Help with Macbook Air instead of desktop?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by uppereast1, Apr 29, 2013.

  1. uppereast1 macrumors newbie

    Apr 29, 2013
    I'm a relative newbie. I am a journalist and do quite a lot of traveling overseas. I have a Macbook Air, a Macbook Pro and and iMac from 2010. I have decided to reduce my setup to a Macbook Air using the iMac as a desktop monitor. I have a number of reasons: I couldn't always get Logmein to work from remote 3rd world places, and I always ended up needing a key file that I didn't have on my laptop. Also I had key software like Devonthink and Quickbooks on my desktop and couldn't access it from abroad when I needed to. Here's my question: is there a good third party peripheral to use as a dock? At the moment, I have a mini-display port cable from my MBA to my imac, but when this is connected I can't obviously use ethernet as it uses the same port. (IOnterestingly I don't get target display mode when I connect the two, but iot mirrors like a TV set. I just bought a 7 port hub so that should be okay for USB. Anyone have a great setup they wish to share and explain (remember I'm newbie). I'm also thinking of trading the iMac for a Thunderbolt display when the new models come out. I tried using an iPad for travelling but I need Scrivener and Tinderbox, which are not available for ipad. Also I had a nighmare of writing a 2,000 word artilce on my ipad, only to have it crash while airborne on a 9 hour flight. The Apple tech later tpld told me the sad news: Sorry you'll have to reset the iPad and everything will be lost. Last time I did that. Any thoughts?
  2. jmoore5196 macrumors 6502a


    May 19, 2009
    Midwest US
    For a newbie, you seem to be learning several lessons at the same time! For example, what I call the 11th Commandment: Thou shalt not create content on an iPad. Maybe IOS 7 will incorporate some sort of autosave.

    I can understand you wanting to wait until the refresh to buy a Thunderbolt display, but I'd encourage you to use this as your "dock." Trying to run Target Display mode with an iMac is just too problematic; I tried several times, gave up and bought the TBD.

    If your iMac is only two years old, you'll notice a performance lag - quad-core versus dual-core processors - when you move to the MBA. Were I in your shoes, I'd go ahead and make the switch to the TBD now; I imagine if the new version does away with Firewire, there will still be a market for the old one.
  3. aarond12 macrumors 65816


    May 20, 2002
    Dallas, TX USA
    For a journalist, you sure don't like paragraphs. :D

    You have the Thunderbolt-to-Gigabit Ethernet adapter for your Ethernet. There is a USB-to-Ethernet adapter that works just fine on your model Air. This will free you up to use both your external display and your Ethernet connection (albeit at 100-base-T speeds, which should be fast enough for most).

    Your other choice is one of the new Thunderbolt docks available that have Ethernet, HDMI, DisplayPort, USB3, and sometimes audio and other ports like Firewire 800. These will range in price from $200 and up.

    I'm surprised to hear your iPad crashed. This is not typical. You should be fine writing long documents with the iPad. What application did you use that crashed?

    Do you have an external Bluetooth keyboard for your iPad? That will make typing that much information much less painful. They range from $50 and up. You can occasionally find them as cheap as $20.

    Have you considered using your Air on the 9-hour flight? Keep the display brightness at its lowest setting and turn off your keyboard backlight. You might be able to get 6-7 hours of writing time.
  4. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012
    Predicting that career wont last.
  5. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    He was funny, you were cruel. No need for that.
  6. secretpact macrumors 6502

    May 24, 2007
  7. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012
    Why? am not acknowledged career or journalism expert, should always take whoever stranger say with a few grains of salt.

    Sometimes if nobody tell your faults, you will never improve, and at some point hit the "real life" wall and crash.
  8. gtstricky macrumors regular


    Apr 19, 2012
    Look into henge docks.

    Sell iMac and buy a nice big monitor for less.

    look into crashplan for backup and some cloud file storage.

  9. MacLappy, May 2, 2013
    Last edited: May 2, 2013

    MacLappy macrumors regular

    Jul 28, 2011
  10. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    The observation you have made in your first paragraph occurred to me, too. To the OP: Paragraph breaks make long blocs of text easier to read, a consideration worth keeping in mind if you write for a living, as you say you do. Your post did not make for easy reading.

    Concerning iPads, I have always seen them as a device where content and information is consumed, not created; for serious writing, I much prefer a proper keyboard, and I have found the iPad quite difficult to use when writing much more than a brief note.

    Re the rest of the thread, there is some very interesting information here, and I thank those who have taken the trouble to post; I use a MBA and travel & work in strange, remote countries quite a bit, thus, any information which makes communication with a MBA easier is always of interest to me.
  11. uppereast1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 29, 2013
    Thanks for all the advice about how to be a writer! Who knew? I will write in short sentences. And indent often.

    I'm leaning toward the Belkin Thunderbolt dock. My only question is: will the Thunderbolt port on the dock connect with the mini-display port of my iMac as it does from my MBA?

    Anyone have a great solution for backing up their MBA on the road? I've tried using the LaCie Thunderbolt portable HD. But it gets full very fast. It only uses a small portion of the 1TB disk.
  12. secretpact macrumors 6502

    May 24, 2007
    I'm not sure if the Belkin is compatible with the mini-display port. My guess is it's not. Email Belkin tech support and they'll let you know.

    You say your hard drive gets full fast, but it only uses a small portion of the 1Tb disk? Could you clarify what you mean?
  13. LeandrodaFL macrumors 6502a


    Apr 6, 2011
    I sugest you sell all your gear and get a retina macbook pro 13". I will list the reasons below:

    -Using the iMac as a Monitor is a wste of money. A display is $100, and your iMac is $1000
    -As stated above, in order for you to feel great performance, a current macbook retina will be more powerfull then your imac and macbooks. Its balzing fast and has lots of storage
    -The retina macbook is as thinn as the macbook air and almost as light

    Apple is expected to refresh its macbooks in a month with the haswell chips, so may be a good buying oportunity

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