The Big Air shakedown

mbair_fisheye1Ms. Hubbard Gulker and I made a recent strategic decision, partly as a combined birthday and Christmas present to ourselves: we bought a MacBook Air that will now accompany us on our travels.

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…


About Chris Gulker

Chris Gulker, a self-described Infuential Blogger, lived in Menlo Park, California with spouse Linda. He passed away in late October 2010.
This entry was posted in All, Apple, Travels. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Big Air shakedown

  1. They won’t install on an SSD? Man alive. Adobe, what is up with that.

    I have a trial of PhotoShop running on my 13″ MacBook Pro, which has a 256 GB SSD. It is running on Windows XP in a VMWare virtual machine, not sure if that makes any difference.

  2. cg says:

    O great! CS apps will run under Windows on a SSD, but not on a Mac. Adobe! What were you thinking? Anti-piracy? There’s a gazillion more Wintel boxes than Macs…

  3. John Donald says:

    “an Eye-Fi card in the camera (as long as WiFi is available)” . . . the Air can create a W-Fi network, so I don’t think you necessarily need a preexisting WiFi network.

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