Wednesday, 18 June 2008

New Thinkpad T61p

Gutted! A couple of weeks ago now I had a bad Friday, the train home from London where I'd been working with a customer all day was stupidly late and I had to change twice instead of going directly home. Then I get home and fire up my laptop to send the e-mail's I'd written during the day and the darned thing didn't work, argh! Seems in spite of working all day, my T41p had died on the trip home. After reporting the problem at work the following Monday it was decided the T41p needed a new motherboard and this wasn't economical to fix, so I was issued with a shiny new T61p a few days later.

I've been pleasantly surprised by my new laptop, I wasn't expecting great things since IBM sold the Thinkpad business to Lenovo but this thing is actually quite nice. I'll spare listing the full gory details to the technical specifications page. However, it has some nice additions over my previous laptop, namely built-in firewire (not that I'm likely to use it), built-in SD card reader (used that already), an extra USB port (always handy), a DVD writer, a hardware wireless off switch (presumably for use in planes), an enormous hard disk (compared to the T41p anyway), and a lovely 15.4" widescreen capable of 1920x1200 backed by a 256MB NVidia graphics card.

Unfortunately, it came pre-installed with Vista so that (along with the stupid Vista sticker next to the keyboard) were the first things to go. I've installed Redhat Enterprise Workstation 5.2 on it which may sound like an odd choice, but IBM have a layer of software designed to sit on top of Redhat to enable us to install things like Lotus Notes, Sametime, etc. This is known as the Open Client internally and works really nicely. Clearly, there are later and greater distributions I could use but on this issue I like to support IBM and the internal community of Linux desktop users so I choose to go with the officially provided solution.

I've been up and running for a week now with no problems so far, I've been able to do all the things I could do with my old laptop and all the things I need to be able to do in order to do my job. Of course, I make some modifications to the way things work to suit my tastes (such as running KDE instead of Gnome) but all these work well too which is a great reflection on the modular nature of all things involved with Linux. I hope I continue to be surprised and pleased with the machine, and I'm definitely surprised at the ease of transition between the two machines for me.

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