Thursday, June 30, 2011

An End Of The Month Drawing As The Month Draws To An End..

Alright, a few thoughts on the state of contemporary train doodleadge and possible ramifications of the move to the big city--pertaining to sketching. Mostly this: I am now not on the train for 45 insufferable minutes at a time. The trip from Evanston to downtown can be nice, especially on an express, and it's great for people watching, but it's just too much, and I would not have it back for anything. Still, even if it does take a longer time, I have gotten some transit people down, as evidenced by this one, which I actually like.

She noticed me drawing this, by the way. It was weird.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Impressions On My Lenovo Thinkpad X200 Tablet Running Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty)

Alright, first --albeit not comprehensive-- thoughts on my new laptop and its handling of Ubuntu 11.04. On my previous computer, which was simply too old and slow to even bother listing the specs here (suffice to say that the chipset it was running also helped launch the Apollo missions) I never bothered to upgrade from 10.10, so both the machine and the Unity experience are new to me.

The Specs (Important ones anyway)
  • 1.86-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo L9400
  • 2 Gig of RAM, upgradable to 8 Gig
  • 160 Gig, 7200 rpm SATA HDD
  • 12.1 1280x800 display
  • 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • 3.5-4.2 lbs (depending on battery)
  • ports: 3 USB, Ethernet port, VGA out, ExpressCard slot, audio out, mic in, modem jack

The Computer

It's heavier than I expected. There, I said it. While it's light enough, and the size is perfect for me ( I can't imagine ever going bigger than this in the future), it's both fairly hefty and thick enough to be awkward handling sometimes. Mostly this is when in tablet mode, which definitely presents a couple of grip difficulties. I'd heard rumblings of this around when I was researching the tablets on the market. I'd heard all the stories, but I thought 'Fuck it, I'm Sam Rothstein, I can change her'. This was a mistake. The extended battery (8 cell on my model) is supposed to serve as a handle but it just doesn't feel secure, and I worry a bit to much to chance using it that way. It's possible this'll change, and apparently the newer models (x201t, x220t) have a more solid feeling here, so that's a step in the right direction.

Noise-wise, not applicable. There is a definite whirr, which if you're totally alone in silent room is noticeable, but almost any amount of incidental noise masks it nicely. the speakers themselves are, well, acceptable. This is being sold as a light business laptop, not a multimedia machine, and that the speakers are-- (a) Located on the bottom of the computer and (b) a little tinny-- isn't surprising.

The heat. Keyboard-wise, not bad at all, most noticeably warm on the palm rest areas, but nothing out of the heat range you'd expect from a comparatively recent laptop. Where there does seem to be spikes are outside the exhaust port when the computer is in tablet mode, which I assume is a result of the slightly more intensive imaging programs I'm usually using when in tablet, and the bottom corners of the screen. The first of these wouldn't be an issue really, were it not for the fact that a large part of the fun of tablet mode is to rotate the computer in different directions, and while doing this you risk ending up taking the risk of uncomfortable blasts of hot air to the crotch. The second problem is more glaring, as your hand will be doing a fair amount of resting in the effected area while in tablet mode, and it gets very uncomfortably hot after a few minutes. It's big enough to be more than an irritant, but not the hugest of problems either-- and again-- the newer models are said to run cooler than this.

Other thoughts on the build... There's a lot that's been written on the keyboard quality of IBM/Lenovos, some of it hyperbolic sounding, and yet... words cannot describe... It's.....beautiful.... They should have sent a poet... It is excellent, probably the best keyboard I've ever used, never mind just in terms of laptops, full-size, just enough push back, the edges of all the keys are nicely beveled, which maximizes the distance between them. The browser page backward and forward buttons (which sit just above the left and right arrow buttons, respectively) were a little grating at first, if you don't know they're there it leads to some initial irritation, but you settle in fairly quickly.

The much disparaged IBM/Lenovo "nipple" trackpoint (this machine doesn't have a trackpad) is another one that'll hold you back the first day or so, but I'm quite taken with it at this point, it integrates browsing and typing in a way that trackpads/mice can't really hope to manage. Add to that the scroller between the left and right buttons and you have a very effective non-screen based navigation, albeit one that takes some getting used to. My one complaint here is that there does seem to be an occasional drift/stickiness to the trackpoint, once in a while I'll be leaving it alone and the mouse begins to crawl almost imperceptibly across the screen. I haven't ruled out communication from the spirits of the unquiet dead yet, but it seems unlikely, as I think is the possibility of this being a Unity driver error of some kind. This might be one to chalk up to refurbished problems or the original build.

Well, here we go then, the big one: the screen. It is, for the most part, excellent. I got a fairly bare-bones model, without the touch/multitouch feature, which feels unnecessary for arts/design purposes, and adds not inconsiderable weight/depth to the machine. It is also not the outdoors friendly no-glare/reduced-glare screen, and while both the colors and viewing angles indoors are certainly exceptional it doesn't hold up too well in direct (or sometimes even indirect, really) sunlight (again, not the model that's designed to, so not super surprising). In terms of the pen receptiveness, mine worked fine right out of the box, one calibration later on didn't seem to make a difference, the stylus and the pointer are pretty perfectly in sync, although viewed from head-on there's a bit of a gap between the two when working at the sides of the screen. I can be a bit irritating doing freehand drawing, the pen tip doesn't protrude too far from the barrel of the pen, which causes it and the cursor to be blocked by the bulk of the pen. Although not strictly a screen issue, after a long enough drawing session the screen misses every alternate stroke, I think this is a result of needing more RAM, I'm looking forward to complying.

So there's the breakdown of the machine itself. Next week comes a not-especially thinking man's thoughts on Unity, and after that comes the reason I bought this sweet baby in the first place: what it's like to draw on. So stay tuned my two friends who subscribe to this thing.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Two Good Transit Doodles In A Row, Excellent

Not much to say here... This was a pretty straight shot too, like one or two train/bus rides and finished (I think).

Friday, June 17, 2011

This Is A Good One

Yep, nothing much to say about it, fended off crazy dude "You draw that man? You a drawer?" attack while doing it...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Today's Effort Is Meh, But There's A Good One In There..

The one on the top right I like, nothing more to say. Didn't do the whole thing in one shot, it should be mentioned...

Guy really did look a lot like Buster though.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Doodle For The Sake Of Posting A Doodle Today

Done on my new tablet, on which I have much to say, and some thoughts ... uh.. about which...I will put up later this week.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Computer Arrives! Moving To City Begins! The Renaissance Continues!

As I type this on my new awesome keyboard, attached to my new awesome laptop, I can't help but wonder what wonders the world has in store for all of us, and how life is like a shifting gossamer curtain, alternatively revealing and hiding its magic from us! Oh, that our impish joy at this spritely game should continue!

Jesus, I can't believe a piece of hardware has had such a pronounced dandifying effect on me, what the hell is wrong with me? As always, sketches follow.

Disregard the fatalistic pomposity of above, I want to skip through a field of wild poppies!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Been A While

New sketchbook (now with actual paper designed for doing art on!), new laptop coming my way (more on that later), moving into the big city, things are looking good. Sketches follow.