Intel Ultrabook Final Review

This is my last look at the Ultrabook Intel sent me.  It’s been a very pleasant experience from start to end and I’m very happy to say I will continue to use the Ultrabook in both a development world but also as a go to laptop for surfing the web & general computer usage.

Kids

One pleasant surprise in using the Ultrabook on a daily basis is watching the kids interact with the Ultrabook touchscreen.  It’s very apparent they are much more engaged with a touch screen laptop then the old mom & pop keyboard only. 

Daily Usage

I have to say the biggest enjoyment of using the Ultrabook on a daily basis has been it’s responsiveness.  The thing is able to handle all my computer needs, including developing a recent PhoneGap application I’ve been doing.  I’m consistently running eclipse & debugging with my android.  The system performance has been outstanding. 

PhoneGap + Windows 8  + Sensors

One really neat application of this laptop is being able to play with my Phonegap application right on the laptop with Windows 8 and using the built in sensors in the laptop.  Although I didn’t target the windows platform my Phonegap application seems to work well on the laptop & I can get a quick debug environment setup.  The accelerometer & touch part of the application works flawlessly with Windows 8 and the laptop.

Written by Tim on January 18th, 2013 with 38 comments.
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Intel Ultrabook–Looking Closer

Intel Ultrabook – Looking Closer

I’ve been running with the Intel Ultrabook for a couple of month now. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the power this thing punches for being so light. Boot time has been incredible. It literally boots in less than 10 seconds. That’s reason enough alone to take a closer look. 

Daily Use

I’ve been using the Ultrabook daily. No problem running multiple instances of Visual Studio 2012, SQL Management Studio, Outlook & Google Chrome. The Solid State Drive is a real difference maker. I’ve even had Hyper-V running without issues.The Ivy bridge processor is the real deal.

Ultrabook & Windows 8

So there are a lot of concerns with system admins & programmers when it comes to Windows 8. Classic case of who moved my cheese. Once you get over differences, it’s very apparent a Touch enable laptop is essential moving forward in this environment. There are so many times I’ve caught myself using the touch screen, at this point the on board mouse vs touch is almost 50% split. Honestly, when I use my Dell E6420 on my lap I find myself touching the screen now. All laptop’s moving forward are all going to be touch enabled, err, as soon as Apple catches up.

Games

The Ultrabook Intel sent me has an GPS, Accelerometer, Gyro, & Magnetmeter, Web Camera, & Touch – all the stuff in your iPad that lets you play interactive games. You get this same experience with the Ultrabook. The hardware technology is basically like having a Kinect or Nintendo Wii in your laptop. From Fruit Ninja, to Ball Strike, to Google Maps you now just need developers writing the apps. Here you can learn more about Microsoft Sensor API.

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Written by Tim on November 5th, 2012 with 17 comments.
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Ivy Bridge Ultrabook Review

I was fortunate enough to have the Intel people sent me a 3rd generation Intel Ivy Bridge Ultrabook. It’s not a pre-production model or a model that will ever make its way to production. It’s meant only for reference for the hardware vendors when they produce their Ultrabooks in the future, kind of like a developers preview of Windows that Microsoft releases. They asked me to review it and how I thought it measured up in a developer’s environment.

Hardware

The model they sent me included:

- High Definition Web Cam

- Intel Core i7 CPU @ 2.0 Ghz

- 180 GB Solid State Hard Drive

- Mini HDMI port

- 2 USB 3.0 ports

- 4gb RAM

- Touch Screen / Acceleromter / Gryro

Right off the bat you can tell the CPU is very fast, and able to handle what I do. Typically I have 2 instances of Visual Studio 2010 opened, SQL Management Studio, Chrome (with 10+ tabs opened) and I saw absolutely no lag running in Windows 8. I’ve only been using it for a week now but my first impressions are the CPU is a major upgrade from what I’m running now. Windows 8 boot time is under 5 seconds and of course the SSD rocks. The only bad sign is the RAM amount. Now, remind yourself that this isn’t production level hardware and I’m 100% positive when this hits the street you’ll be able to get it with 8+ gigs of RAM, but 4gb of RAM didn’t cut it 3 years ago and it doesn’t cut it today.

Size

I’ve been rocking a DELL E6410 for the past year+. It’s an absolute work horse, the best laptop I’ve ever used bar none. Of course, it’s not thin by any stretch. The Ultrabook Intel sent me is incredibly thin & light weight. I took it on vacation with me & it was great to just put it under by arm on my trek to the coffee shop in the mornings, no need to tout a bag, it’s ipad weightish. clip_image002

Touch Screen

Touch screen on a laptop that doesn’t pivot, WTF? Those were my initial thoughts. I was very surprised by the 3rd day I was using the touch screen more & more for tedious task like closing windows, dragging items, etc… We’ll see how the touch screen plays out but for now I’m actually liking it. It doesn’t replace the mouse or keyboard but when it’s on your lap, it’s sometimes just faster just to click the screen.clip_image004

Written by Tim on October 25th, 2012 with 16 comments.
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Goals 2013

It’s that time of year again. Goals for 2013. Short and sweet so hopefully I can knock them out this time around.

One issue I need to resolve is the tangle of wires and cable. I’m looking into getting a good cable management product to help this get resolved. Other goals are:

Professional

Personnel

Written by Tim on January 4th, 2010 with 27 comments.
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Latest Must Have Software

Going to a 64 bit OS this afternoon so here is the latest list for you and me :)

Firefox

Chrome

iTunes – export your podcast list

Office 2007

Visio 2007

CCleaner

Fences (new)

mRemote

FireWorks

FileZilla – export site list

Navicat – export site list

BitNami

SQL Server 2008

Picasa 3

RocketDock

Notepad++

Pidgin

Surround SCM

TestTrack Pro

QA Wizard Pro

TweetDeck

VisualSVN

Free Monitor for Google

SSMS tool pack

SketchPatch

MemCached

Display Fusion

Balsamiq Mockups

Putty

Resharper

Written by Tim on December 21st, 2009 with 11 comments.
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Verizon – Google Droid Review

It’s been about 3 years since I’ve been running with my trusty Blackberry 8830.  I’ve had it replaced once because of the track ball, otherwise it’s been more then solid.  No other blackberry impressed me enough to upgrade in that time.  Besides the lack of a camera the 8830 was great. But like many BB users I’ve longed for the coolness & impressive apps of the iPhone.  BB simply doesn’t stand up in these categories.  Problem is AT&T.  Their network isn’t the best around here & all of my friends & family are on Verizon so my calls are free.  I really didn’t want to switch carries & so I waited for a device on Verizon…and waited…and waited…you get the picture :)

 

Droid Keyboard

It’s soft, not metal-like the 8830. It took me 2 days to get use to but I’m doing pretty good now. Harder to use while driving then the blackberry but give me a few months & I think I’ll improve.

Droid – 7 | BB 9

 

Droid App Store

Awesome, really awesome.  Now I know what all these iphone users are surfing all day, their app store. I’ve (my kids) played games, IM apps, pandora, etc… The only thing is the download part only seems to work with wifi turned off.

Droid 9 | BB 2

 

Droid Battery Life

1.5 days of pretty hard usage with the wifi on.  My BB easily went 2.5 – 3 days.

Droid 6 | BB 9

 

Droid Operating System

You can tell Google made this because, it’s very fast, kinda ugly, & they left some cool debugging apps right in the phone. Search is enabled everywhere in the os & makes it easy to find things, very Windows 7ish.  All & all a much better experience then the BB. 

Droid 8 | BB 5

 

Droid Phone

They got this right.  Interface is simple & fast, clarity is rock solid, & speakers are great.  This is where the BB & iPhone fall down.

Droid 9 | BB 5

 

Droid Web Browser

You get a fast webkit (yeah for standards!) browser.  Zoom in/out & scrolling work great. Only BB users know what a truly bad browser is.

Droid 8 | BB 1

 

Droid Speakers

Again, clarity is rock solid & speakers sound great.

Droid 7 | BB 2

 

Droid Email

No one outdoes BB when it comes to Email & Notifications.  Droid has interesting concept of “notifications task bar” which I’m getting use to.  But BB users will kinda miss this their BB. Droid exchange support is pretty good including synching of calendar & contacts.  You don’t get the Global Address book, though there is an app to do this but it doesn’t integrate fully with the email client.  Gmail users get a first class email experience with basically a full functionality gmail client (labels, stars, filters, etc..)

Droid 7 | BB 9

 

Droid Turn by Turn Directions

Good bye TomTom.  This is as good or better.  You see why Google has been involved with mapping technologies for a long time.

 

Droid Misc Thoughts

Love when you touch it vibrates a little, very nice.

Why micro USB? 

I’ve attended some android sdk & iphone seminars.  I remember my impressions of the android sdk much better then iphone.

 

Droid Final Review

So far I am super impressed with the droid. I give it a 8/10.

Written by Tim on November 9th, 2009 with 9 comments.
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Weekly Bits #1

 

 

 

 

Written by Tim on September 24th, 2009 with 5 comments.
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The New IDE

image I’ve been writing a new web application at work lately, very web 2.0 ish with lots of jQuery & ajax calls being made on every page. After doing some performance testing, it’s very apparent that the various browsers fall into 1 of 3 categories, fast, medium, & slow for how fast they render. Chrome & Safari are seriously blazing fast compared to the rest, so much so, I’ve started to dump Firefox for Chrome as my browser of choice. But one major element is stopping me from being a full time chrome users – Debugging.  That’s right, Firefox isn’t a browser to me anymore, it’s a freaking IDE. Firebug for dom and css inspection/manipulation, JavaScript debugging, packet inspection. YSlow & Hammerhead for performance tuning. Colorzilla for design elements. Web developer toolbar for various odds & ends. Fireshoot for screenshot taking.  Yes, I know Chrome & IE ship with dom/css inspection but they don’t measure up to Firebug yet.  Until Chrome can catch up with these plugins, Firefox is still the default browser.

Fast
Chrome, Safari
Medium
IE 8, Firefox 3.5
Slow
IE 7

Written by Tim on July 28th, 2009 with 5 comments.
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Getting Your Education

My friends at Educator.com recently rolled out their new website.  Sufficient to say, they did a great job on the new site design & the content looks very promising.  It’s very interesting to see how their business model will work out, $20 a month or $200 a year subscription. 

With all of the education budget crisis we are seeing in this country, could a system like this help fill the void?  Educator isn’t offering “core” classes, rather advanced Math & Science, in which good teachers are tough to come by & students are of a different nature. Just a thought… 

Some of their courses

Algebra I

Calculus AB

Calculus BC

Java

Written by Tim on July 2nd, 2009 with 14 comments.
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Daily Find #122

Pear:Log – ELMAH for PHP if you will

In case you don’t know it yet, Seapine is releasing TestTrack RM (Requirements Management) very soon, in fact the beta site was opened last week & you can now go sign up for it.

CodeIgniter Conference

ASP.NET AJAX testing with Visual Studio 2008 Web Test

Written by Tim on June 29th, 2009 with 58 comments.
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