I’ve had quite a few computers over the years, but none have intrigued me as much as the MacBook Air. I mean really intrigued me—made me think about how I would use it and if it would really work.
Usually when I get a new computer, I take it out of the box and start setting it up right away. Not with the Air—I took it out of the box, and it sat in a chair beside me for two days as I weighed the pros and cons of moving my files over to the laptop’s slender 80GB hard drive.
I would pick up the Air, open the little door hiding the USB, monitor and headphone jack. I popped open the top and looked at the blank screen and keyboard and thought about how I would use it.
I also read a lot of the articles and posts on the Internet commenting on the lack of features of the MacBook Air. I wondered if some people really got what the Air was all about—or whether my own thoughts way off base.
There was only one way to find out. On the third day, I started the process of moving files to the Air.
This wasn’t the normal process I go through when setting up a new computer—well, at least most of it. I am a big fan of .Mac because of its syncing capabilities. I synced my Address Book, Calendars, Mail information and Bookmarks to the new computer and then—not unlike Jason Snell—had to make some tough choices on which files to bring over.
My iTunes music folder occupies more than 50GB alone, not too mention the documents and applications I would need to actually do my work. It’s obvious that not everything was going to fit on the 80GB drive that ships with the Air. This is where you have to make some tough decisions on what’s really important to you. More important, you have to know what the Air’s strengths are and what it was meant to do.
For me the Air is all about travel. It’s so light, taking it on the road is a no brainer, so that’s how I set it up.
I definitely need my documents, so I setup my .Mac iDisk syncing and moved all of my documents onto that disk. Doing this allowed me to have access to my documents on the Air and my home computer without using up precious space on the MacBook Air.
Since the Air would be my primary traveling computer, I didn’t worry about photos and other personal items I usually have on my computer. Instead I focused on the basics.
I installed iWork and left GarageBand on the drive. (Being a musician, that is a basic for me). When all was said and done, I was very pleased with the setup of the system. I could write my stories, check e-mail, surf the Web and compose song ideas while on the road.
I feel no need to complain about the smaller screen, lack of built-in optical drive (I did opt for the $99 external SuperDrive) or the number of ports to connect peripherals. This is a traveling computer and it does extremely well at its intended purpose.
I found Remote Disk to be more than sufficient for my needs and I had the external optical disk if I needed it. I also have an external hard drive that had movies and concerts that I could watch while on the road.
My battery lasted more than two hours without making any special consideration for power consumption. I was on the Internet, writing, checking e-mail and building a song throughout the entire battery life.
Note: This blog first appeared on our sister site Macworld.com