I am long overdue for a travel laptop. My Dell Latitude, which has done me wonders finishing my PhD, launching an internet startup and being the computing power for numerous academic articles, is pushing five years old. Consequently, boot-up times and multitasking suffer greatly, making the most trivial tasks, arduous, such as launching WAMP, a task I perform quite often.

My first choice for a new portable companion is Google’s Chrome OS, which would fit most of my needs (email, office and basic mysql / php). But I am terrified about finding out, at an inopportune time, that its limitations for document creation (slideshows, excel) and software construction (C++, java) are the reasons for missing some golden opportunity down the line. Unfortunately, this is also my fears when it comes to building a machine and running Linux’s Ubuntu, my very close second choice. Which brings me to Windows…
I have been a longtime Windows user and Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows 7 have provided me with great abilities to use software such as Adobe, Visual Studio, MS Office, Oracle, and too many multimedia applications to count… However, for the more serious computer user, the fancy interface Windows retrofitted on-top of the OS in Windows 8, has me frustrated in recent months. I really like their move towards integration of components and services, which might work for the ordinary user and help foster greater adoption of their mobile devices, but it fails for power desktop users. And I was largely leaning towards the Lenova IdeaPad or Samsung Series 9 for my next travel laptop…
Instead, I am going down an entirely different path.
I recently purchased Apple’s 13″ Macbook Air, which is due to arrive before the new year.
I have been a long-time dissident of the Apple regime. And I still am. I do not like their closed-source policies and the fact that they do not adopt industry standards such as micro-usb, when just about every device from tablets to phones use this technology. They are also very costly machines and, for an academic, are often out of my price-range. But there are also many redeeming qualities, such as their attention to detail when it comes to hardware, using Unix as the underlying OS and the fact that anti-virus software is not required (I cannot wait for that).
I feel I should make it clear that I have no interest in moving back to its mobile platform again. After owning an iPhone, and now an Android, the Android OS is way better. Nor do I plan to purchase any products in the iTunes store. I like to shop around a little too much. Instead, I am largely interested in the laptop for its portability and ease to travel with, the quality hardware and the reliability of Apple products. And thanks to the interoperability of Google products and cloud computing, I will not suffer in this experiment… Or maybe only financially.
Anyway, we’ll see how it goes…

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