For the past two weeks I have been using a MacBook Air almost exclusively as my mobile platform. I was very skeptical of the Air as a primary machine for me — I thought is was way too underpowered and had way too many compromises for my high intensity needs. I have to say I have been wrong, but with a few exceptions. The biggest drawback is the Air’s inability to drive my 30″ display on my desk. I can’t give that up — no way, no how. But other than that, the Air is a joy to use.
You can read about performance and that kind of stuff all over the web, so I won’t go into that beyond the fact that this ting is plenty fast. Now with that said, I have to admit I have given all sorts of stuff up — stuff I am actually enjoying not having on my machine. I am attempting to live in the cloud as much as possible and only use Apple applications (with few minor exceptions) on the machine itself. So far I have used this thing for nearly two weeks without the following two big suites:
- Microsoft Office: I am loving not having to wait for that thing to do its work. I obviously get a ton of attachments as Word documents that I have to review … probably a dozen or more a day. What to do? Well, as long as it is a .doc I can simply upload it into Google Docs and edit away. I’m sure I will bump my head on this eventually, but I haven’t missed a beat with it yet.
- Adobe CS3: I miss PhotoShop, but really only for easy resizing of images. Clearly I am not a graphic designer so this approach wouldn’t work for everyone. I am almost embarrassed to say I use PS mostly for resizing images for blog posts and for other online publishing tasks. I am taking advantage of Preview’s ability to scale images at the moment, but will probably find a better way to do it online or via another light weight application like ImageWell.
I have had wiki fever lately, so I haven’t run into any real issues with my multiple machine life … I have an iMac at home, a Mac Mini at work, and I still have my MBP hooked up to my 30″ on my desk. People have been asking me how I keep it all in sync. The answer lies in the cloud. Bookmarks? Del.icio.us keeps that working. Documents? Google Docs keeps that working. Writing? My various blogs and wikis keep that working. Email? I have IMAP for my PSU mail and GMail keeps the personal stuff working perfectly.
I have given up keeping multiple music collections going, but I have an iPhone to keep me happy when I need a music fix. As a matter of fact I haven’t found myself reaching for anything that I don’t have. An amazing thing is going on … I haven’t put any documents (of any kind) on the Air to date. I download them only to move them into the cloud to access them later. Kinda amazing. I’m sure I’ll run into other issues (not sure how I’ll connect my Express Card cell modem, but that is a worry for travel), but at the moment I am very happy. It is amazing how having this small of a machine has altered my use of the Internet. I like it. More to come as it evolves.