'One Computer'

Ben Brooks published today to his site his piece on using one computer, which first appeared in Issue 4 of The Magazine. Ben’s article struck a chord with me, as I’m using a two-computer setup at the moment. But, as Ben writes, managing two computers isn’t that great.

Now, whereby “using”, what I mean is I have two Macs: a Late 2008 13-inch unibody MacBook and a Mid–2011 11-inch Air. The former is my daily driver, my main machine. It’s slow and relatively ancient, but it runs Mountain Lion fairly well. The latter is, in theory at least, my secondary machine. I bought the Air in September 2011 as a birthday gift to myself, with the added intention of taking it back and forth to school for taking notes, doing research, and so on. That worked great for awhile until I upgraded my original iPad to the Retina iPad 3 last March. It was then that I started to explore the concept of the iPad as a productivity tool -- in my case, a writing machine. I soon discovered that the iPad is wonderful is this regard, and I’ve now fully embraced the idea. The iPad has been so good as a “laptop replacement” that it’s pretty much obviated the need (or desire) to use my Air. That isn’t to say the Air isn’t a terrific little machine; on the contrary, it truly is the best portable Mac. It’s just that, for my use case, the iPad is simply better. That I prefer an iOS device to a full-fledged Mac is a testament to just how powerful the iPad and how mature iOS has become. So powerful, in fact, that I’m serious considering selling my Air and going with a Mac + iPad rig. Admittedly, too, keeping two computers “synced” is seriously a pain in the ass, and I just don’t want to hassle with it anymore. Besides, the 11-inch Air and full-size iPad are roughly the same size and weight, so it doesn’t make sense trying to squeeze the Air into my workflow if there’s no place for it.