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Monday, August 10 Front Page >> Random Rants >> I love my Thinkpad. I don't like Xbox

Mar 23, 2002, 8:05pm

570E and slice
Ultralight 570E
This is my notebook computer, one of the first "media slice" models out there, and AFAIK, the only 13.3 inch TFT one available.

Man, do I love my IBM Thinkpad 570E

Thinkpads are the absolute best notebook computers you can buy today. Don't believe me?

Sure, they be expensive, some of the most expensive notebooks out there. But you know what? They're worth it. Here's why:

  • Best portable keyboard in the biz, bar none. I like the feel of my Thinkpad's keyboard better than my $80 desktop model.
  • Rock solid support. IBM is reknowned for their driver support releases, even for notebooks that are one, two, three years old or older. For instance, the very day that Windows XP came out, IBM had some update drivers on their site for 3 and 4 year old notebooks (including my 2.5 year old model) giving you 100% compatibility with the BIOS. Sweet. None of the other notebook makers (or many hardware makers for that matter) offer that kind of support
  • 3 year, next day, to your door replacement warranty on business notebooks. Included in the notebook's price. And international in scope. No one matches this.
  • Not a single (knock on wood) issue with any OS I have run on this computer - including Windows 98 SE, Win2K or WinXP Professional. Nary a one. In fact, with each new OS, the notebook does things better! Under Windows 2000, I had to "warm swap" to get my wireless network card out of it - ie, first double click the peripherals icon in the start tray, unload the PC card, then eject it. With Windows XP, it's automatic. By contrast, Jean's Windows XP install on her NEC Versa notebook was a nightmare, and her wireless card (same as mine) wouldn't even work. It took two months for the issue to be resolved.
  • Super smart engineering. Two examples: first, the pointing / mouse system just BAM works - I am deadly accurate with the little red pointer stick, and it truly is accurate to a pixel. I do lots of photoshop work with it, and prefer it to a mouse. Second point - just bought some spare li-ion batteries for the notebook, as my original is getting a bit tired. Get this - I can have two batteries powering it if I want - one in its own chasis (it's an ultralight), and one in the media slice. Well, the system is smart enough that it charges the chasis battery first, then the media slice one. Sweet.

Like I said, IBM is the most rock solid notebook maker out there. My next notebooks' gonna be an IBM. I only hope they come out with a model to compete with this one. sigh.... half an inch thick. 12.1 screen. 2.5 lbs. I want it. Bad. Except it's not a Thinkpad...

Xbox sucks
There's one thing I absolutely hate about any product - the fact that something is 100% built in, but the manufacturer designs it in such a way that forces you to pay extra dough to actually use the built in functionality.

In a total money grab (and nothing but a money grab), did you know the Xbox has the ability to play DVD movies in the box, complete, except for one thing. They put a locking chip on it, and force you to shell out an extra $50 for the unlocking chip and a cheap ass remote? That, my friends, absolutely sucks, and is the prime reason I won't buy an Xbox. Ever. I'm perfectly happy with my PS2, and it's ability to play DVD movies right from the get go. Boo Microsoft.

It reminds me of another product I bought once. Back when "holiday cards on a CD" started as a rage, I bought the American Greetings "Deluxe" version. Little did I know that when I got home, my $60 software purchase had about 75% of its content "locked", requiring me to pay an extra fee to release bits and pieces of it. Bullshit. Bullshit bullshit. I did three things, and I'm proud to admit to them all.

First, I tried to return it to Office Depot claiming it was a rip off, and outright lying in advertising on the box. Of course, they pulled the old "you can't return opened software" BS, which is BS, but I didn't bother to fight it. Next, I searched the net and found a "crack" for the crippleware, and very happily applied it. Third? I vowed to never again buy any products from American Greetings or Broderbund, the company that puts the crippleware out.

And some four years later? I've kept to it, and spoken with my dollars.

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