d357 120831 Ink Drawings II


Well, I haven’t really had the chance to draw much since the last update, but I figure I’d get this post in before the month was up (30 minutes left as of this writing!). Last time I posted what I’d consider my first “true” ink drawings, and today I’ve got two more. These are both from reference:

Both drawings are slightly disproportionately narrow compared to the original. I’m not exactly sure how I screwed them up the same way twice in a row, but it might have something to do with the translation of the photo aspect ratio to the paper aspect ratio. Hopefully will have a chance to draw more in the next few weeks.

The following comments about computing and whatnot were written at the beginning of August. As these things go, they are already out of date, but since it’s already written, I’ll post it for my future self to read.

I was doing some dusting recently, and I took the opportunity to take a “fleet picture”, which definitely turned out sharper than my last:

As such, since the last time I did a “State of the Fleet” spiel was more than a year ago, now is as good a time as any.

I wanted to start by noting the progression of the fleet, which I haven’t actually done before:

Cpt T (????) > 500m (2004) > D830 (2007) > E6400 (2008) > T400 (2011) > X220 (2011) >
500m (2007) > TC4200 (2008) > X200T (2010) > X220T (2011) >
Dimension XPS Rxxx (????) > Colette (2007) > Motoko (2008) > (2011)
Colette (2008) > Motoko (2011) > E6400 (2011) >

I broke this down into four sequences, the number of which reflects the count of the fleet at its greatest size. The first row is the main machine series; the second row is the secondary machine series; the third row is the desktop series, and the fourth row is the server series. The (2011) at end of the desktop line indicates that it terminated in 2011, though Motoko was on server duty for a few months following the death of Colette. I think its very obvious that the overall trend here is toward small.

I did not actually realize until now that the E6400 actually lasted about as long as the 500m did in the primary series. In fact, across lines, it has been in service for almost four years, which is almost as long as Colette, the longest-lived fleet member, in service for just over four years, though many of her individual components were significantly older. There are caveats to the E6400’s longevity, though; my current early 2009 E6400 is not my original late 2008 E6400, and the former was my dad’s primary machine for a while. It has, however, been repatriated.

I always say that only with extended use can one judge how good a machine is, and hence, I’d like to make some comments on the E6400 some four years down the line now.

We have six of these in my family including mine and an extra; in general, the machines have held up very well. The oldest one is about three and a half years old, and the newest one is about two years old, and none of them have had any serious problems. More tellingly, four years after the introduction of the D600, eBay was flooded with parts machines, while parts E6400s are surprisingly rare. The industrial design has also withstood the test of time much better than that of the D600; in 2008, the chassis of the D600 was very much dated, but today, I still think the E6400 design looks as sharp as ever.

The backlit keyboard was really crappy in retrospect. Having tried many backlit and standard keyboards, I’ve found all of the backlit keyboards to be mushy, and on my original E6400, the paint started coming off of some of the keys. The quality of the WXGA+ LED screen has also gone from good to bad; in today’s world of 1080p IPS screens, the WXGA+ TN panel is rubbish. Then, the screen bezel, which I thought was pretty fat in 2008, is sadly pretty slim compared to what’s on the current-gen E6430. The styling of the Exx20 and Exx30 lines have also been less than desirable in my opinion.

Finally, I was skeptical about the 4.3lb minimum weight when I first bought the unit, but having eventually moved to an SSD, and bought the overpriced optical blank, I think the number is actually achievable if you can find the supposedly existent 4-Cell battery (you can’t). My current configuration is 4.7lbs. My T400 was 4.6lbs with a 4-Cell; if that unit had had integrated graphics, it might have gotten down to 4.3lbs. The T400, of course, had overall lower power consumption, too. In general, I think the E6400 was built better than the T400, but the T400 had better internals.

Changing gears, you’ll notice my x220t and x220 are smaller than they used to be.

Now that battery lives are in the double digits on small notebooks with big batteries, I’m much more about reducing size and weight. Only a few months after I bought the regular x220, I replaced the 9-Cell battery with a 6-Cell battery, which did not jut out the back, and still gave 7 to 8 hours of use in practice. More recently, I replace x220 Tablet’s 6-Cell with a 3-Cell battery, which does not jut out the back or the bottom, but only gives about 3 to 4 hours of use in practice. The latter swap is actually contrary to what I had originally planned.

Originally I had intended to move to the x230 series when it came out. I wanted to test my theories about switching machines on a yearly basis, and I wanted to reap the supposed power benefits of the new generation of Intel processors. Since the chassis didn’t change, I was hoping that the new processors would reduce power draw such that I could effectively get thinner and lighter laptops by buying x230s with 3-Cells and still get more than 3 to 4 hours of runtime. Unfortunately, I had the chance to test an x230 Tablet, and found that there was basically no power improvement in practice, and thus I didn’t execute on this upgrade plan.

My hate for the x220 Tablet’s enormously ugly 6-Cell prompted me to buy the 3-Cell anyway, even though it was expensive and only runs 3 to 4 hours.

Next, a size comparison between the three machines. Note that the backs aren’t quite lined up; the increase in footprint size between the x220 and the x220 Tablet is comparable to the increase in footprint size between the x220 Tablet and the E6400, which is again, kind of sad.

Currently, my master hardware plan has me getting an MBA 11 as soon as affordable dual-monitor ThunderBolt docking becomes available, but I think that’s a topic for another post.

All machines have been using Intel 80GB G2 SSDs since forever now. The price of SSDs have dropped immensely over the past year (possibly partially because of the retarded HDD/Thailand issue). Some low-end drives are selling close to 2GB per dollar after MIR at retail, which is insane. Even the price of used old drives has nearly halved; I’m seeing the 80GB G2s for $60 now, and these same drives were at $100 a year ago. It is definitely a good time to buy an SSD if you haven’t done so yet. J would agree with me this time, too.

That’s probably it for this time.


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