Thursday, June 27, 2013

New mobile computer

After two years with an IBM X61 computer which served me very well, I have been upgraded to a Dell XPS Ultrabook running Windows 8. There's going to be a learning curve with this machine:
  • I have to learn how to use the keyboard (it's not clear to me at the moment how to activate the pgup/pgdn/home/end keys as these are doubled on the arrow keys (I've just discovered that one has to press the function key along with the specific key)
  • There are few sockets on the computer. I've been given a network to USB convertor so that I can plug the computer into a wired network, which will be very useful, but there is no VGA socket (instead, there's a mini VGA socket). This means that I won't be able to connect the computer to a projector: this is going to be a problem as I need this capability at least three times a month
  • It will take me some time to get used to Windows 8! Fortunately, I don't need many applications on the mobile so this shouldn't be too much of a problem, but low level functions are going to be problematic.
  • The 'mouse' is proving to be problematic: I have had difficulty trying to create a right click, and sometimes options get selected on their own (although this may be a Win8 problem).

The big wins are of course the computer's weight, the fact that it has a large solid state disk and its battery capacity. Like my previous computer, this one too has no dvd drive, but it also doesn't have a docking station with a drive. I need an external drive which will connect via USB if I want to upload anything which comes on disk (or I could copy the disk to my thumb drive). I like how the keyboard is lit from underneath: I don't know how useful this is going to be but it definitely looks cool.

Now I won't be embarrassed when I work with my mobile computer on the train!

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