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posted by Fnord666 on Friday June 30, @04:33PM   Printer-friendly
from the rethinkpad dept.

Just days after Lenovo Group Chief Yang Yuanqing hinted that Lenovo may be pulling out of the PC and Server markets in favor of focusing on datacenters and mobile devices, long-time Thinkpad designer and Retro Thinkpad Project Manager David Hill has announced his resignation from the company. Mr. Hill, who had been in charge of the original ThinkPad design in the early 90's and rose to the rank of Vice President of Design at Lenovo, states:

"I want to broaden my view and create the opportunity to do more in the field of design, not less."

The 25th Anniversary "Retro ThinkPad" project, which was in development for over two years and received over 13,000 responses from long-time ThinkPad fans, is still, for the time being, scheduled for an October 5th announcement. Could internal pressures to minimize costs have resulted in Mr. Hill deciding to take his name off the Retro ThinkPad project which he spearheaded for two and a half years?


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  • (Score: 2) by nobu_the_bard on Friday June 30, @05:06PM (25 children)

    by nobu_the_bard (6373) on Friday June 30, @05:06PM (#533556)

    The old ThinkPads were pretty nice, but they were heavy as can be. Mine, most of the paint wore off, I traveled with it so heavily. It got pretty hot too. It was my first computer I really went onto the internet with regularly though. I went through several of those mouse joystick things.

    I don't get the nostalgia though. They weren't so much better than other computers are these days. Yeah, they beat most stuff back then, but if you brought em back today with just some upgrades they'd just be average. I thought people wanted thin and light anymore? Neither of those are good descriptors for the old ThinkPads as far as I remember. It was a long time ago though.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Grishnakh on Friday June 30, @05:11PM (19 children)

      by Grishnakh (2831) Subscriber Badge on Friday June 30, @05:11PM (#533561)

      Are you one of those people who is a lousy typist and doesn't care what kind of keyboard they use? One of the things so many people liked about the Thinkpad was the keyboard; it was by far the very best of laptop keyboards. Today's shitty "island" keyboards, pioneered by Apple, are simply horrible to use.

      The other thing the Thinkpad and other business laptops had going for them was ruggedness. Metal chassis survive falls and bumps far better than cheap plastic ones.

      Finally, the trackpoints are only found in business laptops; no consumer machines ever had those.

      No, not everyone wants thing and light. Only stupid Apple lovers want that. Thinkpad lovers want machines that are extremely functional and practical (and they aren't such weaklings that one extra pound of weight is a big deal).

      • (Score: 2) by nobu_the_bard on Friday June 30, @05:27PM (4 children)

        by nobu_the_bard (6373) on Friday June 30, @05:27PM (#533572)

        Oh I was neutral about the joystick thing. It was okay. Replacing them wasn't so bad once you got used to it. I just really remembered it particularly well for some reason. I do like them better than touchpads, but the fatigue on your hand is higher if you have to use it all day I think.

        Man I forgot about keyboards. Now that you mention it I remember having arguments about it. I wish I had some decent keyboards but people always complain I make too much noise, so I get stuck with the cheaper quieter ones.

        • (Score: 2) by JNCF on Friday June 30, @07:59PM (3 children)

          by JNCF (4317) Subscriber Badge on Friday June 30, @07:59PM (#533655) Journal

          Silent Cherry XM switches are a thing, and there are plenty of keyboards that take them. Even at least one laptop!

          • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 30, @09:33PM (2 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 30, @09:33PM (#533711)

            The silent ones, but still tactile via a small bump in the system, are the Cherry MX browns. More silent if you add some rubber o-rings, so they don't "clack" when bottoming down (and IMO, it also reduces the general noise, as the rubber absorbs vibrations).

            Blues are noisy and tactile, they have a loose plastic part for extra clacking. Red and brown are silent but provide no physical feedback, they just slide.

            Other brands also have different products.

            • (Score: 2) by driverless on Saturday July 01, @09:25AM (1 child)

              by driverless (4770) on Saturday July 01, @09:25AM (#533863)

              Why would you want a silent keyboard? When I'm on my Model M, I want everyone in range to know I'm on my Model M.

              • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Saturday July 01, @11:48AM

                by cafebabe (894) on Saturday July 01, @11:48AM (#533881) Journal

                Do you know that you're audibly broadcasting everything that you type? That includes passwords and personal correspondence.

                --
                Now is a good time to clear your cookies.
      • (Score: 2) by fishybell on Friday June 30, @06:13PM (1 child)

        by fishybell (3156) Subscriber Badge on Friday June 30, @06:13PM (#533596)

        Only Apple lovers? Really?

        I've got an early X1 Carbon, and it's thin and light and a very good reliable machine. I'm aware later versions (especially those without physical mouse buttons) aren't well loved, but I got mine as refurbished unit and it's been nothing but amazing ever since.

        I might not have the best laptop keyboard, but it's definitely better than any Apple I've ever had the displeasure of typing on. The fact that it travels extremely well means it beats out most other laptops for me, and thousands of other people.

        Thin, light, not an Apple, not even close.

        • (Score: 2) by driverless on Saturday July 01, @10:00AM

          by driverless (4770) on Saturday July 01, @10:00AM (#533875)

          +1. Gen 1 Carbon, before they started messing around with it and randomly adding and removing things in case it made it better. Best ultrabook I've ever used.

      • (Score: 2) by Nerdfest on Friday June 30, @06:36PM

        by Nerdfest (80) Subscriber Badge on Friday June 30, @06:36PM (#533614)

        I have a couple of ThinkPad 520s for work machines, and while the keyboard is good, I think the one on my System76 machine is as good or better (less flex). Trackpad as well. I never did like the nipple mice.

      • (Score: 2) by darkfeline on Friday June 30, @08:04PM (2 children)

        by darkfeline (1030) on Friday June 30, @08:04PM (#533659) Homepage

        >One of the things so many people liked about the Thinkpad was the keyboard

        I like the new keyboards better actually. For one reason or another, they put less strain on my hands. I believe they still have scissor switches, and I don't see any particular disadvantage from the differently shaped keys (maybe the new keys are actually the reason they are easier to type on for me?).

        >The other thing the Thinkpad and other business laptops had going for them was ruggedness. Metal chassis survive falls and bumps far better than cheap plastic ones.

        Being light doesn't make them less rugged. If anything, less weight means less force when you drop it. I haven't tried destroying my T420, X220, T470, or X1 yet, so I can't say experimentally whether any of them are more or less rugged.

        The new chasses aren't cheap plastic, they are Carbon Fiber Reinforced, and the X1 still has a metal chassis. Whether they are more or less rugged, I can't say, but you're clearly setting up a strawman by calling them cheap plastic.

        >No, not everyone wants thing and light.

        I don't think the newest Thinkpads have reached the level of thin and light for any reasonable person to complain about, unless you mainly use your Thinkpad for weight lifting. On thickness, the T470 is thick enough to accommodate an Ethernet port. On weight, I would gladly buy a Thinkpad with zero weight, so I can suspend it in midair if I need to tie my shoes or something. I agree that negative weight might not be preferable though.

        • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Friday June 30, @08:12PM

          by Grishnakh (2831) Subscriber Badge on Friday June 30, @08:12PM (#533664)

          The new chasses aren't cheap plastic, they are Carbon Fiber Reinforced, and the X1 still has a metal chassis. Whether they are more or less rugged, I can't say, but you're clearly setting up a strawman by calling them cheap plastic.

          What in the hell are you talking about? I'm talking about "business laptops", which, last time I checked, still includes all those Thinkpads you listed even if some people complain they're lacking compared to their older models. I'm comparing business laptops to non-business (i.e. cheap consumer) laptops. Consumer laptops are made of plastic, not carbon fiber.

          I don't think the newest Thinkpads have reached the level of thin and light for any reasonable person to complain about, unless you mainly use your Thinkpad for weight lifting. On thickness, the T470 is thick enough to accommodate an Ethernet port.

          Again, what the hell are you talking about? You seem to think I'm comparing old Thinkpads to new Thinkpads. Where did you ever get that idea? "thin and light" isn't epitomized by any Thinkpad, old or new, it's epitomized by Apples, which definitely don't have any Ethernet ports or even room for them.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 01, @01:05AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 01, @01:05AM (#533781)

          >The new chasses aren't cheap plastic, they are Carbon Fiber Reinforced, and the X1 still has a metal chassis. Whether they are more or less rugged, I can't say, but you're clearly setting up a strawman by calling them cheap plastic.

          They *are* cheap plastic, at least on some models.

          https://i.redd.it/cn8pe9ekv8yy.png [i.redd.it]

          This is a matrix of the 2017 model build material. It seems the past three or four iterations, Lenovo has been looking for a replacement of the ABS plastic wrapped over Magnesium alloy rollcage that has been a staple of Thinkpad design since the T60.
          Since 2016, they have finally moved on from that cheap greyish/brown plastic (*40 and *50 generations) that showed tremendous wear under normal use after about two weeks. But they are still looking for something cheaper with at least some durability, as the image above shows.

          The T470 has a better build quality than the much higher spec'd T470p (based on user reviews). By that metric, it's a complete shitshow at Lenovo right now.

          ABS Plastic was *not* a bad thing. Those classic machines that we pine over, the T60/1 frankenpads, were ABS plastic over the magnesium rollcage. They did not show much wear after years of use, which is what kept their resale value high. The ability to survive multiple drops and while being used as a primary computer and looking nice, albeit a little bland, made the brand stand out. The toughest of the lot was the rare 4:3 R61, which was thicker plastic than its T61 counterpart, but still made of the same materials. Anecdotes from various sources claim that they look as good as the day they were new, and are still trucking along ten years later.

          It is certainly no strawman to say that modern Thinkpads are still using cheap plastic. But they are also using other materials as well.

      • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Friday June 30, @08:50PM (7 children)

        by kaszz (4211) on Friday June 30, @08:50PM (#533685) Journal

        Louis Rossmann has some really tough thoughts on laptop keyboard design:

        Classic Thinkpad vs. modern Lenovo Thinkpad redesign - thoughts. [youtube.com] (2014-06-15)
        Thinkpad classic vs Thinkpad new vs Apple laptop - here he really aims some serious critique towards the Lenovo design decisions.

        Lenovo's new keyboard & trackpoint are awful and you're never getting your old one back! [youtube.com] (2014-06-29)

        Trackpoint buttons return to the Thinkpad - Lenovo listened! [youtube.com] (2015-01-10)

        Lenovo Thinkpad redesign; good is **NOT** retro! [youtube.com] (2015-06-26)
        Here he's chopping the Thinkpad design team to very small pieces. ;^)

        To the Lenovo Thinkpad design team: Stop that f-cking flawed Apple imitation thing and keep what has worked SO good and do some serious design studies, WITH user input.

        I like Louis idea of a laptop where the fan won't suck in all the dust and make it stay inside. Keyboard that can be spilled over and the fluid just exit through some other hole. That will withstand being dropped and just get a slight scratch but keep on working.

        How far are we from making our own modular laptops using 3D printed shell, modded mini keyboard, touchpad, Raspberry-Pi computer and some standard video panel? (or something along those lines) Previously the interior were filled to the brink because technology used all the space. Now it's so small that there's room to spare and COTS can possibly work as a core laptop part.

        • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Friday June 30, @09:02PM (4 children)

          by Grishnakh (2831) Subscriber Badge on Friday June 30, @09:02PM (#533695)

          How far are we from making our own modular laptops using 3D printed shell, modded mini keyboard, touchpad, Raspberry-Pi computer and some standard video panel? (or something along those lines) Previously the interior were filled to the brink because technology used all the space. Now it's so small that there's room to spare and COTS can possibly work as a core laptop part.

          We're really far from that I think. I've seen 3D printers in action (I have some at work) and they can't print anything that doesn't look 3D-printed out of a soft plastic. For a serious laptop, you can't 3D-print the chassis because it needs to be made of magnesium, not plastic. It also needs to have an aluminum lid on top IMO. The other big problem is the keyboard; how are you going to get that? That has to be made by some company with significant resources in a factory, just like the classic Thinkpad keyboards were. It's not something a hobbyist can make. But the problem is that no one wants to make high-quality laptop keyboards. Honestly, the video panel is probably the easiest part. Also, an RPi, which impressive, still doesn't compare to a modern laptop in performance. We're a little ways from that, but it's getting closer.

          • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Saturday July 01, @04:21AM (1 child)

            by kaszz (4211) on Saturday July 01, @04:21AM (#533813) Journal

            The plastic case could perhaps be outsourced to some plastic-mould-as-you-order the same way you can order circuit boards online these days. The keyboard could either some existing [eaccessibilitywales.org.uk] model where the case is made to fit around it. Or something that maybe.. could be ordered in the same way the case is. Another approach is simply to use some common laptop keyboard replacement part if continuous delivery can be ensured, ie will it be around one year later and still fit the case. And the same procedure for the touchpad.

            The RPi seems to be fast enough, not the racer competitor. But many times this isn't needed. And with a small computer there's room for batteries. Power and charging are available with pretty standard chips and boards.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 01, @09:35AM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 01, @09:35AM (#533867)

            If we can just gut older larger laptops and us their shells we're not far from our own modular laptops.

            * The existing keyboard we like can be read using a microcrontroller http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-a-ThinkPad-keyboard-USB-adapter-with-Arduino/ [instructables.com] Use something like an nrf51888 and make it detachable bluetooth BLE.
            * A 15.6 4k eDP screen (mostly shiny unfortunately and non-touch) can be had for $90 delivered LTN156FL02 to retrofit the original. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/15-6-inch-3840-2160-UHD-4K-LTN156FL02-LTN156FL01-LCD-Module-Panel-Repair-Diy-Kit-LED/32802234108.html/ [aliexpress.com]
            * RK3399 based board (http://en.t-firefly.com/en/firenow/Firefly_RK3399/Specifications/ [t-firefly.com]) 4GB ddr (a bit low) 32GB eMMC has eDP ribbon for the internal panel, displayport and hdmi for external monitors 4k@60, usb3 that could be used for internal drives.
            * plenty of space for a fixed tablet type flat battery to combine with the removable one for extra battery life and so you can swap batteries without needing to search for a power outlet.

            We've been waiting for replacements for old 1920x1200 laptops for something like 10 years and when they finally get round to giving us more dots they remove half the keys, move others (and never to the place we've been remapping them for years) and go for thin over extreme battery life. I think they purposefully ship 'broken by design' products because if they actually gave us what we want we wouldn't have to by another for a decade and that's not a viable market in their eyes.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 01, @06:46PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 01, @06:46PM (#533960)

          manufacturers are the stupidest of fucks. fuck you, lenovo, you dumb ass bastards. you and the rest of your manufacturer ilk. you common street hookers! all of you think you're so fucking smart but you can't hardly do anything right. smug fucks with no common sense. people wonder why the economy under performs. stupid fucks, that's why.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 02, @08:11AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 02, @08:11AM (#534116)

          There are a couple of DIY/3d printable laptops

          * https://www.crowdsupply.com/sutajio-kosagi/novena [crowdsupply.com]

          * https://www.crowdsupply.com/eoma68/micro-desktop [crowdsupply.com]

          * https://www.pine64.org/?page_id=3707 [pine64.org]

    • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Friday June 30, @06:15PM (3 children)

      by krishnoid (1156) on Friday June 30, @06:15PM (#533597)

      They weren't so much better than other computers are these days.

      I recall their biggest claim to fame was their outstanding physical durability. Was that overstated?

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by Grishnakh on Friday June 30, @06:35PM

        by Grishnakh (2831) Subscriber Badge on Friday June 30, @06:35PM (#533612)

        I don't think so. I think a lot of people just don't understand the appeal of a business laptop; they're not usually specced higher than high-end consumer laptops, and in fact can be quite a bit more conservative. For instance, you can still find VGA ports on many of them (the HP I have here with me has one, and it's less than 2 years old). If you want cutting-edge and high performance, you buy an Alienware or some other such laptop, not a business laptop. Business laptops are meant to be relatively rugged so they can be carried around everywhere, especially on airplanes, and to be reliable because you don't want your laptop crapping out in the middle of an important presentation. They can be a little behind on I/O technologies because conference room projectors frequently are many years old and still use VGA, and you need to be able to bring your laptop and plug into the conference room projector, even if it's old and crappy and doesn't have HDMI. It needs to survive rough handling by idiot TSA personnel, so it'll usually have some kind of metal chassis, like the magnesium used by Dell Latitudes and I think Thinkpads. And because the corporate environment can be rather conservative, you usually won't see any flashing styling on them, just blacks and grays. They'll also usually have docking ports, so you can easily plug it into your docking station at your desk and use a full keyboard/mouse/(dual)monitor.

        Anyone who doesn't really care about durability, typing feel, etc. and cares more about thin and light and cutting-edge tech and maximum performance probably won't be well-served by a business laptop.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by mechanicjay on Friday June 30, @06:36PM (1 child)

        No, not at all. I worked at a college, where we issued each incoming freshman with a Laptop. Starting in 2004 we started issuing ThinkPads. We had been issuing Compaq business class machines for years, but a huge let down by HP prompted a search for a new Vendor. The Thinkpads were simply amazing from a durability standpoint. Durability started to falter a couple years after the Lenovo acquisition -- They went from tanks to simply armoured vehicles. In other words, still pretty damn good. These things held up to 4 years of college students carting them around and doing unspeakable things to them.

        My c. 2003 R40 was finally retired after about 10 years of near-constant use. After 10 years, it finally started to wear out (lots of chassis flex all of a sudden) also the Pentium M and 2GB of RAM simply couldn't keep up anymore.

        The c. 2010 t400 I replaced it with...didn't fare so well and I went through like 4 heatsinks before I just gave up on it and "downgraded" to a used 2008 X61....which I'm still using as my primary mobile computing device. Its in my backpack everyday, back and forth to work, on the bike, on the bus, wherever. It just continues to work.

        I've tried to sell my Mom on one of these for years and always get back "It's too expensive, I can get a $400 laptop from Walmart!". "Yes, and how much will you spend on $400 laptops in the $10 years that the $1500 ThinkPad will last you?" Sigh...

        --
        My VMS box beat up your Windows box.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 30, @06:48PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 30, @06:48PM (#533620)

          How did you replace the battery? Bought the Lenovo battery? Aftermarket batteries are crap - the advertised specs are all fantasy and they probably sat in some warehouse for years before the sale.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 01, @06:38AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 01, @06:38AM (#533835)

      I cannot care less if it is thin and light when I run out of usb slots, or when my otherwise perfectly capable firewire audio card requires an adapter, or when the battery runs out.
      What I want from a laptop is
      1 autonomy
      1 bis connectivity
      2 reliability
      3 power
      4 pretty design

      If I want a toy, I get a tablet with a keyboard/shell, which is what laptops have become.

  • (Score: 2) by Bot on Friday June 30, @06:46PM (10 children)

    by Bot (3902) Subscriber Badge on Friday June 30, @06:46PM (#533618)

    I haven't upgraded yet from a thinkpad t410, nor I have compelling reasons to. It has those additional buttons over the trackpad which might be nice when you type from strange positions (who doesn't check mail between one kamasutra position and the next one?). Never used the "nipple". It is also ugly as fuck but I think that was result of an explicit request by IBM. MUST LOOK DAMN SERIOUS.

    You know, the difference between IBM and Microsoft... IBM would look great for funerals, while the funeral of Microsoft would look great.

    • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Friday June 30, @07:01PM (9 children)

      by bob_super (1357) on Friday June 30, @07:01PM (#533624)

      Was gonna say the same thing: you don't need to use the trackpoint itself to find value in the duplicate mouse buttons under the space bar.

      I hate apple for destroying the idea that high-end laptops should have good keyboards, almost as much as I hate them for causing all that blank flat space all over websites and programs.

      • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Friday June 30, @07:22PM (8 children)

        by kaszz (4211) on Friday June 30, @07:22PM (#533635) Journal

        Blank fat space? care to explain?

        Apple sucks in some aspects .. YES.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 30, @08:56PM (5 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 30, @08:56PM (#533689)

          Those "clean" "minimal" design cues that waste screen room and that Apple products are known for. Think, Slashdot beta's comment section...

          Designs for illiterate people.

          • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Friday June 30, @09:04PM (4 children)

            by Grishnakh (2831) Subscriber Badge on Friday June 30, @09:04PM (#533696)

            The entire web industry jumped on that bandwagon, but I really can't say offhand who started it. Do you have some kind of citation that Apple was the instigator of this horrible flat-UI design trend, rather than just another bandwagon-jumper? I'd be happy to have something else to bash Apple for, but I want to be fair.

            • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Friday June 30, @09:07PM

              by bob_super (1357) on Friday June 30, @09:07PM (#533698)

              I don't know who Apple ripped it off of, but Apple using it is why the rest of the industry followed.

            • (Score: 2) by nobu_the_bard on Friday June 30, @09:20PM (1 child)

              by nobu_the_bard (6373) on Friday June 30, @09:20PM (#533703)

              Not 100% sure but - Google started doing this to their main search page around 1999. This was praised because it contrasted the tedious uselessness of their rivals like Yahoo, who crammed every imaginable link on the main page. That Google did not- that emphasized all you had to do was type what you wanted in the search bar.

              Well that's the earliest example of the design philosophy that I recall noticing. I think it trickled down from there, and ended up in places where it didn't really serve as much of a function.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 01, @09:02AM

                by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 01, @09:02AM (#533857)

                The reasoning is different. Google only had a search box because their search algorithm was good enough that that was all you needed. The empty page also loaded MASSIVELY faster than every other search engine. Remember, people were using dial-up and web page size really mattered. The other search engines were index/category based. Having as many categories on the front page meant fewer page loads so despite the longer loading time, loading one page was still faster than loading a couple intermediate pages.

                Nowadays things are full of empty space because sites were getting more and more cluttered with buttons and borders surrounding each element. We went too far with borders within borders within borders within borders that we've swung all the way to borderless everything and the only way to manage content without borders is to keep it far away from other content. As an example, this text field has three borders right next to each other: The text field border, the edit comment border, and the post comment border. The Edit Comment border completely matches the Post Comment border and should be removed. The title could be changed to Edit And Post Comment. But no, no one took the time to think about design. Adding tons of whitespace lets you not think about design too.

                There's also the UI studies showing people read columns of text better than wide pages so websites put their real data in a small centered column. Now with phones, sites want one thing displayed at a time so we get huge vertical white space as well.

                No one uses whitespace to reduce page sizes anymore. If anything, the dynamically loading content makes loading far worse as pages skip around as you're trying to read them. Eventually we'll swing back to tons of borders. Everything in the computing industry runs in cycles as the pros and cons of doing something one way are forgotten by the next group who only see the pros of the 'new' thing and the cons of the current thing.

            • (Score: 2) by Bot on Saturday July 01, @06:44AM

              by Bot (3902) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 01, @06:44AM (#533836)

              I think it's a degeneration of the so called "material design" that started to appear on android/google. It is closely related to the fact that ugly ass flat icons are quicker to market than the 3d, shaded icons that were especially popular on iphones at the time. Bonus evil points to the designers who made them monochrome.
              I understand, 3D was going rococo, but damn.

        • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Friday June 30, @09:04PM (1 child)

          by bob_super (1357) on Friday June 30, @09:04PM (#533697)

          The low-res screens of yesteryear used to be filled with lines indicating boundaries of elements, clickablility, and as much info as one could cram into a 640x480 window.

          Recent Apple-inspired UI designs achieve a "clean" design by hiding all of these and separating everything with a lot of white space. Not only do you have to hover over something to know whether it's a status or a button, making it less intuitive, but the density of information on the screen is lower than before, despite having at least 10 times more pixels.
          Besides the UI, website content has also followed the trend of less density, which unquestionably helps readability, but requires more scrolling to browse the same amount.

          I should re-install an old mouse-tracking program and see how many more pixels I traverse daily to accomplish the same task as before (and most of my input is text-based).

          • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Saturday July 01, @04:25AM

            by kaszz (4211) on Saturday July 01, @04:25AM (#533814) Journal

            Got any screenshot with god vs bad UI design in this regard?

            Btw, Considering the competence here. I'm sure people could make a design without these flaws and ram it down on the public and corporations.

  • (Score: 2) by jmorris on Friday June 30, @09:56PM (6 children)

    by jmorris (4844) Subscriber Badge <jmorrisNO@SPAMbeau.org> on Friday June 30, @09:56PM (#533720)

    Sounds like the "Retro" will be last call for a laptop computer. Hope it is worthy. After this it is all cheap Apple clones. Amazing. Post anywhere tech related and you can fill up a message forum with people who yearn for a durable laptop with a real keyboard, docking connector, etc. For a Thinkpad. Yet nobody will make one, not even Lenovo.

    All I gotta say is if anyone from Lenovo is reading, I'm still on an X200s and holding on for a worthy replacement. Build something solid with a real keyboard using the real Thinkpad layout, put a matte display (as tall as you can still find anyone making, but at least 16:10) and a real (not just a USB-C port) docking connector on it. Then paint it BLACK, shut up and take my money.

    • (Score: 2) by Azuma Hazuki on Friday June 30, @11:19PM (5 children)

      by Azuma Hazuki (5086) on Friday June 30, @11:19PM (#533752)

      Yeah, you're dead right on all of that. I cannot understand why Lenovo doesn't suddenly have the "holy shit this thing will print money!" realization and go back to the old design.

      I refuse to believe it costs THAT MUCH MORE to put the old-style keyboard with regular keys and a 7-row layout back on. And there are plenty of 3:2 screens available--Huawai and MS are using them--so that "the industry is all 16:9" line has no legs anymore either.

      I still have a Thinkpad T500, and although it's in dire shape, it still works. While I've switched onto a 12" latitude, an e6230, because the Thinkpad is just too heavy, that machine is the only one that "feels right." They just don't make them like that any longer.

      Lenovo, if ANY of you are listening, if ANY of you can see this, PLEASE, bring back the old keyboard and a 16:10 or 3:2 screen and the green LED status lights. We LIKE the look. To us, it's the most beautiful design ever, precisely BECAUSE it is square, boxy, utilitarian, and tougher than Chinese algebra.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 01, @12:19AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 01, @12:19AM (#533766)

        Hey, me too. Still rockin' a T500 laptop! I think one of most important features of the T500 is the Hardware Reference Manual. Using it, I was able to replace loose hinges and also upgrade the CPU. Scary because I'm clumsy but I did it!

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 01, @12:52AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 01, @12:52AM (#533779)

        Lenovo has had a 3:2 Thinkpad for the past two years.

        Nobody wants it because it's Windows 10 only.

        The 7-row keyboard was done away with because they can use the same PCB for their desktop machines *and* their convertible laptops with the new layout. So it saves them about $20/machine.

        It's a race to the fucking bottom.

        Build yourself an X62 or a T70 Flexview if you want a retro machine.

      • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Saturday July 01, @04:36AM (2 children)

        by kaszz (4211) on Saturday July 01, @04:36AM (#533817) Journal

        What is the optimal screen ratio for developer work do you think? 4:3? 3:2? 16:9?
        And size? 10" 11" 13" 15" ?

        If our community wants a good laptop I think kickstarter is the way to go. Big corp has been brainwashed into the siren calls of Apple sect. So..

        Chassi: Custom online order (not that expensive anymore)
        Keyboard: Use existing separate that is plugged into the chassi, order custom one, or simply (ab)use spare parts for existing laptops.
        Touchpad: --""--
        Computer: Some kind of computer module, like Raspberry-Pi, preferably something much more powerful. Or again (ab)used spare part.
        Screen: Existing module.
        Power and charging: Off the shelf module or custom circuit board. Pretty standard really.

        I think it's time to stop "please.. please.. Big corp make our wishes true" vs build as a community and run them over.
        One obstacle may be copyright on the keyboard design. Dunno how much that would be an obstacle. But then China seems to ignore all that so..

        • (Score: 2) by Bot on Saturday July 01, @06:46AM (1 child)

          by Bot (3902) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 01, @06:46AM (#533837)

          This seems relevant. I wonder how they are doing.
          https://www.olimex.com/Products/DIY-Laptop/ [olimex.com]

          • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Saturday July 01, @07:49AM

            by kaszz (4211) on Saturday July 01, @07:49AM (#533843) Journal

            With a price of 225 EUR it seems really nice. Especially considering ARM and no UEFI, TPM etc (I hope!). But they are "out of stock". So it doesn't seem like a viable solution. Otoh, if one could make spare parts for an ordinary laptop and with time it's completely made up of spare parts then that might work out too. Let's say people started make a lot of spare parts for one model of the Thinkpads, especially the keyboard would be useful. Then others might add new motherboards etc.

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