Design Polls

Fn and Ctrl Keys on ThinkPad T400s We are considering a switch mode for the Fn and Ctrl keys. Personally, I feel that the present layout (Fn key on the left corner, followed by the Ctrl key immediately to the right) is the most convenient, but that may be because ThinkPad has been my only laptop for so many years now. My hands are rather small, so having the Ctrl key closer without my fingers leaving the home position is really helpful, especially when doing shortcuts like “Ctrl + C” (copy) and “Ctrl + V” (paste), and having the Fn key on the left edge is less error-prone for shortcuts such as Fn + F5 (Manage wireless connections) and Fn+Home/End (Change display brightness). I guess old habits die hard, lol. Poll Result from Fn Versus Ctrl: Let the Games Begin But I fully understand that there is a demand for the switch mode. This is why I am closely following the comments and poll results on Fn Versus Ctrl: Let the Games Begin and The new keyboard - A “Wow” Layout, as well as the discussions on Lenovo Forum. There are many possible methods to make the switch available, and the most likely candidate right now is to implement the swap on the BIOS Setup Utility. For users requesting the switch feature, please tell us...

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There have been many comments over the last few weeks, fueled I suppose by the T400s keyboard update,  regarding the positioning of the Fn and Ctrl keys on ThinkPad. Any long time ThinkPad fan will know the Fn key has been in the extreme lower left hand corner with the Ctrl key right next door for a very long time. I personally can't remember it not being there.  The Fn key  first debuted on the monochrome display ThinkPad 300 in October of 1992.  Yes there was a ThinkPad with a monochrome display.  The Fn key circa 1992 was placed exactly as it is today.  Interestingly enough,  Apple uses the same positions for their Fn and Ctrl keys as ThinkPad. Every other notebook personal computer manufacturer that I know of  has the Fn and Ctrl key positions swapped. Some would say backwards. The Fn key was originally placed  by the ThinkPad designers in the lower left hand corner to make the key easier to locate when using the keystroke combinations. There was a rationale. This is especially handy for turning on the ThinkLight in the dark. Aim for the two extreme corners. Desktop keyboards have never had the Fn issue to deal with since there are not such stringent  size contraints for their keyboards that require the use of such a key. This is a often debated topic that quickly divides the room into two highly emotional camps. There are arguements to support both cases....

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The response to my recent blog post about a hypothetical ThinkPad netbook has been enormous. I honestly had no idea it would generate over 100 comments. It was also just featured on the PC Magazine website in an article written by Brian Heater . Thanks to all my readers for taking the time to weigh in with their thoughts and opinions on this subject. Now my team has created a short user experience oriented  survey to gather even more of your thinking on this hot topic. We truly value your input. You can take the survey here.   Thanks for your ongoing support. David Hill

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  Bumper Sticker? I'm sure everyone knows that if you buy a PC they are adorned with stickers. They usually tout the resident operating system, processor technology, energy rating, broadband connectivity, graphics card technology, etc. etc. etc.   I really don't want to go into the details about why they are there, lets just say there is money involved. The longer you leave them on,  the harder they are to remove. You also run the risk of having the finish that used to be under the sticker look different than the surrounding area due to normal use and wear. If you are like me, the first thing I do is remove all the stickers. Maybe I'm strange. I don't drive around with the manufacturers window sticker on my car . I don't  let the local car dealer badge my car with their cheesy sticker or license plate frame.  I have never even been tempted to slap on a " back off" or other such bumper sticker on my car. I guess I'm a purist. I slowly peel the stickers off my fresh Thinkpad usually starting from a corner. The residual adhesive can normally be lifted by using the freshly peeled sticker as a kind of goo grabber. Dab it repeatedly until all the goo is gone. It works great. I never use a chemical that could risk damage of the finish. I'm curious what others think about these stickers so I started a new poll on this topic. David Hill

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It seems like everywhere you look now there are notebook computers available in a myriad of bright colors and decorative patterns. Kind of reminds me of the olden days when even stodgy IBM sold mainframes and typewriters in colors. I used to own a bright red Selectric before it got lost in a move. IBM stopped offering the color option because of the enormous business complexity it drove. The current color movement seems to be primarily focused at consumer notebooks. Will the trend overtake business computing? Color can be something that is strongly connected to a brand. Imagine a John Deere tractor coming out in a color other than green? What if the Pink Panther wasn't, or if Batman wore a white suit? Some brands have celebrated color choice as a brand attribute offering new colors all the time. Apple continues to offer a rainbow of colorful iPod choices. Even Levi's offers blue jeans that aren't blue. Shame on them? ThinkPad has never really departed from classic black, with the exception of a short run special edition titanium cover on the Z series. For the record, it was real titanium, not paint. Over the years we have made matte black, gloss black, rubberized black, metallic black and even titanium sparkled black. We should get a healthy discount on black plastic and paint based on purchase volumes and long term contractual commitments. I'm sure you have all seen that a company called ColorWare will gladly take your precious...

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