Walking on Air: J’s New Laptop

macbook airA little over a year ago, I contracted the popup virus of doom and made the switch from Windows to Linux.  For the past year I’ve been using Ubuntu – and enjoying it; I still recommend it to family and friends.  

However, shortly before Thanksgiving, almost one year exactly since the Linux switch, my laptop threw a new curveball at me: it was dying, and soon.

The problems were numerous and growing: the wireless receiver had decided to work only when it felt like it, for example; the battery only had 29% left on its best day.  Ultimately, I received the final diagnosis: it was old.  My trusty companion had served me well, but it was time to move on.

So I decided to go in a completely new direction, to complete the OS triumvirate: I got a Macbook Air.

Thinking back, I don’t think I’ve ever owned an Apple computer before.  Even way back in the 80s, my family had a Commodore 64 instead.  But then a few months back I purchased an iPad, which I love.  And, to be honest, I’ve been eyeing Macbooks for probably the last two years, but I was determined to stick it out with my old laptop.

So I took the plunge.  And, to be honest, I’m loving it.  The OS transition is pretty much nonexistent; the last version of Ubuntu I used had many of the same little-but-obvious differences, such as X’ing out on the left instead of the right, so I was already adjusted.  So far, I’ve been using Safari, and I haven’t encountered any issues.

The biggest change is definitely the trackpad.  It took a day or two to get used to the multi-touch feature – right-clicking with two fingers, for example – but soon I was trying to scroll with two fingers when I jumped on my old and fading laptop.

Now for the little stuff that perhaps is old hat for others, but new to me:

Visually, it’s gorgeous.  It uses a flash-based storage system that means that, for example, when I bring the computer back from sleep, it snaps on immediately.  The screen is just… I fawn over it.  And even though I haven’t actually taken any pictures because I always look terrible, I really get a kick out of messing with Photo Booth and the web cam.

Little things – iPhoto and iTunes – are just plain easier than when I had Ubuntu, so I’m quickly becoming spoiled.  And Pages, while a little different than OpenOffice, hasn’t presented any problems thus far.

Thus, so far everything I’ve encountered on my Air has been just as good or superior to either OS on my old laptop.  Now, granted, the laptop itself was three or four years old, so perhaps any new laptop would have been just as fun.  Still, I’m glad I’ve plunged into the Apple world; I just might be a fan.

How about you?  Which do you prefer: PC or Mac?  How about Linux?  What elements would you take from each?

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