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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

Macbook Air, First Mac, A Review


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terrible1one3

 
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Member Since: Oct 05, 2008
Location: Raleigh, NC
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Fun story on picking up my first mac, but first a little background.

The boat I am on is "I have no issues with windows, why would I switch."

Along with, "I will not pay for proprietary hardware which is over priced."

Needless to say I have been against Mac for a while.

There has been a big move to "join the bandwagon" which was pushed even harder by fun debates with my boss and co-workers about windows and mac.

Prior to now I had very little experience with mac's so I didn't have much of a debate besides my above, "windows works great for me."

Along with the fact that I am an avid gamer mac was just never an option. The sheer specs I could load into a random box and throw windows on it and rock awesome games was just too nice for me to consider switching.

Using games less and being more in tune with all other things, along with people showing me leopard and all it's fancyness made me really want to try.

Having just got a perfectly good IBM laptop from work made it hard to justify purchasing another, plus the fact that I just built a new gaming PC in November which is loaded with vista ultimate which I love. I had to go to a niche area to justify it to myself and my fiance.

I started with the macbook pro, then moved on to macbook, and finally checked out the air. The concept was great, I hate having 15 ports and using 1 maybe two. A cd rom I only used to load an operating system (like linux), etc.

I finally decided I am going to get one and started the search. About two weeks into it I finally buckled and decided to order refurbished. (it also took about 2 weeks to get approval from the fiance) I ordered it tuesday night at about 11:30 pm. 1620 bucks 3 day shipping to my door. Not bad for something that is pretty much brand new.

The next morning I told my boss and the mac nerds at work that I got one. They asked which one I said I couldn't find one on craigslist so I just got refurbished. To show them there were none in craigslist I did a search and by golly there was a used macbook air 5 miles away for 50 bucks more than what I wanted to spend (was 1250, I wanted to spend 1200, bought the refurb for 1620). I instantly e-mailed hoping he wouldn't be one of the many who never respond, or take a week to respond, or sold it already. He wasn't, it was available and for sale and as advertised 5 miles away. I told him I would take it after a quick trip to the bank. We set up a meeting after work and I came home with a beautiful like new, used macbook air.

It came with a nice story as to why he was selling, original receipt of purchase, along with everything (down to the twisty ties) that came with it.

Plus it was 370 bucks cheaper than what I had spent the night before. I called apple and got return shipping labels sent to me, so I will get a full refund (minus the extra 18 bucks I spent for faster shipping) and have a macbook air!

Now that how I came to owning a mac is done I'll move on to my experience so far.

There is a very fast learning curve if you are computer savvy, it is even faster if you used linux at all. Really all the fluff (the pretty graphics) really does make the computing experience more enjoyable. The shortcuts are great and the "windows (literal not refering to microsoft)" features are amazing.

Multitouch trackpad is probably going to be looked back as the best innovation in the last 15 years for personal computing. It makes navagating through the web and your OS an absolute joy.

Small computers are very popular. For guys like me who will never replace their monster machine at home a laptop with little ports and not all the power in the world is perfectly fine for me.

The size of this computer is the kicker. I really feel justified paying all the money for something that was so well designed, constructed and just solid feeling. I thought watching the commercials I would break this thing in half easily but the fact of the matter is it is more stable (physically) than any other laptop I have owned.

There are tons of bonus's going to mac, there are also the fairly obvious bad things:

1. The obsession, mac is always coming out with bigger and better stuff you "need (ha!)" to have.
2. Lack of certain programs (for me, mainly visio, I can't expect customers to mail me the xml files of their visio pages)
3. Entourage doesn't display shared calenders with full colors (specific to me and this year so not a big deal)
4. Cost, these laptops are a bit more expensive that equivelantly specced pc's in most cases.
5. There appears to be a lack of blu ray support, but like I said earlier, I hope CD's are on their way out, to large, and to fragile and not versatile enough.

The macbook air itself there is only a couple things I can think of and they have been beat to death so much it isn't even worth bringing up... though I am going to anyway.

1. Currently memory is not upgradable (one can hope)
2. Though I think they suck, we still need CD's (superdrive should be included)
3. Fan goes crazy if you let it, performance on high it's loud as heck, on power saver it's gone.
4. Screen angle and hinge stiffness (apparently I am used to the tough hinges of the IBM and the fact that you can fold it flat)

There is a chance that this thing gets upgraded next week or an upgrade is announced for it next week but I'm guessing it is just going to be a spec upgrade. Maybe relating to the release of 256GB solid state drives. The fact of the matter is, I am very happy with what I have, I of coarse would want the upgrade but the fact of the matter is the price is just too much of a burden right now.

Hopefully they come down in cost as the solid states really are a noticeable upgrade in performance. Now a quality mac pro at home is probably going to be my next leap, but that won't be for at least 2 years.

The funny thing is I only had 2 complaints but as I write more I am coming up with more.

The fact of the matter is you have to make sacrifices for space, if you are ok with those sacrifices than you will love this laptop. If you need a huge hard drive, 40 peripherals, and 4 gigs of ram (honestly I can see 4 gigs being useful with VM fusion and some other router sim programs) you won't like it.

The greatest thing is I can use the air as my work computer and my personal one, making it the all around awesome computer for me.

Though I still am a fan of windows and think it is a great operating system that is completely necessary in this world, there is also a great place for mac and they are doing a great job. Their advertising isn't the greatest but oh well... (two reasons for that comment 1. those i'm a pc i'm a mac commercials are a bit old yet they are coming out with newer more stupid ones, 2. my colleagues play that stupid song that was in the macbook air commercial on their iPhones and it is stuck in all our heads ALL DAY! Horrible!
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iBeldar

 
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Most of the Windows users that hate Macs have never even used one it seems.

When I got my Macbook, everyone thought I was retarded. Then I showed it off to all of them and they've all changed their minds...

Even though they have nothing against Mac anymore, when they come over and use my Macbook they still switch it over to Windows first. :-/

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terrible1one3

 
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It's not that I hated mac. I just disagreed with their business practices.

Though those same business practices have made a pretty stable system and made the company a good amount of money. I didn't like them.

Analyzing it a little deeper makes me see that it really is kinda more like Chevy making a design, having other people make it and have it only work for their design.

OSX being the design, and the manufacturers being themselves. You can take a chevy motor and throw it in a ford, but it takes a lot of modifications and duct tape. It's just the computer industry is so young that it hasn't come to that point for the few OS makers.

Yeah there is a handful of computer that come with linux, all can have it installed on it, there are a few mac's that can run all, and there are a bazillion PC's that can run linux but not mac, and probably rightfully so.

It's a lot easier and more stable to make everything specifically for OSX than it is to make OSX work with everything. May seem obvious but that hasn't been the standard in the computer industry.
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xstep

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terrible1one3 View Post
2. Lack of certain programs (for me, mainly visio, I can't expect customers to mail me the xml files of their visio pages)
OmniGraffle Pro can import Visio binary and XML files.

Quote:
Originally Posted by terrible1one3 View Post
I can see 4 gigs being useful with VM fusion
It depends on your needs. Here is my short VM Fusion story. I have the original MBP that is limited to 2GB.

I run Windows Server 2003 with a bunch of Business Objects stuff. The software demands are high but I manage with the RAM set to 1GB as that works for my training requirements. The caching and virtual disk requirements for this software are such that I had to create separate VMware disk images for them.

My other VMs, Win2K & XP don't have such great demands so I've set the VM memory requirements to be very low. These two system run great.

Quote:
Originally Posted by terrible1one3 View Post
2. my colleagues play that stupid song that was in the macbook air commercial on their iPhones and it is stuck in all our heads ALL DAY! Horrible!
That's funny. Sorry to hear of your torture. What kind of Apple haven do you work in?

CameraTime - Time lapse photography for novice and advanced users.

When asking questions, post the version of your software. You'll receive better answers.

Please post your results to the thread as it is good feedback.
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terrible1one3

 
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Member Since: Oct 05, 2008
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It seems that she is running all my normal apps plus windows with memory to spare. I have 512MB allocated to windows and I still have about 400MB free. I have the 30 day trail of VM fusion, hoping to have work chip in for the full license.

The only thing I notice is she runs pretty darn hot when chugging along windows and OSX applications. It isn't that bad on the hands or legs but I can just see the processor temp flying.

I have seen the processor temp go as high as 85 degrees Celsius. Along with this is a whizzing fan, which I can live with because it is only noticeable in a very quiet room.

The longer I have this computer, and the more I see my IBM thinkpad sitting in the corner the more I respect the amount of engineering that went into this computer.

I really am a convert as this computer is worth it is just spectacular. I am very glad I didn't end up waiting for a new macbook or going used on the pro, this thing is just amazing. I just ordered a case that is made specifically for the air and a super drive etc and I am really psyched.

I never thought I would fully convert to mac, but next time my desktop is up for a refresh, in say about 2 years, a mac pro with a fresh copy of windows 7 dual booting for games sounds like it could be perfect .
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