Macbook Air Rocks

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As “Gizmodo”:http://gizmodo.com/348753/macbook-air-review says, power users are going to hate it, but those of us who like simplicity and functionality love the Macbook Air. Yes, it doesn’t have enough USB ports for the true power user, but it makes up for it with three things that are hard to describe but really important (at least to me):

# Thin and light. I had forgotten what a joy a sub 3 pound notebook is. I used the Sony VAIO series for a long time, but what got in the way was a tiny screen and tiny keyboard
# Amazing screen and keyboard. I can’t say enough how wonderful it is to have something that is full size, but super thin. There isn’t a tradeoff for the everyday 99% of what I do which is email, web browsing and blogging.
# Absolutely quiet and cool. It doesn’t feel like a computer, it feels like a wonderful piece of art that happens to see the Internet. You really have to use it to believe it.

Now it won’t ever replace a full laptop for folks who have to drive SUVs (that’s a joke!), but it is perfect for the fellow who just needs simple transportation that works and looks great a la Bang & Olufson.

So how do you get around the limitations:

# No CD/DVD. There are really two reasons for using an optical drive. First is for software. 99% of all software can be copied onto your hard drive. That’s what I do with MacOffice, etc. The only thing that really needs a true CD is Mac OS X itself (unlike Windows which can start from a hard drive folder). So, you always need to carry a Leopard install CD and superdrive if you are going far away from home.
# No DVD for movies. In truth, I never do watch DVDs anymore. Most everything I see is in DIVX or H.264 format now. That stuff that isn’t, I transcode because it takes a 8GB DVD and turns it into a 1GB file.
# Not enough disk. That is an issue, 64GB and 80GB are just not that much in a world of lots of music and videos. Right now, I’m using a USB hard drive in a docking station to carry TBs and do backup. With the upcoming Time Capsule, I’ll just stuff it all onto a server.
# Not enough USB. In thinking about it, when I’m on the road, the only issue is that I like to charge my Blackberry and my iPhone at the same time, so I guess I just need to carry a power adapter.

So if you are worried about the tradeoffs, you have to get a few things that make it easier, here is required equipment that goes with a MacBook Air

# Logitech Alto Connect. As “Gizmodo”:http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/take-a-stand/alto-express-and-connect-two-very-different-laptop-stands-from-logitech-270445.php This is the best and most elegant laptop stand I’ve ever seen. It has four USB ports that are powered and it raises the laptop up. It’s a great $80 investment for any laptop. It essentially makes a docking station very USB. With a great screen like the MacBook Air or the MacBook Pro for that matter, you don’t really need an extra LCD screen anymore, so all you need is USB connection to your network (if you don’t like Wifi), your iPhone (when will this just work via Wifi?), your Superdrive (on the four times a year you might use it). “Pricegrabber”:http://computers.pricegrabber.com/keyboards/m/30909826/search=logitech+Alto/sort_type=bottomline/st=sort has for $84 delivered or Apple retail stores stock them too.
# Extra power supply, just have a power supply whereever your desk in, so docking is just plugging in a single USB and then the power cable.
# Bluetooth mouse and keyboard. The new Apple “wireless keyboard”:http://computers.pricegrabber.com/keyboards/m/44552493/search=apple+wireless+keyboard/st=sort/sort_type=bottomline is truly a beautiful work of art as is the “Wireless Mighty mouse”:http://computers.pricegrabber.com/mice-trackballs/m/50626400/search=apple+wireless+mouse/st=sort/sort_type=bottomline. At $79 delivered and $67, they are expensive, but fit the Macbook Air well.
# “Apple Time Capsule”:http://apple.com/timecapsule. Although not out yet, you pair this was a Macbook Air to get 1TB for backing up the tiny 64GB SSD (if you are wasteful enough to get one!) and also for file service.
# Road warriors are going to have to carry more stuff like a “Belkin 4-port swivel hub”:http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPLE/WebObjects/AppleStore.woa/wa/RSLID?mco=7E50FEF9&nplm=TQ775LL/A ($30) and the really heavy duty extension cord that weighs as much as the computer it seems like as well as the USB-to-Ethernet adapter since not everyone has ethernet as well as micro-DVI to VGA and DVI adapters. Not to mention a set of plugs for foreign countries. You also want the special Magsafe Airline adapter ($49) that is special for the MacBook Air

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