Evan Youngblood

News

The Worst Laptop I’ve Ever Bought

by on Apr.18, 2016, under News

Now that’s a bold statement. I won’t even venture to guess how many laptops I’ve owned, but I am certain I’ve found the worst one. I’ve had laptops that blew batteries, ones that were so handicapped by slow hard drives they were nearly useless, and even one who’s power button required an act of God to press. And none of them were the worst.
Now, you might expect the worst laptop to be big, bulky, with poor battery life. You might expect it to have a terrible display, or horrendous keyboard. Perhaps even it would be too heavy to actually pick up. But the worst is none of those things.
Let’s go through a few things. First, I’m a power user. I run my laptops hard, I run my IT business with them, and I use them at home. I use a docking solution at the office to connect two external displays. And I rarely turn the unit off. However, I also don’t buy cheap laptops. This one, in fact, retails for over $3,000. That should be sufficient to have a good laptop, even for me.
So why do I say this is the worst laptop ever? Simple. It’s annoying. Let’s go through a few things.
1) This is actually my third. The first two had factory defects. This necessitated a 5 hour trip to a store, and 12 phone calls.
2) The dock (sold by the laptop manufacturer) is unreliable. About 25% of the time, my USB keyboard won’t work plugged into the dock, so I have to plug it in to the laptop directly. 10% of the time, the monitors connected to the dock don’t connect. You must reboot to fix it.
3) The DPI of the laptop’s screen is higher than standard, and Windows cannot handle this. If an application was open when you move from the built-in display to the external display, you’ll need to shut down and restart the app. If that doesn’t work. Reboot.
4) The build quality is not $3,000 worth. My MacBook Pro is one of the best designs I’ve ever seen. Furthermore, the Mac feels solid, sturdy, valuable, and reliable. This laptop is more expensive, built as a competitor to the MacBook Pro, and all I can think when I pick it up is, “I hope it doesn’t bend.”
5) Drivers are unstable. With an OS and hardware made by a single company, it’s supposed to be the perfect marriage between hardware and software. Fail. The graphics driver is unstable, further complicating issues with the dock.
6) It doesn’t like to power on. Laugh, I know. But it’s true. Half the time I open this laptop, it doesn’t power up. My Dell back in 2000 had that mastered. In 16 years, we’ve gone backwards. Unacceptable for a premium laptop.
7) The battery sometimes doesn’t charge. Again, this is laughable. But I actually have to check to see the battery is charging when it’s plugged in. The light on the power adapter will be on, but the laptop may not actually be charging.
I could go on. But I won’t. The worst laptop I’ve ever bought is the Microsoft Surface Book. This is the only laptop I have ever bought that I truly attempt to avoid using. I’ve gone back to my MacBook Pro at home. I’m about to start taking it to work again. It’s far more stable and predictable.
Am I just being hard on the Surface Book. No, I don’t think so. Microsoft specifically designed the Surface Book to one-up the MacBook Pro. Put simply, it doesn’t. It should — on paper, it’s superior in many ways. But actually using it is another story.
I’m honestly saddened by this. I had such high hopes for the Surface Book. I was completely sold during the keynote when Microsoft revealed the product. I pre-ordered, dealt with massive frustration to actually obtain a working unit. I wanted so badly to love this product. I wanted to ditch my Android tablet and my iPad for work. I wanted the Surface Book to be the ultimate laptop. But it’s not. It’s the worst laptop I’ve ever bought.
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Dallas Kicks Delta Out of DAL?

by on Sep.29, 2014, under Flying, News

Dallas has been supporting two major airports since the 70’s. But there was a time when people feared it could only handle one. The over-used Dallas Love Field (DAL) was “replaced” with Dallas Ft.Worth International Airport (DFW) in 1973. At the time, officials worried airlines would keep their comfy spots at Love Field and not make the costly move to DFW.

As usually happens, legislation was passed forcing airlines to move. The Wright Amendment restricted flights to and from DAL (and other airports) to force airlines to use DFW.

Fast forward a few years….

Southwest Airlines, the largest domestic airline in the US, calls DAL home. They’ve been forced to live with the Wright Amendment and have established bases at Houston Hobby (HOU) and St. Louis Lambert (STL) specifically to allow flights to get passengers from their hub in DAL to their hub at Chicago Midway (MDW).

The Wright Amendment expires next month. Southwest has been waiting. They’re fixing to expand operations at DAL quickly on October 13, the day the amendment expires.

But now, Dallas has told Delta Airlines they have to leave DAL. Delta currently uses two gates at DAL and flies to Atlanta. That service ends on October 12.

I find it amazing that the expiration of an amendment specifically designed to reduce traffic at Love Field finds the city actively reducing traffic, and competition. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Southwest loyal customer, and I welcome the expiration. I just can’t understand how the city of Dallas believes it’s a good idea to throw an airline out.

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Cruising the High Seas…and Eating Spam?

by on Feb.16, 2013, under News

Much fuss has been made in the media this week about Carnival’s latest cruise ship incident, the Triumph’s engine fire. As a cruiser, I felt it was time to bring some balance. (continue reading…)

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FAA Lawyers Trying to Blame Pilots for Sleeping Controller?

by on Mar.31, 2011, under Flying, News

AeroNewsNet is reporting today that former FAA lawyers are trying to blame the pilots of the American Airlines and United Airlines flights which landed at Washington Reagan Airport last week when the tower controller was asleep.

This rubs me the wrong way. Pilots land aircraft at “uncontrolled” airports everyday. In fact, a vast majority of airports are uncontrolled. While this is unusual for a major airport, it is very common for local and regional airports. Some air traffic control towers, such as the one at my home base of Marion, IL, are part-time — meaning the tower closes at a set time, and the field becomes uncontrolled.

An “uncontrolled” airport is truly a pilot-controlled airport. Meaning pilots talk to each other and work out who’s going to land and who’s going to depart. This system works remarkably well. Pilots can communicate if they’re overtaking another aircraft on final approach, or if they’re taxiing on the active runway to avoid an incident.

I’ve personally flown into uncontrolled airports many times.

The idea that the pilots should have waited is ridiculous. The weather was good, they could see the field. Had there been an emergency in progress, well-lit emergency vehicles would have been apparent on the runway.

The lawyer, Loretta Alkalay, apparently thinks the decision to land is not up to the pilot in command — which it is.

Pilots should not be the scapegoat for a situation like this. The pilots have infinite options at their disposal. The PIC may choose to divert, land, or even declare an emergency (if he/she feels it’s appropriate). The pilots in this situation were absolutely right in landing. They announced their positions, followed the rules, and delivered passengers safely.

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