MACBOOK AIR IS ALMOST – Marilyn Armstrong

I hate setting up new computers. Regardless of what benefit I hope to get from it, the process is boring, annoying, and full of “What do you MEAN that’s not my email address? Of course it is. ”

Then, there are updates. You think only PCs have updates? Have you gotten a new Mac recently? Not only do they have updates, but they take a really long time to install.

Just like PC updates, the machine gets increasingly funky until you give in and do the updates. After which it purrs nicely.

Without getting too nerdy about it, the browser — Safari  — is primitive compared to Chrome. It’s annoying and slow.

Spring from the kitchen

Essentially, the Macbook Air 13 is a stripped down computer. It’s very light and has great batteries. It is so portable, I think the cover on my PC is heavier. It won’t get viruses. Well, really, Macs do get viruses (shh). Also, these lightweight portables do not have quality video cards or room to put one in. If that’s what you want, this is the wrong computer.

The Macbook Air also comes with a 512 GB SSD hard drive which is the top end of their hard drive scale. Kind of small.  Any graphics work will have to live on an external hard drive. Not my first choice, but manageable. Mainly, I hope it won’t crash and burn if I use Photoshop Elements with Topaz filters. That would upset me.


If you need to do serious graphic work on a Mac, you should get a desktop. A big one with a graphics card that understands hard work and how to do it. The irony is that Macs were designed for graphics work and are the primary choice for editing in television studios. The laptops are not the same machines.

The Air should be fine for writing and editing and light processing. After I download Apache OpenOffice, of course. It is a sweet machine for people who have a limited needs for graphics and want something that won’t wrench their shoulder out of its socket. Which my laptop does.

With each year I survive, my ability to haul heavy loads gets more limited.

Maple leaf buds

Now. About Safari.

Seriously? That’s the best Mac can do? I’m disappointed. But to be fair, it was designed to work very well on Mac’s laptops, use very little of the battery power — and keep the temperature down. Unlike Microsoft Edge, it does work. Not as well as Chrome, but it is a functional browser.

I have a hot date with the installation folks at Apple tomorrow. I hope for better answers and in particular, an optimistic response to the graphics manager I can use.

No niche for iPad: A cautionary tale on ‘needing a purpose’ | ZDNet

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After almost two weeks with the latest iPad, I walked back to the Apple Store in Grand Central, New York and handed it back to the blue-blazoned staff hipster who greeted me at the top of the stairs.

“Was there something wrong with it? And, do you need a replacement? We can get you a replacement, no problem,” signaling to holler over a fellow colleague. But I declined.

“There’s nothing wrong with the tablet,” I said. “I suspect it’s actually a problem with me.”

Within the 14-day period in which Apple consumers are granted a stay of financial relief on their purchases, I returned my tablet not with a heavy heart but nonetheless with a feeling of disappointment in myself. It’s not that I didn’t like the iPad. The build quality was excellent, the software functionality was superb, and there was nothing but the highest of intent for burgeoning productivity potential.

It was that I simply didn’t need one. And not just an iPad, a test case as it turns out, but any tablet for that matter.

Cue the back story.

I fell into the Apple ecosystem. At first, anyway. But I don’t think of myself as an Apple user. I am the kind of person who will use whatever tools that are necessary for the job in hand. It just so happens that I’ve become accustomed to the way these devices work together, just as other same-brand ecosystem devices do.

Almost two years ago I bought a MacBook Air. Still to this day, it has become a crucial, necessary, ultra-portable laptop that has, granted with its occasional failings, has served me well. The battery life is acceptable, so long as certain conditions are met, but in spite of the likely unique gripes rather than hindrances, it’s a fine piece of kit.

But above all else, OS X was the driving force for change. Gone are the days where apps weren’t available. That’s the cloud’s business now. And thanks to the App Store, many previously unavailable apps have migrated to the Mac.

Pleased with the design and the quality, but above all else the OS X operating system that had become so simple to use yet powerful by design, I ripped out the cords on my desktop machine — that whizzed and whirred in the corner of my home office with a subtle yet constant background-fading drone — and I replaced it with a Mac mini.

It was all too easy. I looked for a catch, but there wasn’t one.

A staunch Windows user for my adolescent and early adult life, there should’ve been a level of discomfort and disconcertedness. But there wasn’t. With fond memories of blue screens and translucent windows, I began to prefer a sense of simplicity

The last step was my eventual move to the iPhone, albeit for a second time. The first was not the best of experiences but as a result of my confidence in the Apple ecosystem, I thought it was at least worth another try. And it was worth it.

We can tick off the MacBook Air, the Mac mini — and all the peripherals to really go all-in — and the iPhone. (In between, I’d also bought an Apple TV, but it just makes sense when you’re downloading TV and movies). The next logical step, surely, was to get an iPad.

With glee and excitement, I picked it up from the Grand Central store the following day on my way to work. I configured it, I synchronized my music, my pictures, apps and everything else.

And then I went back to work.

Not on my iPad, but my MacBook Air, which I take with me to work. I took my iPad home and it was sat there on my coffee table for three days until I picked it up again. It wasn’t that I was avoiding it, and I wanted to use it, but I didn’t have any particular reason to use it.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the iPad. And, I suspect there is nothing particularly wrong or different with any other tablet. It simply doesn’t fit into my lifestyle.

My iPhone is my primary email communication device, plus my music. That sticks me firmly in the “prosumer” category. But because of my job, I require a keyboard. Granted, typing on the iPad is not the most difficult thing to do in the world, but it’s less natural than a keyboard. I’m automatically drawn to a keyboard.

That said, it’s a fine device but I have, as part of my one-brand ecosystem, other devices that at least for me are better suited for purpose.

Even for “play” and non-work reasons, there was nothing drawing me to it that I couldn’t already do on my ultra-portable iPhone, my keyboard-enabled yet still light and portable MacBook Air, or my work-personal life separating Mac mini that allows me to walk away from it at any point.

If I were a financier, a marketer, or an artist, a tablet may be perfect. But not for me.  And you know what? That’s OK. It’s my problem, and not the fault of the tablet.

Marilyn Armstrong‘s insight:

I find myself increasingly confused. I want something small and light that will do the basic stuff I need to do when I don’t want to haul the big heavy laptop. Usually, that is a trip on which I will not need Photoshop. But nothing seems quite right. What to do?

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