As regular readers of this blog will know, I’ve taken the plunge and started using a new Fujitsu STYLISTIC Q550 slate PC as my everyday computer. It’s been a couple of weeks since my last update, and now the honeymoon is over, you might be wondering how I’m getting on with the slate. The answer is, just fine.
I’m just back from a trip to Finland. During both airport check-ins, I used the electronic boarding card sent via e-mail to my Q550, using our corporate wi-fi service. This was definitively an advantage to using my smartphone, as I’d have had to pay for wi-fi or 3G data service to have the boarding card delivered to my handset.
In addition to a full day of presentations and sales training, my Finnish colleagues arranged for a media briefing. For me, it was great to travel light. I took only the Q550, a small AC adapter, a USB cable to charge my smartphone and a HDMI-VGA adapter to connect the Q550 to beamers. Although I took the 2nd battery along, I didn’t need it.
During the last couple of weeks I’ve had plenty of opportunities to improve my skills working with the Q550, and in doing so, I found the answers to some of the challenges that I’d initially faced when working without a keyboard and mouse.
I subscribe to many RSS feeds, which are fed into Outlook folders. Deleting several hundred feeds every day, item by item, was bothersome. The solution was easy: I remembered almost forgotten keyboard shortcuts. CTRL + A selects all items in a list. So, pop up the virtual keyboard, press CTRL + A and then DEL. Everything’s gone. In fact, I discovered this is faster than using a mouse.
What I also do a lot is embed received e-mails in forwards or replies – again something that’s not so simple – if even possible – on a smartphone. However, the context menu in Outlook does not offer the option to copy a message. Again the solution is easy. Pop up the virtual keyboard, mark the mail that is to be copied, press CTRL + C, move over the new e-mail and press CTRL + V. Done!
Some days ago I learned an astonishing fact: More than 60% of all Windows users actually power their system down at the end of the workday. Very few use either Hibernate or Rest/Resume. I have been using this for more than 15 years, even with Windows NT, and always appreciated being back in Windows and my last working environment (Programs, open documents, open browsers) quickly. The Q550 resumes from Rest/Resume in ~2-3 seconds. Although it’s not quite the Always-On experience of mobile phones, it is close enough to not make a difference to me. My set-up is Rest/Resume with the On/Off button and Hibernate (which draws no power at all but does take a bit longer to resume) in the Windows Start menu.
I’ve read and taken note of comments from fellow Q550 users regarding system performance, both in general and when using WiFi. As Fujitsu does a lot to protect the environment (we receive top ratings in the Greenpeace evaluation we ship all our products with energy-saving settings enabled. On the Q550 this applies, for example, to limit maximum power for CPU and WiFi while in battery mode). However, it’s very easy to change these settings via the Windows Power panel, for users who need higher performance in mobile mode.
I also found a cool add-on for Firefox which enhances touch usage, Grab-and-Drag, currently in version 2.8.2. It is highly recommended and does just what it says on the tin – it allows grab and drag scrolling on any screen.
In my last post I mentioned my need for access to around 120GB of data, but this doesn’t fit on to the Q550’s SSD hard drive. The solution I have found is to store most of the data on a shared drive on our company network. The neat thing is that this also works well for Outlook. I used to believe that Outlook data files had to be stored on a local drive. Not true. They work just as well from a remote networked drive. This is cool. Since I am almost always connected to the Internet via WiFi or 3G I don’t need to have stuff stored locally, and this also saves the hassle of regular back-ups. One thing less to worry about.
Another cool product I am working with is the Fujitsu MZ-900 Zero Client. It’s a USB stick that lets me start a server-based VDI session. You might ask what is the benefit. Well, this gives access to my personalized Windows desktop, but running on a powerful server – and therefore faster than using the Q550’s own processor. Bandwidth demand is small, since only the graphics information is actually being sent across the ‘net, so this works well even with low bandwidth UMTS.
Eventually, I plan to abandon all local data and applications and work only in the virtualized environment.
That’s it for now – in my next installment, to mark my first month after making the switch, I’ll revisit the reservations I’d initially had about moving to the Q550 as my one and only work computer.