Why I hate my Lenovo T61 Thinkpad

I've already had a motherboard replaced this year, but that's beside the point. I'm going to start logging my issues with the laptop now.

- At 8:40 am, on February 25, 2010, after successfully coming out of standby, and successfully logging in, both the main display and the external display shut off and [Fn][F7] was unable to reset display settings. Moreover, it did not respond to the docking station's (eject) undock button. My only recourse was to hold the power button for 10 seconds.

I thought this article might help:
http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site.wss/MIGR-67382.html
However, upon further review and confirmation by our helpdesk, this is not the docking station that can be fixed by the above resolution. Instead, we tried a different docking station.

That seemed to resolve the problem. No glitches for two weeks (plus an additional week where I was not docking my PC).

- At 8:20 am, on March 15, 2010
I docked that laptop while in stand-by mode. The standby indicator light on the laptop turned off and no power or battery lights were illuminated.

Pressing the power button had no effect.

I removed the laptop from its docking station and pressed the power button. There was still no response from the laptop.

Only after removing all power, removing and replacing the battery, and redocking did my laptop boot again. When it booted, the primary monitor was now the external and in a lower resolution mode than it normally boots to.

- At 8:55a on 5-26-2010
Main problems lately have had to do with sluggish performance. Tranferred some of my activities to a different machine to lighten the load. From boot, it takes 9 minutes before Outlook will respond.

I'm also tired of restoring my Active Desktop upon reboot, which Windows XP apparently can't do due to a scripting error of some sort. Thanks, Microsoft for making Vista so uncomfortable for enterprises to upgrade to that many of us are stuck waiting on the Windows 7 rollouts.

Today, however, laptop also locked up after I locked the system. No response to mouse or keyboard.

- At 8:45 am on 5-28-2010

Lenovo T61 was at 800x600 viewport on 1400x900 res at 16-color depth when I powered on. Plugged in monitor, no video output at all.

Had to power down using power button. Tired of recovering documents because I happen to move my laptop.

- At 8:52 am on 6-01-2010

Extended life battery was used during a meeting Friday. Between that and standby mode all weekend the battery was down to 2%, requiring 3:35 hours to fully charge. I'm ordering a replacement battery, but I won't be able to use this machine as a "laptop" for the next 2 hours, while I get enough charge to make it through a 1 hour meeting.

- June 11, 2010

  • Got a brand new extended battery. Battery used 25% of its power in 30 minutes.

- June 12, 2010

  • PC failed to hibernate, and so the battery went dead overnight.
  • PC locked up about 10 minutes after boot.
  • On reboot, "Windows cannot find '(null)'. Make sure you typed the name correctly, and then try again.

- July 11, 2010

  • [Successfully] hibernated on Friday afternoon, while laptop was fully charged.
  • Restarted from hibernate on Sunday night, the brand new, fully charged battery was down to 56%.

The only way I'm going to avoid injury is to sit perfectly still. #running

[Workout - 6 x 1/2 mile progressive intervals 3:26.9 and faster]

Index card with treadmill speed by mileage marks

I've been pitying myself the last couple of weeks.

On February 3, I finished off a stupid 26 mile in 24 hours stunt with an attempted tempo run that turned into a slow limp for the last 3 miles.

My first thought:  "Just like last year.  I've injured myself and I'll be sitting out all spring with injury."

I biked the next day, and still hurt pretty bad.  What was supposed to be a 66 mile running week for me came to a dead stop at day 3 with 34 miles.  My back hurt, and by Friday, I scheduled yet another physical therapy appointment.

I decided to try normal running on Monday, with painful results:  6 miles in 52:57, but tremendous piriformis pain and lower back pain.  The following day, I decided that I would get my 6 miles in, even if I had to walk them all.  After two miles of progressively faster walking, the piriformis felt loose enough to test it running slowly.  No problems.

However, last week, I bailed on my 7:30/mile pace tempo run after 2 miles.  This past Saturday's run had me feeling pretty incapable as well.

Needless to say, I've been building up apprehension about my first set of 1/2 mile intervals.  I took the index card [pictured] from my last progressive 1/2 mile interval session [over 3 weeks ago] to the treadmill.  The last time I attempted this workout, I got through the fourth set before my legs and lungs quit on me.  Surely, I would barely get through the 4 sets because of my injury.

Well, the piriformis hurts a little from the workout, but I got through 6 full 1/2 mile intervals and added an extra .11 [for 5k of intervals] from the seventh interval.  I probably had legs for one or two more 1/2 miles, but I didn't want to overdo the workout, coming off of a close call with a longer term injury.

While I did have a real injury brewing, my biggest barrier was my fear of injury.

The only way I'm going to avoid injury is to sit perfectly still.

Then, I'll never risk an injury.  I'll also never accomplish anything, either.

Intervals (1/2 mile intervals)
Type Distance Time Total Time Pace Avg HR Max HR Notes
Recovery 1 Mi 9:32 9:32 9:32
Interval 0.5 Mi 3:26.9 12:58.9 6:54 8.7 mph
Recovery 0.25 Mi 2:19 15:17.9 9:16
Interval 0.5 Mi 3:24.5 18:42.4 6:49 8.8 mph
Recovery 0.25 Mi 2:18.5 21:00.9 9:14
Interval 0.5 Mi 3:22.2 24:23.1 6:45 8.9 mph
Recovery 0.25 Mi 2:18.5 26:41.6 9:14
Interval 0.5 Mi 3:20 30:01.6 6:40 9.0 mph
Recovery 0.25 Mi 2:18.5 32:20.1 9:14
Interval 0.5 Mi 3:17.8 35:37.9 6:36 9.1 mph
Recovery 0.25 Mi 2:18.5 37:56.4 9:14
Interval 0.5 Mi 3:15.7 41:12.1 6:32 9.2 mph
Recovery 0.25 Mi 2:18.5 43:30.6 9:14
Interval 0.11 Mi 0:42.6 44:13.2 6:28 9.3 mph

Hills and snow long run - a trail run despite the pavement technicality

My long run today was going to be fairly sluggish just because of my piriformis soreness issues lately.  However, I never thought that it would be as dicey or as slow as it was today.  Those who know my running habits and philosophy know that I never run outside with music:  I never need it outside, and I regard it as a safety issue to not be able to hear what's going on around me.  It should be telling that I didn't just plan on taking music with me "just in case" for this run, I ended up listening to Pandora for 2 hours of my nearly 3 hour long run.

The base road around the park [Rundill Road] was 80% clear, and there was plenty of road to run on, where the snow had either melted completely or had been reduced to a thin layer of slush.  About half of this road is open to vehicle traffic, and those parts had even mostly dried out.

However, the situation changed when I turned up Uphill Road [see the picture below].  The early part was smoothly packed snow, which was very runnable, but had limited traction.  A few spots further up the hill were dry from complete exposure to the sunlight.  The remainder, on Tophill Road and Uphill Road, were 95% thawed and refrozen packed snow with heel divots, along with melted ATV tracks.

On the way uphill on the refrozen slush, I tried to work with the divots, but my ankles kept turning in different directions with every step.  On the way back, I tried to run in either ATV tracks or the sections of unpacked snow on the road.  Consequently, my already slow 9:50-ish pace slowed to 11 minute pace for a couple of miles, and often much slower than that, despite my effort level never really dropping off.

I should have taken more pictures.  My run time probably wouldn' t have suffered much.

Even back on Rundill for the reverse loop and back out Southern Parkway for an additional 4 miles, my legs had nothing left.  I felt like I was at mile 24 of a rough marathon.  Don't get me wrong:  I've felt much worse at mile 24 of a marathon, but at least I had the sense of accomplishment of having run 24 miles.

Maybe I should have had trail shoes for this.  Maybe this is a sign that trails aren't for me.

My legs hurt now.  My quads hurt, but the rest of my legs feel like I've been standing up for an entire day without any support or chance to sit down.

Uphill and Rundill Rd at Iroquois Park

RunningAHEAD - Strings_n_88keys's log: View Workout.

The relevance of job posting and business networking sites

This article over at TechCrunch got me thinking:

When was the last time I actually applied for a job that I initially saw on a job posting? Even in the case of the jobs that I've applied for that happened to be posted on a job board or classified ad, I didn't hear about them through the job board, but through network connections.

In the time I've spent looking at jobs on the big job sites, the job postings are usually written with such a specific list of skills that only one person really matches the job description:  the person who had been doing the job prior to the posting going up.  I would imagine that such specificity leads to two things:

  • Qualified applicants being discouraged from applying
  • Unqualified applicants applying because they take the excessive list of skills as an indicator that the potential employer really has no clue what they want.

I remember all the hype surrounding the big Internet job boards.  It seems that the same hype was repeated with the professional networking sites [LinkedIn], none of which provide enough value to use until you're looking for a job.

Instead, I've found the following combination or resources works best for me:

  • I maintain contact with former classmates and co-workers through Facebook, not LinkedIn.  I've found that people are more likely to keep their contact information up-to-date through Facebook because there are other reasons to log-in to the service other than the simple "networking/contacts maintenance" aspect.  Now, if LinkedIn converted logins to Facebook Connect, it might become marginally more useful.
  • I maintain a public presence/persona through Twitter, building a support community by responding to friends who have questions or concerns.
  • I meet people in real life, whether through running marathons or local networking events.  This is especially important for the internet-only friends.  Old co-workers and classmates have at least a minimal impression of me in real life.  Online friends don't, unless I at least have meet them for a drink or before a marathon start.

In the end, all the technology does is accelerate the success or failure of your strategy.  Being a stranger or a bad fit in the virtual space is an easier rejection than being a strange or a bad fit in real life--after all, is a "virtual" friend even real?