Best replacement for X61s

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Best replacement for X61s

Arno Trautmann
Hi all,

my machine is getting old and I'd like to replace it. The casing shows
clear signs of nearly 10 years everyday use and being carried around,
and the processor also starts to feels slow.
So I'm looking for a new machine. Unfortunately, all new thinkpads have
this annoying macbook-style keyboards instead of the nice old ones with
the cone-shaped keys. This is one of the reasons I'm asking here for
some advice:
What do you think would be the best replacement? Most important points
for me are the compactness (~12"), robustness and, if somehow possible,
the same keyboard style. Doesn't have to be a new machine, used is fine
– but I'm not sure which was the last model with a nice keyboard. Also,
I don't care about high-res screens or media stuff etc.
Of course I expect perfect interplay with Linux, elsewise I would not
bother this list ;)

Any advice is highly appreciated,

best
Arno
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Re: Best replacement for X61s

Rubin Abdi
You should really really give the new keyboard a try (like a week or two of use) before writing it off.

Otherwise your only hope is an X220.

On 25 July 2016 at 01:00, Arno Trautmann <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi all,

my machine is getting old and I'd like to replace it. The casing shows clear signs of nearly 10 years everyday use and being carried around, and the processor also starts to feels slow.
So I'm looking for a new machine. Unfortunately, all new thinkpads have this annoying macbook-style keyboards instead of the nice old ones with the cone-shaped keys. This is one of the reasons I'm asking here for some advice:
What do you think would be the best replacement? Most important points for me are the compactness (~12"), robustness and, if somehow possible, the same keyboard style. Doesn't have to be a new machine, used is fine – but I'm not sure which was the last model with a nice keyboard. Also, I don't care about high-res screens or media stuff etc.
Of course I expect perfect interplay with Linux, elsewise I would not bother this list ;)

Any advice is highly appreciated,

best
Arno
--
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Re: Best replacement for X61s

Uwe Brauer-2
In reply to this post by Arno Trautmann
>>> "Arno" == Arno Trautmann <[hidden email]> writes:

   > Hi all,
   > my machine is getting old and I'd like to replace it. The casing shows
   > clear signs of nearly 10 years everyday use and being carried around,
   > and the processor also starts to feels slow.

I have the same machine (and the same problem), have you considered to
use a SSD, I did this, and it felt like a big leap into the feature.
The speed of most operations doubled or tripled.

   > So I'm looking for a new machine. Unfortunately, all new thinkpads
   > have this annoying macbook-style keyboards instead of the nice old
   > ones with the cone-shaped keys. This is one of the reasons I'm asking
   > here for some advice:

I face the same problem, even more annoying than the shape of the
keyboard is its distribution and the fact that a lot of keys a missing,
since I have bound a lot of functions to these keys, I feel lost with
the new layout.

   > What do you think would be the best replacement? Most important points
   > for me are the compactness (~12"), robustness and, if somehow
   > possible, the same keyboard style. Doesn't have to be a new machine,
   > used is fine – but I'm not sure which was the last model with a nice
   > keyboard. Also, I don't care about high-res screens or media stuff
   > etc.

I think the last ones with a traditional good Thinkpad keyboards are the
201 series.

regards

Uwe Brauer
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Re: Best replacement for X61s

Uwe Brauer-2
In reply to this post by Rubin Abdi
>>> "Rubin" == Rubin Abdi <[hidden email]> writes:

   > You should really really give the new keyboard a try (like a week or two of
   > use) before writing it off.


Well I can say that much: I tried out for an afternoon a new ultrabook:
terrible experience
   > Otherwise your only hope is an X220.

Or even a X201

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Re: Best replacement for X61s

bhaskins
In reply to this post by Uwe Brauer-2


On 7/25/2016 4:49 AM, Uwe Brauer wrote:

>>>> "Arno" == Arno Trautmann <[hidden email]> writes:
>     > Hi all,
>     > my machine is getting old and I'd like to replace it. The casing shows
>     > clear signs of nearly 10 years everyday use and being carried around,
>     > and the processor also starts to feels slow.
>
> I have the same machine (and the same problem), have you considered to
> use a SSD, I did this, and it felt like a big leap into the feature.
> The speed of most operations doubled or tripled.
>
>     > So I'm looking for a new machine. Unfortunately, all new thinkpads
>     > have this annoying macbook-style keyboards instead of the nice old
>     > ones with the cone-shaped keys. This is one of the reasons I'm asking
>     > here for some advice:
>
> I face the same problem, even more annoying than the shape of the
> keyboard is its distribution and the fact that a lot of keys a missing,
> since I have bound a lot of functions to these keys, I feel lost with
> the new layout.
>
>     > What do you think would be the best replacement? Most important points
>     > for me are the compactness (~12"), robustness and, if somehow
>     > possible, the same keyboard style. Doesn't have to be a new machine,
>     > used is fine – but I'm not sure which was the last model with a nice
>     > keyboard. Also, I don't care about high-res screens or media stuff
>     > etc.
>
> I think the last ones with a traditional good Thinkpad keyboards are the
> 201 series.
>
> regards
>
> Uwe Brauer
I think that we are just a few of the many that will hate the crappy (
new ) keyboards.
I solved part of the problems by buying two extra T510s, IMHO one of
best laptops ever made.
The Ts are big and heavy so the other half of the problem is what to do
with my Z61T.
The screen is getting very dim and there doesn't seem to be a LED
backlight kit for it.
I would love to find a light weight replacement for it which had a led
screen, the good keyboard, and a trackpoint.
As an added bonus I would be nice to not have to put up with the
scumsoft F!@#ed up bios.
I run ssd drives on all of my laptops.

Thanks
   Bert
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Re: Best replacement for X61s

Chris Schumann
I recommend a 1st Gen X1 Carbon. Yes it has the chiclet keyboard, but I really liked that machine, including the keyboard. I only got a replacement because I couldn't bother to try to put a larger ssd in it.

Chris

On July 25, 2016 7:22:09 AM CDT, Bert Haskins <[hidden email]> wrote:


On 7/25/2016 4:49 AM, Uwe Brauer wrote:
"Arno" == Arno Trautmann <[hidden email]> writes:
Hi all,
my machine is getting old and I'd like to replace it. The casing shows
clear signs of nearly 10 years everyday use and being carried around,
and the processor also starts to feels slow.

I have the same machine (and the same problem), have you considered to
use a SSD, I did this, and it felt like a big leap into the feature.
The speed of most operations doubled or tripled.

So I'm looking for a new machine. Unfortunately, all new thinkpads
have this annoying macbook-style keyboards instead of the nice old
ones with the cone-shaped keys. This is one of the reasons I'm asking
here for some advice:

I face the same problem, even more annoying than the shape of the
keyboard is its distribution and the fact that a lot of keys a missing,
since I have bound a lot of functions to these keys, I feel lost with
the new layout.

What do you think would be the best replacement? Most important points
for me are the compactness (~12"), robustness and, if somehow
possible, the same keyboard style. Doesn't have to be a new machine,
used is fine – but I'm not sure which was the last model with a nice
keyboard. Also, I don't care about high-res screens or media stuff
etc.

I think the last ones with a traditional good Thinkpad keyboards are the
201 series.

regards

Uwe Brauer
I think that we are just a few of the many that will hate the crappy (
new ) keyboards.
I solved part of the problems by buying two extra T510s, IMHO one of
best laptops ever made.
The Ts are big and heavy so the other half of the problem is what to do
with my Z61T.
The screen is getting very dim and there doesn't seem to be a LED
backlight kit for it.
I would love to find a light weight replacement for it which had a led
screen, the good keyboard, and a trackpoint.
As an added bonus I would be nice to not have to put up with the
scumsoft F!@#ed up bios.
I run ssd drives on all of my laptops.

Thanks
Bert

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Re: Best replacement for X61s

Arno Trautmann
In reply to this post by Uwe Brauer-2
On 07/25/2016 10:50 AM, Uwe Brauer wrote:
>>>> "Rubin" == Rubin Abdi <[hidden email]> writes:
>
>    > You should really really give the new keyboard a try (like a week or two of
>    > use) before writing it off.
>
>
> Well I can say that much: I tried out for an afternoon a new ultrabook:
> terrible experience

Since I never tried the new keyboard on a thinkpad: Uwa, what do you
find terrible about it?

>    > Otherwise your only hope is an X220.
>
> Or even a X201
>

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Re: Best replacement for X61s

Arno Trautmann
In reply to this post by Uwe Brauer-2
On 07/25/2016 10:49 AM, Uwe Brauer wrote:
 >>>> "Arno" == Arno Trautmann <[hidden email]> writes:
 >
 >    > Hi all,
 >    > my machine is getting old and I'd like to replace it. The casing
shows
 >    > clear signs of nearly 10 years everyday use and being carried
around,
 >    > and the processor also starts to feels slow.
 >
 > I have the same machine (and the same problem), have you considered to
 > use a SSD, I did this, and it felt like a big leap into the feature.
 > The speed of most operations doubled or tripled.

Yes, sure. But I am really limited by the CPU power. My main use is
acually LaTeX, and although this is using a huge number of small files
(perfect for SSD), those are all cached and I don't expect a big
increase in speed for TeXing.
Plus, the fan is dying, there's a (small) crack in the housing and the
screen is getting loose. Nothing that cannot be fixed, but alltogether
too much work for an old machine. Of course I'll keep it as a secondary
machine.

 >    > So I'm looking for a new machine. Unfortunately, all new thinkpads
 >    > have this annoying macbook-style keyboards instead of the nice old
 >    > ones with the cone-shaped keys. This is one of the reasons I'm
asking
 >    > here for some advice:
 >
 > I face the same problem, even more annoying than the shape of the
 > keyboard is its distribution and the fact that a lot of keys a missing,
 > since I have bound a lot of functions to these keys, I feel lost with
 > the new layout.

Same here.

 >    > What do you think would be the best replacement? Most important
points
 >    > for me are the compactness (~12"), robustness and, if somehow
 >    > possible, the same keyboard style. Doesn't have to be a new machine,
 >    > used is fine – but I'm not sure which was the last model with a nice
 >    > keyboard. Also, I don't care about high-res screens or media stuff
 >    > etc.
 >
 > I think the last ones with a traditional good Thinkpad keyboards are the
 > 201 series.

And I guess there's no way to fit one of the old keyboards into a new
one? Has anyone tried/heard of that?

Thank you guys for the quick answers!

Best,
Arno

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Re: Best replacement for X61s

Adrian Filip
T520 has the old style keyboard with a big Delete and Esc keys. Insert was moved above F12. It's heavy, not very comfortable to move it around.
I prefer the old style keyboard from T60p, with Insert above the Delete. I like it so much that I about an Ultranav external keyboard, but is not the same quality as the laptop keyboard, the top two rows feels very bad. I also have an IBM model M keyboard, but I'm missing the trackpoint and I don't like to use a mouse, but I like the feel. Unicomp has a model M with trackpoint, but only with 2 buttons, I don't know how if it's possible to scroll with it.

There were rumors that Lenovo will release a new classic/retro, but after a year they didn't released anything:
http://blog.lenovo.com/en/blog/retro-thinkpad-time-machine/
Looking at the comments, there are a lot of people wanting a classic Thinkpad.


On Tue, Jul 26, 2016 at 10:18 AM, Arno Trautmann <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 07/25/2016 10:49 AM, Uwe Brauer wrote:
>>>> "Arno" == Arno Trautmann <[hidden email]> writes:
>
>    > Hi all,
>    > my machine is getting old and I'd like to replace it. The casing shows
>    > clear signs of nearly 10 years everyday use and being carried around,
>    > and the processor also starts to feels slow.
>
> I have the same machine (and the same problem), have you considered to
> use a SSD, I did this, and it felt like a big leap into the feature.
> The speed of most operations doubled or tripled.

Yes, sure. But I am really limited by the CPU power. My main use is acually LaTeX, and although this is using a huge number of small files (perfect for SSD), those are all cached and I don't expect a big increase in speed for TeXing.
Plus, the fan is dying, there's a (small) crack in the housing and the screen is getting loose. Nothing that cannot be fixed, but alltogether too much work for an old machine. Of course I'll keep it as a secondary machine.

>    > So I'm looking for a new machine. Unfortunately, all new thinkpads
>    > have this annoying macbook-style keyboards instead of the nice old
>    > ones with the cone-shaped keys. This is one of the reasons I'm asking
>    > here for some advice:
>
> I face the same problem, even more annoying than the shape of the
> keyboard is its distribution and the fact that a lot of keys a missing,
> since I have bound a lot of functions to these keys, I feel lost with
> the new layout.

Same here.

>    > What do you think would be the best replacement? Most important points
>    > for me are the compactness (~12"), robustness and, if somehow
>    > possible, the same keyboard style. Doesn't have to be a new machine,
>    > used is fine – but I'm not sure which was the last model with a nice
>    > keyboard. Also, I don't care about high-res screens or media stuff
>    > etc.
>
> I think the last ones with a traditional good Thinkpad keyboards are the
> 201 series.

And I guess there's no way to fit one of the old keyboards into a new one? Has anyone tried/heard of that?

Thank you guys for the quick answers!

Best,
Arno


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Re: Best replacement for X61s

Adrian Filip
EDIT: that I about an Ultranav = that I bought an Ultranav

On Tue, Jul 26, 2016 at 11:29 AM, Adrian Filip <[hidden email]> wrote:
T520 has the old style keyboard with a big Delete and Esc keys. Insert was moved above F12. It's heavy, not very comfortable to move it around.
I prefer the old style keyboard from T60p, with Insert above the Delete. I like it so much that I about an Ultranav external keyboard, but is not the same quality as the laptop keyboard, the top two rows feels very bad. I also have an IBM model M keyboard, but I'm missing the trackpoint and I don't like to use a mouse, but I like the feel. Unicomp has a model M with trackpoint, but only with 2 buttons, I don't know how if it's possible to scroll with it.

There were rumors that Lenovo will release a new classic/retro, but after a year they didn't released anything:
http://blog.lenovo.com/en/blog/retro-thinkpad-time-machine/
Looking at the comments, there are a lot of people wanting a classic Thinkpad.


On Tue, Jul 26, 2016 at 10:18 AM, Arno Trautmann <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 07/25/2016 10:49 AM, Uwe Brauer wrote:
>>>> "Arno" == Arno Trautmann <[hidden email]> writes:
>
>    > Hi all,
>    > my machine is getting old and I'd like to replace it. The casing shows
>    > clear signs of nearly 10 years everyday use and being carried around,
>    > and the processor also starts to feels slow.
>
> I have the same machine (and the same problem), have you considered to
> use a SSD, I did this, and it felt like a big leap into the feature.
> The speed of most operations doubled or tripled.

Yes, sure. But I am really limited by the CPU power. My main use is acually LaTeX, and although this is using a huge number of small files (perfect for SSD), those are all cached and I don't expect a big increase in speed for TeXing.
Plus, the fan is dying, there's a (small) crack in the housing and the screen is getting loose. Nothing that cannot be fixed, but alltogether too much work for an old machine. Of course I'll keep it as a secondary machine.

>    > So I'm looking for a new machine. Unfortunately, all new thinkpads
>    > have this annoying macbook-style keyboards instead of the nice old
>    > ones with the cone-shaped keys. This is one of the reasons I'm asking
>    > here for some advice:
>
> I face the same problem, even more annoying than the shape of the
> keyboard is its distribution and the fact that a lot of keys a missing,
> since I have bound a lot of functions to these keys, I feel lost with
> the new layout.

Same here.

>    > What do you think would be the best replacement? Most important points
>    > for me are the compactness (~12"), robustness and, if somehow
>    > possible, the same keyboard style. Doesn't have to be a new machine,
>    > used is fine – but I'm not sure which was the last model with a nice
>    > keyboard. Also, I don't care about high-res screens or media stuff
>    > etc.
>
> I think the last ones with a traditional good Thinkpad keyboards are the
> 201 series.

And I guess there's no way to fit one of the old keyboards into a new one? Has anyone tried/heard of that?

Thank you guys for the quick answers!

Best,
Arno


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Re: Best replacement for X61s

Uwe Brauer-2
In reply to this post by Arno Trautmann
>>> "Arno" == Arno Trautmann <[hidden email]> writes:

    > On 07/25/2016 10:50 AM, Uwe Brauer wrote:
    >>>>> "Rubin" == Rubin Abdi <[hidden email]> writes:
    >>
    >> > You should really really give the new keyboard a try (like a week or two of
    >> > use) before writing it off.
    >>
    >>
    >> Well I can say that much: I tried out for an afternoon a new ultrabook:
    >> terrible experience

    > Since I never tried the new keyboard on a thinkpad: Uwa, what do
    > you find terrible about it?

First of all the typing itself. It is not really bad, but it is light
years away from the experience in my older Xs (and for the record I
think the best keyboard was on my old X41, not on the newer machine,
although the difference is small).

But much more serious is the fact of the missing keys. I am a long-time
die-hard emacs user and use dozen of lisp functions on a daily base,
which I have bound to all keys available, (for example break runs, bbdb,
print runs flyspell-auto-correct-word etc etc). I am used to that
keyboard since the old days of my X41 or even before, so its is almost
hard wired in my brain with all the consequences.
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Re: Best replacement for X61s

Uwe Brauer-2
In reply to this post by Arno Trautmann

   > On 07/25/2016 10:49 AM, Uwe Brauer wrote:
   > shows
   > around,

   > Yes, sure. But I am really limited by the CPU power. My main use is
   > acually LaTeX, and although this is using a huge number of small files
   > (perfect for SSD), those are all cached and I don't expect a big
   > increase in speed for TeXing.


Hm I have done an analysis concerning start up, hibernating, shooting
down on the machine, plus start up and performance of RAM hungry
applications and the difference is considerable.

I have not done the same for vanilla

 latex foo.tex

From the command line, although me impression is that it is faster.

I have not run this test since I use latex only within emacs, in any
case running latex requires some editor, and for that editor the
difference will be noticeable, which makes me repeat: a SSD is a huge
performance boost.


   > Plus, the fan is dying, there's a (small) crack in the housing and the
   > screen is getting loose. Nothing that cannot be fixed, but alltogether
   > too much work for an old machine. Of course I'll keep it as a
   > secondary machine.

Well this I understand, some time ago the bios batteries was dying and
the replacement was so expensive that I swore to myself, next time I buy
a second hand machine in Amazon.


   > asking

   > Same here.

   > points

   > And I guess there's no way to fit one of the old keyboards into a
   > new one? Has anyone tried/heard of that?

I asked a year ago in some list where there were also some IBM
technicians around and the answer was: forget it.
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Re: Best replacement for X61s

Uwe Brauer-2
In reply to this post by Adrian Filip
>>> "Adrian" == Adrian Filip <[hidden email]> writes:


   > There were rumors that Lenovo will release a new classic/retro, but after a
   > year they didn't released anything:
   > http://blog.lenovo.com/en/blog/retro-thinkpad-time-machine/
   > Looking at the comments, there are a lot of people wanting a classic
   > Thinkpad.

   > More rumors in the comments:
   > http://blog.lenovo.com/en/blog/its-about-time/

That is music in my ears and if such a machine will be released I for
sure will buy it.
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Re: Best replacement for X61s

Stefan Monnier
In reply to this post by Uwe Brauer-2
> Hm I have done an analysis concerning start up, hibernating, shooting
> down on the machine, plus start up and performance of RAM hungry
> applications and the difference is considerable.

I (re)boot very rarely, and I similarly rarely hibernate (I just
suspend the machine instead).  As for startup of applications, both my
web browser and my Emacs are always running so they're part of the
"reboot time" (which includes logging in and doing various other
manipulations), which again is something that rarely affects me.

> I have not done the same for vanilla
>
>  latex foo.tex
>
> From the command line, although me impression is that it is faster.
>
> I have not run this test since I use latex only within emacs, in any
> case running latex requires some editor, and for that editor the
> difference will be noticeable, which makes me repeat: a SSD is a huge
> performance boost.

While I do have SSDs pretty much everywhere nowadays (I like their
silence), the speedup for everyday tasks is not that great in my
experience.  The main differences are for file-system heavy operations
(like apt-get) or when the disk was idle and you have to wait for it to
spin up.

Other than that, for my usual "edit + compile" operations, all the
programs and data should already be in cache so there is typically no
disk access other than writes and those are done asynchronously, so
their speed is mostly irrelevant.  E.g. on my projects, "make" typically
uses more than 90% of CPU time even with a very slow disk, so even an
infinitely fast disk would only ever be able to give me a 10% speed up.

An SSD can give a significant boost when you're low in RAM, tho (I used
one in a Fit-PC2 where the 1GB of RAM was really limiting for desktop
use).


        Stefan

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Latex on old Thinkpads (Was: Best replacement for X61s)

heroxbd
In reply to this post by Uwe Brauer-2
Uwe Brauer <[hidden email]> writes:

> I have not done the same for vanilla
>
>  latex foo.tex

Latex is running on my X41 fine.  I am using latexmk to monitor file
updates, so that latex runs asynchronously.

Every save of the .tex file triggers a reprocess of latex in the
background.

Benda
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Re: Latex on old Thinkpads (Was: Best replacement for X61s)

Arno Trautmann
On 07/27/2016 05:15 AM, Benda Xu wrote:

> Uwe Brauer <[hidden email]> writes:
>
>> I have not done the same for vanilla
>>
>>  latex foo.tex
>
> Latex is running on my X41 fine.  I am using latexmk to monitor file
> updates, so that latex runs asynchronously.
>
> Every save of the .tex file triggers a reprocess of latex in the
> background.

Well, I am making heavy use of advanced features using Lua(La)TeX which
is very cpu-intense. Compilation times of a minute or so are not seldom,
and that is mostly calculating instead of loading/writing files.
Of course, any new machine I'll get will have an SSD, no need to
convince me on that …

Best
Arno
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Re: Best replacement for X61s

Stefan Monnier
In reply to this post by Arno Trautmann
> So I'm looking for a new machine. Unfortunately, all new thinkpads have this
> annoying macbook-style keyboards instead of the nice old ones with the
> cone-shaped keys. This is one of the reasons I'm asking here for some
> advice:

AFAIK the new keyboards are actually good in terms of mechanical quality
and feeling (this is based on opinion of several friends who really
liked they old Thinkpads).  The only problem with the new keyboards is
the new layout (which you may or may not like, but is mostly a question
of habit).

> What do you think would be the best replacement? Most important points for
> me are the compactness (~12"), robustness and, if somehow possible, the same
> keyboard style.

I have an X201s and am sticking to it because it's AFAIK the last
compact (12") Thinkpad with a tall-enough screen.  All the newer ones
have the braindead 16/9 aspect ratio, as if watching movies was the main
use of those machines.

I find it is actually better than my previous X30 because the 16/10
aspect ratio makes it wide enough to hold a full-size keyboard (i.e. the
same keyboard as in the T60/T61).

It was available with reasonably beefy processors, so I find it is still
perfectly usable and hope to keep using it for another 5 years or so.


        Stefan

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Re: Best replacement for X61s

Jeffrey L. Taylor-9
Quoting Stefan Monnier <[hidden email]>:
[snip]
> I have an X201s and am sticking to it because it's AFAIK the last
> compact (12") Thinkpad with a tall-enough screen.  All the newer ones
> have the braindead 16/9 aspect ratio, as if watching movies was the main
> use of those machines.
>
After the screen ratio switch was made, a manufacturer's person explained that
it was a matter of cost.  TV production vastly outweighs laptops.  16/9 is
standard and cheap.  Any other ratio is custom and expensive.

HTH,
  Jeffrey
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Re: Best replacement for X61s

Uwe Brauer-2
In reply to this post by Stefan Monnier


   > I (re)boot very rarely, and I similarly rarely hibernate (I just
   > suspend the machine instead).

Hm also over night? And when you are traveling :-D ?  Isn't that very
energy consuming and anti ecological? :'(
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Re: Best replacement for X61s

Uwe Brauer-2
In reply to this post by Stefan Monnier


   > AFAIK the new keyboards are actually good in terms of mechanical quality
   > and feeling (this is based on opinion of several friends who really
   > liked they old Thinkpads).  The only problem with the new keyboards is
   > the new layout (which you may or may not like, but is mostly a question
   > of habit).

Hm, in my experience the typing is worse than for the older machines.
The problem is not so much the keys are now distributed differently
which as you say is a question of habits, but the fact that there are
*less* keys available.
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