Choosing a new laptop

Last updated on July 6th, 2015 at 02:41 pm

My main workhorse is an eMachines eM250 10.1? netbook. All my email, calendar and important software works via the cloud so I can use any machine with a web-browser. I learned that lesson in the Great London Laptop Crash of 2008.

However there are some items I use local storage for:

  • genealogy research
  • music, video, podcasts and other media
  • ebooks, PDF?s, and reference material
  • film and TV project producer files (budgets, head shots, contracts)
  • software development and scripting (especially for iPad apps)
  • GPG signing and encryption keys

Maybe the NBN will give me the speed to store all that stuff on the cloud, but for now it is a lot of data that represents a significant part of my work and home life.

I?ve advocated using cheap, easily?replaceable?devices for most common business and personal needs. Avoiding Windows has reduced at least 80% of my malware risk and 95% of my support requirements.

I abandoned podcasts two-and-a-half years ago after I moved to Ubuntu. Podcast catching and portability is one of the areas where seamless integration across multiple OS?s does not yet exist. I can re-subscribe and re-download (where available) the podcasts I enjoyed. But I never got around to it. Plus I no longer had a daily 90-120 minute round-trip commute to listen to them.

Now my eMachine eM-250 is showing it?s age. It?s been dropped and abused, the left arrow key now longer works, the Alt+Tab combination is not reliable, the battery lasts about 50 minutes and the power cord connector is so loose it only charges about half the time.

I also need to move my iPad app development environment to newer hardware than the 2007 Mac Mini I?m currently using. So I see three choices

  1. replace my netbook with a new $300 netbook and buy a new or refurbed mac mini
  2. buy a refurbished 13? Macbook for about $600-$700
  3. buy a new Macbook Air for $1099

Apple is announcing the iPhone next week, hopefully they?ll refresh the Air range at the same time in which case I may just buy the Air. If they don?t refresh the range, I?m reluctant to start lugging around another 13? laptop so option 2 is not ideal. Let?s see what happens next week.

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