Scott Hanselman

Hanselminutes on 9 - What Laptop do Alpha Geeks Use?

July 7, '09 Comments [12] Posted in Channel9 | Podcast
Sponsored By

image I'm up in Redmond visiting for a few days this week and I'm in a super-secret meeting in an undisclosed location (Well, actually it's Studio C in the 3408 conference room, but still, what can you do with that?) and during a break I noticed how everyone had a different laptop. Here's 6 short minutes on who's running what. You might recognize a few familiar faces. I pulled out my Creative Vado HD and proceeded to be silly.

As with most Hanselminutes on 9 videos, this little diddy is entirely free of content.

Enjoy. Downloads for iPod, Zune, and PSP are also available on the site.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

facebook twitter subscribe
About   Newsletter
Sponsored By
Hosting By
Dedicated Windows Server Hosting by SherWeb

July 7th - Seattle/Redmond/Bellevue Nerd Dinner

July 6, '09 Comments [1] Posted in NerdDinner
Sponsored By

blogging

Are you in King County/Seattle/Redmond/Bellevue and surrounding areas? Are you a huge nerd? Perhaps a geek? No? Maybe a, dork, dweeb or wonk. Maybe you're in town for an SDR (Software Design Review) or just hanging out. Quite possibly you're just a normal person.

Regardless, why not join us for some Mall Food at the Crossroads Bellevue Mall Food Court on July 7th around 6:00pm?

All the details are at http://www.nerddinner.com/717

Also, please Tweet This!

If you want to come and share something with the group, please do! We're language and technology agnostic and always eager to learn about new stuff.

It'd be great if Microsoft Employees came also - everyone loves to put a face to a blog and sometimes Microsoft folks get tunnel vision and don't learn about what's going on in other groups! All are welcome...Please spread the word!

Hope to see you there. If not, I shall eat my Spicy Chicken alone in peace.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

facebook twitter subscribe
About   Newsletter
Sponsored By
Hosting By
Dedicated Windows Server Hosting by SherWeb

Hanselminutes Podcast 169 - The Art of Unit Testing with Roy Osherove

July 6, '09 Comments [12] Posted in NUnit | Open Source | Podcast | Tools
Sponsored By

ArtOfUnitTesting My one-hundred-and-sixty-ninth podcast is up. In this show recorded in Norway, Roy Osherove educates Scott on best practices in Unit Testing techniques and the Art of Unit Testing.

Also, be sure to check out Roy's talk at the recent Norwegian Developer's Conference, they're quite excellent and worth your time.

Roy's Publisher has given Hanselminutes listeners a code until August 1st, 2009 for 37% off. The code is "hansel37" and it's good at http://www.manning.com and takes the price to US$25.19. Oddly in other ironic news, the book is (tonight at least) $26.39 on Amazon. Go figure.

Links from the Show

Subscribe: Subscribe to Hanselminutes Subscribe to my Podcast in iTunes

Do also remember the complete archives are always up and they havePDF Transcripts, a little known feature that show up a few weeks after each show.

Telerik is a sponsor for this show!

Building quality software is never easy. It requires skills and imagination. We cannot promise to improve your skills, but when it comes to User Interface, we can provide the building blocks to take your application a step closer to your imagination. Explore the leading UI suites for ASP.NET and Windows Forms. Enjoy the versatility of our new-generation Reporting Tool. Dive into our online community. Visit www.telerik.com.

As I've said before this show comes to you with the audio expertise and stewardship of Carl Franklin. The name comes from Travis Illig, but the goal of the show is simple. Avoid wasting the listener's time. (and make the commute less boring)

Enjoy. Who knows what'll happen in the next show?

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

facebook twitter subscribe
About   Newsletter
Sponsored By
Hosting By
Dedicated Windows Server Hosting by SherWeb

Review - Mophie Juice Pack (not the Juice Pack Air)

July 3, '09 Comments [8] Posted in Reviews
Sponsored By
iphonebatterypack2

The battery life on my iPhone is laughable. If I want to actually use it, like make use of it, then it's dead by after lunch. With 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, work and personal mail, yada yada, it's a joke.

Here's a picture of me with my first external battery pack. This got me through the day, but it wasn't very convenient.

When the Mophie Juice Pack Air was announced, I was thrilled. Over the moon. A battery pack that was also a case? Sleek and doubled your battery life? Brilliant.

I ordered one immediately on Amazon. When it showed up, I learned that there's actually a "Juice Pack" and the "Juice Pack Air." This distinction had escaped me...turns out I ordered the original Juice Pack, rather than the more sleek and form-fitting Juice Pack Air.

I did some research, and found out that there's basically three differences between the Juice Pack and Juice Pack Air.

Juice Pack Juice Pack Air
Chunky and only covers 7/8ths of the back of the phone. Sleek and covers the entire phone.
1800 mAh 1200 mAh
Always on (always trying to charge) On/Off switch lets you decide when it's charging

I liked the slim idea of the Air, but I figured 50% more mAh was better for me as a power-user, so I stuck with the standard Mophie Juice Pack, not the Air.

Now, let me say, I really want to like the Mophie Juice Pack. Truly. I hate being negative because I realize there's a company and actual humans behind this product.  However, it just doesn't live up to real world usage.

DSC_0332DSC_0334Wear

I've had the Juice Pack for just about 60 days. I don't work in construction and I don't throw my phone around. Still, the surface of the Juice Pack is rubbing away in a really unattractive way.

See the picture at right? The shiny patches on the corners are where it's wearing away. This is after 2 months.

The sides of the pack have, for some reason, (perhaps grippy-ness?) rubber strips about 2 inches long. On both sides it's wearing away. On the one side it's sliding off and the adhesive/glue stuff is showing. It's very frustrating to see such poor construction around my little phone Star Trek Data Pad.

Charging Behavior

I use the pack all day and so far, it DOES get me through the day, from 8 am to about 6pm before I need to start worrying. I have the brightness of the phone at 30%, Wi Fi on, Bluetooth on, GPS off. I figured with 1800 mAh would get me 12+ hours of normal usage, as the specifications talk about numbers like 28 hours of audio playback and 12 hours of 2G (Edge) talk time, but still, 10 hours is not bad.

The Mophie Juice Pack has 4 small LEDs on the back that tell you how much charge the pack has left. The features page says it has "Smart Battery Technology [that] instructs the iPhone to always drain out the juice pack first." As a technologist, I think this statement isn't really fair, as the iPhone thinks it's plugged-in when the batter is attached. When the "plug power" (in this case, the battery) stops, then the iPhone's battery stars. This is the same behavior as my old $10 4 AA battery charger.

The Juice Pack doesn't have an on-off switch, so it tries to charge the iPhone immediately, even if it doesn't need it, which appears to use power. For me, this means that the Juice Pack's battery is dead for me by around 1pm, which means I'm on my own by the early afternoon. I'd prefer to have the opposite behavior, which is enabled by the switch on the Juice Pack Air. I'd like to drain the iPhone's own battery first, then have the Juice Pack kick in.

Weird Behavior

A nice feature of the battery is that the charging cable is a standard mini-USB, which is more standard than the iPhone cable. However, one oddity is that sometimes I'll have the phone inside the battery and a charging cable attached to the battery and both are discharging. I'd expect the battery to always charge when plugged in. In these cases I have to separate the battery from the phone in order to charge the former. It's odd, as it's caused me to end up with a dead phone battery even while the external one was plugged in, just not charging.

Power Drop Off

After only 2 months, even though I discharge the battery fully (via normal use) every day, and charge it overnight, its lifetime had dropped already. This is after about 60 full cycles. When the battery light indicator reaches 2 out of 4 LEDs, it drops off dramatically within an hour. Basically 4 LEDs to 2 LEDs is 3 hours and 2 LEDs to 1 LED is an hour. This is anecdotal, to be sure, but it's everyday and it's dramatic to the point of pissing me off.

Unreasonable Expectations? Maybe.

The specs say 350 hours of standby?  I can't see how, unless EVERYTHING is turned off...perhaps 350 hours of airplane mode. I'd like a single 18 hour day of normal usage. Or, even a reliable 12.

It's so bad that I have purchased car chargers for both cars and I'm forced to top-up at least once, sometimes twice a day.

It was US$100, which is a lot for anything, including a battery. It's now ugly after two months and at this rate, I'll  be surprised if the charge lasts the rest of the year.

If you have this battery, leave a comment here. Did I get a dud? We'll see and I'll keep this review updated.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

facebook twitter subscribe
About   Newsletter
Sponsored By
Hosting By
Dedicated Windows Server Hosting by SherWeb

My Lenovo Choice - ThinkPad W700 vs. ThinkPad W500 Review

July 3, '09 Comments [18] Posted in Reviews
Sponsored By

DSC_0019 "But it’s the same laptop!" my wife said. I've been using a Lenovo T60 or T60p for a very long time. Since it came out, in fact. I had a T60 at my last job for years, and a T60p all the while at Microsoft. I have happily running 64-bit operating systems on my T60p with 4gigs of RAM…unfortunately with the caveat that the T60p can only address 3gigs, no matter what. (Unlike its smarter cousin the T61.)

I've been at Microsoft almost 2 years (it'll be 2 years in October, I think) and I've been begging my boss for a "hardware refresh." That's Microsoft speak for giving your laptop back and getting a better one. You're better off if the laptop you want is "MSIT Supported." Folks have been known to order all sorts of crazy stuff, but they're responsible for keeping it running if things go south.

My budget was limited and I wasn't able to get an SSD (Solid State Disk, vs. a regular hard drive) in my new laptop, but I would have needed at least a 160gig version anyway, so I'm not too sad.

I've been trying out two Lenovo laptops and settled on one. The other gets sent back to Lenovo.

First, The Beast, then Ultimate Winner. Note that all of this is just my opinion, and I didn't get any free stuff or whatever. I'm just writing a review because I felt like it.

The Beast - Lenovo ThinkPad W700

I was on-site working for a week recently at a large NW company that does business online. I took the W700 with me for a trial run. During the final presentation of the code I had written for this client, it was noticed I'd forgotten to remove a reference in the code to a proxy server I'd been running, so the Senior VP saw "http://bigasslaptop:8080" on his conference room screen. At least it wasn't a proper cuss word, but I felt I needed to explain myself to the room. I pulled out the ThinkPad W700 and the VP I thought I'd offended said "Holy s***, that's a big ass laptop. Ok, I get it now. Continue."

winsatwin7 w700dsThere's nothing else it could be called. This laptop is only a laptop if your lap is two-laps wide. This laptop could be considered a deadly weapon and beat a man to death. This laptop has its own gravitational pull with netbooks and smaller laptops orbiting around it.

it's truly awesome. It is a quad-proc machine with an amazing 1920x1200 17" screen and a second 1280x768 pull out side-car monitor. What's that extra monitor for? Toolboxes, the Solution Explorer, your Email, whatever. It's brilliant, and don't knock it until you've tried it.

If you're looking for a luggable, this is the pinnacle. My #1, and really ONLY problem with the laptop is that it's just too big for my bag. In fact, i was unable to find a bag, backpack or briefcase (even my beloved Zero Haliburton aluminum case) that could hold it.

However, if you want a desktop machine that you can really easily move around, look no further. It's a portable machine, but not a machine you move lightly, or without a buddy assist and strong back.

The WEI scores speed for themselves. A 7.2 on the processor out of a max of 7.9, that's crazy on a laptop. Notice the 5.8 for 3D graphics. It's a great gaming machine (Half-Life looks great) and it'd be excellent for 3D modeling. Interestingly, only the Hard Drive suffers compared to the W500.

The Perfect Laptop - Lenovo ThinkPad W500

The W500 is EXACTLY like my T60p. But with more awesome. It basically fixes every tiny thing that was wrong with the T60p, which was very little. It weighs the same and looks exactly like the T60p. It adds an integrated webcam in the bezel, which means one less thing to carry on trips. It also adds a built-in card reader in the front, which is nice as I've got a half-dozen SD Cards lying around. There's 3 USB ports, a VGA port and a Display Link port and a nice ATI card with a half-gig of RAM. It'll run my big monitors no problem. The screen on the W500 is amazing, running at 1920x1200, but the same size as the T60p.

It's got Bluetooth, WiFi with an external switch winsatwin7w500(thanks!) as well as WiMax built-in, which is rolling out through my town.

There's a standard PC Card and an Express Card slot. It's got Gigabit Ethernet, which is nice as the whole house is wired. There's also a FireWire port in front. The only thing it's missing is an External SATA slot.

The W500 isn't the big powerhouse that the W700 is, but it's no slouch for a laptop. Notice that you'd have a 5.9 WEI if you drop out the 3D score. I wish I could have put in a SSD but budgets are what they are.

I love this W500 because it's exactly the same size as the T60p. It's the T60p, but updated with everything new, fast and wonderful. It's a nice, normal-looking laptop that is so powerful I can use it as my main machine. There's lots of giant laptops, but the W500 isn't. I can totally use it on a plane without trouble.

To be clear, I've got a MacBook, I've got a Dell Mini 9, a Dell Studio, and a Toshiba. I've used every brand under the sun and I realize that everyone's got their own opinion. Everyone's had a laptop fail and decided that THAT brand sucks.

I've personally had great success with Lenovo ThinkPads for work. They are the tuxedos of laptops. I'd buy a Mac for a personal machine and run Win7 on it (I do) but for work, as a developer, the ThinkPad W500 is rocking my world. I'm running Windows 7 happily on it as well as booting into a Windows 7 VHD with Dev10 installed.

Size Difference Photos

Here's the W700 under a 17" MacBook Pro under a W500.

DSC_0337 

DSC_0339

 DSC_0015

Related Links

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

facebook twitter subscribe
About   Newsletter
Sponsored By
Hosting By
Dedicated Windows Server Hosting by SherWeb

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.