The first batch of these are Panasonic CF-73 Toughbooks with 75 gig hard drives, 504 MB RAM, 1.86 gig Pentium processors, CD-R/RW & DVD ROM, USB 2.0 ports, ethernet cards and touchscreens, and the company will be adding air cards soon (future batches will be somewhat more stripped-down versions of the same equipment). Access to the internet has been completely unrestricted via a proxy server. Of course, the main purpose of these laptops will be the statusing and testing of jobs, which is a very nice prospect (there's nothing worse then getting a reading from a dispatcher who has no technical knowledge of T-1s, and misreads the information to you, which you don't find out until you get to the job site).
The next big purchase I was planning upon was a laptop. That a $3400 machine should just appear like this is insanity. Add to the fact that we are being given free internet access via dial-up or ethernet now, and a wireless T-1 speed connection in a few days, and you have a pretty happy Swashbuckler. That means that I have no reason to reinstate my cable modem. I have no idea how this will effect my blogging addiction, but one thing is for sure, and that's that I now have the ability to work on Ecology at any time during the workday.
The touchscreen is one of my favorite aspects of the computer. Normally, laptops have either the touchpad or that little joystick or track ball in the middle of the keyboard. I loathe the joystick/track ball approach because of the size of them, and the touchpads have limitations. This machine has the touchpad as well, but the touchscreen - which, in order to keep finger grease off of the image is operated with a stylus - is the best type of interface for a portable PC. The keyboard is nice and springy, too, which I like; I type very fast, so sticky keys can be a real problem for me.
In addition to having been issued this beautiful new toy, and the possibilities that it opens up (this entry was partially written on my way home from work), we also have just been given access to a myriad of discounts available to Verizon employees through our eWeb. I'm actually quite surprised; I may be planning an weekend trip to Boston in the not-too-distant future, as our rates for the air shuttle are really, really low. There are more advantages to this job than even I thought. For all the shit that they've put me through, sometimes it seems like it really is worth it.