Worst time to buy a new Lenovo laptop?

Lenovo, your name is mud. Nice hardware, though. I recently bough a new Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro. A super‐sleek looking ultra‐portable (marketing slang for “lightweight and thin”) and convertible laptop (the screen can fold back and make it a tablet) with a high‐resolution display. I’ve been considering one since December and ordered one in a moment of weakness.

This post was supposed to be first‐impressions and comments on how nice the hardware was. Unfortunately, I’ve got the worst timing in the world for getting a new Lenovo laptop.

I’ve been well aware of the SuperFish‐malware scandal that has hit Lenovo hard in the media these last few days. In case you have not heard about it; the company decided to pre‐install a man‐in‐the‐middle attack on their consumer‐level PCs. SuperFish is a service that installs a root certificate into the Windows Certificate Store. Then it goes on to hijack and resign HTTPS connections for the purpose of injecting advertisement onto otherwise secure sites. Every site will look secure — even your bank’s — even thought it has been altered by the software..

“The SuperFish problems will be okay,” I thought. “I’ll just replace the factory setup of Windows with a clean system.” “Then I can dual‐boot with Debian Linux and it will all be fine.” Sounds like a good strategy, right?

Update : In an settlement with the US FCC, Lenovo must now seek consent from the customer before they install any crapware on their computers. The Register has the story.

Lizard Squad

I’ve now just reinstalled Windows 8.1, ran Windows Update, and headed over to Lenovo’s website to grab a few missing drivers. Instead of seeing the front‐page of Lenovo, I was of course greeted by a slideshow of some kids set to music from High School Musical. Apparently, a group of kids calling themselves “Lizard Squad” have taken control over Lenovo’s website. The same website that should have had instructions on how to remove the SuperFish malware along with their corporate apology for installing it in the first place. —and for my purposes, the source of Lenovo specific hardware drivers.

The one website I considered safe and opened even before I had installed anti-virus were of course controlled by malicious pranksters. On Twitter, Lizard Squad is now busy with posting the contents of emails mentioning their own malicious activities and those related to the whole SuperFish problem. Lenovo just can’t seem to get a break!

All I’ve got tonight is half of a new laptop. Its missing a bunch of Lenovo‐specific drivers and functionality that makes the laptop interesting. Mostly touchpad, touch‐screen, and tablet mode related. Its also lacking some WiFi functionality. I’m not a happy Lenovo owner. The initial out‐of‐the‐box experience was actually quite good. Mostly because the box had an compartment that lifted the laptop up as the covering flaps are folded back. Its the small things that matter, after all.

I think I’m going to be happy with the machine with time. It’s a very nice piece of hardware. But the software side right now, … not so much. I’ll likely write either a review of it in general or at least how it fares with Linux later.