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 Post subject: belatedly reviewing a Lenovo ThinkPad Edge 14" laptop 0578N8
 Post Posted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 5:33 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2007 10:36 am
Posts: 208
About three years ago, I bought a new Lenovo ThinkPad Edge 14" laptop, model 0578N8U, at about US$480 then. Some of the literature about the machine is embedded in the Windows installation; only some is on paper; and some has to be downloaded from the Web; not everything visible on the hardware is described; and specifications are apparently limited to the top-selling model of each type. If a user intends to erase the OS, the embedded lit will go away, too. Productivity software (Microsoft Office 2010) was preloaded but not yet activated; but that was noted only on the carton and easily missed.

The instructions say I can burn myself through my clothing, which is a bit astonishing. And, according to the instructions, even the palm rest gets too hot for, um, my palm. In practice, mine isn't that hot for me and I often have my laptop comfortably on my lap.

Instead of a disc set containing a spare copy of Windows 7, a spare is on the hard drive, but one set of recovery discs can be made. On CD-Rs, it took 19 discs (1 boot disc and 18 data discs), at 5-10 minutes/disc to write. I wish it had cautioned me on about how many blanks I'd need, but it didn't offer a hint. It also doesn't look like I can stop in the middle and resume where I leave off, if I have to go out to buy more blanks. DVDs are a possible alternative. The Win licensing limits Win to this machine; by its terms, it is not transferable except with the computer and its CoA. The machine perhaps cannot be used as a network server if that means more than one person might use this computer. And using Microsoft's Bing Bar is initially governed by the Lenovo license, which requires agreeing to another Microsoft agreement, which I haven't seen. Keeping the sales receipt is mandatory under the Lenovo license, though home users tend not to do that, because it's not generally required. This licensing has gone nuts.

Data Execution Prevention at the BIOS level appears to be a bad idea, but it is enabled by default. It'll be easy to forget that it's enabled when applications mysteriously misbehave intermittently, perhaps more likely for non-Windows apps. I don't know what this feature considers to be code rather than data. And it's likely that different apps will have different input validation needs which this feature can't recognize. While some apps and some non-Win OSes won't validate properly, I think it's better to rely on using well-written OSes and apps when possible and to hope for the best with others.

Inactivity blacking the screen before Win is configured, when the computer is brought back to life again with cursor motion, didn't allow a Win shutdown unless I logged in. I don't know if Win or Lenovo is responsible for that.

If I don't use the computer for an extended time, like overnight, it's necessary that I lock the screen; while I don't know if that's OS-specific (I use Porteus Linux 1.1 64-bit on a live CD or sometimes in RAM), sometimes I can't unlock the screen unless I first briefly tap the power button, not long enough to cut the power, and I assume that's a hardware feature. It took me a long time to discover this, by trial and error.

A few keyboard letters are difficult to type, but I suspect that's a fault of the individual machine, not of many of the model.

The keyboard has no NumLock or ScrollLock key and the CapsLock key has no status feedback, although Windows 7 offers it on the screen. I use a distro of Linux that doesn't show the CapsLock status.

I recommend covering the camera lens until you want to take a picture. Masking tape will do, but, to avoid getting glue on the lens, first cover the lens with black paper and then tape the paper. Probably, I should've done similarly with the mic, which I'm pretty sure this model has. There're also BIOS settings, but physical covers can't be hacked.


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