Cue Mr. Collins, Mr. Phil Collins


— 11:17 AM on November 30, 2011

Recently, I completed what felt like my forty-third Hackintosh build. It was, in fact, only my second assemblage of The Supreme Hackintosh. But the first that actually works as intended. At least so far. I did have to do one Time Machine restore after some unknown Zach Galligan pet weaseled into my system and corrupted the boot files. Otherwise, life with TSH 2.0 has been so peachy I'm considering buying a couple of old claw-foot bathtubs and putting them in a random field somewhere. So, to celebrate this triumph over kexts and BIOS settings, I did what any nerd would do: I bought a MacBook Air.

Yes, it's true. I've paired my all-conquering, quad core-crushing, 4.6GHz-cranking, 16,000 Geekbench score-sporting beast with a dual-core, 1.7GHz lightweight that has one-quarter the RAM and one-seventeenth the storage capacity. All for about the same price. Obviously, I've been dipping into Grandpa's special Christmas eggnog a bit early this year. And by "special" I mean "27-years-old," since Grandpa passed in 1984.

But before you lambaste me for caving in to good looks over performance (or insist I could've hacked an Asus Transformer Prime), let me 'splain. I work from home. I have three kids. Little kids. Awesome kids. Exuberant kids. Loud kids. The Hackintosh is many things, but portable is not one of them. So, when work really needs to get done, I have two choices: hit a Starbucks knock-off or grab the duct tape. (Just kidding! Gaffer's tape is the preferred adhesive for quieting tots.) Opting for option one meant exercising my option to abscond with my wife's MacBook Pro. Which used to be my MacBook Pro—a classic from 2006 with a 2.16GHz Core 2 Duo processor and three fun-filled gigs of RAM. A machine whose fans seem permanently set to maximum spin. For many reasons, including wifely glares, I usually stayed put at the homestead.

And then I found it. A 2011 MacBook Air with a 13.3-inch screen, 4GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage. Barely used. Wrapped in Zagg's InvisiShield—and installed at the Zagg training facility in Utah, no less! All for over $200 less than Apple charges. Even less than Amazon or MacMall. And there it was on eBay. No one bought it for three days due to what I can only guess was a listing snafu on the part of the seller (hint: use 13 and not 13.3 for screen size). It was a sign. On omen. Another synonym. It was meant to be. Sure, I'd have to sell my nice Martin acoustic and Epiphone Elite electric to pay for it, but who was I kidding? The Martin was way too nice given my abilities and I didn't even own an amp anymore for the Elite. And Walmart sells those $99 Stratocrapster setups anyway, right? Right?! Right.

Buy now? Yes, please.

Two days later, it arrived. Packaged as if delivered straight from Apple. The eBay seller wasn't exaggerating—the thing was flawless. And so, so light. I immediately put it in a manila folder and sent it to my wife via inter-home mail. Actually, what I really did first was start migrating files from the Hack. Over Wi-Fi. Slowly. Yes, while 802.11n is nifty for many things, transferring 200 gigs of junk still takes time. So I went to Fry's and bought a USB-to-Ethernet adapter. Not Apple's, which is a 10/100Mbps job. Bah! I snagged a Gigabit version for the same price. No, USB 2.0 can't handle Gigabit transfer speeds, but 320Mbits beats 100 by, I think, 3.2 times.

Of course, sacrifices had to be made due to the MBA's meager 256GB of storage. Fortunately, iCloud and iTunes Match made it unnecessary to copy over my music library. All I really needed were apps and a subset of client files. And with my handy-dandy Dropbox account, I could be sure I was working on current versions of whatever current projects I was currently working on while eating currant curry.

Otherwise, the MBA works like a Dancing with the Stars champ. Lithe, just powerful enough, and covered in a glowing sheen. Although I prefer Apple aluminum to DWTS spray-on orange. It's like having an iPad. That you can type on. And it has all your real apps. If I could detach the screen and start dragging files around with my finger it'd be perfect. Or perfect enough for now.

I once thought the MacBook Air line was rather silly. Because it was. Way too slow, way too little storage, way too little connectivity. I once still used the DVD drive with regularity. But the 2011 Sandy Bridge model is a real keeper. Maybe not for everyone. And it really can only serve as my secondary machine. But for someone like my wife, it's just right. Which is probably why Apple is reportedly busy putting the finishing touches on a 15-inch version.

Godspeed, gentlemen. Now harass your Chinese suppliers until a 1TB SSD is cost-effective.

Later,

Fox

   
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