Richard Bucker

MacBook Air and Lion in a semi work environment

Posted at — Jul 29, 2011

I really like my MacBook Air but I have a complaint. I bought my 11" MBA in Dec 2010. It was love at first use. I had an idea I was going to like the laptop and that I was going to use it when I travelled or visited clients. In fact that’s exactly how I have used it since. There was also one other unexpected use-case… when I was in the kitchen with the kids I could do a quick search here and there. I might even check on my client’s systems between spoons of oatmeal.Recently I upgraded to Lion and there has also been a flurry of update activity on the other apps that I’ve installed or purchased. But the one thing remained constant. I was dialing in remote to access my client’s development systems and never doing any development on the MBA at all. I had done this before on my other laptop(s) when there was only one of them without a backup. But now I was in my happy place with backup hardware and cloud services.Now I find myself having longer and longer edit sessions on client code. I find myself on airplanes where wifi does not exist of the latency is just too much to bare. There’s also the limitation of the 11" screen. It’s sufficient for editing an email but using Google apps to draw some pictures or make a presentation is a pain (yes I have keynote but I’m going for the seamless cloud integration thing). And long edit sessions with multiple small windows is impossible as my latest project has no less than 10 terminal sessions open on iTerm. (While I’d really like a pair of 30" displays for development I manage with a single 27" during those dark coding sessions)As for security. FileVault is nice. It encrypts the entire home folder, however, since almost everything is executed out of that folder then almost everything is decrypted with every use. And everything is encrypted on the way in. There is no real good way for me to selectively encrypt and protect my personal information and the information of my clients. (so I do everything on the web when I can) In place of FileVault I use Espionage. It allows me to select when to encrypt and when to decrypt it. This way if the application is not running then the data is secure which is slightly better than a decrypted home folder when you’re active. An interesting new challenge is that Apple has created a folder for Syncing with iDisk. This folder can contain sensitive data too. Once Espionage get’s it you lose 10G of disk.So here I am… limited window, limited disk, limited network, limited CPU. I essentially have a color/graphics terminal circa 1983. But here is my advice for Apple and AT&T. a) I need an iPad that is about the size of a piece of paper (8.5" x 11"), b) I need a new MacBook Air with more memory, bigger screen and bigger disk, c) and I need a better cell network that let’s me really do all my work in the cloud.