The Lightness of Computing

Just back from Kona and getting caught up, with more observations about traveling with a Macbook Air. As I’ve written, the computer does what it should, it’s not limited by the processor or graphics card. I ran a full compliment of software including iPhoto, Final Cut Express, and VMware fusion.


In context to cycling, the Air is like a light climbing bike – purpose built and does what a bike should, but I wouldn’t use it to carry cargo or bang around in a crit.

Just like a climbing bike, the lightness is apparent and that’s just in pulling it out of my hugga bag, grabbing it to check Google maps, or uploading photos to Flickr.

As Ultra-light portables go, Apple made its decision to have a 13-inch screen and full keyboard. For the work I do when traveling, I think those are the right choices. It’s one of the best keyboards I’ve typed on and the LCD is outstanding.

As for peripherals, I used a mini-travel hub and connected the iBike Pro and Sony HDR-TG1 to it. The Sony is a HD handycam that records to a memory stick. I’ll blog more about that shortly with our next HD huggacast featuring scenes from Kona.

The next trip is to SXSW for our Mobile Social. I’ll have the air with me and the Modal Travel Bike.


Sure the air seems great…  I prefer to smaller netbooks.  3.5 pounds of EeePC with the best laptop hard drive I could fit and 2 gigs of ram and I can go all day on a charged 6-cell battery, if I play my cards right.  The netbooks are a fraction of the cost.  In fact the HP, Acer, and MSI can all run as a fully hackintosh if you really must have OS X.

Sure and the EeePC makes other compromises, like small screen and miniature keyboard—I’ve got my iPhone for that, as a MID.

Let us know how you like the Sony HDR-TG1. I’ve been eyeballing that.

I bet the Air works with his set up far better than the small netbooks. You CAN run OS X on them, but it’s buggy (I have a couple of friends doing it). The small screen is the biggest draw back and if you’re doing photo and video editing you have little space for palettes. I have nothing against netbooks, as they certainly have their pros (e.g., good for travel).


That’s correct and I don’t have anything against netbooks or MIDS either, we’ve seen many of them (including [prototypes]( during our travels abroad and to the Intel Developer Forums. And that’s the point I was making above with Apple’s choices—they’re using the same [Small Form Factor]( chipset as other manufacturers. For the work I do, fitting the creative professional demographic, I want the big screen and keyboard. Note that I’m running OSX and Windows on the Macbook Air. I choose to just emulate XP with VMWare, but could dual-boot it with Boot Camp.

Here’s a [video shot with the Sony HDR-TG1](—choose high quality.

ooh ooh - please use a Poi Dog Pondering song for your Huggacast!

Byron. .. I’m surprised that with your minimalist/loaded with features nature, that you haven’t gone with the Mino HD… The thing is tiny and gives you HD AND has a usb built in

Neither the Flip nor the Kodak Zi6 offer any sort of image stabilization other than your arm and hand. For the on-bike shooting we’re doing, that results in mostly useless recording. This [huggacast]( was shot with the Zi6 and I talk about that camera [in this post]( I eventually returned it. The Zi6 offered HD before the Mino, both are remarkable cameras for what they do and open up a new market, but just not good for what we’re doing—also their low-light performance is pitiful (like gray Seattle skies).

NYT’s Pogue said it best when he wrote that HD refers to the resolution of these new cameras, not the quality. There isn’t any “truth in HD” standard. I’ve been following the Sony, but thought it was too expensive for a travel Handycam (meaning, if I dropped or lost it), and over the holidays Amazon was selling them for 1/3 off. It offers optical stabilization amongst it features and is really remarkable in its miniaturization and image quality. All the recent stills have been shot with it, as well as our [latest huggacast]( You can see the stabilization at work, when Pam starts down the roller-coaster rode on Kona. Make sure to click through to YouTube and choose HD.

Thanks for the link to the video. The quality looks pretty dang nice. It’s a good thing storage is so cheap now for holding onto that HD footage.

Looks like you had a great trip, too. I’d love to head over to the islands and ride around them some time. Need to convince the wife and get a trailer for the kid. For now, I’ll put up with the rain (Seattle).

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