About a month ago, I was fortunate to receive a pre-production, 3rd generation X1 Carbon Touch to use and review. Since it was revealed at CES 2015 last week, I'm now able to share some of my thoughts about it.
As a side note, if you have been following Lenovo at CES this year, you may have heard that the 100 millionth ThinkPad has rolled off the production line and that ThinkPad was at Lenovo's product exhibition in Las Vegas. Quite fittingly, it's a Gen3 X1 Carbon and her name is Eve. You can follow her on Twitter as @ThinkEve (https://twitter.com/thinkeve). She's quite witty, actually!
The unit I received, while described as pre-production, certainly looks completely polished and ready to ship. Nothing appears rough or unfinished. The specs, as far as I can tell, are top-of-the-line.
CPU: 5th generation Intel Core i7-5600U (Broadwell)
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 (integrated)
Memory: 8GB PC3-12800 DDR3L 1600 MHz (soldered to system board)
Storage: 512GB M.2 PCIe solid state drive
(Samsung MZHPV512HDGL-000L1: http://www.thessdreview.com/daily-news/latest-buzz
WLAN: Intel 7265AC Dual Band with Bluetooth 4.0
WWAN: Sierra EM7345
LCD: 14.0" IPS WQHD @ 2560 x 1440 with 10-point multitouch (270 nit)
Keyboard: Six-row, backlit (2 levels)
Webcam: 720p with dual noise-canceling HD microphones
Ports (left): Power, OneLink, full-size HDMI, Mini DisplayPort, Always-on USB3.0, Headphone/mic combo jack
Ports (right): Security lock slot, Ethernet extension connector (w/cable), USB3.0
Ports (rear): micro-SIM card slot
OS: Windows 8.1 Pro Update 1 x64
It will be very interesting to see how the options list expands as production and shipping ramp up.
(Current info at: http://shop.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/thinkpad/x-se
Other than the newer specification components, the Gen3 X1 Carbon differs from its Gen2 predecessor in a number of very significant ways:
- First, the adaptive key row of the Gen2 X1 Carbon has been replaced by more traditional and familiar Fn keys. The key spacing is a little tight, but their return is enthusiastically welcomed.
- Next, the key arrangement has reverted, so much of my built-up muscle memory is useful again.
- Finally, and most importantly to many, the TrackPoint buttons have returned! One of the things I learned at CES this year, was that Lenovo took the time and opportunity to make the buttons even better. I won't delve into the minutiae here, but the click and feel really is better than in any other ThinkPad in my collection. Lenovo listened!
- With the i7 + PCIe SSD combination, this machine flies! I don't do CADD, video rendering, compile million-line source code files or work with billion-cell spreadsheets, so I can't comment on how those kinds of use cases would fare, but in my opinion that's not the purpose of this type of machine. While I don't rely heavily on synthetic benchmarking tests, preferring instead subjective "feel", I did run CrystalDiskMark and AS SSD Benchmark as I was curious about the results for the new PCIe-attached drive. For reference, the AS SSD score for the 512GB Samsung 840Pro in the main drive bay of my X220 (SATA3-6Gb/sec interface) is: 1106.
- The LCD is bright and crisp. I see no indication of light-bleed around the edges as is often the case with IPS panels, nor am I seeing image retention.
- The fit and finish is perfect, as far as I can tell. No rough edges, bezel gaps, or the like.
- The 6-row keyboard is fast, crisp and accurate. As I mentioned above, the Fn key group spacing is a little tight, but their return is very welcome. The traditional navigation keys are much better placed.
- I haven't explored the battery life in depth, yet. I'm generally never more than 3 hours from a power source, so it's not the most critical factor for me in any of my ThinkPads. The 50Whr battery is spec'ed at >10 hours and features RapidCharge capability. YMMV.
- I'm unable to test the WWAN functionality as I don't have a suitable micro-SIM card nor service plan.
- So far, the number, type and placement of available ports is working well for me.
- I would like the option of 16GB of RAM. Well... just because.
- Indicator lights would be welcome in a future iteration.
In a nutshell, this ThinkPad is gorgeous!
( so superlative, in fact, that Annie photobombed one my picture attempts )
From the WQHD IPS touch LCD, to the return of the dedicated function key row, and most importantly to some of you, I'm sure, the return of the TrackPoint buttons, Lenovo has hit a grand-slam home run. All IMHO, of course. Everything that I (and many others) did not like about the 2nd generation X1 Carbon has not only been addressed, but in the case of some things, improved.
Many long-term ThinkPadders consider the X300/301 machines as the pinnacle of mobile design and functionality, and I'm one of them. The Gen3 X1 Carbon, though, is a contender for taking the crown!
Well done, Lenovo... very well done, indeed!
The Yoga 3 Pro is a remarkable machine. Thin, quick, and quiet, with a gorgeous display, an amazing hinge, and that Yoga gymnastic ability. Bonus: it supports virtualization
(Illustration credit: supermod Erik - who also came up with most of the Communities' graphics and our 5th year anniversary logo.)
Slightly more than three years ago I was approached about a role within the Lenovo Forums Community, and being a non-techie, was fascinated by the folks I saw active here.
There was just so much being shared, and people weren't selfish at all about helping others; in fact, there were (and still are) community users who spend most of their time here, just wanting to help - with no strings attached or expectations whatsoever.
I was amazed then, and am still amazed now - and salute you.
As we enter our seventh year of operations, and grow even bigger, on a personal note I am really looking forward to meeting new people and making new friends from around the world. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being on the journey with us. I am truly blessed to be working with the group of moderators and gurus (and the community at large), and have really learned a lot the past few years here.
And I am not the only one. Here's a few thoughts from some of the very special people who have grown with us along the way:
“It’s not easy to be where we are today which was from zero to 400k+ registered users, and we grew from initially 18,000 topics first year to now 32,000 topics, and this sheer volume is growing still.
It’s like watching a baby growing into a young adult. There is now more attention given to Lenovo Forums by online users, and I am so proud to tell others that I’m part of the forum team. More and more great volunteers have joined our squad and become forum advocates and I am so happy to work with them.
With anything there will of course be growing challenges and there is no finish line so we have to keep moving forward. There are 4 language communities at the moment and we are looking at expanding even more.
Can't wait. Hang in there Lenovo Forums. Happy 7th birthday.”
- English Community Lead, Cleo_Lenovo
"Like most of my work, the idea came to me late at night during a bout of insomnia. A lack of sleep can be quite inspirational—even if unintentional. The original graphics from the early forum days surrounded a birthday cake concept. As the forum matured I felt a more grown-up design was appropriate. Maybe we'll see another TrackPoint cake next year. It's good to mix things up.
I can only hope that my contributions—both graphical and technical—have improved users' experience in visiting the forum. Much of my design work is outdated at this point so it's probably time to put pen to paper and draw up something new.
Having been with the forum from pre-launch to today, it's reassuring to see close to half a million user IDs registered. While numbers aren't everything, it shows that forums still provide an important, interactive and relevant experience different from other social media channels. The other channels might be more urgent and immediate in nature but forums remain the granular, technical repository for archival-quality material. I see forums as a long-term solution for technical content where blog-style content such as Facebook and Twitter are better geared for marketing purposes. None, however, are mutually exclusive and each has their place in a product owner's opportunities to interact with a brand and its user base."
"This big community is great and unique! It can offer so much help and enable so much contact and feedback between users like no one else. The vast amount of knowledge from their members can help from the easiest set up question up to serious hardware modding.
I haven't done much "moderator work" but mostly helping users with tech problems and informing them about how to keep the notebooks working cool. I'm mainly active in the Spanish and English communities (with some visits to the German community as well) and it's very interesting to see that many times the questions and problems users have are the same, despite language, cultural differences and geographical location.
I like helping users, specially when I see they can really profit from my tips and/or answers. That said, one of my main grunts with the forum software is the limited capability to upload pictures, I see some room for improvement there, like allowing external links from Picasa or other photo hosting companies. Also the Avatars could be bigger.
- moderator Tasurinchi
"The challenge of answering the questions to help other users, since February 2009 - that was my intention to join this community. I was then made a guru, then moderator, and helped out with the Knowledge Base creation in both the English and later, German communities.
I found that this structure, a peer-to-peer support community is an advantage as everyone is participating. What’s more, I am happy being a member of this quickly expanding world-wide community! So keep going on!We willl together do a big THINK ...now and in the future!"
- moderator KalvinKlein
"Congratulations to the Community, which is made up of a very professional team. I didnt read the forum before 2010 as havn't seen the needs for that - I used another branded PCs and laptops, including "self made". At the end of the 2010th....beginning of 2011 I looked for a new laptop for my personal usage and daily mobile work. As I had several mandatory requirements for laptop I've came to the Lenovo forum for solution, examples - my friends on our Russian forum, of course, mentioned about Lenovo forum. I've registered here one week later the laptop was bought. The reason was an error 1802 (yes, whitelist) I've faced with after BIOS upgrade. To be honest, my first post here seems a bit exacting but Bill (billbolton) and Aryeh (goretsky) were very friendly. That won me over.
I think nothing has been changed for me since I've became a guru. I can't say "responsibility has risen" or "I have access to a secret knowledge now". Probably my relation to any work I'm doing is clear in my forum profile signature.
I'm closer to the Community team now, gurus, mods, Lenovo staff. I see their attitude and trust. It's invaluable. "
- moderator, x220forme
Thanks again, one and all for your conversations and help these seven years. Here's to more!
- Serene Siew, Lenovo Community Advocate Program Manager
I’ve revisited the Bluetooth issue I reported on in Part 6, and found something that works. There is also a comparison of the JBL ear buds to some studio headphones, plus a mystery about software update versions..
First of all, the touch response within Windows 8.1 is excellent. I do physical labor and my hands have a lot of calluses and scars on them and I've always had problems using touchscreens. It's thus a joy to use this tablet with Windows, as I must say that the touch response is excellent.
Clerking an auction in the company I am with using Android and Windows are pretty much similar. However, the differences come at the end of the auction during checkout. Using Android, the bidders still have to queue up at the checkout counter to have their credit cards scanned and their pick tickets and receipts printed. With the Yoga 2 with Windows, I can scan their cards with a Windows app and the camera and print their receipts wirelessly through our wireless printer.
We recently opened a store in the auction facility and decided to use the auction program as a Point of Sale application. We figured we could use tablets and the program would give us a good accounting of sales and expenses and inventory control. It worked!! We've been using tablets for awhile now and was able to do away with all the paper except for the pick tickets and receipts.
To start with, we have to enter the inventory in the system. It's time consuming with pen and paper, it all has to be counted and then transferred into the computer. Using the tablet, it's counted and entered into the system all at once and there's even the ability to take a picture of the item being counted and entered also. Each item is assigned an item number which is labeled on that item. We also take consignments, we have the ability to list the products by consignors and generate a report so we know what we need to pay the consignor at any given time.
(The Yoga Tablet 2 with the dashboard open. The Yoga Tablet 2 is on the left.)
Anybody who wants to purchase an item in the store or bid on an item at one of our auctions has to register and be issued a buyers number or a bidder number. We can enter their email address on this form and send them coupons or sale notices. A buyer or bidder can opt out of this if they so desire.
Once a buyer is registered, they are now free to purchase an item in the store or bid on an item in an auction. For the most part, this is the window that a clerk will see.
Once the items are sold to the buyer, then it is time to check out. Enter the buyer number in the box and options will come up to pay, either by cash, check, credit card or Paypal and this is where a tablet with Windows comes in handy because Windows will recognize a credit card scanner and will print receipts wirelessly to an online printer. Android will also scan a credit card, but I haven't been able to get Android to print from an online printer yet.
The Yoga 2 makes an excellent Point of Sale device, it is light, fast, small, and it runs cool. There is a video below that shows the hands on experience.
Thank you Lenovo for giving me the opportunity to try this out.
The Yoga Tablet 2 as a Point of Sale device.
Connectivity is very important for any mobile device, so in this instalment I’m looking at Bluetooth, WiDi and printing, plus a couple of odds and ends. Find out what worked and what didn’t!
I’m just over a week into the Android Adventure and I’ve finally had a bit of time to actually simply play with the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro for several hours without a specific need to get anything setup, or particularly achieve anything.
While doing that I found a few things worth mentioning, and also some things unexpectedly disappointing, with Android.
The writing of these Android Adventure pieces involves using the screen capture feature on the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro and also the Lenovo ShareIt software, that is available on Android, IOS and Windows platforms.
In this instalment I'll walk though how I am using those tools.
I got hold of the Yoga Tablet 2 10 and I promised myself I was going to hold out until the second generation Yoga Tablets was released. And yes, here it is. It is a great all-round tablet that delivers great audio quality, display quality, battery life and performance. I couldn't find any weaknesses in the Yoga Tablet 2 10.
Read the article to know why I praise the Yoga Tablet 2 10 to heaven and back!Read more...
Its time to get WiFi connectivity and power-on security set up.
This installment walks through the process on an almost step by step basis to get to this....
And you get a peek at my LAN map too...
I thought that the getting it running part should be easy, given that I've told many, many times that Android and IOS are supposed to be broadly equivalent mobile device user environments.
However, I came across a Clear Only If Known (COIK) problem which stalled my progress for a while. Fortunately I was able to overcome it and found the Setting App and User Guide App after all!
Read all about the mysterious thing on the home page.....
....that turned out to be the solution, learn more about what a COIK problem is, and why this one trapped an otherwise experienced mobile device user. You'll probably recognise that you've been unwittingly caught by a COIK at various times as well!
There are tons of articles telling you why this password manager is better than that one. But they are all written from the viewpoint of the author. What this article does is to tell you what features you may want, then lets you decide for yourself which tool to use. Why? Because everyone's requirements, usage and what you understand are different. I could give you the most perfect tool ever written, but if you do not understand it, or can't use it, then it is worthless. So in the end it is up to you.Read more...
I've been a ThinkPad user for decades, and an iThing user for a while now but have NEVER used any Android based device. Join me on a without-fear-or-favour journey of discovery of the Android world, using the new Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro. I'll be posting something every few days, for a couple of weeks
The first instalment is unboxing!
So you got your hands on the latest Lenovo product and can't wait to do a video review on it.
But... wait. Just how do you do so, and where do you start?
Founder of the Dad Does website Dan Nessel and Lenovo Insider, who has done numerous reviews through this medium, shares these invaluable tips on how to capture the attention of viewers to keep them engaged, while you show off your knowledge of the latest gadgets.
Phishing (pronounced as “fishing”) is a social engineering technique that is used for contacting individuals or businesses, in an attempt to obtain information such as credit card numbers or bank account passwords and other details.
The information acquired is usually used to commit identity theft or financial fraud. The messages appear to be legitimate and are delivered by electronic communication in the form of e-mail and text messages. These messages can be sent to a general audience or can target a specific person. The message can look as if it has been sent by a trustworthy source such as bank that you do business with regularly, tech support departments, a credit card company, a Human Resources Department, or from friends on social networking sites.An example of this is a recent email distributed as a LogMeIn Security Update.
In the case of a specific target, the attacker is usually already aware of the name, address, and other credentials of the victim. This is called Spear Phishing. In both general Phishing and Spear Phishing the phish may be either in the message, or the message will request that the victim click on an attachment or a link contained within the body of the correspondence as in the example above.
Similar to Spear Phishing is Whaling. This form of Phishing is used to target upper level corporate management in an attempt to obtain restricted internal information. As in Spear Phishing, the attacker is familiar with the target.
Vishing, a combination of "voice" and phishing, also called "VoIP phishing," is the voice counterpart to phishing. Instead of being directed by e-mail to a Web site, an e-mail message asks the user to make a telephone call. Criminals set up an automated dialing call people in a particular region or area code. This technique uses forged area codes and names of the financial institution, organization or business.
Smishing uses SMS texts to a mobile phone to initiate the scam. If a victim logs onto one of the fake websites with a smartphone, they could also end up downloading malicious code that could give criminals access to anything on the phone.
What to Look For
* Is your name missing, or does the message appear to be sent as a generic mass mailing?
* Is the message requesting personal information?
* Phishers are getting better at writing realistic copies of legitimate looking business correspondence. However, does the message contain typos or grammatical errors?
* Is the URL in an email’s link suspicious? When rolling your mouse over a link and looking at the bottom left corner of the email client's window, is the actual address represented in the link where you really intend to go?
* Does the message convey a sense of urgency, threats, warnings, or alerts? Example: “There is a problem with your account. Click this link to re-activate your locked account.”
How to Protect Yourself
* Do not respond to unsolicited e-mails, texts, or phone calls.
* Keep a regular check on accounts, and use a different password for each account. Using a Password Manager is a good idea.
* If you are suspicious about a request made of you, go straight to the official website of the company in question (not the link provided in the email), to log into the account – or call them. If you want to go to a business website, type its URL directly into your browser’s address bar.
* Make sure any web site requesting personal information is secure. Look at the browser address bar to see that the URL (link) begins with "https". The "s" stands for secure. Information entered is encrypted.. If “https”, does not show, it is not a secure site. Do not proceed. As an alternative right-click on the link to select Copy, and Paste see that the URL (link) begins with "https". The "s" stands for secure. Information entered is encrypted.. Paste the URL's text into a blank notepad so you can analyze the link further.
The following are websites that will scan links:
Use good defense. Protect your email by making sure anti-virus software, firewalls, and email spam filters are up-to-date. Review your credit card and bank account statements regularly so that you can quickly notice illegal activity on your accounts. Check with your credit card companies to see what type of credit card theft protection is available.
Finally, if you receive spam that is phishing for information, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and to the company, bank, or organization impersonated in the phishing email. If a local business is mentioned, notifying your local law enforcement is advisable. Most organizations have information on their websites regarding how and where to report issues. If you believe you've been scammed, file a complaint at ftc.gov, and visit the FTC's Identity Theft website at www.consumer.gov/idtheft. In addition, there are online groups with forums for reporting and discussing phish attempts.
Resources and Additional Reading
After reading the news that Mozilla's Firefox's browser tab includes sponsored tiles accessing ads and what Mozilla considers "popular content" I thought that perhaps it's time for a review of browser extensions for the consumers who don't enjoy advertising and the value that it provides to themselves and to others.
It’s not just the annoyance of seeing ads, but social media, search engines, and many other advertising networks and data collection sites track us as we read online news, log in at our favorite sites, watch videos, take surveys, and browse the web. As consumers we need to empower ourselves to develop better practices for making privacy choices when we share and access information on the internet. This involves more than simply relying on our resident anti-virus and anti-spyware.
What can we do? First of all, we can remind ourselves that the best defense is the person sitting in the chair behind the computer. We've heard all that before. What if we are vigilant, are malware-free but are still seeing PPC (pay-per-click) ads, tempting coupon offers, and you-can't-live-without-this product advertising? What about the tracking that we don't see?
In this article, my goal is to discuss how many of the ads and trackers used by websites can be avoided. One way that this can be accomplished is by using browser add-ons such as Adblock Plus, or Adblock Edge. In order for advertising to be acceptable, it must meet criteria set by Adblock Plus. Adblock Edge is similar to Adblock Plus, but is without the acceptable ads feature. Fluff Busting Purity and SocialFixer are great options for those of us who prefer to have some control over Facebook content.
I’ve tried all these over the years, and have settled on a few that meet my needs. You may want to take a look at them as well as similar products. A search will produce reviews, comparisons, and alternatives. Please keep in mind that you may come across some potentially unwanted applications claiming to block ads. One is mentioned in a removal guide by Malwarebytes. Therefore, while doing that search I suggest having WOT (Web of Trust) installed so that you know which sites are trustworthy. We don’t want the prevention to be worse than the problem that we are trying to avoid.
Some users like to use a hosts file, a form of browser immunization, to block ads, banners, 3rd party cookies, 3rd party page counters, web bugs, and even some hijackers. A hosts file is available for us to install manually. Alternatively, security products such as Spybot Search & Destroy may install a hosts file as one component of their product. Customers would need to decide whether they would have a need for other features included in the all-in-one security products. Understanding a hosts file is another topic, so we'll save that for a future article.
Aside from seeing unwanted advertisements, should we be concerned about tracking and data mining? According to Wikipedia, "The overall goal of the data mining process is to extract information from a data set and transform it into an understandable structure for further use.” Businesses and governments use our information to reveal more than we are aware of.
As far as monitoring tracking, there are several browser add-ons, such as PrivacyFix, Ghostery, and Cocoon that can help. By using a tracker privacy extension we are protected from companies that are compiling data based on browsing history and selling it to the highest bidder. AVG PrivacyFix scans for privacy issues based on our Facebook®, Google®, and LinkedIn® settings. It takes us to the settings that need to be fixed. From there, we can see the pros and cons of each setting, allowing us to make the best decision on how much we are sharing. While PrivacyFix is mainly for social media, Ghostery, allows us to see what we are blocking on all websites. It uses Ghostery’s tracker profiles to educate us about the companies that are tracking us. Ghostery, gives the user options to block tracker by tracker, site-by-site, or block by a mixture of the two. Blocking can be paused or disabled altogether. Ghostery is available for many devices and browsers. Unfortunately, there is no version available for Internet Explorer. Cocoon is in an all-in-one plugin that protects privacy by allowing websites and advertisers to see only Cocoon computers, not your computer. When using it everything done online is secure and private. While reading about Cocoon, if you have children be sure to take a look at CocoonKids. CocoonKids safeguards children’s online privacy and security while providing various tools at a parent’s disposal such as a whitelist that will allow parents to control what websites their children can and cannot visit.
What about "sandboxing"? Sandboxing technology isolates programs to prevent untrusted programs from damaging the rest of the computer. The software that we use is already sandboxing much of the code running every day. Most browsers sandbox themselves to run in a low-permission mode. However, some folks may decide to run an extra layer of protection by installing Sandboxie. When using Sandboxie webpage advertising will still be visible with browsers that normally show them, and the trackers will still be "calling home" during the browser session. However, after the sandboxed browser is closed, trackers will no longer be following it.
Currently, the applications mentioned in this article have free versions. See each vendor's page to note whether your browser is supported. Experiment to see what works the best for you depending on which browser(s) you use regularly.
Sources and Additional Reading
Do Not Track - the privacy standard that's melting away
Mozilla Launches Browser Ads
Online Advertising and Hidden Hazards to Consumer Security and Data Privacy
I have my ThinkPad Helix for a few weeks now, and thought it was time for a review with my impressions after a few weeks of use. The ThinkPad Helix was used to study mathematics in college with the digitizer pen, taking pictures, Skype, Lync, and so on.
What will be discussed in the video:
READY, GET SET, SNAP: Love our Yoga tablets and laptops? Give us a shout out the next four weeks and you may get your hands on one of the 20 (you read it right- 20!) Yoga systems we are giving away.
And better yet, you stand a chance of winning a trip to London, United Kingdom, as we are also giving away SEVEN trips to the fab city!
All you have to do is to follow the Lenovo Facebook account of the country you are a legal resident of (for instance, in my case, I am Singaporean, so I would follow Lenovo Singapore), look out for the theme posted, snap and post an original picture to depict the theme in response to the call to action to your Facebook/ Instagram/ Twitter/ Tumblr accounts with the hashtag #yogamyway AND #LenovoContest_XXX (in my case, it would be #LenovoContest_SG.)
Note that we accept a maximum of three entries a week – submit more than that and you would be disqualified.
The best part of it all? Participation in this contest, which will run for four weeks from today (August 20, 2014, 0000hrs UT), is free.
Winners will be judged based on the following criteria:
Do note that you have to be 18 years old and above (pssst: the human subjects in your photo submissions have to be as well), and be a legal resident of the 50 states in USA and the following countries to qualify:
Columbia, Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Canada (excluding the Province of Quebec), Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Paraguay, Peru, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenjia, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, Thailand, United Arab Emirates , United Kingdom, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
Please do refer to the following Official Rules in the attachment below.
Here’s a video showing you how to take part:
Good luck, and no cheating please
Official contest website: Click here to see submissions!
PHOTO CREDIT: LENOVO
It’s almost time for students everywhere to head back to school. Whether you are the parent of a student or a student yourself let’s take some time to investigate what you can do to stay safe online.
* Before purchasing security for your school needs, it would be wise to check to see what is offered by the school, or whether there are any requirements as to what type of products are preferred.
Protect the computer with an anti-virus that automatically updates. Not only can the internet be a dangerous place, but there is always a chance that while students are exchanging files, an infection could travel onto the computer from removable media or via a file sharing application. Most anti-virus programs or suites include the ability to scan multiple drives. It would be a good idea to make sure your security software includes website blocking of known dangerous sites.
For an extra layer of protection, you may want to add an anti-malware application such as Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. There is a Free Version as well as a paid Premium Version. However, only the Premium Version includes automatic updates, realtime scanning, and IP blocking.
Automatic updates are a big help. Make sure your computer is configured for automatic updates or to prompt for download and installation of operating system updates as well as those for anti-virus and other software. Busy students do not have time to monitor sites that list regular updates.
A firewall is included on current Windows operating systems. Your school may use one as well. It would be good to discuss the school's firewall policy with them so that there are no conflicts if the resident firewall on your computer is enabled.
Use a hardware lock to secure the computer. Laptops usually have a slot on one side for a cable lock. The cable can be wound around a chair or table leg. Some locks come with a battery powered alarm. A combination lock is preferred by many laptop owners because it will prevent loss of a key.
Password-Protect the computer’s user accounts and email. Using the Control Panel, configure the computer to prompt for a password when waking up from the sleep state. Check to be sure the Guest account is disabled, and do not share laptops, passwords or accounts. It is not uncommon for a student to ask for malware removal help after his friend unintentionally infected his computer while visiting a questionable website. Manage the passwords used for websites. A password manager can be a big help when using sites that require login passwords. It may be possible to find one that is portable so that it can be carried on an USB stick in order to run on Windows systems without being installed. A password manager can not only generate random-character passwords if you choose to do so, but its settings will allow the user to automatically close it after a specified time period.
Take time before the school year begins to research several managers in order to decide which one will meet your needs. Some of these, such as KeePass have free as well as paid versions; others may be only paid software. It would be good for the student to practice using one of these well before he leaves for school so that he is comfortable with it.
Below are some comparisons and reviews of password managers. Something that you might want to note in your research is whether a manager is cloud-based. In other words, will information be stored in "the cloud" or locally on the computer?
Consider installing a Virtual Private Network (VPN) utility that will protect the connection and allow the user to surf online anonymously. Check the school’s policy regarding these. You may need one for off-campus locations as well. There are free and paid VPN’s available.
Locate and recover that laptop if stolen. Many new laptops have a locator/theft recovery program installed. Find out if this is already included on your laptop, whether the subscription has been activated, or whether you can purchase this software.
Beware of P2P file sharing and pirated software. These are two of the most common ways to attract trouble. Because of budget restrictions and peer pressure, students may be encouraged by friends to download pirated software or "cracked" software. It is not only illegal, but in many cases this software installs malware. Peer-to- peer file sharing is dangerous as well.
Be vigilant when surfing. Advertisements that look inviting may be the wolf in disguise. Do not click on ads and links without investigating their reputation. This is especially true when using social media. Examples would be advertisements for games, giveaways, videos, music, and surveys. It would be wise to install Web Of Trust (WOT) as a browser add-on. WOT displays a colored icon similar to a traffic light next to website links to show which sites users trust for safe searching, surfing, and shopping online: green = a good site; red = bad site with a poor reputation, and yellow = proceed with caution.. The colored icons are also shown in popular search engine results, social media, online email, shortened URL’s, and others. Should someone decide to visit a site rated as having a poor reputation, a pop-up will appear asking if the user really wants to access the page or whether he would prefer to bypass it. Even children can learn how to recognize the colored icons by using WOT.
Secure not only the computer but the tablet and phone as well. Protect those photos, and personal data. Set a lock screen and use security measures similar to those used for a laptop. Install security applications, download apps from approved sources, and be aware of their permissions.
Your computer’s security is only as good as the person sitting on the chair behind the computer. If you use common sense with your technology you will stay safe and have a good school year.
References and Additional Sources:
A couple of months ago, I was gifted with an IdeaPad Yoga 11s, Clementine Orange, of course! This was the first time I had had a chance to use a Yoga for more than a few minutes, and I loved the format. The size and weight of it was very convenient, the screen was bright, and the keyboard felt good. I really enjoyed being able to use it in different modes, and with the touch screen, I could prop it up in my lap while I watched television at night and browse the web, Twitter and FB easily with the flick of a finger. But I'm a die-hard ThinkPad TrackPoint fan and kept turning back to my cherished ThinkPad X301 more and more. So I thought I would use the 11s to recruit a couple of new Lenovo fans - my nieces.
They were puzzled when I gave them the t-shirts but donned them quickly since they knew there was Something Good in that bag.
They were thrilled when they pulled the Yoga out!
Lenovo's got two new fans!
Seen That'sFantastic, or David Rivera around in our app development board and wondered who he is? We caught up with him over an email interview to find out more about what he does, and how he hopes to grow our latest community.
Serene: Hi David, nice having you hear - do tell us about yourself.
David: I’ve been involved in software development professionally for over 20 years, but my interest in computers started when I was a teenager taking some after-school computer classes, where I quickly learned BASIC programming and learned to love working with computers! Over the years I’ve worked on many different products using many different development tools, but my main interest was always in developing software that an end user got to use every day. Lenovo has provided a great opportunity to work on all kinds of new technology, and to be able to focus on specific interesting ones, like security and NFC.
Serene: Interesting background, but how did you get into area of software development?
David: It was a natural progression for me to move from developing software based on input from others, to having more of an impact in design and future direction using my own technical expertise, plus lots of work with customers and other technology providers. It’s very rewarding to be involved in the early stages of a product, make significant decisions that define the direction of the product, and work with a great team to see it get done and into the hands of users.
Serene : What was the biggest project you have worked on so far? What were the challenges?
David : I’ve worked on lots of big projects over the years, but I’ll use my work as a software architect on the original Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet as an example. It was our first enterprise-focused tablet, and it was also the first Android-based product for many of us on the team. There were so many challenges in bringing this product to market, including coming up with build processes, working with new hardware components, and working with third party software vendors. My focus on the product was on security and manageability, so it was very challenging – and rewarding – to explore new ideas in these areas on the Android platform. Ultimately, we delivered a product that had its positives and negatives, but we learned a lot from the experience!
Serene: What are some of the things aspiring developers/architects should take note of when trying their hand at developing apps?
David: Our group has had an increased focus on code quality. We’ve learned that doing all the design work up front, from the user experience to how the software components will work together, makes a big difference in delivering quality software. Sometimes that work isn’t as exciting as actually getting to write new code, but you’ll find that doing that upfront work will make the code development experience, and debugging, go much more smoothly. There are many good tools out there to help in doing proper design work, so use them! It will help you in the long run!
Serene: What would you hope community users will ask you about? What is the expected turnaround time?
David: I’d love to hear community users proposing some new ideas or concepts they’d like to pursue, and asking me for any suggestions on how to implement those ideas or to help refine them to make great products. The turnaround time will depend on the question – if I have to do some research on a question it may take a few days. If there are just requests for input on ideas or concepts, then I should be able to respond within a day or two.
Have a question for David? Join in the conversation here.
Missed the Lenovo App Development Team's tweet chat on the ThinkPad 8?
Here's a few highlights from the hour-long event, which saw Alysia Baker, ThinkPad Product Marketing Manager, answer questions about the ThinkPad 8 tablet, as well on as app development for the product.
Q: What does the Lenovo App Development Program offer to developers?
A: Our developer program offers a community forum, developer resources, member discounts and loaner prog.)
Q: What is the Quickshot cover and what kinds of apps would work with it? @midrosoftdev #lenovodev
A: The Quickshot cover incorporates "wink" functionality. The camera app loads when you put down the flap #lenovodev
Our customers don't have to fumble around with removing their cover and loading the camera app #lenovodev
Q: Any specific types of apps you're hoping devs will key in on?
A: Our Quickshot cover and camera feature is popular and there is some opportunity to expand that functionality #lenovodev
Q: What are some types of apps that would be great for that beautiful FHD screen?
A: Almost anything visual. Super bright 370nit screen makes even PP pop.
Q: Is the TP8 stylus-capable? Do you think the platform would be good for note-taking? Is there already an app?
Pen experience is personal and is a big area of needed improvement. Screen res will be less an issue in future.
Q: Can you briefly speak on NFC technology and Think tablets?
A: TP 8 has NFC and 2 preloaded apps - QuickDisplay (Tap 2Display) and QuickCast (Tap 2Share). NFC is must on tablet.
For the full transcript of the event, click here.
Want to know more about our app development program or share tips and tricks? Join in the conversation here. And keep an eye out for other hangouts and tweetchats coming your way.
He had never done anything of this nature before, but community moderator zoltanthegypsy rose to the occasion, trying his hand at developing an Android app on a Yoga Tab 8 we sent him. He shares his experience here:
I recently had my first taste of Android development. With no prior Android experience – as either a user or developer – it was pretty interesting. The occasion was porting a toy tcl/tk application that was running in Windows, Linux, and Apple’s OS over to the Android environment. More about that later. Much later…
First, thanks to Lenovo for providing the Yoga Tablet 8 for this exercise. I’m a old-school keyboard and TrackPoint using command-line c coder, so I was a pleasantly surprised by the little tablet’s capabilities. The touchscreen is very readable and usable and the “kickstand” is a nice feature. It’s handy to have the YT8 propped up and visible while using an external keyboard or poking at it from an attached PC.
Battery life is ridiculous. In all my playing with it, I haven’t needed to recharge yet. I can’t give you specific numbers but in my use case it looks to be at least 10+ hours. Nice.
Another very useful feature is the OTG (on-the-go) micro USB port. The provided standard micro USB cable works for charging or attaching to a PC for file transfer. With an OTG adapter plugged in, the tablet becomes a USB host. The OTG adapter provides a female USB connector that can be used to attach a keyboard (nice for development work) or things like my USB flash nunchucks (pictured below) for file backup and off-line transfer.
Bluetooth is also available. The Lenovo compact USB and Bluetooth keyboards worked very well with the YT8.
A pair of apps were immediate necessities. I’m comfortable working from the Linux command line (a Linux kernel is at the heart of the Android environment – mostly invisible to the user) so I needed a terminal emulator. Off to the Google Play Store and grabAndroid Terminal Emulator. It was obvious very quickly that the stock on-screen keyboard was going to be a challenge. Arrow keys to recall and modify previous command line entries are close to mandatory. Back to the Play Store and add Hacker’s Keyboard. There are some really excellent free apps available via the Play store. Who knew?
Now it’s easy to navigate the internals of the system – hunting down file paths and manipulating things not easily accessible via the stock file browser. I’ll admit that it was often even easier yet to attach the YT8 to my desktop PC and just use Windows Explorer (yeah, I’m running Win 7 on the desktop) to navigate the tablet’s filesystem. The tablet shows up as an attached storage device in explorer.
Development guides and tools:
To the bookstore… some browsing and guesswork led me to Ed Burnette’s Hello Android. For me – the totally clueless – it was a good place to start. Looks like development is usually done with an Android emulator running on a host machine. Faster is better. See below.
The book said to install Java (the development kit, not just the runtime), an IDE, and the Android SDK. Things change fast in this realm so it was a little easier than that. The JDK SE 7 development kit comes from Oracle. Everything else can be found at the Android developer site. The Android SDK now includes the Eclipse IDE, so that’s a plus.
First impression of the Android emulator: slow. Really, really slow. Unusably slow. This can be greatly improved by installing the Intel Hardware Accelerated Execution Manager (HAXM) and an x86 Atom System Image. These allow taking advantage of the host computer’s hardware virtualization. Thanks to this article: Slow Android emulator, which provided some guidance. Else, I would have been stuck with this.
I wanted to add the Terminal Emulator and Hacker’s keyboard to the emulator. Another thing that you real developers already know: in order for the emulation to install apps from the Google Play Store, it’s necessary to link the emulation to a Google account. To do that, the Google APIs must be added to the Android emulation. Use the SDK manager in the Android IDE. Another way to do this is to browse to the app in the store and then follow the link to the individual app’s author’s site. There’s usually a download link there.
The project. At last:
This began with a desire to try some GUI programming. In my professional life I design hardware and write Linux and Solaris device drivers and test code. Command line stuff. vi and BASH. No GUI experience at all.
My little toy GUI project was a Sudoku solver written tcl/tk using Active’s free community edition multi-platform tcl. It doesn’t do anything useful but was a good learning experience. For fun it will try to solve (but not generate) Sudoku puzzles in Arabic numerals (123…) or Kanji (四, 五, 六).
Problem is, that’s tcl/tk. Android requires Java. Yikes. The conversion could take forever since I don’t know Java. Lenovo’s Android developer forum and AndroWish to the rescue…
The Lenovo forums have recently added the Lenovo Developer Community, includingAndroid Ecosystem Developers. I posted a n00b’s request for guidance there: [Android n00b] how to begin? No idea how such a basic request would be received.
I got an almost immediate reply from Christian Werner, the author and maintainer ofAndroWish. This is a wonderful project that’s brought tcl/tk to Android. With his encouragement – he even caught a typo in my code that had been lurking there all along – I quickly had my little toy program running in the Android emulator and on the Yoga Tab 8. Maybe I can put off learning Java for another year or two
At this time it’s necessary to launch my little program from AndroWish’s command line. The next phase of the project will be to convert it into an actual Android app. Christian has provided tools and a how to: HelloTclTk.
Many thanks to Christian Werner for his help, to the nice people at the comp.lang.tcl newsgroup for getting me going in the fist place, and to Lenovo for providing the Yoga Tab 8 – and a place to post and share.
..oh, almost forgot…
Have experience in app development or want to know more about this from like-minded individuals? Join our app development community here!
Having owned several Lenovo products, forum guru ColonelONeill had the opportunity to put a Flex 15 through the paces recently, and he shares his experience in this review:
The IdeaPad Flex 15 hails from a totally different family tree compared to my current set of laptops (I have the X61t, W520, and previously, the T400), making the first consumer laptop to pass through my hands in a long time. Ergo, it had high standards to compare itself against, but it did not disappoint.
(Flat Flex: How the Flex 15 looks when displayed flat on a table.)
The build quality on the IdeaPad Flex 15 appears very good; it felt quite solid. The hinges were quite stiff (two-handed operation is required), and went the full 300 degrees with no problems. Battery placement between the hinges was quite clever too. The texture on the lid is really slick, although dust seems to stick to it for some reason. A little disconcerting was the extent to which the lid twisted, but it presented no artifacts. In fact, the machine will support itself from a corner of the lid ThinkPad-style with no problems.
(Flexing the Flex 15 - how the system 'folds')
Physically, the Flex 15 isn’t too svelte a machine with a footprint exceeding the W520, albeit at about half the thickness. Nevertheless, the machine is fairly light, and slips into a backpack easily. The black-grey color scheme I quite like, much better than the fruity orange alternative that Lenovo also offers.
In terms of port selection, the IdeaPad Flex 15 comes with one USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI output, a cleverly designed Ethernet jack, a half-depth SD card slot, and headset port. Additionally, the power button can be found on the right side of the machine, along with what appears to be a reset button and a physical volume rocker switch
(From the top: ColonelONeill's X61T, followed by his W520 and the Flex 15)
Initial setup went smoothly as with all Windows 8 systems, and it quickly became a usable system. The combination of Windows 8, UEFI, and an SSD made for really short boot times. Note that for those interested, there is also an HDD option available.
The display of the Flex 15 was shipped with a significant blue cast, but a quick eyeball calibration with Windows’ calibration wizard got the color temperature on par with my W520’s display (using someone’s Spydered profile). Brightness was very good, although black levels were quite high. As long as you’re not aiming for color accurate work, the screen will do fine. However, I must say that the screen resolution was a little low for such a large display nowadays; hence, workspace suffered accordingly. Standard glossy screen gripes apply.
Out of the box, there was a wacky Synaptics driver that didn’t seem to do the job right. It seemed to fail to reject movement noise, especially when pressing down on the touchpad. Updating to the latest available ones (navigate to support.lenovo.com and select Drivers and Software) helped significantly. Physically speaking, the touchpad was large and roomy, with pseudo-physical buttons. Being a TrackPoint person and still being uncomfortable with touchpads, I soon switched to using the touchscreen.
On this note, the 10-point touchscreen behaved well at all times, and was quite responsive under Windows 8. No hassles there. Switching the laptop into stand mode disables the keyboard (but not the touchpad, possibly due to custom drivers), and exposes the touchscreen as the sole interface device. The on-screen keyboard worked as expected of touch-based devices, but this, personally, I felt isn’t the best solution for data entry.
The keyboard was surprisingly good. While it isn’t quite a ThinkPad keyboard, it is a solid contender; I found no significant areas of flex, and there was a consistent response from all keys. Typing was fairly accurate, although the key throw was a little shallow for personal preferences. Median typing speed was around 120WPM on this machine. Leaving F4 and F5 as their usual selves in the function keys is a neat idea, although it didn’t respond to Ctrl+F4 and Ctrl+F5 as expected.
Battery life was top-notch; the Haswell ULV chip draws a nominal amount of power under standard operating conditions. Typically, it will run around 8-10 hours with basic office tasks (browsing, IM, document editing). Intriguingly, having USB devices plugged in drained far less power relative to my W520 under the same situation.
Performance-wise, the ULV is more than enough for office-oriented tasks and light media consumption. The integrated HD4400 will run Counter-Strike Source plenty fine with nearly max settings (less anti-aliasing) at the native 1366x768 at a solidly playable 50+ FPS. In fact, this machine can run Crysis at around 30 FPS native resolution, which is quite playable, albeit it being somewhat of an eyesore that can’t really be called Crysis.
(Color Crysis: How the game looks on the Flex 15's screen.)
Under nominal office conditions, the cooling system usually runs passively, occasionally spooling up to push out some accumulated heat. Running games pushes the chipset’s power consumption (as measured by HWMonitor) up to its rated 15W, and requires the fan to run continuously to maintain an equilibrium temperature of around 52 degrees Celsius. A bit annoyingly, the fan’s sound profile isn’t very good; the noise generated is quite noticeable in a quiet room, especially when it first kicks into gear.
All in all, the IdeaPad Flex 15 is a solid machine that gets the job done. Personally, it felt quite paradoxically like a part desktop replacement, part Ultrabook, and fills both segments quite well. Performance is adequate, and battery life is stellar, which makes it great for taking to lectures or libraries. Build quality feels great, though only time will tell how long it stands up to the rigors of student life. One key suggestion is a better 1920x1080 display option, solving the biggest gripe I have with a machine of its stature.
Have a Flex 15 and have tips on how to improve user experience?Join in the discussion here.
Lenovo invited me to come along to CES with them again this year, and naturally I said an enthusiastic yes! For a geek, being able to go with a hardware manufacturer is a dream come true! Being behind the scenes, talking to all the Lenovo employees and other advocates and visitors, handling all the new products – all of these make for quite a rush! I’ll try to compress a whirlwind week of experiences into a few paragraphs and pictures.
First, the products:
Of course, the first thing we went for was the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon and the ThinkPad 8. Both of them were beautiful, solid systems that we spent a lot of time handling. Being such a fan of the classic keyboards, I was surprised to find out how much the new X1’s Adaptive Function row appealed to me. The ThinkPad8 is a beauty and fit so nicely in my purse. If it hadn’t been for that tether…
In the pic above, you can also see the keyboard of the gaming notebook with its red backlight. I typed on it for a little while and really liked the feel of the keys. The phones, while not (yet) sold in the USA were very nice. The one I’m holding in the pic felt good in my hand.
Here's a few of the people I spent the week with:
Meeting everyone is even better than seeing and holding the products. There’s Lee who sat down with us while we were eating lunch one day and told us all about how Lenovo tests dust; Nazia who was our hostess and made sure we made it from event to event on time; Mike who manned the X1 Carbon table and let us walk around with untethered X1s; Gavin and Kevin taping the unboxing video; David, another advocate, who was as awed as I was with the experience; left to right, there’s Gavin, Garick (another advocate) and Rod who is over Social Media in Singapore and finally me, actually holding a new X1 Carbon. Lenovo did a great job of including us in so many activities and making sure that we had access to anything we needed to make our experience great!
Gavin called this a Social Media Caper:
This is something Lenovo did in Times Square earlier last year and reprised in Las Vegas. This was so much fun! We walked down the Strip from the Venetian to the Bellagio meeting people along the way and signing them up to win a Yoga Tablet that had been autographed by Ashton Kutcher. Here’s a few of the people we met along the way
And, finally, the food:
I think the pictures say it all - we did not go hungry!
All in all, the 5 days went by in a flash! We walked for miles, we ate until we were stuffed, we saw Penn & Teller and Cirque du Soliel’s Ka and met so many new friends. Lenovo put on a grand party for their customers and advocates, and I can only say a fervent thanks for letting me go along for the ride!
Noticed a new section within our forum community?
Yep, that's right. We have opened up a brand new space for folks out there who are interested to know more about this area, and for you to share your knowledge.
Krista Summitt, Chief Storyteller for Lenovo Dev, describes what this space will be for:
"We’re striving to build a global community of developers who are stoked about creating apps for Lenovo PC+ devices and Lenovo Innovation Technologies.
Peer to peer support is king. As with the main hardware boards, support, info, and moderation comes from the community, not Lenovo staff.
Sharing any "knowledge base" types of content you have created that would help the community.
What the Windows Developers Board Is For. We are obviously looking for Windows desktop and Win8 metro development conversations (duh! I know) , but here are some specific items we'd love to hear about from you:
How We Roll Here…
In general ,the vibe on these boards will be transparent, useful, challenging, and non-marketing-speak-ish. We try to save the “unique selling propositions” and “corporate-speak” to the marketing crowd. We try not to take ourselves too-too seriously as well. "
So make yourselves at home. Join in the conversation here!
Lenovo has graciously invited me to come along to #CES2014 with them again this year! Last year, I got to meet Andreas Gotthelf from here in the forum as well as Gavin O’Hara, David Roman and many of the other Lenovo employees. This year, David Gross, Chris Karrafa and I are teamed up to represent the advocates, and I’m looking forward to meeting both of them. Like Andreas did for me, I’ve been sharing tips with them for the trip (stay hydrated, wear comfortable shoes, get your Twitter account warmed up).
If you followed the CES2013 board last year, you know that Andreas and I had pretty much free-rein in the Lenovo Lounge where all the products were on display, and we did our best to take pictures of every square inch of every product to share with you. David, Chris and I will be doing the same thing this year.
Last year, the Helix was the device that I was so attracted to – going back to it again and again to hold it, seeing how it felt in my hands, poking at the screen, checking out the latch mechanism. I can’t wait to see what will be unveiled this year. I’ve seen the phone announcement that went out a couple of days ago, and I think there will be more announcements this afternoon (writing this on Sunday morning).
What are we going to see? Will there be a new multi-function device building off the Helix form factor? How tiny have they made the desktops? Just how much ThinkPad is there in the ThinkPad Yoga? As a co-founder of the 7-row-keyboard
fan club cult, what is going to be my reaction to the new “buttons” in the TrackPad? What is Lenovo going to announce that will excite me? I’ll be sharing all those answers and more here and on Twitter, FB, Instagram and G+.
I’ll keep an eye on the CES2014 board in the Special Event section of the forum for questions from you guys and will try to get answers for you!
Have a question for Jane, or want her to take pics/ ask our execs a particular question? Post in the CES 2014 board!