Design Polls

Power, especially the lack of it, is top of mind for any ThinkPad user. I often find myself strangely compelled to scan rooms I am in for available AC outlets. I guess this is a disease that you develop after years of mobile computer use. We have all devised our own strategies for milking the last drop of power out of a rapidly draining battery. To assist ThinkPad owners with this task, we provide the ability to manage power settings using the Power Manager utility. This handy utility sets the balance between things like screen brightness, sound level, and system temperature to optimize power use based on the desired behaviors. Sounds complicated, but it really isn't if we have done a good job. Our goal is to make it a lot easier than running a nuclear power plant. We are currently studying a revised user interface and feature set to further improve this utility. I'd like to ask that you take a moment and participate in a brief survey that my team has created. You can take the survey here. Thanks for your valuable time and feed back on this important topic. David Hill

Continue reading “Power Manager Survey: Take the Controls”

Ask most any ThinkPad fan what pointing device they prefer and the answer will be unanimous: the trademark TrackPoint. A group of CNET editors came together recently asking the same question about a "new ultraportable laptop" that is equipped with a "pointing stick, but no touch pad." I wonder which laptop it could be. Head over to the CNET post and let them know which pointing device you prefer, and tell them where you came from. David Hill

Continue reading “TrackPoint vs. Touch Pad”

We often get questions about the layout of notebook keyboards from our customers. People want to understand what drives the location of certain keys. Many times this is very difficult to explain. Key location is not always related to detailed human factors or usability analysis. History often plays a role. Have you ever tried to rationalize the QWERTY layout to someone who has never used or possibly even seen a typewriter? Fortunately most of the questions we see center around the location of very specific keys rather than global questions like the validity of the QWERTY layout. In keeping with our continued desire to gather input from the readers of Design Matters, my team has created a detailed survey on this subject. Your input can help us get your favorite keys in the rights places. You can take the survey here. Thanks for your interest and time. David Hill

Continue reading “Keyboard Layout Survey: Details Matter”

I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone that took the survey, signed up for future surveys, or left us a comment here. We've had over 440 people take the survey to date and gotten a lot of helpful feedback. Looking at the comments in the previous post, the common discussion point is digital video of some sort and the aging 56K modem. Hopefully I will be able to talk more about these points soon. David Hill

Continue reading “Port Survey Conclusion”

It seems like every time I read a review of a notebook computer, including our own, the topic of ports comes up. People have very strong opinions on this hot topic. It's nearly as emotionally charged as religion or politics. The connector location is usually questioned, but more often than not the actual types and numbers of ports is even more intensely debated. Since notebooks have a limited area for placing connectors (there is only so much beach front real estate) I'm sure you can imagine the discussions that connectors generate during the development of a new ThinkPad. I thought it would be a good idea to go straight to my Design Matters readers and and gather data directly. We have created a brief survey on port usage where we can collect data on this subject. This is your big chance to have your vote counted as we develop future generation ThinkPads. Please click here to take the survey. Thanks for your time and input. David Hill

Continue reading “Port Survey: Use Them or Lose Them”