Daily Archives: July 31, 2011

New Laptop Update

People have been asking what I think of the MacBook Air I got the other day. Well, now that I lived with it for two whole days, some thoughts:

* From an industrial design standpoint, it’s hard to find much fault with the physical build of the computer. The whole seamless aluminum unibody construction is esthetically nice and sturdy feeling, and the screen is sufficiently roomy thanks to size and resolution that I don’t feel cramped or unable to access anything on the screen. The processing guts are also chugging along fine, although I paid extra for the i7 processor and the extra large hard drive, so factor that in. As for no optical drive, well, I have an optical drive on my desktop computer and I’ve used it once in the last six months, to transfer some pictures on a CD. So it’s not something I’m missing. The only place the computer falls down a bit is in the keyboard, the response of which is not as crisp as I’d like. But on the other hand, the lighted keys? Sweet. As expected.

Oh, one other minor complaint: The “m” on the keyboard looks like the “w” was just turned upside down. Yes, I know “m”s looks like upside down “w”s anyway, but usually the typeface makes some adjustment. This one doesn’t. It really messes with my typeface feng shui.

* As noted before, I’m not having any problems adapting to OSX Lion, because I haven’t used a Mac OS for a number of years, but have been using iOS, and because the other laptops I have are sufficient old and/or have sufficiently crappy trackpads that I never regularly bothered with multitouch gestures on them. So Lion is reasonably close to my recent Apple UI experience, and I have no conflicting multi-gesture habits to mess me up. So, good for me. What I don’t know is apparently working for me. I know some Mac folks have run in horror from the “natural scrolling” regimen that Apple has imposed on them; I hope one day they will heal from the trauma.

* I’ve had some folks ask me whether getting a Mac means that I am going to finally free myself from the shackles of Microsoft Word and embrace the creamy goodness of Scrivener. The answer is: no. I did download the trial version of Scrivener yesterday to see whether it made any more sense to me on the Mac than it did on the PC, when I was trying the beta version. In short, no, it really didn’t; it still seems designed for a writing process so far removed from mine that all I can really do with it is stare at it and wonder how people use it at all. I played with Pages briefly and it is as I remembered it from a few years ago, which is, a nice little program if you’re not doing anything very serious. So I went ahead and downloaded Word for the Mac and will probably be using it as my primary word processor on this computer as well.

And that’s my two-days-in review.