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Lenovo spits out retro ThinkPads for iconic laptop's 25th birthday

Anonymous Coward

And the best Retro bit is...?

It runs Windows. Yay.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: And the best Retro bit is...?

Oooh, a new take on "but... ...can I wipe it and put a PROPER linux on it?"

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Linux

Re: And the best Retro bit is...?

"put a PROPER linux on it?"

Whadya talkin bout? All Linux is "PROPER"!

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Silver badge

Re: And the best Retro bit is...?

All Linux is "PROPER"!

Unless it's been infected with systemd that is - it then becomes more of a Windows-linux love child that shares none of the advantages of the parents but displays all their flaws..

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Re: And the best Retro bit is...?

" All Linux is "PROPER"!

Unless it's been infected with systemd that is... "

Yes of course, absolutely, have a thumbs up. It's something that I tend subconciously blank out and hope it will one day go away.

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I was a devoted ThinkPad user for many, many years...

Although as noted they started screwing up the designs a few years ago, which happened to roughly coincide with Apple launching the MacBook Pro with Retina Display - a productivity beast if you valued the ability to have between 100 and 120 lines of cleanly legible text (assuming great vision or a great optometrist) on your screen. I miss the TrackPoint, but Apple does many other things well (including a UNIX-based operating system with generous third-party software support) and other than that I haven't looked back. This 25th anniversary edition is giving me a pretty strong nostalgia kick, though....

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Re: I was a devoted ThinkPad user for many, many years...

I switched from Thinkpad to Macbook about a year ago and can't wait to go back!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I was a devoted ThinkPad user for many, many years...

You know the saying: once you’ve tried Mac you can never go back.

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Re: I was a devoted ThinkPad user for many, many years...

I miss the TrackPoint

I have alway, and always will, hate the nipple-mice.

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Re: I was a devoted ThinkPad user for many, many years...

You know the saying: once you’ve tried Mac you can never AFFORD TO go back.

There, FTFY.

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Re: I was a devoted ThinkPad user for many, many years...

I don't know, I miss the way once they started to get a little worn, the mouse will start to move in random directions all on it's own.

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Re: I was a devoted ThinkPad user for many, many years...

"I have alway, and always will, hate the nipple-mice."

Agree completely.

I thought they were just put there to make you concentrate your big fat fingers on typing accuracy. My big fat fingers seem drawn to the f_cker when I am absolutely not trying to type what I am typing into a completely different paragraph :-(

{Note: Loved everything else about the Thinkpad though}

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Re: I was a devoted ThinkPad user for many, many years...

I love nipple mice so much that all three of my desktop machines have IBM Spacesaver keyboards, which include a nipple. Not a separate mouse in sight.

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Re: I was a devoted ThinkPad user for many, many years...

@Ian Johnston - yep - me too - and those Rack Save keyboards dont come cheap - I spent hours looking for a Bluetooth kbrd with a nipplemouse - sadly none found.

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Bronze badge

+1 for X220 mention

Only just retired the last X220 here recently. With a SSD fitted (and boy was it easy to swap hard disks) and extra RAM (and boy was it easy to add RAM), they were still performing well. It's just that the battery had decided to only give 25 minutes of life.

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Coat

Re: +1 for X220 mention

"Your humble hack's old X220 is one of the last units with the old-style keyboard, which is why it's in service six years later despite being so slow to boot you can make a cup of tea and be back before it's ready to use."

X220 + SSD + no-name battery = boot in 45 sec (cos Slackware) seriously snappy and fully functional.

Time for a reinstall?

Comment on OA: 4:3 ratio and same form factor as X60 but with bright non-reflective screen and 12 hour battery life and I'll buy two.

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Re: +1 for X220 mention

I have a very similar X220, except with Xubuntu, and I swear that it boots in well under 45 seconds (although maybe it only feels fast by comparison to my work issue X220 with Windows that takes aaaaaaaaaaaaaages to boot).

Perhaps I should time it.

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Re: +1 for X220 mention

my x220 is still going and its disc spins and it is the original battery and having seen x230s/x250s you can keep those overgrown calculators.

.. it boots in about 2 mins but that is all the $employers security crapware that expects you to login connected to their lan

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Re: +1 for X220 mention

It's just that the battery had decided to only give 25 minutes of life.

Well, it's ridiculously easy to replace that too.

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Re: +1 for X220 mention

Similar here on an x201 - bought 3 yrs ago 2nd hand v cheap then totally forgotten until rediscovered a few months ago. SSD, another battery and boost to 8Gb and it's fine. A HD screen would be nice but probably not worth losing the 4:3 aspect ratio.

Lenovo should've tried to source a similar panel to the one on the surface pro and this 25 would've been irresistible.

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Re: +1 for X220 mention

A HD screen would be nice but probably not worth losing the 4:3 aspect ratio.

Um, 1280x800 isn't 4:3. And neither is 1440x900 (my current X201s).

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FAIL

Re: +1 for X220 mention

> It's just that the battery had decided to only give 25 minutes of life

That's because Lenovo recommends that your battery be charged to only 50% to increase battery life. What a laugh! Lithium batteries must be kept at or as near as possible to 100% for as long as possible to maintain good battery life. I tell everyone who cares about battery life in modern appliances that a Lithium battery should never be allowed to dip down beyond 50% charge. (I have an HP iPaq 951a which had its battery replaced in 2004 and still works well, because it's kept charged to 100% all the time.) The only thing that Lenovo users get by following their recommendation of keeping the battery charged to 50% is the privilege of purchasing a new battery from Lenovo every few years.

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Coat

Re: +1 for X220 mention

"I have a very similar X220, except with Xubuntu, and I swear that it boots in well under 45 seconds"

Probably does. Slackware does an old school boot and for some reason the 'kernel test' takes 10 seconds. But I mostly suspend and reboot once a week or so or when kernel updates arrive.

Coat: mine's the one with the Slackware DVD in the pocket

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Re: +1 for X220 mention

"What a laugh! Lithium batteries must be kept at or as near as possible to 100% for as long as possible to maintain good battery life."

I don't know if thats true or not. But I do know that if you keep hitting a battery with charge when its 100% then it shortens its life. Or it did in the old days anyway.

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Re: +1 for X220 mention

Mint 17xx 28 seconds to desktop if i crash through the login first fast try. the SSD helps :-)

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Re: +1 for X220 mention

"Your humble hack's old X220 ... which is why it's in service six years latner despite being so slow to boot you can make a cup of tea and be back before it's ready to use."

Yes, time for a SSD.

Perhaps commentards (with X220s) can crowd-fund a SSD for Iain. Better still, Vulture Management could just pay him more.

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Re: +1 for X220 mention

My t61's have software that allows the battery to fall to about 95% before recharging each time. The family has four, and I have only bought two new batteries (I think they date from about 2008). Two are in constant use, and tow just get occasional use.

I also have a T21 which is still used as a dumb terminal for Sun servers, and a T43 with SSD which I use when travelling cos its smaller than a T61. Some have had CPU upgrades. All have max supported memory, and one runs windows - but has an SSD in where the DVD used to be and runs FreeBSD.

I will probably buy one of these new-fangled devices. It will probably run FreeBSD.

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Happy

Maybe I'll try one

They missed the serial port - a real ThinkPad has a serial port.

I still have a T23 in regular use with the original battery that's good for about 2 hours.

I tried Panasonic Toughbooks for a while but could never get used to them.

The only laptop that comes close to the old ThinkPads is the General Dynamics GoBooks.

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Re: Maybe I'll try one

And if it doesn't, there is a docking station.

I HOPE there is a docking station which takes biggish PCIe cards - or how will I connect my LTO drive?

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I'd buy that for a dollar! (or several)

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Anonymous Coward

Only have one thing to say to Lenovo....

Superfish... You might forget, but we won't!

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Re: Only have one thing to say to Lenovo....

My T60 was in a house fire. The fire melted the bag around it, after which it was fire-hosed and then frozen. Two days later, I retrieved it. I thawed it, cut the remnants of the bag away, removed the HDD, the optical drive, the battery and the RAM, wiped everything down, and let it all dry in a warm room for three days. I reassembled it - and it booted. I then used it without incident for another two years before installing Linux to deal with the now-slow-and-antiquated hardware. I wanted a tank for my business - and I got one. This is one rugged laptop!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Only have one thing to say to Lenovo....

Cool story bro. How does it relate to Lenovo factory installing Superfish advertising, allowing MITM modification of SSL traffic?

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Trollface

Re: Only have one thing to say to Lenovo....

The Toyota Hilux of Laptops?

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Re: Only have one thing to say to Lenovo....

Cool story bro. How does it relate to Lenovo factory installing Superfish advertising, allowing MITM modification of SSL traffic?

That's easy to bypass. Just wipe the disk clean and install Linux. Both problems (junkware and junkOS) fixed in one simple step.

I first did this to an IBM 560Z (Redhat Linux 7.2), and a few years later to the new Lenovo R61i that replaced it (Vista immediately wiped and replaced with Fedora). This is still running though on its second screen, keyboard and fan though the DVD drive died and so did its HDD, which got replaced by a Sandisk 128GB SSD - the R61i hardware can't handle disks bigger than 200GB but you can't buy HDDs that small now, hence the SDD.

However, for everyday use I now have a Lenovo T440 that also got wiped immediately and Fedora 25 XFCE installed.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Only have one thing to say to Lenovo....

Not doubting its easy to bypass or that (anyones choice of OS) can be placed on there. His cool story is not a reply to a comment mentioning (only!) Lenovo + Superfish, its just some random shite that he's tried to tag higher up the threads.

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Re: Only have one thing to say to Lenovo....

I think Lenovo has learnt its lesson after the internets opened a can of whoop-arse.

My Thinkpad P50 I bought this year doesn't have it, I checked with Lenovo's own removal tool.

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Re: Only have one thing to say to Lenovo....

"My Thinkpad P50 I bought this year doesn't have it"

None of the Thinkpads had it. Only some consumer models were preloaded with Superfish. And yes, Lenovo handled their blunder surprisingly well. They owned up and cleaned up.

In this sense OP is missing the mark by a wide margin. This is an article about Thinkpads after all.

Righteous yells à la "we will remember" would be more justified if people actually did remember.

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Re: Only have one thing to say to Lenovo....

I had a T60 (given to a friend that needed a decent machine, or else I'd still have it) which was abused quite mercilessly. Knocked off the bed/stand many times, kicked, cord yanked out, held by any give point along the screen bezel. While it was likely a matter of chance, the LCD panel itself survived being struck quite hard on several occasions. Only thing that ever failed was the palmrest itself, which was easily replaceable. Replacement included a fingerprint scanner, as it was the cheapest available at the time. Also wore the texture off of the trackpoint nipple.

Went through a bunch of 600Xs back in the early-mid 2000s, giving/selling them to friends and acquaintances (my dad's company had heaps of broken 600Xs and 600Es which were being discarded). For their day, they were pretty stout as well. While not exceptionally durable, I did have one get yanked off a meter-high countertop by the charge cord, by someone who's velcro shoe strap interfaced with the cord's own velcro. The outer shell of the screen actually shattered, sending the front bezel flying off, and a missing arc of material equating 1/3 of the total shell was ejected as a few large plates of plastic.

If I remember correctly, the panel survived with a small bit of superficial impact damage at the very corner, though I might be confusing it with another more minor incident. At worst, a minor crack with a few vertical lines on the damaged side. On the other hand, if you put a few pounds of pressure on the back of the lid, a disheartening crunch and RIP panel... nothing's perfect, but older thinkpads were pretty close.

I actually destructively "tested" (totally not wanton destruction for lulz) a couple of 600-series machines cobbled together from the non-working remains of others, and found them to be able to withstand several arm-powered vertical excursions terminating on the asphalt without losing too much material before finally coming to bits, though it seemed dependent on whether the struck hinge-side first (more survivable) or not. I would do some more testing, for science, but they're becoming a relatively rare breed these days.

I think I've now made a long-winded Thinkpad-exalting spiel every day this week, albeit in disparate spots on the net... and it feels good :)

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Coffee/keyboard

Leaving Thinkpad after 20 years

I got my first Thinkpad in March 1997, (and apart from a 12 month stint on a Dell when Corp IT demanded it) I have had one after another (X30, X31, X60, X61 X201, X220, T420p T440p(using it now)) but I've finally had enough.

The hardware has been magnificent over the years. Hardware manuals on line and driver support great. It's Lenovo here in Singapore that have forced me to take a look at other brands.

It used to be I could take a machine to the service center (and have a good coffee) and they would sort it while I waited.Now you have to jump through so many hoops for support it's a waste of time. Also the recent changes of docking connector every couple of generations It's time to change..

I'll be sad to see the TP go, but Lenovo does not seem to care about customers any more.

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Re: Leaving Thinkpad after 20 years

What are you going to replace it with? (Asking out of genuine interest)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Leaving Thinkpad after 20 years

Don't let the T440p put you off. That has to be the worst laptop ever produced. They started to improve since then. The T470 isn't too bad

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Re: Leaving Thinkpad after 20 years

Agreed I absolutely despise my T440p. other than T440p, the only other thinkpad I have not loved was the X61s

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Original IBM Thinkpad? Nah!

It was just the first laptop with the name.

This was the original! ☺

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That stupid little keyboard light is a quintessential part of the ThinkPad experience. That and a really good keyboard feel. And you could pop out all the various important bits (batteries, RAM, HDD) for upgrades and replacements.

You could also beat a mugger to death with one then go right back to Lotus Notes and keep working.

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go right back to Lotus Notes and keep working

Heh heh. Lotus Bloats and working using in the same sentance (sentence? both seem appropriate) without a negative..

Does not compute. Computer says no. Do not pass go, do not collect 200 $CURRENCY_UNITS.

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Devil

If my computer had Lotus Notes on it, I'd give it to the mugger.

Then later he'd probably sue me for mental cruelty, and win.

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I would expect Lotus Notes to beat a mugger to death without the help of the hardware.

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jrd

Another fan

Now on my third Thinkpad - a T420 I bought second-hand four years ago for £329. All three machines still work (the X30 runs XP and the X60 runs Linux). Solid, dependable workhorses and I love the nipple mouse. They have their flaws but I wish everything in my life was as reliable as my Thinkpads.

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Not "nipple"....

Clitoris! Get it right, dammit.

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