Monday, March 8, 2004

IBM T40 update

My T40 showed up last week, but in the midst of bruising, nicking or otherwise torturing my body in an attempt to finish the basement I didn’t have much time to play with it. Now that I’ve had a few days to get to know it, here’s my initial response: it’s spectacular. Easily the best laptop I’ve ever owned. (And that’s not idle praise: this is my ninth laptop in the past 11 years.)

It’s surprisingly thin, given that the T30 I had until a few weeks ago was almost identical in specs. The screen is as bright as I’ve had, the keyboard is very responsive (the keys are far more firm, and bouncy, than any other I’ve used) and the battery life so far seems terrific.

And for the first time since my Apple ][+ days, I’m leading a completely non-Microsoft application life (still using Windows — XP Professional — as my OS though). Here’s what I’m using and why:

  • Office suite: Open Office 1.1. Can read MS Office files and even save directly in that format (though the native XML-based file format is smaller and more extensible). Most casual users wouldn’t notice the difference, and there’s nothing in MS Office I’ve yet found that I can’t do in OO. (Cost savings: $400.)

  • E-mail: Bloomba. You may recall that I tried Bloomba a few months ago and decided to stop well, I’ve tried it again and decided it’s a keeper. Part of my problem before was that I continued to use Outlook as my calendar and contact manager (it’s what my prior employer used throughout the company); and it didn’t seem to make any sense to keep two apps when one could do. Well, the upside of having instantaneous searching of all your messages, coupled with powerful filtering and message management make Bloomba a far superior e-mail app. And coming with Version 2.0 — Palm sync support, calendar and better contact management. (In the meantime, I’ll get by with the Palm desktop that shipped with my Treo.) I’m sold.

  • Instant messaging: Trillian Pro 2.0. I’ve been a long-time Trillian user (it’s a universal IM client), but finally decided to go with the pro version because SocialText is heavily reliant on IM(Instant Messaging) and IRC for communications among employees. Trillian Pro offers better alias management, connectivity preferences, and stability than the free version. For $25, it’s a bargain.

  • Browser: Mozilla Firefox. The current version is .8, and it’s just a wonderful browser. Tabbed browsing is far superior to multiple windows, and the extensions are really dramatic usability improvements over anything IE can throw at you.

What am I missing? What are your killer apps?


  1. iTunes and QuickTime player (to replace Windows Media Player)

  2. Good point - I'd loaded those too. And I'm not sure how I forgot ActiveWords - but if you're a Windows user and you're not using ActiveWords, you're seriously missing out. It makes every interaction with your computer faster and easier.

  3. What are you doing about file / note / thought management outside of your blog? I've found that there are plenty of things I don't track in my blog that I'd like to keep elsewhere. I use Outlook's journaling function for meetings and interactinos with other people, like that phone call to the bank about my accounts.

  4. Klau's Application Picks

    Rick Klau's elation over his new IBM T40 laptop prompts him to list the non-MS applications that he uses: Open Office 1.1, instead of MS Office, Bloomba for e-mail, Trillian Pro 2.0. for instant messaging and the Mozilla Firefox .8...

  5. "Klau's Application Picks"

    Jerry Lawson posts: “Rick Klau's elation over his new IBM T40 laptop prompts him to list the non-MS applications that