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25 Reasons I Love Writing with My Macbook Air Notebook

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Macbook Air 11 Inch

Before I finally broke down and bought a Macbook Air computer, I laughed at them for years. I had a MAC 17 inch G4 Powerbook back in 2001 I think it was. It was junk. I couldn’t even get the cursor to move fast enough using the trackpad, I’d have had to use a mouse. No dice. I sold it the next day on Ebay. It took me eleven more years to consider Apple computers again. Guess what? I am SO glad I did. I had lost my faith in the  Microsoft Operating System and I was ready to throw all my computers out the window and do something drastic, like start a brick and mortar business.

Instead I continued writing…

Here is the Video – or, scroll down to see it printed out for you.

25 Reasons I LOVE Writing with My Macbook Air:

1. Super Slim. I have no problem with carpal tunnel syndrome, my wrists can remain straight and I have zero problems with hand strength and pain in my wrists though I am writing for hours everyday. This is a MAJOR plus, for those of you with Carpal Tunnel now that are ready to give up writing. Try a Macbook Air.

2. Sweet Keyboard. Though it wasn’t perfect when I first started using it, I am now very accustomed to the keyboard travel, spacing between keys, and the layout of the keys. I still wish like hell there were separate backspace and delete buttons and HOME and END keys, but I am so happy with typing on this keyboard overall that I cannot complain. If you want to upgrade to a different Macbook Air or Macbook Pro, the keyboard remains the same size! No more relearning a different keyboard every time you switch computers!

3. Keyboard Backlighting. Essential in this age of working when the kids and wife have fallen asleep and the overhead light needs to be off. There are 15 levels of backlighting brightness – more than enough.

4. Durability. My wife, being on the shorter end, and not being able to see up high on the shelf where I slid this ultra-thin Air, pushed a box up on the shelf and off slid my $1,200 Macbook Air. It crashed like thunder on the hard tile floor. It was a horrible sound that still replays in my mind. Guess what? It works perfectly, even after a fall from 6 feet to the hard tile floor. There are 2 very minor spots, I won’t even call them dings, that are evident after the fall. That’s it. It runs perfectly. It’s an absolute tank.

5. Build Quality. To go further about the build and aesthetics of the Air, it is as if aliens made this thing. Next time you’re in a Best Buy, Apple Store, wherever, take a close look at the keyboard. Type with it. Turn the machine over and check out the seams where the anodized aluminum meets. It’s 3-4 levels above anything anybody else puts out – even the ASUS that looks similar. It is absolutely STUNNING, pure and simple.

6. Base Model is Perfect. There is no need to upgrade the RAM, Hard Drive, or processor. The Macbooks are super fast while opening apps, and don’t crash. I had one minor lockup but I was able to put it in sleep mode, turn it back on, and it worked fine since. The price has dropped since I got mine, you can now get them for just $999 with 128GB SSD – solid state drive (hard drive storage), and 4 GB RAM. You don’t need to worry about operating system and licenses, it comes with the computer – not like Microsoft’s nonsense.

7. No Viruses (virii?). I haven’t had any virus found with the antivirus program in nearly one year of use. That’s amazing, considering I live in Asia where there is a very high incidence of that floating around.

8. Extraordinary Battery Life. 10-14 hours of battery life! (2013 Haswell processor versions)

9. Super Lightweight. My 11.6 inch Air weights about 2.38 pounds. The 13 inch weighs less than 3 pounds (2.96). I now throw it in my backpack no matter where I’m going – even if I think there is only a remote chance I’ll use it. That makes it tremendously handy.

10. Lightweight Power Adapter. The power adapter is lightweight compared to all other computers (non-Apple) I’ve had in the past 20 years.

11. Very Bright Screen. The Macbook Airs don’t have the new retina screen (yet), but they do have very bright and high contrast screens that makes writing on them a joy no matter how much ambient light you have. If you have full-on bright sunshine, you won’t be happy, but in all other circumstances – it’s great!

12. Magnetic Power Connector. This is a nice touch. In the past I’ve had to be ultra-careful with the power adapter where it plugs into the computer. They short easily because they bend a lot. The Macbook has an amazing magnetic plug that sticks until you pull it too hard. Ever have a kid trip across your power plug wire and pull your computer off the desk? No more… it simply unplugs and your computer doesn’t move. Very reassuring.

13. Open Office Software Works on Mac! I write all my books in Open Office’s “Writer” application. There is a free version for Mac, so I’m set. Open Office can save to PDF or Microsoft Word formats for submitting to Amazon’s KDP, or Smashwords.com.

14. Dedicated Show Desktop Buttons. The F3 button will take you out of whatever program you’re working on and show you the open programs and desktop options – instantly. The F4 button will take you to the application launcher so you can launch any other program instantly.

15. iBooks Store Access. Not just access, but Apple gives you a free to download program called, “iBooks Author” which gives you an ideal way to create pre-formatted ebooks for the store. You just add your own text and photos and publish the book in the Apple iTunes iBooks store. There is a separate option that turns your newly created book into a PDF file – and you can sell that anywhere you want.

16. Keyboard Shortcuts. Always running under the operating system is a massive number of keyboard shortcuts that help you do accomplish little tasks much faster than you would if you had to move the mouse around and click on menus. It took a couple of weeks to figure out which were most appropriate for me to learn, but now I’m very pleased with the experience.

17. Boom App! This is a $5 application you can download for your Macbook Air that cranks up the volume of your speakers incredibly. I was having issues watching some Youtube videos that were recorded at a volume too low to hear well. Or, maybe I’m going deaf. Regardless… I installed this app and I can now hear everything loud enough. I’ve never seen such a thing to fix a PC notebook.

18. Hibernate Works! Just close the display lid anytime and everything instantly goes into hibernate mode. Open it and you have access in seconds. I’ve not had it stutter in 11 months. Amazing that it works so well.

19. Whites are White. Blacks, Black. The color profile on the Macbook Airs are right on – from the time you first start the machine. the colors are vivid and the images clear. My last half dozen IBM PC notebook computes had color profiles that were completely off. Usually they are tinted toward blue.

20. Intercompatibility with iPhone and iPad. I had an iPhone 3GS for a while, but it was older and secondhand and the battery was junk. Now we have an iPad Mini – and the intercompatibility between the Air and iPad is nice. If you have an iPhone – you’ll be glad you have a Mac computer too.

21. Cool Palmrest! If you’ve ever tried to type for a couple of hours on a notebook that’s toasting your wrists and palms, it’s not a good experience. The palmrest for the Macbook Air 11.6″ is always cool, unless you’re playing some Youtube videos. Even then, I’m playing one now and still the palmrest is quite a nice temperature.

22. Built In Free Instant Messaging / Video Chat. I was sitting here typing up an article for one of my blogs. All the sudden I got an iMessage notification. It was my lost to the world cousin Mark, zapping me a message from his Macbook Air in Philadelphia. I’m in Thailand. How he found me I still haven’t the slightest idea. I’ll figure it out. Since then I’ve video chatted with my brother from my Macbook while he’s on his iPad. I’ve seen my nephews and nieces for the first time in so many years.

23. Built-in Apps. Nearly everything I need is already included on the computer when you turn it on. The only extras I added were: Open Office, Skype, FTP program, iBooks Author, Amazon’s Kindle for Mac software, and the Boom app for increasing sound volume. The iPhone app works very well, I love it. There is Quicktime and iMovie for video editing.

Finally, the last two reasons I absolutely love the Macbook Air… it’s worth buying the thing JUST for these. Both are features of the amazing trackpad.

24. The Trackpad is FRICKIN AMAZING! One thing that always drove me absolutely bonkers about other notebook computers is that their trackpads were horrible. I haven’t had a good trackpad… EVER, until I got this Macbook Air. It is literally MAGIC. I never feel like I made a mistake with it. I never have my palm get in the way and move my cursor as I’m writing an article or book. The cursor movement using the trackpad is very smooth, and very accurate. It doesn’t jump around. It is just, without any other way to explain it – PERFECT. The other Macbook Airs and Pros also have the same trackpad.

25. Gestures – 15! Macbooks have the most amazing gestures. Two finger tap for right click. Four finger swipe up to see all open apps tiled for easy selection. Four finger swipe right and left to switch between open and maximized applications (the coolest).


Here’s an interesting email I got about the durability of the keyboard on the Macbook Air – and my email response:

Hello,

I’ve watched Your video about a Macbook Air as a perfect machine for a writer. So here’s my question: You’ve obviously used it for quite a while, is the keyboard durability good? My point is that I’m a writer myself and own a Lenovo Thinkpad. After writing my first book (300+ pages) I find my keyboard to be a lot more “washy” and not that pleasant to use as it used to be. Do You have any similar experience (I know You’ve used Lenovo/Ibm in the past). Do You have any issues with Your MacBook Air?

I would be thankful for advice :)

Greetings from Poland,

Lucas

MF response:

Good question Lucas…

With my cheap Lenovo – I also noticed that some of the keyboard feel was different after a year of hard writing. With my HP PROBOOK – the same thing. But, in both cases that enabled me to type faster and with less errors since my muscle memory KNEW the keyboards and I was accustomed to them.

However, does that mean the keyboards were going to wear out?

The HP lasted for 5 years of very heavy use… the keyboard today does not have the same feel as the new one, but no matter, I can still FLY on that thing. I still love it. However, 1 key has fallen off. It is very easy to replace keyboards (and cheap) on PCs, but maybe not on macs – not sure.

The Lenovo works well too – no sign of falling apart after 3-4 years.

I’ve used this 11 inch 2012 Macbook Air for 15 months of heavy use (3,000 words per day average).

It’s doing great. I think same exact feel as when new.

So, that’s all i can say for now. It feels brand new, just like the new ones I try in the apple store.

That said, try the Macbook PRO keyboards because they DO give slightly more key travel and it’s a different feel. Though I love the Macbook Air keyboard, I absolute CRAVE the Macbook Pro retina 13 keyboard.

So, there you have it. Hope that helps. I’ll post this on my latest page about the Ultimate Notebook for Writers so it can help more people.

Cheers,

​MF

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, ‘Wow! What a Ride!” ~ Hunter S. Thompson

“Most people take their ideas, their greatness, to the graveyard with them.” ~ Unknown.

About

All content by Mike Fook. Mike writes fiction and non-fiction books in digital ebook format. Some advice for beginning writers - "Write Your Ass Numb!". Write what you love, and don't stop putting yourself out there. The world doesn't know you yet. The world is steeped in mediocrity. I encourage you to spit in the soup with some regularity. If you have any comments - feel free to leave them in comments, or send email. I usually try to say something confounding when I reply. Contact me at Google+.

6 comments… add one

  • Robby

    Fantastic write-up, capturing well many of the plusses of the MBA.

    My experience has been different in certain aspects, however, so I thought I’d post! Note: you covered the positives so well that I’m highlighting several of the negatives to provide some balance or an alternative perspective for those who come across your write up.

    1. The keys on the keyboard lack travel. It feels as if one were typing on a brick! No kidding! For many years, I used an iBook G4, excellent laptop and great keyboard action. Then came a Powerbook G3 and G4– not as good, but OK. But this? An Apple IIe (or even IIc) keyboard and even the original Mac runs circles around it.

    2. Unlike your experience, the MBA does seem to have produced midl carpal tunnel syndrome for me. Of greater concern, it also has produced great pain in each finger in its first third. The use of the trackpad (agree with you that’s amazing) has led to the side of right thumb going numb. If I lay off typing (and trackpadding!) for a day or two, it gets better, and so it seems clearly related to the MacBook Air and its keyboard.

    3. The bezel around the screen is much TOO BIG! Coming from those other laptops, one feels as if one were looking through a porthole! (OK, that’s an exaggeration, but it has that effect.)

    4. The high-resolution screen has meant that the menus are tiny and hard to read. The iBook G4 was incredible in that regard– just the right size for arm’s length, desk typing and viewing the screen. One ends up having to tweak all sorts of program and OS settings to help– but nothing enlarges the menus properly. (You can zoom the screen, but then you are forced to scroll back and forth, left and right. You can change the resolution, but then the text looks fuzzy.)

    Now, for sure, there are wonderful plusses. The 13″ is light; the screen is bright; and the battery life is amazing–10 hours + and that’s with lots of browsing, emailing, and writing.

    Coming from a 15″, I was worried that the 13″ would be too small–too few lines of text, etc. That hasn’t been a problem at all.

    Well, that’s it. Just wanted to chime in. I came across your write-up because I had typed into Google “MacBook Air carpal tunnel syndrome”. Lots of reports of it!

    Regards!

    • MikeFook

      Great comment – thanks Robby. I’ll respond about some of it. The little amount of key travel I thought was maybe going to be a problem until I spent a lot of time in the Apple Stores using the keyboards to tap out nonsense that spilled out of my head. I used the keyboard for well over an hour in total and realized that, even then, I was learning to use it and it was growing more comfortable. It’s getting used to the amount of travel and the click. It’s knowing how much to push down with the fingertips to cause a key depression. It didn’t take long at all before I was comfortable typing on the 11 inch Air, and I added 15-20 words per minute to my fastest typing speed. I’m around 88 WPM with the Air. I was never close to that with the other Lenovo keyboards I used to like more. I have read a lot of comments from people that said the same – they got ‘used to it’. Now I love it and wouldn’t consider using something with much more travel because really, the less you need to push a key to activate it, the better. As long as you’re comfortable with the feeling of it. I’m now quite comfy with it.

      The carpal tunnel – I don’t know what to say. I went from pain using my higher off the desk keyboards and notebooks that were much thicker than the Air, to the very shallow Air. All pain stopped. I now rest my palms on the palmrest as I type – not good typing form, but I can do it without pain, so I do.

      The bezel – I don’t care at all. I’m not in a fashion show. Advertising agencies put into our heads that something looks better than something else, and we accept it. I haven’t thought once that the bezel around looked ridiculously thick. Who cares?

      I don’t have any problem reading the menus so I haven’t messed with that.

      I’ll be upgrading to the Macbook Pro 13″ this June if a Macbook Air with retina isn’t announced at the June Apple event. After that, I don’t anticipate upgrading my computer for years and years. Unless they enable teleportation or something else cool. The upgrades are so lame lately for all Apple (well, all tech) products. I’m not impressed. I do like the retina screen. Once I get that, I don’t anticipate EVER upgrading a screen because it’s sharper. How sharp could it be? We’re already at the human limit of resolution with the naked eye. Will we all start wearing magnifying glasses on our faces so we can see even sharper? lol. It’s all getting rather ridiculous. Everything is good enough – phones, notebooks, cameras, printers, cars, etc. No need to upgrade anything any more. I just bought a 4 year old DSLR Nikon for half the price of its upgrade Nikon. I saved $700 just by realizing there’s very little tangible in the upgrade. I think we could all do more of that. Wow, what a long couple of comments. Cheers man!

  • Reg

    Hey Mike,

    Great read and also enjoyed watching the video. I know you’re not the most tech literate guy on the net but then I guess that’s why I was so entranced by the way you presented your opinions.

    I’ve had my Macbook Air for a few years, upgraded to the latest this year and have not regretted it in the least. You could say you’re preaching the choir but I wasn’t always an Apple fan. I originally considered Apple computers to be over priced pieces of garbage. All I can say is that I’m now a convert and am never looking back. Also regret the fact I harboured these false beliefs for so many years without ever trying an Apple product myself to form my own opinion. Well that’s the nature of most isn’t it.

    As a final supporting note with justifiable economic evidence, I’ve seen Apple is the only computer maker these days that is actually profitable on desktops/laptops. All this only further removes MacBooks from the competition and puts them in a class of their own.

    All the best!

    Reg

    • MikeFook

      Thanks Reg for the note. I AM the most tech literate guy! Just about a decade ago… Today not so much.

      I recently switched to the MacBook Pro retina 13 and I like it a lot. The screen is the only plus really. I am really looking forward to a MacBook Air 13 with retina. I do hope it makes it to production soon. The thin form-factor and light weight make it perfect. This Pro is a bit heavy and the keyboard is actually worse for me than the Air 11″.

      Anyway, cheers man. Did you join the clan?

  • Stewart

    Dear Mike,
    You are awesome. You didn’t have to convince me about Macs I am already on board. As for laptops my story is different. My first on was a 2005 Powerbook G4. Really loved it. I maxxed out the ram and installed a SSD. Im not a writer but am a admitted geek. I talked my wife into me shopping around for an older Macbook that I could work on. Im writing this on a late 2008 Macbook unibody. I love it. Its a 2.4 GHz with the backlit keyboard. They are right about the Powerbooks keyboard. It was awesome and that G4 is still in excellent condition. Im keeping it so I can mess around with it later. I love this keyboard also. In my opinion the keys still have good feedback. My Macbook cam with 4 Gb Ram and a 250 Gb HHD. I have on the way OWC SSD which I can’t wait.. Installed OS X 10.10. This is light years ahead although I know its not a MB Air or Pro but I don’t require the latest or greatest. I couldn’t justify the cost of a new mac. Im already spoiled, I own a 27″ iMac that I love. My wife has a Mac mini which she loves also for doing lesson plans and school work. On thing that inspired me to breakdown and order the Macbook was her school has provided all the teachers with 2014 Macbook Airs. I used it a couple times and I knew I wanted to experience a fairly newer model of mac. I got in trouble from her schools computer tech. She had locked herself out of the MBA not remembering her password. Well with a little effort I was able to get into the terminal and create a new administrator password. The school tech guy finally found the time to look at all the teachers macs to help them out and he was not a happy camper. He asked her as he was very upset that someone had figured out how to install a new password. All the teachers got a good laugh because he doesn’t think anyone is smarter that he. Anyway I guess he got over it.
    I love this Macbook, I haven’t been on my iMac for a few days now since this thing is so awesome…
    In my opinion Apple really knew what they were doing when they designed the Mac!
    Thanks for your inspiration and have a great day.
    Stu

    • MikeFook

      OK, you’re as bad as me about loving these things. I am now using the MacBook Pro 13 retina and I know now I can never get past using a screen at least this sharp again. I just couldn’t go to the Air again. I do hope they are putting retina screens in them soon, because I’ll buy the 13 Air retina immediately. It will be as perfect as it can get for me. Super light. Super sharp. Keyboard as good as I can get on a Mac. Fast enough. Did I mention super thin and light?

      Thanks for your comment. Cheers man…

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