Healing…. Slowly…

It is hard to believe that it has nearly been a month since the big accident. We are healing ever so slowly; each day we seem to be a little less frustrated with the pace.

definitely had more serious injuries than myself, and so it isn’t a surprise that her slow healing has cramped her style more than mine. But this week she was finally able to get back on her bicycle and ride to work, which was a huge milestone for her. I also think I noticed her sleeping on her left side last night, which as far as I know is a first since the accident. My injuries are mostly bruises, and while many of them don’t show any longer, I can still feel them.

Dealing with the other driver’s insurance company, which is Allstate, has been surprisingly painless and pleasant. I received the expected Blue Book value for Hawkeye, and they also reimbursed me for the damage to my computer. I decided, however, that I am not going to have the Macbook Air repaired. The estimate Apple gave me was for damage to the case and trackpad (which are apparently considered one unit on these machines). While everything else is in a reasonable state ofworking, I fear that the impact could have had caused hidden or yet-to-manifest damage. I don’t want to lay out nearly a grand to repair the case to have something else fail in a month or two.

So with repair out of the question, my real decision is what to do next.  What I will do in the near term is to bank the money and keep using the damaged Air.  As I mentioned above, the computer still seems to work, although it does overheat and throttle itself more often now, which has tripped up my usage on several occasions…  There is clearly a fan still working inside the thing, but perhaps this computer has more than one?  Or perhaps the slight bend in the case is enough to disrupt the airflow?  Who knows…   I’m afraid to remove the bottom case:  The ‘screw dents’ in the top case make me worry that taking out the bottom case screws may mean never getting them put back in.  That would take a mostly-working computer and turn it into scrap.

So at some point I’ll replace the Air.  When I do, I think I will probably replace it with a Macbook Pro as opposed to another Air.  The Air has been a great machine, but now that it’s my only machine the lack of hard disk space has been a bit of a frustration.  Honestly it would less of an issue if iTunes could deal with my network-shared 120GB music archive, but the pain of that is non-trivial.  Also, while the Air’s size and weight are great for the days which I walk to work with my laptop, those days are few and far between.  I think that for the money I would spend on another Air, this time I might trade some size for speed/space.

Review: MacBook Air

My MacBook Air finally arrived on Friday, after more than three weeks of anxious anticipation. This machine is replacing my old 1.67Ghz Powerbook G4, which now belongs to . Now that each of us has our own Mac, we are freed from the scourge of Windows. Corinna was reluctant to “switch” while she was finishing her masters, fearing learning new shortcuts and whatnot would slow her down while working, but now that she can learn at a more leisurely pace, she doesn’t seem to mind. Just before Christmas, the boot disk in our PC died, and the frustration of getting that machine back in working order was finally the last straw. After the new year, I began posting the eyepieces I won at Stellafane to eBay to get the money for a new laptop.

I was interested in the Air from day one, but after they started showing up in the local Apple Stores and I actually got to play with one, it was game over. For me, the tradeoffs that most people see weren’t really existent… I walk to work as often as I can, so a lighter machine is a huge win. And most of the time, my old G4 was plenty fast, so the slightly slower processor in comparison to my work MacBook wasn’t really much of an issue either. The only thing that really concerned me was the slower rotational speed of the hard disk, but after playing with it in the store it didn’t seem to be much of an issue (not to mention that eventually there will be faster discs in that form factor that I can upgrade to in the future). I ended up ordering a 1.8Ghz machine (with a traditional hard disk).

The machine is simply awesome. When I’m holding it I feel like if I left go of it, if it didn’t hover in place it would at least gently float to the floor (I haven’t tested this out yet). As you’ve likely heard in just about every review of the machine, it feels way sturdier than you’d expect given it’s size and weight. I’d venture to say it even feels sturdier than my Powerbook, which always felt like a tank to me. I feel like I could drop it from the roof of NRH and still use it when it hit bottom (of course, the floating would help).

I read some reviews criticizing the battery life, and frankly, I just don’t see any problem. Sure, when I was downloading a 10GB file using the 802.11g, the battery life was shortened. But whenever I’m using the machine in a more normal setting, I get 3-3.5 hours out of the battery. I’m sure I could stretch it further if I disabled Bluetooth and WiFi, but whatever. As far as I can tell, it lasts longer than my Powerbook battery ever did.

The screen is gorgeous, even if it is glossy (why can’t you make the matte finish a BTO option on all the lines, Apple? I’d happily pay more!) The LCD backlighting is so bright at full brightness it is almost uncomfortable. I haven’t really trained myself to use the multi-touch stuff much at all, honestly, it seems mostly like a novelty. I’ve been wrong before, though, so I’m going to see if I can make it useful. My guess is that when a 3rd party releases a trainable gesture system, it might become more attractive. I just don’t zoom photos enough to get a semi over the pinching. :)

I haven’t played with Remote Disc… I bought the external drive, but honestly I probably won’t be using that all that much either. I’ve gotten to the point where optical discs are the new floppies. I pretty much buy all of my music and software online these days, so it’s pretty rare that I need an optical drive. The only time I watch movies on a computer is when traveling, and I always ripped DVD’s to the hard disk for travel anyway (as the optical drive devours precious battery).

I don’t really have many gripes with this machine.. I seem to sometimes get a double login prompt when unlocking the machine, but I don’t know if that’s a Leopard problem or specific to this machine. It is also strange not hearing the optical drive initialize every time I wake it from sleep. It’s like trying to sleep in the country after living in a city, the silence is disconcerting. All in all, it’s pretty awesome.