Monday, March 16, 2009

Air, OSX and Me: Re-introductions (part 1)

well, up to now i've yet to really use OS X Leopard (yes, i know OS TEN, hehe) on true mac hardware (closest was my G5 and G4 towers i previously had).

however, Q was looking to upgrade to the this year's revision of the air and in turn sell his rev A, macbook air.  me being the sucker and gadget whore i am took him up on his offer and in turn have now converted to using my air as my main on-the-go laptop.

and well... os x leopard and mac hardware are a pretty good pair. i take that back, an amazing duo!  and yes, the kool-aid tastes pretty sweet.  keep reading for the first gulp and video of me opening up my air.

(this will be a multi-post blog)

i've always been a windows boy most of my geeky life.  however lately i've been dabbling back into my roots.  my first memories of a computer are of the green screened apple IIe's in our old grade school's library.  the highlight of the day would be getting a crack at typing and oregon trail. :)

in the next year, our county (a very rural area in mn) consolidated and in turn built a very modern, state-of-the-art high school.  we had ITV in each classroom along w/2 computers and 4 data jacks connected to the internet.the computers of choice initially were the first gen colored mac towers.  i remember scarfing down my lunch so i could run off to the computer lab and play some 2 on 2 in armor alley (via appletalk). oh the memories.i was lucky in that i had access to the internet before ads were allowed.  before google.  before msn.  when aol was the king and a popup was a kind of book for kids.  later though, our computer lab moved towards IBM PCs and in turn Windows.

my first taste of windows was 3.1 and very shortly after win 95.  after win 95, i shied away from apple and macs and in turn became the windows man i am.throughout the last few years, i've tried out an older mac or two but haven't really ever spent much time using it.i've always hackintoshed nearly any laptop i get my hands on but in turn do not get a true apple experience. so my recent macbook air acquisition would allow me that.  now after having it over 2 weeks, i can finally give real feedback on OS X as it was intended.

Apple Design / Hardware

I'm not going to beat around the bush on this topic; Apple wins design over most and almost all laptop and consumer product companies. The Macbook Air is a piece of beauty.  This is NO $400 netbook; this is an ultraportable notebook.Most design cues that Apple introduces are usually so good that most companies will try to take the design and put 'their spin' on it.  This is (imo) a compliment to Apples taste and style.  I will admit that Apple does have a few cavets to their designs in that they like to dictate a specific connection type that may not always be industry standards or adopted (mini display port, firewire, etc) but do support them with most lines.

Also, another thing i have noticed for the most part is that the reason why OS X Leopard/Tiger/OS9 etc, all run/ran so great is the fact that Apple gives you more power than you think you really need.  This is probably why anyone's experience with OSX is so much more a positive one in that there is rarely any lag or slowness (the macbook air may be an exception but that is just because of its size and its target market: the geek elite).

The Macbook Air is not a normal mac laptop atleast not in my opinion.  It is a high-end (but lowend, depending on what specs you look at) machine targeted at a rather smaller group of 'cloud' users and those who need a very portable but still capable laptop.  Storage space is probably the biggest con of such devices since it does use a 1.8" ssd or single platter P-ATA drive (64gb or 80gb respectively).  This alone makes it hard for most 'normal, everyday users' to justify its high price for limited specs.  This is a complimenting laptop more than anything (again in my opinion).

The keyboard is a full sized on and also is backlit.  The touchpad is AMAZING.  It is huge and does multitouch gestures.  Initially the gestures took a few days getting used to but after a very short time i notice myself trying them on my work Dell XT and other laptops realizing that i'm doing nothing but just clicking.

Screen is very bright and clean and the builtin iSight and microphone are very convenient for google talk or skype or even screencasting.  Ports are very limited on it, which for some is a negative since it only has one usb port, one mini-display port and a headphone jack.   However the limited ports are to be expected on such a piece of hardware.

All in all, a very solidly built laptop with some very Mac-ish features that make it stand out.  Only downfalls i can see would be lack of optical drive (but then again it is an ultraportable and most do not come with one), limited ports, glossy screen can be hard in sunlight and some have noticed heat problems from the p-ata drive.

Coming shortly, part 2 and os x leopard from a windows users point of view... :)

btw, here is a video of me opening up my macbook air. i did cleanup the thermal grease on the gpu and cpu and also swapped my 80gb p-ata hdd for the 64gb ssd samsung (not in the video).

[youtube m062C4rLiE4]