MousePad Travel

Travel and Tech at Your Fingertips

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Upgrade Or Delay

These days, upgrades are always more frequent than we can afford them to be. With added features, faster processors, and better apps, the new technology is becoming more and more difficult to pass up. The names of the devices are even becoming more exciting...the Skyrocket, Wildfire, Amaze, Galaxy S II, the Transfix...and, those are just the cell phones. With the holiday seasons coming up, can we, should we, resist the urge to "upgrade?"

There are many upgrades that are just new toys. There are others that are needed. Recently, our original MacBook Air had to go in for repair. Since the item needing repair was on a recall list, there is no cost, except for the wait to ship it out and back again. However, it brought up a discussion my wife and I have been having for a couple of months now...when will we upgrade that machine? It has started to show its age and first-of-its-kind technology. Video plays choppy; websites load slower; and, the self-upgrade path is non-existent...2GB of memory is not what it used to be.

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Waiting for the Lion to Roar

Well, it is getting closer to the time when Apple will release their newest operating system, Lion. Most of the major tech news outlets are reporting that the new OS will be out some time this week. It may also bring with it some new hardware updates. While we just purchased a new MacBook Pro for myself, my wife is hanging on with the original MacBook Air. I would love to just upgrade that machine. However, with it being limited to only 2 GB of RAM and the video processor slowly not rendering YouTube videos well, I am not sure the MacBook Air will be in functional operation for much longer. So, the wait for Lion is where we stand...

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MacBook Air - Oh What to VMware

OK, I have to admit that this post is a bit of a hesitation. I wrote a while ago about my not so pleasant experiences with Parallels and the MacBook Air...see MacBook Air, Parallels...I hear that not only is Parallels running better, but they have a version specifically for the Air. I hear that, but will not try it at this point.

I have installed VMware Fusion the Beta 2 version on the Air about 1 month ago...and, even after one complete update, it is still performing extremely that I write this, it will, of course, stop working and revert to more corrupted state...kidding. Even if it did, I have two back-ups of previous working versions that I can just copy over...

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MacBook Air Wrap-Up...For Now

OK, so I have had some great opportunities to use the Air as a standard and daily machine. Instead of separating out items, I decided to wrap up individual topics on the Air at least for now with this post...

* I attended a conference recently where I got tired of taking notes and transcribing them later...So, since the MacBook Air fit into my portfolio, I brought it with me. I used this wonderful tool the entire conference, from 8 AM to 5 PM two days in a row...I turned off wireless and bluetooth for the majority of the day and used mostly MS Word 2004. I only turned on Bluetooth and used Safari during 2 segments of about 10 minutes each on both days. I entered the notes into Word and closed the cover when I was not taking notes. The battery lasted the entire day and all sessions on each day. There were no outlets close, so plugging in was not an option. The battery can last, it just needs limited usage and manual power management of closing the cover when not using it.

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MacBook Air BootCamp, XP Continued

Having limited space on the XP partition, though I keep thinking it is enough (12 GB), I was running into challenges when playing simple strategy games such as Civilization and Railroad Tycoon. I got a blue screen which indicated that I should turn off shadowing. After looking this up online, I made sure that the system restore points were turned off. While this may not be a good idea at all when running Windows XP regularly, it does make sense with limited space and a sparse image backup. I figured that if I need to reinstall, I will just copy the image instead of attempting restore. There are very few needed files on this partition, but, it works and the random crashes seemed to have ceased.

One additional item learned during this process is that Windows will go through a chkdsk when it restarts from this crash. Even though the screen indicates that you can bypass this option by pressing a button, the keyboard does not seem to be active. When I plugged in a USB keyboard, I was able to bypass the chdsk. This may appear to be a limitation at times given the one USB port, but a simple USB hub came through again. I am not sure why the laptop keyboard didn't work, but it seems to be one of those things that loads from the Bootcamp items that Apple installs.

MacBook Air, Parallels

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MacBook Air BootCamp, XP

I had read some very interesting stories around the internet about installing windows on a Mac...some good...others not so good...However, the reports were pretty consistent in that the Macs were the best hardware on which to run Windows. I needed the functionality for work...given some unique working requirements. So, I took the plunge and installed. Now, on day 3, I can honestly say things are stable...I think...

OK, so here are some lessons I learned during the install:
1) Make sure you have enough room on your BootCamp partition because you can not resize it. I started out with 5 GB. After installing Windows XP SP2 (which was an adventure itself, slipstreaming from a previously purchased CD) and adding the 130+ updates, I was left with only about 1 GB. I had not even installed Office applications or other utilities...Resizing was in my future...However, this is not as simple as resizing an Apple partition, even thought it was formated FAT32...This is what I had to do to resize:

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MacBook Air Battery Life

It happened...yes, you guessed it, over 5 hours of battery life on the MacBook Air...Yes, you read that correctly OVER 5 hours...with Bluetooth off, iTunes open and no activity for over an hour...with display set to sleep at 3 minutes, and computer set to sleep after 15 minutes, the battery meter was at 75% after 2 hours...Upon returning to it, browsing the internet, checking email, downloading podcasts, and writing this posting...I hit the over 5 hour mark...

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MacBook Air Ethernet Adapter

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MacBook Air Storylines Experienced and Reviewed

So, you are asking yourself..."Who would buy one of these...they say it is under powered...they say it can't run things...they say that a business traveler would not be able to use it...why would I want one...?"

OK, I bought one. It is very, very nice. It is incredibly has a beautiful screen, and runs all of the software I need right fits into a standard 8.5 X 11 portfolio without any zipper challenges.

So, I will cover some basics now and delve further into details as I use the MacBook Air. First of all, though, I must add that it is running Leopard. I have found the biggest change impact is just some changes in Leopard.

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