[cryptome] Re: FW: Purchasing a New Laptop for Missus: Continued

  • From: Andrew Hornback <achornback@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: cryptome@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 25 Mar 2015 11:16:29 -0400

On Tue, Mar 24, 2015 at 10:17 AM, Douglas Rankine <
douglasrankine2001@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> Dear Colleagues,
> Exploring the situation further.  I have come to the following conclusions.
> First of all, I have decided that it is better to forget about the
> security aspects of purchasing a new laptop, because it has become obvious
> through the discussions on here that laptops with enhanced security
> measures cost an awful lot more...almost 3 times the price for some of
> them, yet there is no guarantee that they are any more secure, anonymous,
> or private than any other laptop at a third of the price. Sticky tape is
> the same price no matter what camera and microphone one has on ones
> computer... J.  It appears to me, from what you security guys have said
> on here, that the NSA, CIA, 5 I’s Russian FSB,  Chinese MSS and French
> DGSE, even when the missus would, if she could,  be using TOR, TAILS, PGP
> and Bitcoin for secure and anonymous communications and transactions of any
> kind, even if she were amenable are a waste of time and money, for the
> standard of security she requires.  From what I can see Uncle Tom Cobley’s
> International Conglomerate Security Company et al. have got the whip hand,
> and the international computer security protection industry is completely
> fucked.
> Thank you for your contributions so far, they have been most illuminating,
> and very positive; and I have taken some of your suggestions on board and
> now realise that I have to refine my specifications, for the purchase on
> the basis of best value for money, which fits in with me missus’s wants,
> needs and desires.
> There are two aspects to the specifications.
> Personal Criteria
> 1.        What me missus actually uses the computer for.
> 2.       What physical criteria she requires in terms of size and
> fashion, weight, and whether it will fit into her shoulder bag.
> 3.       What functions the computer will deliver.
> 4.       The speed and reliability of the computer.
> 5.       The length of time the battery lasts before it needs recharging
> 6.       The operating system she is comfortable with.
> 7.       How well it will work in the dark or  abroad, in a cafe,
> aeroplane, train, ferry or car or McDonalds.
> 8.       Value for money, the price compared with other, similar computers
> 9.       A price between £300 and £500 (unless there is a laptop which
> far surpasses with its spec...up to £600 max.
Depends on the size of the shoulder bag, honestly.

For a smaller machine, I'd probably recommend a Lenovo X series... X61 is
what my Missus carries.  X220/X230 is a good machine - used to deploy them
at a former employer.  Pick one up with a docking station and a spare power
adapter - the optical drive will be in the docking station.  With an
extended battery, she can get anywhere from 6-9 hours of battery life out
of the system, and it's not huge (physically).  Leave the docking station
at home, throw a monitor, network cable, etc. on it and when she gets home,
dock and go.

They're reliable boxes, I've seen one that got (accidentally) pitched down
the steps and only suffered a cracked screen - never stopped working.  The
X61 will run anything from XP to Windows 8, with aplomb.  Memory is
upgradable from 512 MB to 8 GB, I believe.  Uses a standard 2.5" SATA drive
- which means that you can put standard SSD in it.

The ThinkPads generally either have a backlit keyboard (more modern models)
or a light that shines down from the top of the monitor when it's open -
makes working in the dark really nice.

It's also very well documented - do a Google search for HMM X61 or HMM X220
for example.

The X1 Carbon that I personally carry is thinner, but with a bigger
screen.  Has an SSD, backlit keyboard, 8 GB RAM, 3G onboard... but, the
cost is a little more and it may not fit the size requirements.

Another option might be the ThinkPad T series systems, but they can get
pretty heavy - have all the same features, but also have an optical drive

I did think about an SSD hard disk as I understand this makes a computer a
> lot faster and energy efficient,

And physical damage resistant since there's no rotational media.

> but they are very expensive,

Not on this side of the pond... but, I know you guys are VAT'd.

> perhaps a combination of the two might be best...What do you think...
> Anything I have forgotten, or don’t know about, that you think might be
> worth incorporating... J.

--- A

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