Monday, April 28, 2008

Writing On Air

Another year passes and it's time to return to Las Vegas for InterOp.

This year it also feels like I'm going through a mid-life crisis. Unfortunately I can't afford a sports car, so I decided to purchase a new laptop.

A MacBook Air.

OK, I admit it, I probably could have got a sports car, but why? It's not practical to haul my scuba diving equipment around, or taking the kids and their friends anywhere. Besides, I was tired of lugging my two hundred pound Dell, work provided, laptop around. I stuff enough crap in my backpack when I travel, such as magazines and books, the last thing I need is a heavy laptop to add to the mix.

So far, I'm very impressed with this little gem. The obviously huge benefit is its compact size.

Who says size doesn't matter?

When I first starting dragging a laptop around it seemed like the cool thing to do was to have a huge one, with a large screen for watching DVD's on the road. After several years of doing this, the thrill is gone.

Now, with the MAcBook Air, it has everything I need in a laptop, at a great size.

At first it feels a bit strange to not have all the other stuff that goes along with a laptop, but I think I will be able to adapt nicely. What's the fun in being human if we can't continually evolve and adapt to new things?

For those of you who have not looked into what a MacBook Air has, or doesn't have, let me explain.

The MacBook Air does not come with an optical drive of any sort (i.e. no DVD/CD ROM drive). There is also no floppy drive, but this is not a big deal these days anyway. When was the last time you used a floppy disk?

As the name implies, everything you need will be sent to you through the air.

It's rapidly becoming an all wireless world, and this laptop is on the leading edge of this paradigm-shift. Of course you can always purchase an external optical drive if you really need to "burn a disc" or do some other menial task, but for the most part you live disc-free.

One interesting option for accessing drives is to "leech" off of any computer near you that has one. Just load a little helper program onto the machine and then you can mount its drive just like it was on the MacBook Air. A neat approach for those who are not completely comfortable about being driveless.

One thing I was worried about with a laptop this thin, was that it was going to have a cheesy keyboard. I should have known though, coming from Apple, that nothing is ever done "cheesy". I find the keyboard really nice, with large keys and great response.

Another cool feature is that the keypad has the same technology in it as the iPhone so you can use all of the finger features that make the iPhone interface so nice. No need for a mouse when you can turn pages, zoom, and click, right-click, and more just by the way you massage the keypad. I'm still getting used to this myself, but I feel that soon enough I'll be cussing out my Windoze machines when I won't be able to use these little shortcuts on them.

Back in the old days, I was a big fan of the Amiga computer. It was way ahead of its time, and I loved the innovations it had over other computers, even the Macintosh. Now, times have changed, and the Mac has morphed into what I had envisioned the Amiga was going to be. For that reason, having this laptop being the first Mac I have personally owned, I feel as though I have come home.

Years of working with Windows-based computers has felt more like a daily struggle then a pleasurable experience. I got my MacBook Air because I needed something fun and positive in my life once again. A computer that I can enjoy using without worrying about viruses and the Blue Screen of Death.

Sure there is a learning-curve with using a new operating system, but I think I am ready for the change.

As always, thanks for reading my dribble, and wish me luck on my trip!

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