Not too long ago I wrote a post about my trusty, 6 year old Macbook Pro, and the many technical surgeries to fix its ailing parts. Six years is ancient as far as laptops go, and it's a testament to just how good that line of computers is that I've had it this long. I use my laptop heavily - not just for rambling blog posts, but also for photo editing and as part of my art process. One of the things I loved about my Macbook Pro was its brushed metal body. It felt indestructible. It also felt like a set of gym weights sitting on my lap. As I thought about next computers, the appeal of portability started to weigh as heavily (perhaps even more so) than tech specs. I would love to have an iPad. I keep making up mental excuses for why I would need one. But, in reality, the programs I use just don't exist as iPad apps. There's photo apps, sure, but you can't yet run the full version of Photoshop, Dreamweaver, or Aperture on a iPad. If only there was something as thin as an iPad, but capable of running all my favorite programs. Enter my new toy: the Macbook Air.
Remember the ads for these when they launched in 2008? A hand reaches down and opens up a manilla envelope, then pulls out an impossibly thin laptop. And that was 2008. Imagine what the 2012 model looks like. Well, no need to imagine...here's a picture!
Last week Kiersten was talking about how she's gotten so used to lifting up Emma, who's now around 15 pounds, that when she reaches down to scoop up our cat, Iggly, she overcompensates and launches him into space. I've had a similar experience adjusting from picking up my old Macbook Pro to picking up the Air. It looks like I'm hamming it up like an actor from a 70's sitcom, juggling the computer and briefly spazzing out for no apparent reason other than to give the studio audience a laugh. Fortunately, the studio audience is busy prying the cat off the ceiling from the recent space launch attempt.
Aside from the lightness, one of the other big differences is that the Air has no hard disk drive; instead, it has a solid state drive. That means instead of a drive that spins and whirrs, it's all flash memory. The computer is utterly silent when on, and instantly accesses programs and files. There is a downside, though - my fancy SSD is only 128 gb. It's actually a downgrade in size from my Macbook Pro (which was 180 gb). So, this had made me completely rethink how and what I store on my computer.
For being such a technology geek (hey, I am an engineer, after all), I've been slow to embrace the Cloud (files which are stored and accessed over the Internet, via services like Apples iCloud, for instance). There's something about not having your files in your possession that makes me a little uneasy. But it's everywhere now. If you buy a Kindle Fire tablet, it has very little storage. All those movies and songs are accessed via Amazon's cloud and streamed on demand. I realized that much of my storage space was being eaten up by things like my iTunes library (which I've imported every CD I've ever owned into). It turns out, for about $2 per month, you can move your entire music library to the iTunes cloud, stream it on demand, and re-download it anytime you want. This has freed up a ton of space.
Anyhow, just some tech ramblings as I slowly give up some tried and true technologies and migrate into somewhat unfamiliar territory. And, of course, continue to admire just how cool the new Air is (here's a few more pics)!