it.  During the last few weeks using it on and off I never ran into any problems with shuddering or lag.  I didn’t throw a lot at it, but I left my laptop at my desk and had no issues using it as my main machine away from the office.  Could it replace all my machines?  Absolutely not.  Could it replace my laptop as my main portable machine?  Absolutely.

Hardware and Design

First look the tablet looks amazing.  When you start looking closer you start to see some flaws.  It does not have the Thinkpad build quality that Lenovo is famous for.  The corner of the 10.1 inch Gorilla Glass “creaks” when pressed, and pops out past the bezel once in a while.  The camera on the front seems also off center.  They added a FCC sticker on the back as well as a sticker that says “Not Encrypted”.  The sticker with the serial and the type code placed under the SD Card flap is protruding out the top.  Mostly minor issues, but problems that screams “I was thrown together and pushed out the door”.  I am guessing they didn’t want to delay shipping any longer then they already did, but I would much rather have seen these issues worked out and wait another couple of weeks to receive the tablet.

There are few expansion ports and buttons on the Tablet 2, but I am very happy for the ones they included.  Starting on the top right you will find a small power button, moving to the middle there is a door that opens up to a Micro SD slot as well as a SIM card for AT&T 3G/4G connectivity and all the way to the left is the pen for digitizer input.  On the left side of the tablet you will find a full sized USB port (something I will rarely use, but absolutely needed) and a Micro USB slot for charging.  Yes, you heard that right, a standard Micro USB port for charging.  On the right side you will find a headphone jack, volume up and down ports as well as a Auto Rotate on/off button.  I find myself accidently hitting that button quite often.  On the bottom you will see the standard dock port, and a Mini HDMI port.

With a little more attention to detail I think this could be a very good design for a tablet.

Software

I am still not sold on some of the “enhancements” Microsoft has put in place inside of Windows 8, even on a touch screen tablet.  It is MUCH more touch friendly then their previous OS’s but not as much as it needs to be.  I am still not a fan of full screen applications and I am not sure if I ever will be.  One thing that surprised me is a lot of the famous Thinkpad software was missing.  There was a few Lenovo programs but the software suite they are famous for is missing.  I also experienced frequent lock ups that started the first weekend I received the device with just the default software stack.  I don’t think this is a performance related problem but rather a software or driver issue.  Hopefully Lenovo can find a quick fix for this problem and get it pushed out.

I could not get the Cisco VPN Client to function properly (ShreSoft VPN works fine) and Symantec Whole Disk PGP Encryption is not yet compatible with UEFI or Windows 8.  If I wouldn’t have experienced issues with the Tablet 2 freezing, these two programs not functioning would have delayed the rollout.  No matter which of the CloverTrail Atom devices you pick, these issues will follow because they appear to be limitations with Windows 8 (x86 more then x64).

Battery Life and Portability

With light use I was able to get almost the 10 hours of Battery life Lenovo claims the Tablet 2 can get.  Each user will have different experiences, but even streaming HD video I still got close to 8 hours.  It charges from a Micro USB port at the bottom left hand side of the tablet.  The charge is a 2A charger (same as the HP Touchpad charger).  In my experience any Micro USB charger will work with this device but as most of the Micro USB charges are only rated as 1A, it may take longer to charge with the Micro USB chargers you have laying around the house.  At only 10 inches long, 6 inches tall and less then a half an inch think the Tablet 2 will go anywhere you want it to.  I was able to fit it inside of my already crammed 14″ laptop bag with ease.

Final Thoughts

The Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet 2 is a awesome companion device for power users and could be a complete desktop/laptop replacement for the normal office user.  I am disappointed about the design flaws I have mentioned as I am used to a top notch machine when I see the brand of Thinkpad or ThinkCentre.  Overall I have enjoyed working with the Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet 2 and I think it has found a spot in my laptop bag for now. With the problems I brought up (especially with it freezing) it will stay as a secondary device to my laptop and will not make it to prime time for our Management team.  However, I may look at upgrading from my Thinkpad T420 to a T520, since I can always break out the “T2” if I need more portability.

Microsoft just bought Nokia for the cost of one employee

February 11th, 2011 at 8:58 AM  No Comments

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xe3ksR8zgXg

Symbian is dead, long live Windows Phone. Nokia is now an major player in the Windows Phone ecosystem, and all Microsoft had to do was let of one their people become the CEO. Not a bad deal.

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Service Pack 1 for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 coming February 22nd

February 10th, 2011 at 10:45 AM  2 Comments

Microsoft has officially announced that Service Pack 1 for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 will be released to the general public on February 22, 2011.

Volume License customers, TechNet and MSDN subscribers will get access to the download on February 16. OEM and other Microsoft partners got access to the bits yesterday.

For server admins, one of the more interesting features of Service Pack 1 is Dynamic Memory. From the Windows Server Blog:

Our first new feature, Dynamic Memory, takes Windows Server’s Hyper-V feature to a whole new level. Dynamic Memory lets you increase virtual machine density with the resources you already have—without sacrificing performance or scalability. In our lab testing, with Windows 7 SP1 as the guest operating system in a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) scenario, we have seen a 40% increase in density from Windows Server 2008 R2 RTM to SP1. We achieved this increase simply by enabling Dynamic Memory.

For desktop users, RemoteFX will be a boost for users who frequently RDP into their clients, or are running desktops in virtual machines.

RemoteFX is an exciting technology that lets you virtualize the Graphical Processing Unit (GPU) on the server side and deliver next-generation rich media and 3D user experiences for VDI.

Internet Explorer 9 RC available for download

February 10th, 2011 at 8:54 AM  2 Comments

Microsoft has posted the bits for the Windows Internet Explorer 9 Release Candidate, and thanks to our pal Tom Warren at WinRumors, we have the web installer downloads for you.

We’re downloading and installing this now, to let you know what has changed from the last beta and from Internet Explorer 8. Just a note, there are links posted for Windows 7 and Windows Vista, but not XP. Why? Because there will be no Internet Explorer 9 for Windows XP. All good things must end.

Download and consume at your own risk.

Windows 7 SP1 coming Tuesday

January 14th, 2011 at 9:44 AM  4 Comments

Get ready to start patching systems, according to Tom Warren at Winrumors, Windows 7 Service Pack 1 will be released on Tuesday and is being pushed out for last minute testing to OEMs today. Tom explains:

In a blog posting on Thursday, Microsoft’s Russian Windows Virtualization team confirmed that the final build of Windows 7 SP1 is 7601.17514.win7sp1_rtm.101119-1850. The Russian site also explains that the Service Pack will be available publicly today. Microsoft generally releases Service Packs on a Tuesday so it’s not clear whether the Russian technet post is referring to a public release to select partners or a full web release. WinRumors understand the software giant will ship the release to its OEM partners today but that a web release is expected at a later date.

Along with Windows 7, Microsoft will likely release Service Pack 1 for Windows Server 2008 R2 at the same time, as the code base is the same and testing for that update has been inline with the client version.

Get the most out of Evernote

December 8th, 2010 at 2:09 PM  5 Comments

I’m a huge fan of Evernote. It ranks right up there with Gmail in terms of applications I live my life in. When people sit down with it for a while and begin to use it, or have someone explain all the interesting ways it can enhance their productivity, it doesn’t surprise me that they become as hooked to it as I am.

I first became exposed to it when I got an iPhone 3G in 2008. It had existed as a platform a couple years before that and was popular with the Windows Mobile & Tablet PC crowd, but wasn’t really on my radar. At the time, I dismissed it as nothing more than a note taking app for the iPhone. The only reason I started using it was because I wanted something that would sync the notes on my iPhone to another system, since iTunes didn’t do it at the time. Not really something I’d adjust my workflow around.

Sure I’d used it off and on, but it hasn’t been until the last few months that I’ve come to realize all the ways it can be used. It’s more than just a simple mobile app, it exists on nearly every platform and helps sync your documents, notes, images and throughts between computers and between mobile devices. Their cloud keeps all your clients linked together and helps put the data and knowledge you keep in their service ready for use at any time.

I’ve decided to share some of the exciting ways I use (or have seen it used) to make myself more organized, more productive and less scatter brained.

Evernote has begun to replace my normal Windows file system for keeping track of data. Now obviously, when I say everything I don’t mean put your iTunes library in Evernote, or your Adobe Lightroom catalog. No, I’m talking about all your text files, PDFs and screenshots. The stuff that the normal system administrator has scattered all around their hard drives, but would greatly benefit from a centralize repository.

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Microsoft revives Mac vs PC, but in a friendly way

November 12th, 2010 at 1:06 PM  No Comments

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YbmK3Zu0Os

Note to Apple: This is how you can do a Mac vs PC ad, but in a less aggressive way. You can be cute, funny, point out the deficiencies in the other product (like the fact Steve Jobs hates Blu-Ray) but still all be friends in the end.

The problem with Windows Phone 7 and micro-SD

November 1st, 2010 at 5:54 PM  2 Comments

Microsoft doesn’t want you fiddling with your fancy Windows Phone 7 and its storage. Why? The micro-SD you choose is probably going to suck, at least according to Microsoft. However they’ll let your carrier pick a good one for you… as long as they’ll support it.

From Paul Thurott at Windows Phone Secrets:

The issue, apparently, is the micro-SD card format. The cards are unreliable and inconsistent, even between batches made by the same manufacturer, and in Microsoft’s tests, there was no way to “certify” that any would work properly. “Even with high end cards, we have seen wild differences in IO and performance,” he said. “There is just no standardization there.” Put simply, if you expand the storage in a compatible Windows Phone device, it may work, and it may not. “In most cases, users will have issues,” he told me.

However, at least one carrier, and it’s not one you’d expect, is taking a laissezfaire approach to the whole thing. With AT&T Senior Vice President of Devices Jeff Bradley telling customers:

The devices will support the addition of up to a 32GB class 2 (or higher) microSD card. You need to insert the card before you power up the device the first time so that the operating system can map it as available memory to maximize its utilization. This is outlined in the Quick Start Guide you receive in the box. I encourage you to read this before you launch the device the first time to have the best experience with a microSD card.

So Microsoft says don’t mess with it, and AT&T, of all companies, says go right ahead. The best advise we can give is to pick a card from a solid vendor like San Disk and see what happens… caveat emptor

Companies plan to stick with XP past 2014

November 1st, 2010 at 5:40 PM  1 Comment


Windows XP just won’t die. Like the living dead, it has come back to haunt Microsoft. Despite Microsoft’s best efforts to kill it twice with Windows Vista and Windows 7, enterprise IT administrators have continued to allow it to run free on their systems and have no plans to stop.

According to Dimensional Research, 48% of companies surveyed say they plan to continue using Windows XP even after the 2014 date at which Microsoft will no longer support it. By 2014, Windows 8 should be out and Microsoft will be very close to plotting the release of Windows 9. But almost half of the enterprise world will still be on a nearly 14 year old operating system that by then will be four versions old.

Microsoft has already pushed back the drop dead date for Windows XP support multiple times and allowed OEMs to continue offering it on new PCs much longer than they should have. Microsoft contributed to their problem by not making Vista a functional upgrade for a lot of businesses. However, Microsoft has actually delivered some innovation and compelling reasons for total adoption of Windows 7, which is still at about 6% of businesses.

Is the problem that Windows XP is just so dang good that no one wants to move? That Vista and 7 were horrible? Or that the majority of system administrators are lazy?

via Computer World

If only the teachers I had were ever this creative

November 1st, 2010 at 3:20 PM  2 Comments

You know what, the weekends don’t have a monopoly on funny technology videos. Enjoy.

Thanks @foodgeekery

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