I realized this post was starting to get rather long and Pournelle-esque as I was writing it and thought briefly of breaking it up into several posts. But I figured it would be easier to ignore and skip the inanity of the whole thing if it was just another entry. So, here…
Sleek and engineered to new heights of slick, this thing is so light I initially found myself having to repeatedly check I’d packed it at all. The TFT LED back-lit display is absolutely glorious, the solid-state drive feels zippier, and the back-lit keyboard is the perfect balance of springy and squishy — and, you know, it glows.
They did leave out a bunch of features to keep this thing manila-envelope-friendly, but it was mostly stuff I’ve never used on the Blakbook or could easily do without. So I’m actually happy to have traded all that in for the refreshing strap burn relief.
And for all the bum reviews this thing’s been getting, the Air (Amihan on my home network) makes an undeniably great OS X portable for the lightweight Mac work I do away from home. I’m as intrigued by the EEE PC and the competition it’s spawned as the next geek, but for running OS X, this is the one for me.
Manila Mac’s AirMail Sleeve was a no-brainer. Similar and somewhat slicker sleeves were recently announced (really liking Timbuk2’s Steve Sleeve and definitely getting the Incase Neoprene number eventually) but these guys were first to market with an idea I’m positive occurred to a whole lot of people who saw his Steveness pull the Air out of that envelope (it did to me). For that, they get mad props and my business.
Not a fan of the cheapish, bright red string it came with (I’ll be replacing it with some sort of leather cord once I find one), but it’s perfect for protecting the Air from minor dings and scratches while in transit. And the cleverness doesn’t get old.
I had my gear banging around the Timbuk2 Blogger for a while but it seemed ridiculous to carry around a bag that weighs almost as much as the laptop. And there was suddenly all this space I wasn’t using. I switched to the Perry Ellis Full Flap Messenger for a while but, even though it weighed just right, it seemed too formal for every day carry and I’d grown partial to the vertical orientation.
I lucked out on a small Tucano Fina at a local Mac store. Italian leather and nylon with a zippered headphone cable passage on the strap — which I’m sure would have been useful if I was still using a separate player for music (the iPhone stays in my pocket, thanks). It fit the Air + AirMail like a glove and carried incredibly well with minimal hip bounce for such a light bag. Unfortunately, it hardly fit anything else. With the Air’s power adapter and the portable hard drive packed, it was practically bursting at the seams.
Thanks largely to Flickr, I discovered the Tom Bihn line of bags and fell for the Ristretto Messenger. Made for 13-inchers, it’s a narrow bag which fits the Air perfectly in its heavily padded laptop compartment. It features enough pockets to fit and compartmentalize my essentials and has just enough space for the occasional magazine or book. It’s pretty much the bag I’ve been looking for ever since I started toting a laptop.
My trusty 3-year old Transcend Storejet finally bought it when I let gravity have its way with it one time too many. But I don’t carry any data that isn’t backed up either at home, at the office, or on the cloud so at least it was a relatively minor hardware loss.
Just so happened that the 250GB Lacie Mobile’s were on sale, so I grabbed one over lunch, brought it home later, and immediately loaded it up with every episode of West Wing ever aired. Hey, you never know when you could use a healthy dose of script-writing awesome. And having gotten used to the 80GB Storejet, I still had space to spare for the data I usually carried.
The Other Stuff
The rest is pretty much standard fare:
- a large-size squared Moleskine for wireframing and doodling
- a pocket-size ruled reporter Moleskine for notes and looking busy in meetings
- the requisite Apple doodads: video adapter, Apple remote, iPhone cable
- a Sandisk MobileMate SD+ because it’s proven to come in handy
- some USB drives
- some stuff to write with
- various keys for getting into places
- a Wacom Bamboo tablet comes along every so often too
Go Gear 2.0
So, there you have it, 2.0. Light enough for every day carry, more than enough juice for meetings, conferences and presentations, and everything I need for doing low-end work away from work or home.
I imagine my muggability profile has gone a level up.