As I have written in the past, I have a bit of a “love-hate” relationship with Lenovo and their ThinkPad line, but its way more on the love side because their hardware utterly rocks. As it was getting time for a new laptop, I surfed over to the Lenovo site at on April 28 and went through the customized build process to build my ultimate X200 Tablet. I’d checked out the new machines a couple of months ago, but noticed a few interesting things they’d added.
The first was they were now offering a 2.13 GHz L9600 Core Duo with a 6MB L2 Cache as a CPU option. While not a huge speed bump over the 1.86 GHz, every little bit helps. I configured the machine maxing out everything with 4GB RAM, touch screen display, AT&T mobile broadband, fingerprint reader, camera, Bluetooth, 8-cell battery, and the 128GB Solid State Drive (SSD). (A guy can always dream, right?) Anyway, I was sure the machine I configured was going to be too expensive to buy. That’s when I noticed something very interesting, the SSD price was wrong with the result that the SSD drive was free!
There was no way that could be correct, but I thought it couldn’t hurt to go through with the order. The front page of the Lenovo site had mentioned an e-coupon code that if you ordered by the end of the April, you got 15% off. The configuration computer price never changed through the end of the order and I duly got the 15% discount. Feeling lucky, but sure there was no way I was going to get a free SSD drive, I submitted my order.
The next day I called Lenovo to find out the real cost of the computer. The customer service person quoted me the $1,800 (minus tax) that I had from my web site order confirmation. When I pointed out that SSD pricing was wrong, the representative said: “I guess it’s your lucky day because that’s the price we are charging you. In fact, I didn’t know we sold 2.13 GHz CPUs in that computer either.” That sent me scrambling back to the Lenovo web site and it no longer showed the 2.13 GHz CPU for the X200 Tablet and the SSD price error was fixed.
I’d managed to order a model that didn’t exist and was far underpriced so I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. The ship date was originally May 8, and as I expected, on May 8 the ship date changed to May 14. Now I was curious to see what was going to happen so I waited until May 14, mainly because I was in China, thinking that there was going to be further delays because of the messed up order. My plan was to call Lenovo and get everything straightened out by opting for the 1.86 GHz CPU and a normal hard disk as my current order was probably going to be stuck in their system until they actually released the version with the 2.13 GHz CPU many months from now. On May 14, my order status changed to “shipped” and had a tracking number, which was quite a surprise.
On May 19, UPS delivered the computer. The specifications sticker on the box said it had a 2.13 GHz CPU and firing it up reported two important facts, first it did contain the 2.13 GHz CPU, and second, it definitely contained a blazingly fast SSD drive! Looking at the price of the maxed out X200 Tablet as I write this shows the price to be $2,900 (with no coupons applied) and still does not offer the 2.13 GHz CPU as an option. There’s nothing like getting a smoking hot computer for nearly half off!
I was expecting Lenovo to call me and ask me to pay for the SSD drive before shipping the computer, which I would have completely understood and gladly have done, but they never did. I hope they will accept my full gratitude for the deal, and even more devotion from me in exchange. While you probably won’t get the deal I got, if you need a rock solid laptop you can trust, go with a Lenovo. I’ve been using them for 15 years and loving them. OK, there was that two-year flirtation with a Toshiba M200 that I got free, but I never liked it and felt dirty the whole time.
After verifying that everything worked on the machine, it was time for Win7 x64. As I wanted to control the machine, I wiped out everything Lenovo had installed and started fresh. The Win7 RC install off a bootable USB memory drive was trivial. If others with X200 Tablets are looking to go to Win7 x64, which I would highly recommend, here’s all I installed. All the rest of the drivers I let Windows 7 or Windows Update install for me.
- Vodafone and AT&T – HSDPA wireless WAN
- AT&T Connection Manager
Note that the Lenovo connection software didn’t work for me, but the AT&T software does.
- Tablet PC Button Driver
This link is not on the default drivers and downloads page. Thanks to this link for finding it.
- MultiTouch Drivers
Again, this link is not on the default drivers and downloads page.
Two things that aren’t working for me are the Intel AMT serial drivers and the fingerprint reader. I don’t really care about the AMT part, but I tried to get the Lenovo Vista fingerprint reader software to work, but there are too many changes between Vista and Win7 for biometric devices in order for them to work.
The big thing I’ve learned with the X200 Tablet is that I will never use a platter hard disk again. I’d read that an SSD makes a big difference, until I used one the last couple of days for real world use, I didn’t realize just how much faster they are. Another feature is the silent operation. I guess I had gotten used to the hard drive noise, but now that it’s gone on the new machine, it’s annoying to use a regular computer again.
While I have taken a Surface development class, I never used the touch features in Win7. Now that I have, I don’t know how I ever lived without them! With the taskbar in particular, it’s so convenient and faster to have your hands on the keyboard and reach up to touch the application to switch to, especially if you run as many as I do. After two days of using my new laptop, I went to my old laptop and couldn’t understand why I couldn’t switch applications any more when I touched the screen.
While you’re probably already sick of this blog entry because of my killer deal, I do have one last thing to brag about, battery life. I have the 8-cell battery in this machine and the other night I worked six solid hours and still had 20% of the battery left when I put the machine back in the UltraBase. Between Win7 and better hardware, it’s now realistic to get real development work done when you fly across the US.
Three-Tier Azure Management
Azure offers one of the most compelling cloud-based solution when it comes to scalability, performance, reliability, and cost-effectiveness. To successfully run in Azure requires careful planning and on-going management services.
Why Partner with Atmosera?
A company can choose to architect, deploy, and operate a cloud environment on their own. This approach requires in-house experts who can handle the complex issues related to architecting and deploying the environment so it performs as expected. It also requires 24x7x365 support and engineering expertise to operate the infrastructure, tools, and applications. Atmosera takes care of the architecture, deployment, and ongoing cloud services and all necessary capabilities to deliver a full infrastructure or platform solution capable of meeting the demands of a customer’s applications and data. This includes managing the compute resources, operating systems (OS), storage, networking and the suite of complex tools and tasks to ensure the proper operation of the cloud environment. Atmosera thoughtfully partners with the customer to ensure a successful outsourced solution governed by well-defined responsibility matrices and understood requirements. By leveraging Atmosera as a partner, our customers benefit from the ability to:
- Improve business focus: Allowing Atmosera to assess, architect, and manage Azure allows you to focus on the core business needs while infrastructure and/or platform operations are expertly managed by skilled specialists 24x7x365.
- Access world-class capabilities: Accelerate your organization’s access to leading technology, knowledge, tools, and processes by leveraging Atmosera, our partnership, and what we’ve built over the last 20+ years. We can help you modernize and leverage “at the forefront” technology for the benefit of you and your business.
- Accelerate reengineering Benefit from our 20+ year investment in infrastructure and platform management and our experience in systems and processes.
- Increase agility and speed: With Atmosera you get a partner that is enterprise at the core with an eye towards innovation to remain relevant to our diverse customer base and within the technology industry. You benefit from a partner that allows you to be more flexible, dynamic, and adaptable to market opportunities.
- Refocus resources: Allowing Atmosera to manage infrastructure 24x7x365 allows you to shift your internal resources from non-core activities to activities with higher business value.
- Reduce complexity and risk: With 20+ years of architecting, deploying, and managing IT infrastructure solutions for a wide variety of customer requirements, we’ve solved many problems. With Atmosera, you gain the expertise to handle complex infrastructure solutions and functions that are a challenge to manage. As a customer, you gain access to our entire knowledge base.
- Shift from Capex to Opex: Moving to an Opex model more closely aligns expenditure to your customer demand and reduces or eliminates the need for large, stair-step capital purchases that may be out of line with customer demand.
- Avoid expenditures: Working with Atmosera eliminates big upfront investment and reduces the need to invest capital funds in noncore business functions.
- Reduce costs: Working with Atmosera allows you to take advantage of our lower cost structure and operational efficiencies that free funds within your organization for other projects. We spread the costs and investment in architecting, supporting, and managing IT infrastructure across hundreds of clients and this scalability and efficiency benefits each customer.
- Access technology and skilled resources: Atmosera provides our customers an effective and practical alternative to building new capability in-house from the ground up.
Finding the Right Tier of Services
Atmosera’s portfolio offers customers choices for the oversight and management of compute, storage, networking, security, support, and engineering relative to a wide range of cloud-based IT solutions powered by Azure. The two extremes are self-managed and fully managed with co-managed offering a compromise or middle ground.
- Self-Managed Customers need to be self-sufficient 24x7x365 to operate their compute, network and storage resources. Atmosera is only responsible for the infrastructure availability. The management of the OS, middleware and database is not included.
- Co-Managed Customers have a choice as to the services they want to perform and which ones will be handled by Atmosera. This creates a split responsibility matrix which allows the customer to retain partial management of the Azure environment
- Fully Managed Customers benefit from having Atmosera manage the IaaS and/or PaaS services through the OS layer and, optionally, to the middleware and database layers. This includes a team of support admins, certified experts, and management engineers available 24x7x365 to support and manage the Azure environment.
Available With All Microsoft Licensing Formats: EA & CSP
Atmosera provides these options via a customer’s existing Enterprise Agreement (EA) or via the Atmosera CSP licensing format.
Atmosera Three-Tier Azure Management: Standard
Atmosera Three-Tier Azure Management: InfoSec and Compliance
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