The October 10, 2019
QWERTY Computer No 3
Number 3 is actually a revisit to a machine purchased over two years ago. It's a Lenovo X220 'tablet', a sort of hybrid laptop with a rotating screen.
The x220t was innovative in 2012, but its 1366x768 resolution and 4.5lb heft are decidedly behind current standards, and there's a weird hypersensitivity about the trackpad that takes some getting used to. But it's still available for about $200 on Amazon, so it's worth a look.
There's a lot to like about the hardware: 4Gb ram, 160Gb ssd, 3 usb ports, hdmi, vga, ethernet, full size sd, a docking port, and pcmcia in case you bought into that mayfly 'standard'. The odd feature that makes it a 'tablet' is the screen hinge, which pivots 180 degrees at its center so that it can lie flat, screen up and covering the keyboard. Given the size constraint and the stress on such a crucial joint, you'd expect it to be fragile, but in the IBM/Lenovo tradition, it seems nearly indestructible. Most of the time, this one is positioned as a traditional laptop.
Fedora has had plenty of time to accomodate machines that sold even modest numbers, and Lenovo is anything but modest. So installation of the latest build is as close to automatic as you can get. I added kde to the default gnome configuration, but everything else required for scripting and C compiling are in the package. Updates come frequently via nags, no surprises.
The battery that came with the machine didn't last long, A few months and it was little more than a short-lived UPS. We're now working with a 'Kingsener' Korean replacement, and it's good for 2 to 3 days of occasional use, up to 6 hours of compute time before plugging in.
Now, that trackpad. It's really irritating, if you're used to a trackpad, that the little bugger jumps all over the screen every time your thumb gets close to it. No amount of fiddling with the software settings would fix it, and it's not just Linux; the Windoze 7 it came with couldn't control it either.
A just-short-of-perfect solution is packing tape. Easy to apply, trim the edges with a sharp knife, it dulls the response just enough for smooth movement. You still have to be careful on release or the cursor will jump in the direction your finger moves away from the pad. There may be some undiscovered software that can do better, but for now, it's qwerty.
Please add a comment.