I am fortunate to be a member of Lenovo's tech advocacy program.
From time-to-time, I get to play with new hardware. What tech geek wouldn't love that?
Oftentimes I'm asked to write reviews, and other times I provide feedback, internally, about hardware or processes. Sometimes, when I have completed those tasks I send the hardware back to Lenovo, but in other cases I get to do, actually... I have been encouraged to do what I like best. I get to gift it forward to a person or organization that I feel is deserving of help. It might be like what Dave did as described in the recent Spotlight article, where he sent a ThinkPad (among other tech goodies) to a distant family. Others have gifted tech forward to non-profit organizations. I have done this a number of times, and it is a really great way to share our good fortune.
In addition to Lenovo's advocacy program, I'm also fortunate to be a member in one other tech advocacy program. As with Lenovo, I reach out via social media and other channels, to share reviews and often to help users. Through these interactions in the advocacy programs, I've become "cyber"-friends with a number of great people all over the world. Especially with Facebook, once friend-ed, I see items from these folks cross my newsfeed.
Late on the Friday afternoon prior to the Labor Day holiday weekend, my newsfeed lit up. I was seeing post after post & share after share from a new friend in the other group about an animal rescue & shelter emergency in Georgia. I was seeing the real power of social media at work. Networks of people, and networks of networks, all rallying to a cause. More importantly to me, though, I saw humane humanity. Several days later the story was picked up by Georgia Public Broadcasting, and it was dubbed the "Macon Midnight Miracle" (http://www.gpb.org/blogs/tails-of-the-city/2015/09
(Brian with some of his recent rescued fosters: Josh, Darth & Vader, and Alice)
In chatting with Brian, I learned that he and his wife, Jessica, work very closely with Pawsome Southern Rescue (https://www.facebook.com/Pawsome-Southern-Rescue-1
Well... I bet you can guess that a light bulb went off in my head!
I had found a new home for a nice Yoga 2 Pro that I had received a while back. I had been considering several other options for gifting it forward, but none were quite the right fit. This, though, just felt right! With their new laptop, I'm hopeful that Brian and Jessica Hardy will be able to do their humane work just a little bit easier.
(Emma checking out the happenings at Pawsome on her new Yoga 2 Pro)
I am thankful to Lenovo for letting me help make a difference in the lives of others.
(Josh... the eyes of a rescued dog)
The 29-year-old lives in a rundown hut, toiling singlehandedly to raise her two children, bringing home about 3,500 pesos monthly in return for hours of hard labor in a rubber plantation. Maricel Pelayo could have been just a statistic, but to Good Samaritans like Dave Topmahof, she is someone whose life he could make a difference to. And he did, in the most unexpected of ways.Read more...
The countdown to IFA 2015 begins, as community advocates AtliJarl and Agotthelf get the chance to hobnob with Lenovo execs, and get a chance to get a look at some of our latest offerings.Read more...
We've asked you what you want under the hood, and gotten your thoughts on what you want the #RetroThinkPad to look like, so what's next?
First up, thanks for the overwhelming support and feedback from you ThinkPadders from all around the world, for telling us what you want for the Retro ThinkPad.
Just what were some of you saying? Here's some quick charts that capture some of your comments.
For the full story, click on this link.
Last call to action: here's the final #RetroThinkPad survey, on everything else. Do let us know what you think!
Thanks in advance!
I'm fortunate to have received a X1 Carbon from Lenovo to install various operating systems and see how they run. You can see the detailed specs. on this machine in sarbin's earlier article here.
he X1 Carbon is a culmination of a 10 year odyssey of Lenovo acquiring IBM's PC division and this PC lives up to its ThinkPad name with flying colors. Here is an X32 and an X41T circa 2005 alongside the X1 Carbon.
Several days ago Fed Ex arrived at my door with another of Lenovo’s creative and extremely functional products to review. This time it was the ThinkPad Stack that was a big hit at CES 2015.
The Stack or “Kit” is formed by up to four different interlocking units that can be switched to meet the needs of the user. The modules can be used independently of the others. Therefore, each person’s mix-and-match setup may be slightly different. The magnetic design contains four components: a 2x2 watt Bluetooth speaker with noise-canceling microphone; a dual port 10,000 mAh power bank that can charge two USB devices simultaneously and provides power for the rest of the Stack’s modules; a 1 terabyte portable USB 3.0 external HDD, and an access point to connect to mobile data.
Setup and use is fairly easy. However, for the photo above, I positioned each module as pictured on the cover of the presentation box.
As soon as I read the instructions I learned that if used wirelessly (remotely) that the router and the hard drive should be together in whatever configuration they are used. Three scenarios are pictured in the hardcopy user manual, and two in the online .pdf as shown in the images below.
I decided to proceed slowly, by testing the Stack’s components with their USB cords. However, the more I thought about it the more the wireless approach made more sense. I eliminated the cables by following instructions in the user guide, downloading the software from Lenovo, and I was ready to maximize my productivity on the go. The ThinkPad Stack Assistant for Windows, iOS, or Android manages the Stack’s components. Downloading and installing it is very easy. Should there be a problem with the software, uninstalling and reinstalling the Assistant is straight forward.
The Power Bank takes a while to charge to 100% so for the business traveler I suggest making sure it is charged ahead of the time when it is to be used, or remembering to pack the charger and cord for the trip. All can be kept in the handy bag provided with the Stack.
So far I have used the Power Bank to power the Stack and to charge my phone; the HDD for backing up data; and of course, the Router.
As far as possibililties for Lenovo to consider and suggestions for future Stack modules, I think a projector would be handy.
I look forward to the Stack’s functionality and mobility to help get the most out of my productivity at the home office and on the go.
Just what was it like for forum guru XBrav to carry out the upgrade of Windows on his Yoga 3 Pro from Windows 8 to Windows 10? Read on to find out how he found the experience.
Your say is needed, more than ever. Let us know what you want!
You have shared with us your thoughts and wishes for the #RetroThinkPad, and now, David Hill, Vice President, Chief Design Officer & Distinguished Designer, wants to know what exactly you want under the hood of the #RetroThinkPad.
Read about it here.
Do share with us again your thoughts - and make this Dream Machine a reality!
David Hill published his second Retro ThinkPad survey on the Lenovo Blog today!
Read the article here: http://blog.lenovo.com/en/blog/retro-thinkpad-surv
Lots of responses (4000+) to the first survey, which is tremendous, so let's keep up the momentum! Towards the bottom of the article, you'll find the link to the second survey diving into display choices and a bit deeper into the keyboard!
Please take a few moments and make your thoughts known.
Let's let David and Lenovo continue to hear our collective voice!
David Hill published his follow-up Retro ThinkPad article on the Lenovo Blog this morning!
Read the article: http://blog.lenovo.com/en/blog/retro-thinkpad-surv
The response to the first article far exceeded anyone's expectations, and now it's time to take the next step!
Towards the bottom of the article, you'll find the first of what's being described as a series of surveys designed to drill into and quantify the optimal design for a Retro ThinkPad, as we, the customers, see it!
Please take a few moments and make your thoughts known.
Let David and Lenovo hear your voice, once again!
Edit to add: If you were having difficulty with Captcha, please use this link to do the survey:
Lenovo is always listening to what you want, and what you need.
Here is another chance for you to tell us what you want, specifically, in a special edition of the ThinkPad - a #RetroThinkPad.
Please go to David Hill's blog article to comment and make your voice heard in comments there. Mr. Hill is Lenovo's Vice President of Corporate Identity and Design.
We look forward to listening to you, so please post there where it has the best visibility.
Your comments really do matter!
Tech World: Day 1
My first trip to Beijing was on a holiday trip with my family and relatives, about 10 years ago. This trip, my second to the capital city of China, couldn’t be more different; I would be travelling with a bunch of likeminded friends I had made over the interweb through my interactions with the Lenovo brand, to try new products the world hadn’t yet a chance to see, at a tech event the company was organising and flying me to for the very first time.
All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go...
Ready, set, packed!
Just how excited is PeterTWJ about his upcoming trip to Lenovo’s inaugural TechWorld event, in Beijing next week?
Judging by how he’s all set and prepped, I would say pretty much stoked.
The youngest guru in the Lenovo Forums, Peter is also one of Lenovo’s Insiders, and this is the first time he has been given a chance to travel overseas to one of our events, with the trip's cost borne by the Lenovo Group, of course.
We catch up with the busy student, who is in his second year of studies in a Singapore polytechnic, before he flies off to China.
Serene: How did you feel when you heard you were going to be part of this massive event?
Peter: Super excited. I feel I am privileged to have been invited to a grand event like TechWorld. I am all excited about his event as I will be able to be right smack in the thick of the action and have first dibs and access to the latest Lenovo products, and even demo them!
As a current student this is an even greater opportunity for me to be exposed to new tech, and of course, learn more about innovation.
Serene: What are some of the things you are looking forward to doing when you are there, and who you are most excited to meet, and why?
Peter: How many people have the chance to hobnob with the CEO of a big tech company? I am so looking forward to meeting with the Lenovo CEO – I have so many questions to ask him! I am also excited to be able to interact with other top level executives from the company as well.
Also, on a personal note, this being my second visit to Beijing, I am excited to look around to see the differences in the city from 10 years ago.
Serene: Awesome. So how have you been preparing for the trip?
Peter: Well, it’s the school term so I have been studying really hard, cramming as much learning as I can as I would be missing some lessons. I have also been thinking about the #ihackedlife challenge, particularly for mobile devices such as the Yoga 3 Pro and the Vibe phones.
As you can tell, I have already got my bags packed, and equipment checked for the trip!
The all important camera bag
The Yoga Peter is bringing to Beijing
Have a question for PeterTWJ about his upcoming trip? Post your questions here! Also, have a lifehack you want featured? Tweet or Instagram your hacks with the hashtag #ihackedlife for a chance for it to be featured in TechWorld next week!
A T450s on loan from Lenovo. It's a nice machine. A really nice machine. I wouldn't quite call it an ultrabook, but it's lighter and thinner than previous generations and still has that burly ThinkPad feel.
Best of all - the buttons are back A TrackPoint and physical buttons are part of what makes a ThinkPad a ThinkPad.
This loaner is a well-spec'd machine: i7, 12GB of RAM, Intel Wireless 7265AC(2x2)+BT4.0 M.2 Combo, 1920x1080 multitouch display, ... and a 512GB 5400RPM hard drive. Excuse me? 5400RPM? Well, it was a loaner - off an engineer's bench - and had whatever drive was handy as an OS delivery medium.
Seems like a great excuse to test some SSDs and look at ways to migrate the OS to the new drive(s). Read on...Read more...
Missed Part 1? Catch it here
Part 2: System / BIOS setup.
For the average consumer machine, users can get the most out of it without ever having to contemplate these advanced setup procedures. A ThinkPad, however, requires the user to take a peek at them at least, because the default settings certainly do not fit all usage scenarios. From hardware settings, performance and power setup, to security, OS installation and enterprise deployment, almost everything is configurable. Having your ThinkPad wrongly configured in BIOS can slow down OS booting, disabled features you need are not showing up in OS and enabled features you don‘t need will produce unwanted activity / battery drainage etc.
For every ThinkPad I‘ve ever bought, sold or maintained through the years, the BIOS setup is the first thing I ever perform. This is particularly vital today, even before loading up any OS on it, because of the default legacy pre-installed Windows 7 or UEFI BIOS pre-installed Windows 8/8,1 OS, which like in the case of the former, upgrading your Windows 7 pre-installation to Windows 8 instead of clean installing will give you a legacy installed Windows 8 and thus fail to take advantage of some of the UEFI features that are built into the OS. I‘ll get into some of the differences between Legacy/UEFI installations in Part 3 as well as the main only and secondary hard drive dual booting.
NB. Although this setup is for the W540/T540p, most of the options are identical to other ThinkPad models and serve the same function, but being a fully loaded W540, it has several options that other models don‘t have, and thus a perfect machine demonstrate this on.
To enter the ThinkPad UEFI BIOS there are several methods you can use.
NB. By default, a Windows 8/8.1 shutdown is not a real shutdown. Instead, it is hybrid shutdown where contents of memory are saved to disk. This allows for a faster startup. However, turning on the PC after a hybrid shutdown does not allow for pressing F1 or F12 during startup. To disable this behaviour and for further information on booting Windows 8/8.1 pre-installed machines head over to this page: Windows 8/8.1 boot instructions - Lenovo.
If you have a ThinkPad with a Legacy BIOS, just press F1 on the ThinkPad screen.
On the main screen you can see various important information about your ThinkPad such as the serial and MTM numbers, information on your installed CPU and RAM, OS Licence and Secure Boot status. On the image above, I‘ve annotated where you can find the various categories of settings for your machine.
My W540 is setup as non-enterprise, standalone workstation, so the first things I do is turn off AMT (Intel Active Management Technology) and all Wake/Boot from LAN settings, as my machine won‘t be either booted up from LAN nor managed remotely.
To turn these settings off, open up your Config screen and select Network and toggle your preferred settings between Enabled / Disabled. I disable all options. The Intel AMT settings are also found on the Config screen, which I set to disabled. NB, do not select Permanently Disabled if you plan on reselling your machine later on, as permanently disabled means just that.
There are a couple of other features that I disable in the Config section, which is the Intel Smart Connect Technology, which powers on your machine on regular intervals to check for mail and social media updates and the Power – Intel Rapid Start Technology, which I don‘t need on my W-series machines, but I do keep it enabled on my ThinkPad travelmates, such as the T440s.
Walking through the other settings I change on the Config screen, on USB I have everything set to Enabled and USB 3.0 set to Auto. I am particularly fond of the USB always on and Charge in battery mode, as my ThinkPads that have large 9 cell batteries have managed to save my phone from running out of power on countless occasions. Finally, I set my display options for standalone operation, but if you have your machine docked and connected to one or more external monitors, you need to set these accordingly.
On to the Security screen, where many mission critical options reside. Many of these options should not be played with, as setting them wrongly can have serious consequences. Particular care should be taken when setting one or more Passwords for access control, as there is no fallback or fix that can reset a forgotten password.
Leaving the Security settings at their default is fine in most usage scenarios, but some features are disabled by default, like Virtualization, and need to be enabled for them to work. The Security Chip is initially set to Inactive, which means it is visible in your OS, but inactive. I set mine to Active as it is required by the Security Reporting Options, which I do monitor if something comes up as well as enabling the Intel Trusted Execution Technology (TXT) options, which I also have set to Enabled.
The UEFI BIOS Update Option is self-explanatory and in addition you can prevent older BIOS flashing by turning the Secure Rollback Prevention to Enabled. Memory Protection and I/O Port Access are all enabled by default and no restrictions or access control to your hardware is set. The Internal Device Access option is for the Bottom Cover Tamper Protection, which works in conjunction with the Supervisor Password, so if no Supervisor Password is set, the Tamper Protection won‘t take effect even if set to Enabled. The Anti-Theft module is active by default, and thus you‘ll get popups in your Windows OS regarding enrollment. If you do not wish to see those or you won‘t be using the feature, just set the AT Module to Disabled. Same as with the Intel AMT Control, the AT Module can be permanently disabled as well.
Lastly, the Secure Boot option is something that is always enabled by default on all machines that come with a Windows 8/8,1 sticker from manufacturer. Secure boot defines how platform firmware manages security certificates, validation of firmware, and a definition of the interface (protocol) between firmware and the operating system. Secure boot prevents “unauthorized” operating systems and software from loading during the startup process.
Quick summary of the Secure Boot feature:
I will go deeper into the Secure Boot settings and functionality in Part 3, where the OS installation will be the topic, but unless you‘re clean installing a new OS or upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 8, these settings as well as the OS Optimized Default setting on the Restart screen can be left at their defaults.
The Startup section is one that I always clean up and only leave the boot devices I regularly use active on the Boot Priority Order. Don‘t use it? Lose it. This eliminates your machine having to go through all possible boot options on cold boot / restart but a temporary boot device can always be selected through the F12 Boot Menu if you need to boot your machine from a device you don‘t regularly use.
I use my machine as UEFI OS only, as setting it up as dual booted Windows / Linux in UEFI mode has become much simpler, and effective in the last couple of years. However, dual booting a UEFI and a legacy OS, or legacy only is also an option, and will be further discussed in my next instalment.
For detailed information on the W540 System Setup, refer to the User Guide available here:
Click here to read Part 1 of AtliJarl's mods to his W540, which is one of the machines we had passed to him for use.
Have a Lenovo product and wish to tell us what you want changed, or what you love about it? Here's a call to action from Sarah Kennedy, who is from the User Design and User Researcher Team, where we are inviting your say!
Calling all Laptop, Desktop, and Tablet owners: We need to hear more from you!
We are listening and taking actions! Our product design and engineering teams are listening to our customers, we hear your input and we are taking action. Whether it is through our social media channels, our forums, blogs, or fan clubs around the world, your input matters and we are tracking it. We heard you loud and clear on our ThinkPad clickpad design, and we’ve reacted – the buttons are back! More changes are in the pipeline, each driven by deep customer understanding from around the globe. When you give us your feedback you are personally helping to influence the next wave of technology that Lenovo puts onto the market.
The User Experience and User Research Group would like to hear from you.
Our User Experience and User Research group is one of many teams at Lenovo using customer feedback to impact change on future generations of products. The team is comprised of User Experience Hardware and Software Designers, Concept Developers, Strategy & Branding Designers, as well as User Experience Researchers.
The UX/UR team wants to hear from you, one way to express your opinions regarding Lenovo PC products is to take part in our Product Ownership Survey described below. Your open and honest, constructive feedback is more than welcomed.
Product Ownership Survey
If you have recently acquired a Lenovo PC or Think PC, you’re invited to weigh in by taking our brief, 5-10 minute Product Ownership Survey.
For this round, we are seeking those of you who are actively using your Lenovo, Think, or Idea Laptop, Yoga, Desktop, Workstation, All-in-One PC, Tablet or Detachable Tablet PC.
If this is you, click on the following link and help Lenovo design the future!
Thank you very much in advance!
[Back row: T42 – T21 – T60p. Front row: W520 – W540]
I‘ve been a die-hard T-series and later, W- series ThinkPad enthusiast ever since I got my first T42 and upgrading through the product cycles, the next logical step to my venerable T60p was a W500 where I found my ThinkPad series of choice, the Beasts, or rather, the ThinkTank, as I choose to call them.
I‘ve not been upgrading my daily drivers each product cycle, although I do fill in the gaps in the series as time passes, but I usually skip a cycle before upgrading. For the W- series, I upgraded the W500 with a W520, a wonderful piece of art that serves as my secondary workstation today. As usual, I skipped the W530 and decided to wait for the W540, but when it was announced, I put that plan on hold as I do not like full-size keyboards and the off-centre TrackPoint / TrackPad really seemed like something I didn‘t want to work on. Also, I had no experience with the new ClickPad, and wanted to try it out a bit first before investing in such an expensive machine that I possibly might not like. But upgrade I did, as I went for a T440s for lighter tasks and travel and a i7-4800MQ / 16GB T440p with a 2 HDD setup for the heavy lifting and through them I got to know, and appreciate, the ClickPad as well as they greatly impressed me regarding hardware quality and performance.
Last October, I got a W540 unit sent to me through the forum advocacy program, and in the last couple of months I‘ve been putting it through its paces and getting to know it better. Being a W-series machine, it will put you through some paces as well, as these are immensely powerful machines with vast configuration options and even greater field of application. I work as an independent computer technician, specializing in laptop and desktop refurbishing and repairs, but I also take most other IT tasks that come my way, including network- and system administration, Windows and Linux server setups, configuration and maintenance and data recovery, to name but a few. That is why I rely heavily on having a powerful machine like the W-series, which can pretty much do everything, and through the years they‘ve provided me with a rock solid foundation for all my work.
Part 1: Hardware Upgrades
I usually buy all upgrades and accessories at the time of purchase, but as this one kinda snuck up on me, I got the essentials to start with, which is an upgrade from 8GB to 32GB RAM and a secondary HD in a UltraBay IV caddy. Before configuring the BIOS and installing Windows and Fedora for a dual-boot setup, the hardware upgrades need to be installed. As with every other computer repair, never, ever open an access panel before unplugging the machine from AC and removing the main battery. I keep myself grounded through an antistatic floormat and heelstraps, but there are many other ways to prevent electrostatic discharge while working on system internals.
True to the ThinkPad legacy, the W540 is a real pleasure to upgrade and maintain, and this one access panel for all the SO-DIMM slots and the main HDD is a great improvement compared to the older models, where 2 SODIMM slots are under the keyboard, 2 SODIMM slots in a small access panel on the botton and third access panel for the main HDD. The access panel on the W540 is therefore much bigger than the ones on the earlier models, and as I‘ve seen it‘s relatively easy to snap of the latches if brute-force is applied. Using the method above, the panel door came off with ease.
Starting with the RAM, this is the SODIMM slot configuration. For the older 4 slot models you would pair the modules in slots 0-1 and 2-3, see the guide here: http://forums.lenovo.com/t5/W-Series-ThinkPad-Lapt
I'm using a pair of Transcend TS1GSK64W6H and a second pair of Crucial CT102464BF160B.C16, both DDR3L 1.35v PC3-12800 @ 1600Mhz and here are the details from HWiNFO64:
A small change to the xx40 series UltraBay is that the small locking latch and slider mechanism from the earlier models have been replaced by a simple locking screw, which is not as convenient and practical, but easily workable nontheless. As I am not very keen on opening up my machine on-site should I require to swap out my secondary HDD for the ODD, I removed the locking screw from both my T440p and my W540. The drives sit quite firmly in the UltraBay, and not once have I experienced them becoming loose during my travels, so it‘s quite safe to remove it if you need to hotswap your drives. For my UltraBay IV caddy, I opted for the one from Lenovo, found here: ThinkPad T440p/T540p/W540 Ultrabay SATA Adapter, but there are 3rd party ones you can readily find through various online outlets. Then I just keep my ODD‘s and a the xx40‘s locking screw in a handy little carrying case in my computer bag should I require them.
In Part 2, we‘ll take a look at the BIOS configuration and OS installation. Continue reading Part 2 here
SHAREit is an intuitive and a necessary tool in today's wide world for data sharing and transfer. I have been very pleased to finally see a software work this seamlessly across platforms and devices. Take a look at my experience with this app.Read more...
Came across our Lenovo Design Studio and wondered what it is all about? Here's the reason for its birth, by one of our most passionate marketers, Bryan Ushijima.
Over the past few months I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with Lenovo’s Consumer Design team to build design culture through digital and social media, and give our fans and creators the chance to get involved in the design process for next-gen PCs (the project is called Lenovo Design Studio).
For those of you who might not be familiar with Lenovo’s Consumer Design team, they are the team behind the award winning Yoga 3 Pro and Horizon 2s, as well as a slew of other great tech, such as the A740, Miix 3, and the U300s. And…as you might expect from creatives, they are enjoyably eccentric. They are odd and quirky, sometimes abstract in conveying their ideas, but undeniably brilliant and passionate about evolving tech design.
From the time I’ve spent with them, it’s clear they have a vision for what the PC experience should be. They refuse to see technology as just another tool, and strive to design beyond ‘standard’. In fact, there is a strong understanding among them that they should push the boundaries of expectation, function, and experience. Evolve human-technology interaction and you can change the role of tech in our lives— you can make technology meaningful.
As one of the lead designers once told to me…
One of the biggest failures for us would be in designing a PC that’s merely a tool. A PC doesn’t have to be just another cold machine. It can be a part of a user’s identity and a part of that user’s life. A PC should be relevant and enticing, and always deliver a meaningful experience.
So how does a designer attempt to do this? How does a designer build technology that has the potential to shape our experiences?
From my understanding, the key is in talking to real users, listening to real feedback, and striving to evolve the product from there. Every piece of feedback is as important as the last, and all of it can inspire top-notch tech that enhances the lifestyle of our users.
That said, after several months spent working and learning from the design team, I’m excited to announce an initiaive that we hope will bring you closer to our team, and closer to the process of design.
I’m excited to open the doors to Lenovo Design Studio, and I hope you will enjoy it. Please tell us what you think or share a suggestion if you’d like. Everyone is welcome.
For more information on Lenovo Design Studio, our Consumer Design Blogs, or the #DesignWithUs Campaign specifically for social media, you can find more here.
Bryan Ushijima, Digital Marketer @Lenovo | Exploring typography, design, and creative, future tech.