Month: September 2011

Trying Something New…

It dawned on me the other day that being only able to compose things on this blog while online was a serious handicap. I know; its amazing how quickly I picked up un that, its only been, what…four years since I started the page?

Anyway. I did a quick search on offline blog editors and found this page which suggests 5 editors you can use with WordPress. The first one I am trying is Microsoft’s Windows Live Writer; the version I am using at the moment is for the XP operating system.

Okay. I just inserted three links in one short paragraph; I think that I got that part down pat!

Part of the reason for my wanting a offline editor is my desire to get back into writing, even if it is just gibberish; I miss it. I am working on getting a new laptop in the, hopefully, near future; something very portable. I figured that if I had something I could easily haul around with me than it would be easier to keep writing.

When I compiled a list of features I wanted the new laptop to have they included: a small footprint, power, good battery life and a backlit keyboard. After reviewing many models I settled on the Alienware M11x, Rev 3.

The M11x, built for gamers, fits all the requirements, plus it even has discrete graphics to boot; which I really won’t need since the most graphic intense games I play are on par with Free Cell and Solitaire, but it is nice to have if the occasion should arise. The most awesome feature to me is the keyboard; not that it has all the color options for the back light, but that the font on the keys, reminiscent of Star Trek TNG, is so clear, so easy to read, and the back lighting is superb. There are a couple of points about the M11x that I am not entirely thrilled with, namely the built in battery; if the battery runs out it you cant just switch to a fresh one, and the low power mobile CPU. Granted it has the latest Sandy Bridge processor, but it already is knocked down from a quad to a dual core, plus, now, it is only running at 1.6GHz; for the i5; 1.5GHz for the i7.

As is my nature, I spent a lot of time on forums reading every scrap of information I could find on the M11x to acquaint myself with every quirk and feature of the device to diminish the new systems learning curve down to next to nothing. It was while reading one thread that I came across a question someone asked to the original poster about if they had thought of maybe  considering the Lenovo X220. The OP flatly said ‘No’; they wanted more than integrated graphics and, besides, the X220 was too ugly.

I knew that Lenovo had bought out the old IBM line some years back but I had not paid attention to their product line; I had never heard of the X220. The guy who asked the question mentioned in his post that the X220 was just about the same size, had a full power mobile processor, and better battery life. I was intrigued and set out to find some reviews. The M11x has some great reviews, and every time I came came across a potential candidate to consider instead over the it they always fell short. But the more I read about the X220 the quicker the M11x faded into the background.

Granted, there is one glaring shortfall to my system requirements in the X220: it does not have a backlit keyboard; instead it uses a “Think Light” which is a LED built into the bezel of the screen, near the webcam, which shines down on the keyboard. Adequate from what I read, but I really fell in love with the M11x keyboard!

Some people are really into how they, & their laptops, look and would point out that the X220 wont win any contest for style. In comparison, especially the red version, the M11x definitely has, IMHO, the upper hand. Fortunately I am a function over form kind of guy so I couldn’t care less; a pretty paint job wont make my old truck run any better either.

Put aside that, and the M11x’s included discrete graphics card which, again, is not a deal breaker for me, and the X220 thumps the M11x like Mike Tyson b*tch-slapping Pee Wee Herman.

The X220 is lighter, more powerful & has much better battery life. The IPS screen has a matt finish, opposed to the glossy screen on the M11x, with much better viewing angles. The keyboard is supposedly superb, the unit is designed for business that have IT departments who can service their own machines; so it is easy to swap parts (replacing the HDD requires removing only one screw).  And. on the subject of hard drives, though it comes stock with a 7200rpm 320 GB HDD, if you go without the wireless WAN ‘cell phone’ card, you can use that slot to install a blazing fast mSata SSD which you can then install the OS onto and relegate the regular HDD to a simple storage drive. So, basically, you’re running two hard drives in a 12.5 inch laptop; to me that is pretty cool. The default battery on the X220 is a six cell that can get about 6+ hours of life, but if you want to trim some weight you can also get a 4 cell. If you want longer battery life you can get a 9 cell, which is what I am looking at ,and even a 6 cell “Slice’ battery that snaps onto the bottom of the X220 giving you 20+ hours of battery life when used with the 9 cell. Holy lithium ion Batman!

So now I am just waiting till the funding comes in and I can get my new toy. Sure there may be other laptops I discover that entice me and try to sway my desire for the X220, but, comparing other features I haven’t included here, nothing I have found so far even come close in my mind.

Well I guess that is it for now. Using the Windows Live writer seems to be straight forward; it seems basic but easy to use. I’ll have to try the other suggestions though before I decide on a final product to use though.  One thing I need to research is linking to photos I host offsite, not on WordPress, I am not sure how that will work since I grab the URL’s for those pics while online.

The next posting is already in the works, using WP’s standard online editor, and will be about our recent trip to WDW, in particular a update on my experiences with their Gluten Free dining.