Kevin Beck

When I ask people what they look for in a laptop, they usually list portability, screen size, processor speed, memory. But one thing I rarely hear is that the laptop should not overheat. Now I know you’re thinking - that’s not really a surprise. The cooling tech isn’t exactly a visible feature. That’s a shame because without good cooling and venting a laptop is probably not as well put together on the inside as it is on the outside. You can have the latest laptop, but if it overheats it simply isn’t going run well or last long enough. Today’s laptops allow you to work almost anywhere. They’re always on and are great for productivity and for personal entertainment, but have you thought about what might be happening to it on the inside? Smaller and thinner means there’s less room for air to circulate inside the laptop. If you put it down on the couch or some other soft surface, there’s a decent chance the vents will be obstructed and it will overheat. The perils of overheating Overheating can cause serious problems. It can damage many of the key internal components, including the processor, battery, and hard drive. In fact, running at high temperatures for long periods of time can lead to drive failure and even permanent data loss. Hard drive failure rates increase between 20% and 30% for every 10 degrees above recommended operating temperatures, while operating a drive below the recommended...

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CES 2012 Lenovo Lounge

CES 2012 Lenovo Lounge

Ah, CES. The crowds, the aching feet, the complete and utter lack of any moisture in the air. But the lovely, lovely gadgets and toys make up for all of that. I'm not sure what constitutes being a CES veteran but this is my 4th one so, if I'm not a veteran, at least I'm not feeling like a noob any more. As you would expect, I spent most of my time in and around the various Lenovo facilities talking about our new products. Many of them have already been covered in depth, but I'll add some personal commentary distilled out of my interactions with our customers, business partners and the press about one of my favorites. And by that, I mean that while I obviously know the SPECS of our systems and may have even physically seen them once or twice before CES, over the course of talking to folks about something for 5 days, it really gives me a chance to live with the machine for a while and really figure out how I feel about it and whether it's something that speaks to me personally. Now onto the A720, our new IdeaCentre all-in-one PC. If you haven't seen it or heard about it, have a look here.  While I certainly do get the utility/usage model/attractiveness of All-in-One desktops, they are not anything that's ever been at the top of my personal purchase list, mostly because I've always considered myself a laptop (or fully-expandable desktop) kind of guy. Even if they did tilt a bit , touchscreens on traditional...

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So, I just got back from Poland. Poland was great, the people were great, and the Lenovo event (our Lenovo "Do Tour" truck is crossing Eastern Europe) was great. The trip itself was crap. To paraphrase Thomas Paine, there are times that try a person's soul, and if there is anything that tests my love of travel, it is multiple missed connections. Long story short... Going: Should have made it to Warsaw on a Tuesday morning with 1 connection. Add some engine trouble in Raleigh, a reschedule til the next day, an earthquake on the US east coast and I end up in Warsaw on Wednesday afternoon after 5 planes and 23 hours. Coming home: Should have arrived in Raleigh at 9 p.m. on Friday night. Add one hurricane and I end up in Greensboro at midnight (got the last seat on a flight) and then having to drive 1.5 hours home. I've calmed down now and United TOTALLY did me right on some frequent flyer miles that got borked up through the course of 3 or 4 rebookings, so my mood is much improved.    What does this have to do with technology? Don't tell my wife, but I have come to the conclusion that I'm carrying too much stuff. I've never been what anyone would call a light packer, but I've gotten substantially better in the last few years. Well, better when it comes to packing clothes but maybe not when it comes to the contents of my "work bag." Putting aside for a moment that I consider myself a decent amateur photographer and often...

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I spent three years on assignment in Tokyo and worked directly with our Yamato development lab for years prior to that so not only have I had access to the regular mainstream PCs we’ve sold around the world, I’ve also been lucky enough to get my grubby little paws on a number of Japan-only ultraportables. With the launch of the ThinkPad X1, I thought it would be interesting to take some pictures and compare it with a few machines I have in my personal collection. Three are Japan/Asia-only and three were sold worldwide. This is not meant to be an exhaustive history of everything we’ve ever made that was called an “ultraportable,” but it brings together six of the more interesting products we’ve produced over the years. From top to bottom: PC 110 Sept 1995     ThinkPad 235 July 1998 ThinkPad 240 June 1999    ThinkPad s30 May 2001    ThinkPad X301 Aug 2008        ThinkPad X1 May 2011 The IBM PC 110 is the only one of the bunch that wasn’t formally called a...

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The author at left with Lenovo Malaysia’s Sunny Ooi (center) and Arimasa Naitoh, store opening in Kuala Lumpur

The author at left with Lenovo Malaysia’s Sunny Ooi (center) and Arimasa Naitoh, store opening in Kuala Lumpur

"I travel a lot; I hate having my life disrupted by routine." (Caskie Stinnett) I have a love-hate relationship with aphorisms but this one kind of nails my attitude about travel and life in general. I know a lot of people--successful people—who thrive on routine. They love it. Some of them refer to it (semi-humorously) as being "ritual-oriented." That's not me. I do occasionally get into the habit of ordering the same couple of favorite dishes at some restaurants, but most of the time, I'm not big on routine. Messy desk, completely un-alphabetized shelves of books, CDs, DVDs--you get the picture. On the other hand, I totally get into the process of engineering and development.  There's lots of repetition, process and rigor involved but for some indefinable reason, I love it.  Which goes a long way towards explaining why I always look forward to visiting our ThinkPad development labs in Japan. In the early 2000s, I spent three years on assignment in Tokyo. I had also been travelling frequently to Yamato for years before that, so it's home away from home for me. On a trip to Japan, Malaysia and India last fall, I spent a lot of time with Naitoh-san, the head of ThinkPad development in Yamato. He was the engineering lead for the very first ThinkPad--the 700C--back in 1992. I always learn a lot from working with Naitoh-san, and I want to share a story about him. We were talking to a group of journalists in Malaysia when one...

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