The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Through Windows Darkly

I arrived to The Ft. Lauderdale Office of the Corporation to find a package sitting on my desk. It had finally arrived—the Corporate Overlords' mandated managed laptop.

It's only been a year and a half that we've been threatened by promised new managed laptops to replace the self-managed ones we currently use, but in the end, it was decided to let us keep our current machines and use the new “managed laptops” to access the Corporate Overlords' network. I think this was decided due to the cultural differences between The Corporation and the Corporate Overlords—we're Mac and they're Windows.

Yes, of course the new managed laptop is a Windows box.

It's a Lenovo ThinkPad T480, and compared to the current laptops I have at work, a Linux system with 4 2.8GHz CPUs with 4G RAM and a Mac with 8 2.8GHz CPUs and 16G RAM, it's a bit underpowered with 4 1.8GHz CPUs and 8G RAM. I will admit that the keyboard is nicer than the keyboards on my existing laptops, but that's like saying bronchitis is better than pneumonia—technically that's true, but they're still bad. It looks like I'll have to break out another real keyboard from the stash.

The laptop was thinner than I expected, and the build feels solid. Lots of ports, so that's nice. The screen is nice, and the built-in camera has a sliding cover so I don't have to spoil the sleek asthetic with a tab of electrical tape.

The real downside for me is the software—Windows. I can hear the gales of laughter from my friend Gregory when he hears I have to suffer Windows. The last time I used Windows was … um … 1999? It's been a while, and not only do I have to get used to a nearly alien interface, but one that I have little control over.

Well, I have a bit of leeway—I was able to install Firefox so it isn't quite that bad, but there's a lot I can't do; external block storage devices are blocked outright, there are some websites I can't visit and editing the Windows Registry is right out! Not to mention the crap ton of anti-viral, anti-spam, anti-phishing, anti-development, corporate-friendly “productivity” software installed and running on the machine.

This is something I have never experienced. Until now, every computer I used at a company has never been this locked down, not even at IBM. It's going to take some adjustment to get used to it.

Meanwhile, I've been poking around on the system and—“End of Day Restart” …

“End of Day Restart?”

Seriosly, Microsoft? You automated the daily reboot?

Wow … this is definitely going to take some time to get used to …

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