Many good, Mac-Savvy friends pointed out the many virtues of the Air’s newest sibling, the 13-inch MacBook Pro, but we decided to go all out for light and thin and portable. Since most of our app requirements are cloud-based – WordPress, email (via gmail) and such – the performance increment in Pro vs Air was less important than the portability.
Anyway, I’ve been shaking down the Air, getting ready for its first trip, to New York, week after next. The Air does have quirks – it’s basically a netbook – a fast, elegant netbook – with a legible, indeed, beautiful screen and a keyboard worthy of the fastest touch typist.
Quirk # 1 is the paucity of ports dictated by its razor-thin design (one USB, an ultra-small Micro DVI port and audio out). It’s 3 ports are sited in a tiny, flip-down hatch that makes them not particularly easy to access. Indeed, thicker USB devices (our Olympus digital voice recorder, a rubber-armored Corsair thumb drive either don’t fit, or just barely make a connection). An extender cable is a necessary companion for these devices.
We also have the problem of port contention – Linda much prefers a mouse to a trackpad but we also need a SD card reader and a way to move interviews (WMV files) from the Olympus. The solution we are trying involves a Bluetooth mouse (both Kensington and Apple models work fine), an Eye-Fi card in the camera (as long as WiFi is available) which leaves the USB port free for the Olympus.
Quirk #2 is that nothing in Adobe’s Creative Suite will install on a flash drive, including, apparently, the Air’s 128 GB SSD (solid-state drive). So we’ll be going into the field sans Photoshop for the first time since we started porting Apple laptops on our appointed photojournalistic rounds. We think we have this figured out…