Last night I did my laptop research, narrowed down to:
- Thinkpad T61 or X60
- Vaio VGN-SZ460N
However tempted I was (and I was) to go Mac, I realized I just don’t have the energy to learn something new right now. Maybe as a 2nd computer to have some fun with, but not as my primary.
I went with the Vaio over the Thinkpad because:
- 13″ screen and less than 4 pounds.
- Already have Vaio docking station, extra battery, extra power charger.
- Thinkpad T61 is big and heavy, X60 is too small.
- Vaio has superior displays.
- I really liked my last one, had none of the problems I hear others complaining about, figured I’d try it again.
- I could walk into the Sony Style store and be done with it in minutes.
Came preinstalled with Vista Business (read this post for my feelings on the Vista Edition nonsense), which seems to mean “no solitaire” as far as I can tell. It’s still amazing that Sony can’t even touch Apple when it comes to OOBE (out of box experience, pronounced ooh-bee) – during the first-time setup I sat watching it try to figure out the “right” display settings to use. How come this isn’t pre-configured? Sony knows the settings… silly.
Next two hours spent:
- Downloading backup documents off my Drobo (3 weeks since last backup – not too irresponsible I guess)
- Downloading backup photos (also from Drobo, although I have a more recent photo backup on my Maxtor NAS at home)
- Getting online with office network
- Activating Office 2007
- Uninstalling miscellaneous Sony crapware (by the way, does anyone know why Visual C++ and SQL server are pre-installed? do I need them for Vista??)
- Downloading Plaxo toolbar for Outlook – all contacts/calendar restored
- Activating Outlook email – downloaded past 10 days email from server backup
- Installing AIM (classic, not Triton) and MSN Messenger
- Customizing Vista power and other settings
Overall experience was pretty good. I have no real complaints about Vista other than it is a lot clunkier than it should be – what I mean is there’s no good reason for the clunkiness. Also, I think this new Vaio has an ever better screen than my last one, but I might be dramatizing it a bit. I don’t quite understand the inclusion of Cingular/AT&T Edge networking for $59/mo (compared to Verizon/Sprint EVDO Rev-A for $50/$20 respectively), couldn’t they have at least upgraded to HSDPA?
What did I learn from this?
- Thankfully I backup frequently, although clearly not often nor thoroughly enough. My real data loss was the past 2 weeks of docs I’ve created and hadn’t shared, as well as tons of emails. I really relied on the combo of Outlook and Google Desktop Search as my mechanisms for archiving & finding stuff. I should’ve backed up my Outlook PST file and I think GDS should include an offline backup feature as well.
- Using offline email and Plaxo is mandatory - I restored my entire contact and calendar database in minutes, and it was free. Granted, if your company has Exchange server or you use Gmail, this is likely unnecessary, but there was nothing else that can replicate this experience.
- Thieves suck, renters insurance rules. I use Allstate, and they are moving fast and super-helpful to get me rolling again.