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The W520, for example, had 64-bit Windows 7, 8GB of memory, a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, USB 3.0 ports and a built in fingerprint reader. You can get much worse machines today.There are plenty of secondhand ThinkPad T420 laptops floating around for £300 or less, including a 6-month guarantee. Large companies bought fleets of them, and they are resurfacing as refurbished machines.It might be somewhat tricky to buy a new old model, if you see what I mean. If you can get to London, then Shyamtronics (246 Tottenham Court Road, W1T 7QU) is famous for stocking discontinued ThinkPads. They are not particularly cheap by modern standards, but you can haggle. Although it no longer has a shop in central London, Morgan is another potential source.
However, the only prospect it has at the moment is a refurbished ThinkPad X201i with a 2.5GHz Core i5 and Windows 7 Pro for £199.95.Otherwise, there is a very simple way to get an excellent keyboard with almost any laptop: simply plug an external keyboard into one of the USB ports. This has the added advantage that you can raise the laptop screen to a more ergonomic height, reducing the strain on your upper spine. It's not the handiest solution if you want to use your laptop on a train or plane, but a ThinkPad R50e weighs about 2.5kg (5.5lb), so I suspect you don't do that often.Using an external keyboard means you can opt for a clicky model, or possibly one with a more ergonomic shape, or both. The Truly Ergonomic Keyboard is an example, though not cheap at £215.95. However, there are dozens of options at £10 to £30, and you can probably try a few at Maplins or a local computer store.Plans and photographs of the home and office of Belgium’s prime minister, Charles Michel, have been found on a computer abandoned near a terrorist hideout in Brussels, according to Belgian sources.
The laptop was found in a bin near a flat in the Schaerbeek district that had been a makeshift bomb factory for the terrorists who killed 32 people and injured at least 340 in last week’s suicide bombings at Brussels airport and the city metro.The find was first reported by several Belgian newspapers, including De Tijd and L’Echo, and has been confirmed by the Guardian. A well-placed source said: “We don’t know if they [the terrorists] were planning anything, but we do know they were investigating.” The laptop contained information about the prime minister’s official residence and office at 16 rue de la Loi in central Brussels, as well as photographs of the building taken from the street.A spokesman for Michel said reinforced security measures had already been in place for several months.The neoclassical building at Rue de la Loi is less than 6km away from the rundown Schaerbeek flat that served as the terrorists’ hideout. It was from this fifth-floor flat that the suicide bomber Ibrahim el-Bakraoui and two accomplices made the journey to Zaventem airport on 22 March to launch the attacks against unsuspecting travellers.
As news of the laptop find emerged, authorities revised down the number of people killed in the attacks: the Belgian crisis centre has announced that 32 people died, not 35 as stated earlier by health officials. “Deep checks” had shown that three people had been counted twice on two separate lists, the crisis centre said. The 32 dead comprised 17 Belgians and 15 foreigners, from countries including the UK, US, China, India, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Germany. The three suicide bombers – the Bakraoui brothers and Najim Laachraoui – are not included in the tally of the dead.One week after the attacks, Brussels remains in a tense mood, with the airport and several metro stations still closed. On Wednesday, city officials announced that a demonstration by far-right protesters against Islamism had been banned. Génération Identitaire, a French far-right group, had been planning a march in Molenbeek with the rallying call “expel the Islamists” on Saturday afternoon, but the local authority has taken out a police order banning any public meeting on that day.Françoise Schepmans, Molenbeek’s mayor, said she did not often take such decisions. “When we struggle against extremism, we are against all extremisms. It is out of the question to let people who are crazy with rage express themselves,” she told Le Soir. She warned that police would take action against anyone flouting the ban. Molenbeek has struggled to shake off its reputation as a hotbed for extremists, even before the Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam was caught hiding there.f you believe the hype, you need nothing more powerful than a tablet computer. They're lighter, just as efficient as their full-sized counterparts and retail figures published in January suggest everyone is buying them.To an extent this is right. For data gathering and for entertainment they're a great alternative. But they do have their limitations. These aren't bad points, it's just that they aren't full-spec computers and nobody has ever pretended they are.
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The first very clear difference between a tablet and a laptop is the absence of a keyboard. If your tasks don't involve typing, or only involve a small amount of typing, then you can safely ignore this as a drawback. If you collect a lot of data door-to-door, as some professions do, then a small hand-held will almost certainly be better.For writing or number-intensive tasks then a keyboard is a given requirement. Voice control is good but many people will prefer an old-fashioned key-it-in approach. There are keyboards and keyboard cases for tablets but these vary in performance; early models tended to make characters appear a split second before they were typed, for example. Go to a shop and try one out; keyboard cases that hold plenty of charge are available for seven inch tablets and they work well, but the physical size means they're small and cramped to use.They also require independent charging which means organising yourself so that they don't conk out while you're in the middle of something. And keep an eye on the cost. A tablet plus keyboard case might well end up costing as much as a full-blown laptop.
One advantage of a laptop is its ability to use external storage media. If you have a large file on an external drive and can plug it in via USB, great – but this may not be possible without at least an adapter for your tablet, depending on which model of tablet you're using. And if you wanted to use a CD drive it's far simpler if it's built in to your computer (although these are being phased out on some laptops as well – an external CD drive connected through USB will still work).Related to external storage is internal storage. Download a file to your laptop, find the downloads file and you can send it to someone else. Download the same thing to your tablet and good luck finding where it's put it. Picking up more than one document and sending it by email starts to require a new app to help you work out just where they're located on the disk.This isn't a criticism – the essence of tablet computing is that it's supposed to hide some of the complexities from the person using it. They're supposed to be as easy to use as your phone and that means the manufacturers are going to conceal as much under the bonnet as they can. Which means you're going to get a slightly cut-down version of a computer when you use one.
One area in which tablets are better than standard computers is connectivity.
One or two computer manufacturers have in the past tried putting a sim card into a PC but for whatever reason these haven't sold in large numbers. This will surprise many people as connecting goes almost without saying for most computer tasks these days, but if you're out of Wi-Fi range and don't have a dongle or phone you can use as a modem, you might well find yourself stuck.Here the tablets can score as long as you buy the right model. Tablets with 3G (some of which will have 4G connections when they become available) will connect independently by themselves whenever you need them to; pay-as-you-go sims are available inexpensively and data allowances appear generous by most current standards.If you're going to be around Wi-Fi networks this is less of a concern – and of course a 3G signal can drop to something slower when you're not expecting it. Travel through even Central London by train and you'll be surprised at how often the signal drops – but that's going to be true of any connection.The area in which the tablet is really going to score is its configurability. You can download, subject to affordability and space on your device, multiple apps so you end up with the system you want rather than the one the manufacturer opted to provide. Be careful of upgrading your device, though; if (say) the screen size changes with the new model, or the screen resolution alters, there's no absolute guarantee that every app will work with the new version immediately. And if it's a corporate, business-essential app that fails, you could have a problem.This isn't about denigrating tablets. For the right task – online work, carrying entertainment as well as work information around for business trips, video conferencing and a great deal else they're terrific. They can also be very inexpensive; of course everyone knows who offers the premium brands, but the own-brand supermarket offerings function perfectly happily as well.It's just a matter of assessing exactly what you want to do and assessing the tools you'll need – then not falling for the hype when friends and marketing departments think you ought to have the latest and most expensive shiny device.
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An alleged laptop thief has been arrested after his victim used a secret application on the computer to track its whereabouts and take photographs of the perpetrator.Joshua Kaufman's MacBook was stolen from his apartment in Oakland, California, on 21 March, but when he reported the crime to the police it was deemed a low priority – so he turned to Twitter and Tumblr to get it back.I reported the crime to the police and even told them where it was, but they couldn't help me due to lack of resources, Kaufman said.Rather than give up the laptop as lost the designer had a trick up his sleeve. Kaufman had downloaded an application to his computer that tracked the machine's location and took pictures from its inbuilt camera – unbeknown to the thief.I'm using the awesome app, Hidden, to capture these photos of this guy who has my MacBook, Kaufman wrote.He told the New York Daily News he had returned to his apartment on a Monday night in March to find the laptop, a Kindle and some jewellery missing.Kaufman called the police, but the case was filed as low priority.
However, using Hidden he was soon garnering information about the laptop's new owner, including pictures, his Facebook account, his place of work and business email address.Upon returning to the police, Kaufman was told they did not have the manpower to pursue the alleged thief.It was then that he decided to spread news of the theft himself, starting a Tumblr account called This Guy Has My MacBook.Kaufman promptly began uploading some of the pictures and other information that Hidden had relayed back.Readers – tens of thousands have shared the blog on Twitter and Facebook – were able to see pictures of the suspect asleep on a settee in front of the computer, lying in bed topless in front of the computer and, less conventionally, driving in front of the computer.NY Daily News reported that Oakland police finally decided to investigate when media outlets began contacting officers for comment after the saga had become an internet sensation.A mission to rescue the laptop – and perhaps to save some face – was scrambled on Tuesday night and the man in the photographs was soon detained, much to the computer owner's delight.ARRESTED! An Oakland police officer just called me to let me know that they arrested the guy in my photos! BOOYA! Kaufman tweeted.The police used my evidence (email which pointed to a cab service) that he was a driver and tricked him into picking them up. Nice work OPD! he added.Hiddenapp.com pledges that the app will locate your stolen computer anywhere on the planet, collect photos of the thief and screen shots of the computer in use.It is not the first example of similar software being used to track stolen laptops. However, on Wednesday some Twitter users were sceptical as to whether there may be something more to the affair.It seems like a pr-stunt for the app Hidden, @Chalottn posted, while @Usman C wrote: What i don't understand is y this thief would sleep and drive w the screen open (pics w cam). Looks like PR-stunt to me.Hidden, which is based in Watford, Hertfordshire, has denied it is a marketing ploy, telling one sceptic: It's a complete surprise to us too, no dodgy marketing here.