Monday, December 19, 2016

Lenovo - small but significant "opps"

I recently purchased a new laptop for my husband who also had an old one on its' last leg.
Since this was going to be a work machine and he certainly wasn't as concerned with "looks" the way I was, the new laptop purchased was a Lenovo Ideapad 110.
Nice machine, enough bells & whistles, and a price tag that made it more than attractive!'s working just fine for him. Loaded in the programs he needed and the remote desktop he works with and everything seems just fine. In fact, this is one of the few remaining laptops with a built-in dvd. Goes to show you, you can still build a nice thin lightweight machine and not have to leave this useful feature out.
Now the one "tiny", but oh so troubling little misstep from Lenovo.
Since when do you take it upon yourself to alter the lineup of keyboard keys??!!
Lenovo...what were you thinking???

The public has been using a standard Qwerty keyboard layout for decades. Why would you mess with this and change the placement of one of your "shift" keys??
This is something that comes into being an issue rather the first time you start to type!
The "right shift" key is actually an extra space over from where any other keyboard has it. In its' place is the "arrow up" key. Really? Why?

I know this is only one tiny negative, but trust me. Next time you're typing, pretend that your "up" key is the right shift key. Bet you understand after that.
We're keeping it and he is learning to deal with it mostly because at the office, he plugs in another remote keyboard to it.
So, only one small problem...but very significant one.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Asus Q504 Laptop

I replaced my beloved Sony Vaio several months ago when she finally got to the point of not being able to be depended on to run for much longer.
I honestly didn't want to get to that point, but something needed to be done. Best to start the hunt for a new one while I could still use the Sony and not go out buying one in a panic the day she actually died.
The hunt lasted for I'm glad she did too!
I'm not one for a purchase without lots and lots of research. I was exhausted by the time I found the chosen one, Asus Q504.  Being an artist, I needed beauty as well as brains.
I've had this machine for several months now and really have very little to complain about.
It is Windows 10, Intel i5, 12GB ram and 1T hard drive. Yes, I know there are better specs on other machines, but this was perfect when trying to stay on a budget. Let's face it, you can always get bigger & better if money is no object.
The body is brushed aluminium with beautiful chrome hinges.
I will not go into anything about Win 10 because that honestly has nothing to do with the machine. That would simply be the operating system...and ALL the machines have it.

The screen display is full HD and simply beautiful. Being an artist, as I mentioned earlier, this is important to me. I need to bring up digital images of my work and need a great visual for this.
The speakers...these must be the best speakers I've seen yet on any laptop. The sound is full and not tinny and the volume is so good that much of the time I need to keep the level down to 60%, and that's plenty loud enough even for music.
Battery life, about 5 hrs. depending on usage. This may not be enough for some, but for me it's good.
Keypad is good. Nice response and separate number pad. I love using a wireless mouse, so I rarely use the track-pad. There's comfortable wrist space as well.
So far I've been able to use it for hours without any real heating up. That's a plus since my last machine would get quite heated in a short time.
There is a "touch" screen, and while I have very little use for that, it works well.
Back-lit keyboard. Didn't think I'd care about that, but it's nice.
No CD/DVD drive. Oh well. At first I had said I would not buy one without, but this machine answered all my needs except for I bought an external one. I do wish that the companies would go back to including them since they honestly are handy and take up little space. My husband has a very nice low profile Lenovo which includes the dvd. Still nice and thin, so it can be done.
It has 12 GB ram, but honestly, that's something that doesn't really seem to make a serious difference from, let's say, 8GB. Like most things, getting a tiny bit more isn't really worth it if it's going to cost much more.
One item I'm getting used to, but it can annoy, is the "numbers lock". Every time you boot the machine up, the number lock is on...even if it wasn't when you shut it down. It'll be fine and stay the way you leave it if you simply wake the machine from sleep mode, but upon a restart/boot up, it's back to lock position. Minor issue, but there.

One item with this machine is both a Pro & Con. It has the ability to convert to a tablet.
While this sounds nice, a 15 1/2" machine makes for a "big" tablet. Not comfortable to use that way, so it would only be useful in particular situations. One "con" with the process of making the tablet switch is that there seems to be a glitch in the system with knowing when to turn off the physical keyboard. Seems that as you fold the laptop into position, it will engage and disengage the keyboard at random points. Since I don't like using a laptop of this size as a tablet anyway, not a problem for me. For others, this could be a problem.

Bottom line, this machine has much more than your basic laptop. Great quality as well as good looks.
The pluses are far more than the minuses which are few, and really one can be considered a minus depending on how you use your computer.
I'm personally very happy with this choice after several months of use and hope to be feeling the same, years from now.

Saturday, October 29, 2016


Some weeks ago I had a robot move into my house. It's name is Deebot.
I tried....I really tried to like this little pink robotic vacuum. I really is cute. But will cute be enough?? Doubt it.
Although I must say that for some reason, my husband seems to have a fondness for it. Could it be he just feels badly for the sweet little pink thing?
First let me say that if you didn't already look this item up online, you would NOT know that it is for "bare" floors. You would think that it would say something about that on the box....but doesn't...unless you consider the wording "floor cleaning robot" to mean just that...floors - not rugs...not even a throw rug. So anyone who simply saw it on the store shelf would be in for a surprise if they thought it would do more.
Seems like an important detail to me!
One thing I can say for's pet friendly. No...not in the fact that it'll keep your house completely free of pet hair and such...but with regard to the fact that it doesn't scare them.
Nope, my cat doesn't even bother to leave the room when Deebot is running. She would run to another floor of the house when a regular vacuum is turned on, but not this one. It's pretty quiet and small and low to the floor. All things that the cat finds easy to deal with. So, in that's quite "friendly".
Another'll go where you'd rather not.
Under all the furniture and into anywhere that is close to the ground and tight to get into. It's pretty low profile, so will usually slip right in. Will it find it's way out....well...sooner or
But let's face it....if we don't have to move furniture....there's something to be said for that.
How much will it pick up?? really try's, but let's face can only pick up what it has room to capture. The dust/dirt container is not all that bad...but small enough to need to be emptied on a regular basis. At least this process is easy and only takes a few minutes. It also has a filter.
There are simple instructions that come along with it.
The instructions are light on detail. Part of it relies on diagrams. Guess that's fine since it is really pretty self explanatory. One button for on/off. One button for on/pause. A flap to get at the dust bin.
Oh also has two spinning brushes that spin off to the side...making it look a bit like a giant spider...or at least that the first impression I had of
There are two sets of brushes so you will have a spare right off the bat. Nice. They are easy to attach and remove and it certainly makes cleaning them a breeze.
The little side brushes make up for the fact that there's no roller brush underneath as with a regular vacuum. It simply has it's wheel for moving and the suction at the bottom. The little brushes are meant to move the dust toward the suction underneath. Works most of the time, but as you might expect, they sometimes brush the dust in the other direction which makes cleaning up a bit longer.
The fact that there is no rolling brush on the bottom is a plus & minus. The minus is that this is really why it won't do anything with a rug. There simply isn't anything there to brush at the fibres. The plus is that unlike a regular vacuum, you don't have a messy tangle of hair and such that you need to cut away from the brush every now and then. Personally...that's never my favorite job.
Other items mentioned in the small write up on the box are the fact that it claims Deebot will sense furniture and obstacles and not bump into them and damage furniture, and that there is a sensor that will keep it from falling down stairs.
Well....not so much for either item. Upon setting it out for it's first run around the promptly bumped into almost every piece of furniture. Not hard enough to cause damage which is good, but had me wondering if poor Deebot had a vision problem.
Needless to say, I didn't trust him not to hurt himself with stairs, which I can tell you, he would have!!
All these nice sensors...and I have one who runs around sense"less".
Another selling feature of Deebot is that he is supposed to be able to tell when he's running out of power and head off to his charger to recharge. One thing you must be sure of is that your charging port is quite flush against the wall and can't move. Deebot will push it into a position where he can't get to it otherwise. For the most part this works well, however, one day he didn't realize he was getting low and ended up looking like a drunk who couldn't find his way home. I had to carefully lead him to the charger and help him mount up. Felt a little bad for the poor fellow.
Finally, he is said to be able to be easily set to run around cleaning every day at the same time. This looks like an easy feature to program, however, due to the fact that I don't quite feel as if I can let him play on his own just yet without being around to babysit...I haven't tried this feature.
Maybe when he gets a little older!!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Let's get this party started

Welcome aboard.
I hope that you'll enjoy the posts yet to come. I decided to create this blog in anticipation of my future visit to the 2017 Consumer Electronic Show in Vegas!!
Normally it is only available to the industry folk. Yep....I've always wanted to go but never would have gotten in due to that small, but important detail.
Well....things have changed. No...I'm still not part of the industry...but I have a daughter who is!!!
This is how I'm finally getting my long time wish. And it's all legit too!! sneaking around or getting fake credentials!!
The people at the company she represents have actually decided to use me as a "consumer" to take some pics and give reviews from a consumers perspective!!
Soo....I will be given my own credentials and have a job to do......sooo cool. Can you tell I'm excited??!!!
I's not until that's why I'm here.  To get you all warmed up ahead of time.
You'll be able to share my fun at the show....but until then...I will give you my thoughts, opinions, and advise along the way on other things until we get there.
So, thanks for joining me and I hope we can take this consumer journey together!