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Macbook air

  1. #1
    Lifer 01xj's Avatar
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    Macbook air


    I have very basic computing needs in terms of my daily use. For a while I've gotten by with using a Chromebook, but not having real folders the google apps being all but forced on the user is a huge drawback for me, more than what I initially though when I purchased it. I want some native software where I can easily create folders locally to organize my photos, videos and documents. My storage needs aren't great since all my music is on an external drive and downloading a ton of music isn't really even a thing any longer. I'm thinking a 256g SSD will be fine on a 2017 MacBook. I'm looking for portability and good battery life which the MacBook air seems to check those boxes. As well as USB C connectivity which it also has.

    Can I disable or uninstall the bloatware that comes on a stock MacBook air to free up some space?

    Can I run a VPN service?

    Can I access router settings via my routers IP ton configure things and change settings? This may seem like a stupid question but I haven't used an Apple PC since middle school and I'm 32, so going into this with very little knowledge.

    Can anyone comment on the longevity of a product like the Air? Some friends have 2012/13 macbooks that they say still run very well and aren't considering replacing.

    Anyone have any input regarding the privacy settings on Windows 10 vs High Sierra? I'm a pretty big advocate of not sharing data, changing app permissons, no facebook, no location services, etc. Seems like Microsoft has taken the "opt the user IN" to everything stance which I am staunchly opposed to.

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    Last edited by 01xj; 04-30-18 at 05:53 PM.

  2. #2
    Backwoods lobster boy number9's Avatar
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    Re: Macbook air

    A bit pressed for time, but:

    Quote Originally Posted by 01xj View Post
    Can I disable or uninstall the bloatware that comes on a stock MacBook air to free up some space?
    There's very little that's really bloatware, but yeah, you can uninstall stuff. iMovie, Photos, GarageBand, that kind of thing.

    Can I run a VPN service?
    Yes, there's a built-in VPN client, or you can download one from Cisco or Juniper if you need that.

    Can I access router settings via my routers IP ton configure things and change settings? This may seem like a stupid question but I haven't used an Apple PC since middle school and I'm 32, so going into this with very little knowledge.
    Yes, piece of cake.

    Can anyone comment on the longevity of a product like the Air? Some friends have 2012/13 macbooks that they say still run very well and aren't considering replacing.
    They have a lot of longevity; much more than you'd get from a PC. My day-to-day laptop is a MacBook Pro (so, not an Air) from mid-2015. Admittedly it has 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD, but yeah, they have a lot of longevity.

    The one thing I would tell you to look out for is that there will probably be a refresh on the MacBook Air pretty soon. If you google that you might find out more details, I'm not sure when it's likely to happen.

    Anyone have any input regarding the privacy settings on Windows 10 vs High Sierra? I'm a pretty big advocate of not sharing data, changing app permissons, no facebook, no location services, etc. Seems like Microsoft has taken the "opt the user IN" to everything stance which I am staunchly opposed to.
    Can't speak for Windows 10, but Apple is very good about asking you to opt in to stuff. And, of course, you can opt out.

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  3. #3
    Lifer 01xj's Avatar
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    Re: Macbook air

    Awesome, thank you that's a huge help. Not trying to make myself seem like a knuckle dragger but all my experience has been Android/ PC based for like, ever.

    Is it possible to use the machine without having an icloud/ apple account? I have no use for iTunes or most of their built in software.

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    Last edited by 01xj; 04-30-18 at 06:24 PM.

  4. #4
    Backwoods lobster boy number9's Avatar
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    Re: Macbook air

    Quote Originally Posted by 01xj View Post
    Awesome, thank you that's a huge help. Not trying to make myself seem like a knuckle dragger but all my experience has been Android/ PC based for like, ever.

    Is it possible to use the machine without having an icloud/ apple account? I have no use for iTunes or most of their built in software.
    No worries. I'm not 100% sure if you can get away with not having an iCloud account (Apple ID) at all. But if you don't want to use iTunes or Messages or any of the other Apple stuff, you don't have to.

    I will say that the installer for the OS requires an Apple ID, as that's how you download the software (on a fresh install) and updates. So, yeah, not having an Apple ID at all might be tough.

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  5. #5
    Lifer Kurlon's Avatar
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    Re: Macbook air

    Quote Originally Posted by 01xj View Post
    Can anyone comment on the longevity of a product like the Air? Some friends have 2012/13 macbooks that they say still run very well and aren't considering replacing.
    The newer Apple kit is not as well built as the 2012/2013 stuff. I'm on a 2013 MBP, when it finally goes I'll request a Lenovo most likely from work rather than another MBP. The new keyboards in particular are failure prone garbage.

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  6. #6
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Macbook air

    I'm typing on a newer (2017) 15" MBP right now issued by work. My wife is sitting next to me using my personal 13" early 2015 MBP. Before this 15" I had a 2013 vintage 15" MBP.

    The newer stuff kinda sucks. I do not know if this is the same with the air, but if you want a MBP I would jump on the apple refirb store soon and see if you can hunt down a non touch-bar unit. I think those are all pre-USB C. But I'm not sure I think USB C is worth the way lesser build quality. My 15" MBP's left speaker was DOA. The keyboard SUCKS.. which is amazing as keyboards and touch surfaces are usually something Apple excels at. The touch-bar is a pointless gimic and the touch pad is quite frankly too large; it gets in the way when typing. They did away with the mag-safe cord, which I loved. There is NO legacy USB on this thing so my portable mouse doesn't work (and I'm too cheap to buy a BT one).

    The processor in this thing screams, it has gobs of memory and half a TB of solid state storage. Mostly the machine rips. The display is gorgeous too. But the old machine wasn't exactly slow and it had a pretty nifty display too.

    I moved on from the older 15 MBP because it was crashing intermittently and the thunderbolt ports stopped working, so I could no longer use an external display with it. But in many ways this new unit is a downgrade.

    I'm most pissed off about the keyboard. As a programmer I use the hell out of my keyboard. And this sucks.

    The Windows crowd @ work gets issued Lenovo units through some lease program. They look solid and get few complaints. Unfortunately for us corporate IT gets their grubby paws on those and installs a lot of crap, then locks us out of doing our jobs. The macs fly under the radar and are wide open.

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  7. #7
    Lifer capitalcrew's Avatar
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    Re: Macbook air

    Interesting to see everyone's opinions here.

    Windows 10 is the best spy machine the world has ever seen. Windows doesn't care about your privacy at all.

    As for the macbook air, it'll probably do everything you need no problem. Even the older ones are still doing fine.

    The butterfly keyboard is literally the reason I purchased the one that I did. I love it. It feels amazing to me. The short stroke is pure bliss. Yes, they're prone to failure unfortunately. Stuff gets stuck under the the keys and there isn't a lot of room there. The protection plan is a good thing to get, gives you three years. You get 1 year with purchase. My forward slash is sticking right now and I use that key in programming so it is pretty miserable.

    The usb-c ports are great, it's neat to be able to charge from any port. More handy than you realize until you have it. Sucks not having a legacy port but they do that to try to force accessory manufacturers to get in line, or force you to buy theirs. Probably a little of both IMO. usb to usb-c converters are cheap. You really only need a couple.

    The audio is going strong on mine. I use it often.

    I like the touchbar. I use it every time I use the computer. I didn't think I would but you find uses for it after an initial period of clumsiness.

    The touchpad is awesome IMO. It's huge yes but I like that about it. I noticed that I would have issues when I first got it and I was trying to type but that has since become a non issue.

    I really like my 15" mbp. I'd get another one if I had to get another computer right now. I'm also trying to buy my mother's 2014 mbp, she just bought a new air a couple months ago.

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  8. #8
    Lifer RyanNicholson's Avatar
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    Re: Macbook air

    I use a late 2017 13" MacBook Air for work. I'd prefer a 15" MBP as that's what I worked on for years, my personal one is a 2011 and still works fine but it's dated. At the office I connect it to a big ass monitor and it works great. At my last job when they bought me a computer I requested (and eventually got) a new 15" MBP with VMware since they ran a windows dev environment. Wasn't easy to convince a bunch of non-tech savvy people to get me a MBP and pay extra to run windows on it lol.

    I'm a big fan of the touchpad and gestures, and they keyboard is great but it's also just what I'm used to at this point.

    As for capabilities, it'll hit all the checkmarks in your original post as has been mentioned. The OS will take a bit of getting used to, but once you're familiar with it, it'll feel more intuitive than other options (in my experience anyway).

    The Air is very much a fully capable laptop, just super compact. I don't have any experience with a ChromeBook, but I've never thought of them in the same category. I also travel a reasonable amount and love the Air for that purpose, though at this point that's a "first world problem" in regard to any other modern laptop.

    Pretty sure an Apple ID is definitely required, but you don't have to share a lot of info. It's more for reinstalls and syncing data between devices if you want, just like having a google account. The rest of the capabilities are completely optional.

    The battery life is also ridiculous. I can practically work on it for days without plugging it in.

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    Last edited by RyanNicholson; 05-01-18 at 10:23 AM.

  9. #9
    Lifer joeswamp's Avatar
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    Re: Macbook air

    Quote Originally Posted by capitalcrew View Post
    Interesting to see everyone's opinions here.

    Windows 10 is the best spy machine the world has ever seen. Windows doesn't care about your privacy at all.

    As for the macbook air, it'll probably do everything you need no problem. Even the older ones are still doing fine.

    The butterfly keyboard is literally the reason I purchased the one that I did. I love it. It feels amazing to me. The short stroke is pure bliss. Yes, they're prone to failure unfortunately. Stuff gets stuck under the the keys and there isn't a lot of room there. The protection plan is a good thing to get, gives you three years. You get 1 year with purchase. My forward slash is sticking right now and I use that key in programming so it is pretty miserable.

    The usb-c ports are great, it's neat to be able to charge from any port. More handy than you realize until you have it. Sucks not having a legacy port but they do that to try to force accessory manufacturers to get in line, or force you to buy theirs. Probably a little of both IMO. usb to usb-c converters are cheap. You really only need a couple.

    The audio is going strong on mine. I use it often.

    I like the touchbar. I use it every time I use the computer. I didn't think I would but you find uses for it after an initial period of clumsiness.

    The touchpad is awesome IMO. It's huge yes but I like that about it. I noticed that I would have issues when I first got it and I was trying to type but that has since become a non issue.

    I really like my 15" mbp. I'd get another one if I had to get another computer right now. I'm also trying to buy my mother's 2014 mbp, she just bought a new air a couple months ago.
    Wow, I think you might be the first person ever who actually likes the butterfly keyboard. Everyone I know hates it, some to different degrees. My wife's work laptop has it and I can't stand it -- pretty much triples the error rate for me and my hands hurt when I type too long on it. Those keyboards are also super loud, when we have meetings in conference rooms at work we have to ask people with MacBooks to stop typing, it's that annoying. Of course the keyboards are super failure-prone and are hard/expensive to fix.

    The loss of magsafe (pretty much the best laptop feature ever) is also terrible. My wife's laptop has fallen on the floor a few times because the new MacBooks don't have it anymore.

    Of course the MB Airs still have the good keyboard and still have magsafe. My own MB air (which I think I bought in 2011) is still going strong, it's the best computer I've ever owned. If they replace it with something terrible I may buy one of the last old ones. Either that or I'll switch to Lenovo and run Linux.

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  10. #10
    Backwoods lobster boy number9's Avatar
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    Re: Macbook air

    Quote Originally Posted by joeswamp View Post
    Wow, I think you might be the first person ever who actually likes the butterfly keyboard. Everyone I know hates it, some to different degrees. My wife's work laptop has it and I can't stand it -- pretty much triples the error rate for me and my hands hurt when I type too long on it. Those keyboards are also super loud, when we have meetings in conference rooms at work we have to ask people with MacBooks to stop typing, it's that annoying. Of course the keyboards are super failure-prone and are hard/expensive to fix.
    I actually have a 2017 MBP 13" as well, and... I hate the keyboard. I can see how some people might like it, but yeah, it's not for me.

    Having 4 USB ports is nice, but because one is for charging, you only really get 3. And, of course, they're USB-C. Also, the loss of MagSafe is a real shame. On the flipside, the new chargers are considerably smaller than the old ones.

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  11. #11
    Lifer ZX-12R's Avatar
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    Re: Macbook air

    There are a number of magnetic USB-C cables available.

    Here is one of the many options on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Android-iPhon...magnetic+usb-c

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  12. #12
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Macbook air

    Quote Originally Posted by number9 View Post
    On the flipside, the new chargers are considerably smaller than the old ones.
    They are? Mine is exactly the same size..
    I was going to say the one upside is the plug adapter is the same as the old charger used. Meaning I can leave that cord at home and bring an old flip-prong plug to travel lite. Or use one of the euro plugs with my supply when in the European office.

    I didn't know there was a name for the awful keyboard. Of course there is, this is Apple.

    The butterfly keyboard sucks!

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  13. #13
    Lifer 01xj's Avatar
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    Re: Macbook air

    Quote Originally Posted by RyanNicholson View Post
    I use a late 2017 13" MacBook Air for work. I'd prefer a 15" MBP as that's what I worked on for years, my personal one is a 2011 and still works fine but it's dated. At the office I connect it to a big ass monitor and it works great. At my last job when they bought me a computer I requested (and eventually got) a new 15" MBP with VMware since they ran a windows dev environment. Wasn't easy to convince a bunch of non-tech savvy people to get me a MBP and pay extra to run windows on it lol.

    I'm a big fan of the touchpad and gestures, and they keyboard is great but it's also just what I'm used to at this point.

    As for capabilities, it'll hit all the checkmarks in your original post as has been mentioned. The OS will take a bit of getting used to, but once you're familiar with it, it'll feel more intuitive than other options (in my experience anyway).

    The Air is very much a fully capable laptop, just super compact. I don't have any experience with a ChromeBook, but I've never thought of them in the same category. I also travel a reasonable amount and love the Air for that purpose, though at this point that's a "first world problem" in regard to any other modern laptop.

    Pretty sure an Apple ID is definitely required, but you don't have to share a lot of info. It's more for reinstalls and syncing data between devices if you want, just like having a google account. The rest of the capabilities are completely optional.

    The battery life is also ridiculous. I can practically work on it for days without plugging it in.
    My chromebook is a scaled down Air basically. It's 64g SSD running chromeos and now has access to the Play store. I like it for couch surfing/ Netflix and it can run games. Run PUBG mobile pretty dam well. It's also a gigantic tablet. But what it lacks is a real desktop experience. I told myself I wouldn't miss that but it turns out I really do, and some functionality is just not capable like router settings and any kind of real file transfer.

    Thank you guys for the input on the machines. MPB is way overkill for what I need both in price and functionality. I found a 256g on Swappa in a sealed box for under 8 bills so I consider that a win. In time it's looking like I'll stick a gigantic SD card in their to store music and photos. My phone has USB C so we already have those cables kicking around. I'm sure the keyboard is similar in size and experience to my chromebook so it won't take much getting used to. The space bar makes me a little nervous as I'm not a delicate individual but time will tell on that.

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  14. #14
    Lifer capitalcrew's Avatar
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    Re: Macbook air

    I'm as amazed as all of you are about YOUR opinions on the keyboard haha. I did like my old keyboard when I had it.. but now everything feels mushy. I have a logitech keyboard in the office and it is pretty short stroke / low profile whatever and it works great but even that feels mushy to me. My errors seem to come from hitting two keys at once which doesn't tend to happen when I don't have to push the keys down as far.. at least that's the conclusion I've arrived that, it may be completely wrong.

    I can't get over that lol, ya'll wild.

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  15. #15
    Lifer Kurlon's Avatar
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    Re: Macbook air

    You sound like the type of guy that would enjoy 'typing' on a tablet.

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  16. #16
    Lifer capitalcrew's Avatar
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    Re: Macbook air

    I actually hate that as much as mushy keyboards. You can't tell where the fuck the keys are lol. That's one of the reasons I never got a tablet. It's just a big inconvenient phone as far as I'm concerned.

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  17. #17
    Lifer 01xj's Avatar
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    Re: Macbook air

    So far so good. I ordered a gently used 2017 from Swappa. Got my VPN set up easily, pictures and data transferred over easily. Only hangup is a thumbdrive I used for work that was encrypted by IT won't launch on mac. That's just a matter of using it on a windows machine and moving files over though. I find the keyboard to be fine. It's larger than my chomebook which is ultra compact. Paired with the 13" screen I find the keyboard to be very useful and not having many missed keystrokes.

    I'm open to any suggestions for productivity software, especially anything that's FOSS

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  18. #18
    Lifer joeswamp's Avatar
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    Re: Macbook air

    To clarify: the keyboard on the MacBook Air is fantastic, but itís the only good keyboard left. Next time youíre at an Apple store try out the keyboards on all the other laptops ó you will wonder what they were thinking.

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  19. #19
    Lifer 01xj's Avatar
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    Re: Macbook air

    If all goes well, I will never step foot in one for the rest of my life. Like their products but the stores are the 3rd ring of hell.

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  20. #20
    Lifer joeswamp's Avatar
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    Re: Macbook air

    You make a valid point sir.

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