October 21 2013

My 1st Seven Days with a Windows 8 tablet 04:25 pm

The new Lenovo Helix has been used for 7 days now and I’ve learned a few things that don’t always appear in the Windows 8 overview training taken so far. We have used Windows 8 – Server 2012 for about 1 year now but having a tablet with a touchscreen was a little new. Here are my initial findings.

Likes

a) Tablet is lighter and faster than a Microsoft Surface Pro 2.
b) Windows 8 with a Solid State Drive (SSD) is very fast to turn on and off. Flying last week was a lot of fun as it was almost instantly that I could start using the PC. Same in meetings. From opening up to starting working was almost as quick as entering your password.
c) Intelligent wifi connections. Wifi is much easier to connect and use than in Windows 7. When in Pearson airport though the connections were saturated and my iPhone or Windows 8 couldn’t connect. However there is no prompt saying that wifi performance is terrible. Instead Internet Explorer just sits there. Moving to a different part of the airport made this better. Connections in Grande Prairie, Calgary and elsewhere were easy to make and worked well.
d) Making videos – shooting photo’s. The family loves to have movies made of themselves. Turning on the tablet and starting a mini-film making session was a lot of fun.
e) Typing applications to open them. I found typing Outlook or Word much faster than finding a start menu.

Dislikes

a) Having to double click to start video. When the video icon was lit up I thought we were filming. I proceeded to catch on camera our youngest son showing off on the couch and then doing a very surprise unintended backwards flip off the couch and somehow not get hurt. Too bad it was never recorded. After spending 30 minutes trying to find the video it turned out double clicking is needed to really record filming.
b) Twice the laptop went into the BIOS settings on entering the password and needed a complete power off. No idea why this happened as the battery seemed to be ok.
c) Trying to figure out what all I could do on this device was kind of fun but also felt like a small waste of time. For instance I chose the mail icon a couple times but Outlook never opened. Of course, Microsoft mail opened. This shouldn’t even show up on a business class laptop.

Would I buy a Helix again. Yes. I think all Network Administrators will have this unit in the next 12 months. It is a better unit than the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 in every respect from what I see. Typing and working is much faster than an iPad or Android tablet but a tablet could be made to work. The only drawback to all this performance is price. The Helix purchased is about $2000 which is more than any tablet but about the same as a Surface Pro 2.

September 11 2013

5 Years Perspective – Working with the Biggest PC Manufacturer in the World 01:06 pm

After Lenovo gained the undisputed market leader position this summer for PC sales worldwide it gave a sense of vindication at PCIT.  Since we opened  for business in 2008 Lenovo has always seemed like an ideal fit for our customer’s.  Lenovo’s focus on engineering quality, business productivity, and an efficient supply chain were just what most organizations want.  No hassles, faster productivity and when they need something the ability to get it right now are part of the value proposition.  Their prices for business class PC’s have always been competitive as well.  Of the hundreds of PC’s installed I feel like I could count on 1 hand the number of times there has been a problem.  (Excluding the time we ordered the French keyboards that had to be swapped out.)

5 years ago Lenovo was hardly a common supplier with much less than the world leading 15% market share it has today.  It is likely that hundreds of other IT service companies and decision makers recognized the same traits we did as valuable for their PC users and started to jump from other manufacturers like Dell or HP.

We talk openly at the office about delivering what is best for our customer’s no matter who makes it as the way we want to approach our recommendations to customers.  It is a great feeling to know others have the same perspective when it comes to Lenovo products and they are now bigger than any other manufacturer with plenty more room for growth.

February 20 2012

SSD Upgrade Pricing on T420 and X220 Laptops 01:42 pm

Get A Performance Upgrade!

Lenovo ThinkPad T Series notebooks offer the best combination of mobility, manageability and security. For a limited time  upgrade to a notebook installed with a Solid State Drive over a hard disk drive to increase your performance capabilities for only $100 more.  Lenovo X 220 series laptops also qualify for this great promotion.  The X 220 is smaller and lighter with all of the other award winning features in the T series notebooks.

January 31 2012

HD Shortage From Thai Floods 01:33 pm

A worldwide shortage of hard drives is affecting the Technology Industry as many of the Thai-based factories continue to struggle with the damage and effects from flooding.

The majority of the world’s hard drives are produced in factories located in Thailand, where the flood crisis has put a damper on many industries, hard drive producers included. 

According to reports, the shortage is already driving hard drive costs up and may just be the beginning of that trend. Prices for hard drives began to increase as early as November 2011 and can add as much as $150 per drive to the cost of business class servers.  Some manufacturers such as Lenovo are forecasting shortages in the near future but have managed to maintain price levels up to this point. With flooding still an issue for some producers the shortage could expand.  If there is limited ongoing damage it is estimated the industry could recover as early as the summer of 2012 up to full capacity.

As of now, there is still no concrete solution in sight for the problem with the supply of hard drives in the world.  While reconstruction efforts in Thailand are ongoing, getting the hard drive industry on its feet will take a while. One manufacturer, Lenovo, has begun to offer a creative solution to this problem by discounting the price of Solid State Drives (SSD) as a replacement to the traditional hard drive.  The promotion currently in place offer’s upgrades to the SSD drive for as little as $100.  SSD’s are not in as short of supply and this may help alleviate the impact on customers.

January 28 2012

Tougher, Faster, Better Laptops Using SSD Drives 01:26 pm

New technology is making a significant impact on how fast laptops, computers and even servers perform common tasks.   Our experience is that anyone who has already used this technology would not consider going back to the old standards because of the negative impact it would have on their productivity.  The technology is located ‘under the hood’ of these devices and is a storage drive that offers several significant advantages.

Solid State Drives or SSD’s are a new type of computer Hard Drive that offers several

Comparison of SSD and HDD characteristics

Comparison of SSD and HDD characteristics

benefits compared to the computer hard drives that have been an industry standard over the last 10+ years.  The significant advantages over the old technology are:

Greater Reliability & Durability

  • No moving parts to break
  • Less likely to lose data due to shock and vibration
  • SSD Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) is 2X that of a HDD
  • HDDs degrade after 4 to 5 years, SSDs have been shown to last 7 to 10 years

Faster Performance

  • Faster startup
  • boots up 1.5X faster|
  • Faster data retrieval
  • More than 1.5X transfer rate

More energy efficient (longer battery life)
Approximately 20% less power
Intangibles
Less heat generated
Quiet operation