Wednesday, February 20, 2008

MacBook Air

I've been fooling around with a MacBook Air for half a day. I was really looking forward to this because it is light, slim and just about all I really need in the way of a laptop. It is thus far a disappointing experience, however.

It can't automatically connect, or hold on to once found, the wireless system in my house. This is the first computer out of half a dozen I've used here to ever have this problem. I am only able to connect through a diagnostic utility that pops up when I open Safari. If I close Safari, it loses the connection.

Safari opens in a window less than half the width of the screen. Only by manually sizing the window each time the computer is turned on will it actually fill the screen. (It apparently is incapable of remembering user preferences after shut-off - perhaps because users are not allowed personal preferences in the world of Apple?) This is also true of other basic programs that come with the computer. What's the point of having a 13" screen if what you're working on at any given time is less than half-sized by default? At one time, one of the selling points of Apple was ease of use and an intuitive interface.

While the screen is remarkably bright, the contrast sucks in consequence. The layout of this blog in particular highlights a lack of clarity in the fonts. The dark gray used here suffers greatly in translation by the Apple-supplied video card. Elsewhere, black type is not black but various shades of gray. As well, bolded characters do not appear natural. The Browning quote at the bottom of the page, which is NOT bolded, for some reason appears to be bolded so thick as to lead one to believe that I manually kerned the letters to a fare-thee-well. I didn't. Nina Camic's blog (The Other Side of the Ocean) is one of those that expands in width according to browser width. Safari doesn't recognize, or take advantage, of the possibility. Nina's blog is another that grays-out almost to the point of being unreadable.

If anyone knows any work-arounds, I'm all ears. Apple Support is hopeless - typing questions into their website only sends one to a "feel good" manual full of empty platitudes about how great, easy and intuitive the product is. Something as basic as "window sizing" returned zero results, maybe because "window" is too close to the evil Microsoft's "Windows." At this point, the odds are that this machine goes back in about 24 hours and I consign Apple products to the dustbin of my mind.

Yes, it is light. And pretty. But it isn't particularly functional if I have to do everything manually every time I turn the damn thing on!


Michael Reynolds said...

I'm sending this link to the kid. He has an air.

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

Thanks, Michael! Amba had a couple of good suggestions last night. (What she was doing up at 4AM Eastern I'm almost afraid to ask.)

Am going to the Apple store later today to talk to one of the geniuses there. (As if...)

Michael Reynolds said...

So far I've found a possible solution to your first problem:

First, open up the program "Keychain Access" located in the Utilities Folder in the Applications Folder.

Next, right-click the Keychain entry for your wireless network and select the Get Info option.

Now switch to the Access Control tab of the Get Info window. Finally, select the "Allow all Applications to Access this Item" option, close the window (press Save), type your admin password, quit the program, and try reconnecting. This might fix your first problem.

- "the kid" (using this account so it won't link back to my blog)

J said...

Dude. You're back!

Hope you get your Mac problems worked out. Those boxes look very hot.

Not that I'd ever buy one; I think I can do better shopping Intel bargains. But that's just me.

Regards -

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

Thanks for the tip, Michael's son. It helped. As did going to the Apple Store. I've been there twice already and got a lot of useful information. Unfortunately, I'm going to be there once again this week (see new post).