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Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Carl Abudephane, Jan 17, 2009.
Yes! Good time to start this thread.
My wife got her Rev A last march and our house at the time did not have a laptop at all. We have the white intel imac and the aluminum model. For her computer we got the belkin swivel usb hub, a microsoft notebook mouse, and a western digital portable hd (in green, her fav). With just those she is able to go on the long trips her work requires and not found lacking for anything.
As for her it has integrated, well if allowed us to take a small slim laptop with us on vacations, so far the little guy has gone to 6 countries outside of the us and travels very well. It also allows one of us to use a computer in bed.
Now I also found the deal on the refurb airs and got myself a ssd model. In short: LOVE IT!! I haven't purchased anything extra yet. However, the superdrive we originally bought for her computer (and never opened) came in handy when I wanted to do an erase and install and clear up some space on my computer.
Disk Sharing works great from the other imacs and sharing out the itunes library is easy also.
I've been using my MBA RevA 1.6ghz 2gb 80gbHdd for about 7 months now. To get the most out of your air you need to optimize what you have and augment where you don't.
1) Reinstall OS X with only the stuff you'll use on the air. There is already a good thread here on how to do it. It will not only save you space but help performance. Make sure you have the latest updates to all software (OSX and Flash have big performance updates).
2) Use and application like XSLIMMER to reduce the size of all your applications. This saves some space and provides a significant performance boost (often cutting program startup times in half).
3) Setup remotely accessible external high capacity storage. Again there are some threads here on how to do it with another Mac. But if you don't have another Mac, there are Mac compatible, internet accessible NAS drives you can get fairly inexpensively. If you have a lot of pictures, music, and movies you'll need to store the bulk of them off your MBA. Again this is not only for space reasons but for performance reasons. You can also use services if you don't want to setup and maintain hardware yourself. There are many flavors is internet disks, photo storage sites etc out there.
4) This is a desirable machine thats small and light. It is a prime target for theft and is just easy to loose (since you often can't tell if its in your bag or not). Make sure you keep your data backed up (I like the over the internet MOZY service), security features should be turned on (no auto login, require password on wake, screensaver with password within 10-20 minutes), and that any really sensitive information is stored in a utility like YoJimbo so its encrypted.
5) Get a micro USB hub (Targus nas a few nice ones) for travel. Get a powered USB hub for home (so you can power storege devices and other things at one time).
6) Get an external optical drive. You can't play CD's or DVD's or install some software over the air sharing another machines drive.
7) Get yourself a nice bluetooth mouse (I prefer the Kensington over the Apple one). The trackpad on the Air is Great, but the ergonomics and fine control offered by a mouse are easier on you for some applications.
8) Get a sleeve and the smallest, lightest case you can that carries what you need. You paid a premium for the size and weight of the air. Don't spoil it with a big heavy case you may already have.
9) Get a flash trive for sharing files with others that fits in the MBA's usb slot without interfering with its other ports.
10) Consider a utility like iDefrag. Not something you have to do often but it does more optimization than just defraging and can speed up performance somewhat (particularly booting).
11) Use a utility like SMARTSLEEP. You can reclaim a couple of GB of space and speed up sleep times considerably (not that its slow on the MBA anyway) if you are not the type to let you battery go dead during sleep. Use sleep/wake (seconds) rather then shutdown/startup (minutes) - you can often go for weeks at a time without rebooting.
12 Choose widgets over startup items where you can. Speeds startup and allows you to choose when to use the resources and when thay may be available for OS X to reclaim.
There's a quick 12 step program for all you new MBA addicts out there Enjoy!
AirPort Extreme N!!!!
All my USB devices are wireless over an N-only connection My MBA is my only college computer, although I have an iMac G3 on my desk at home. I've got a 160GB Western Digital portable hard drive and a Brother HL-2140 laser printer plugged into my AirPort. I used to have my 12" PowerBook plugged in, too, sharing two LaCie FW disks and speakers via AirFoil, but the HDD on the PowerBook died and I've been too cheap to replace it.
thanks Jim!! any sleeves in particular that you recommend or personally use? I totally hear you on the "not getting a bulky sleeve that takes away from the mba's thinness." I'm just trying to find something that offers a mix of both thinness/lightness and reasonable padding.
I like this list. Can I add a #13:
Coolbook. With less voltage you could squeeze an extra 30 min. (or more) of battery.
For a sleeve I use Incipio Technologies IM-100 Orion Sleeve Case for Apple Macbook Air (Black) by Incipio (about $30). I much prefer this faux leather to neoprene. It adds little bulk and offers good looks and protections and its TSA compliant (you don't have to take your MBA out of the sleeve for xray).
For a full featured case for MBA (and this is still only about 2" thick) and all the stuff I bring with it (power supply, bluetooth mouse, micro usb hub, ethernet adapter, AT&T usb aircard, video adapters, office supplies etc) I use a Wenger SwissGear Mythos Laptop Slimcase (about $35)
+1 on the Incipio Orion sleeve although I got the Asphalt Gray one. For traveling, I'll use the STM Small Alley bag that I was using with my MacBook. Hmmm, maybe I'll look at that Swissgear case, too...
Additions to my "12 step program"
If the MBA is not your only MAC (if you have another Mac or an iPhone) you should try MobileMe to keep things in Sync across your machines. Its a bit expensive ($100/yr) and not glitch free, but it provides syncing of email, contacts, calendar, preferences, widgets etc , provides remote disk storage sync able and accessible from anywhere. There is a free trial available.
If you just want to keep things in sync only while you are on the same network as your other Mac, you might look at Martian Slingshot. It works very well but takes a bit more to set up.
Get yourself an external USB hard drive and do an image backup periodically (weekly to monthly) using a tool like SuperDuper. If you internal drive fails or becomes corrupted you can fully restore your OS/Apps/Files [everything] by booting off the USB drive and using SuperDuper to copy that image back to the internal hard drive. Between that and Daily backups using MOZY or TimeMachine for just the files you changed or added you have piece of mind in case something happens to your MBA.
Great list. Got me to buy both Xslimmer and iDefrag.
I'm not sure I understand the value of SmartSleep though. I pretty much just close the lid of my MacBook Air and let it sleep. I rarely reboot, typically only because a Software Update forces one, and use it 4-8 hours/day. What does SmartSleep get me?
I do find CoolBook useful because video in Skype makes my Rev. A MBA quickly unusable without it.
As for a slipcase, I'm really, really happy with my WaterField SleeveCase.
The only thing I can add to your list is that I tether my BlackBerry 8830 with Verizon Wireless service when I'm away from WiFi, and carry a USB cable in my SleeveCase as USB tethering is faster than Bluetooth.
Oh, no offense--I never saw that reply anyway
And this thread has worked out well. Some excellent tips. Keep them coming please people!
Second the WaterField SleeveCase
Get an iSkin keyboard cover -- great peace of mind if you drink coffee or soda while you work
Consider an invisibleSHIELD coating; it's not really needed for protection, but I find the non-slip texture helps in making sure I don't drop my MBA
Follow the tips about re-installing the OS and using Xslimmer to save space (you'll want/need it eventually)
If you travel between home/work (or any two locations), invest in a second power adapter so you don't have to carry one with you
On-the-go essentials: USB thumb drive (for easy file transfer), VGA adapter (for presentations), wired Ethernet adapter (amazing how many hotels aren't wireless)
If you need power in a car, buy an inexpensive power inverter
The last suggestion is to watch for MacUpdate and MacHeist bundles; those are good ways to pick up some of the useful utilities inexpensively.
I picked up a power brick on eBay for only $25 shipped. This was too good of a deal to pass up. Most of the ones on eBay are under $50 and it's a no-brainer for those who take theirs to work!
Please pardon the mess as I'm just a college kid but I've got the 1.6 air with a logitech 4 usb port hub stand, jbl creature speakers and three external hard drives, two for music and movies and one strictly as a time machine back up. I've also got a bluetooth apple keyboard and wireless mighty mouse for lounging in bed computing as I use my vizio 37" as an external monitor. I can say that in 9 months I have had the air, I have loved the Rev. A, I grew a bit impatient with the core shutdowns in the spring but it runs perfectly now. I use it heavily and the only thing I don't do is game so I have no complaints. I love being able to just throw it in my backpack when I head to class because even if I don't always need it, there's the piece of mind in having it and also not having to worry about straining my back
Let's see. I:
1) formatted HDD and installed Windows 7. That solves the video stuttering problems of OSX and the overheating problems.
2) bought a spare power cable (nice to leave one at home and to travel with one).
3) Bought an I/O gear 4 port (non-powered) USB hub. Don't use it often but it's very lightweight and helpful when I need it.
4) Got the USB super-drive and the USB LAN dongle
Thanks Carl. I usually hang out over at NotebookReview but I found MacRumors has a much more active MBA thread. I learn a lot on these forums so I figure its only fair to help out when I can. I did not think I posted that often as I only tend to do it when I see an interesting question that I've had some experience with that might help.
This was buried in another post above - but go to Adobe.com and download Flash 10. Much better performance with the MBA on stuff like youtube, etc...
I found Xslimmer to greatly reduce most program startup times. Glad you found it useful
iDefrag reduced boo times noticeably for me. To get full benefit you have to run its full mode which means booting off another source (boot dvd or image backup disk)..
By default modern macs do something called "smartsleep'. They write everything in memory to disk (so if the battery goes dead while sleeping nothing is lost and startup would be similar to a resume from hibernate in windows), than the mac goes to sleep.
The free smartsleep utility allows you to just do a sleep (no writing memory to disk) this making sleep "instant" as opposed to something that may take a few seconds. It also lets you delete the "hibernate" file saving you a couple of GB on the Air. The risk is that if the battery runds dead while sleeping you will loose any unsaved changes and your next boot will be a fresh one. There are also some variations this program supports that do a sleep at first but then force a smartsleep at a given battery level.
You get more benefit on something with more RAM but I like the instant sleep a lot.
My wife informs me that both my orders arrived this morning (Tuesday) from Cali right on schedule; I ordered a little after midnight on Thursday morning. (Besides the MBA picked up a refurb Airport Express w/ iTunes). Regular shipping, not express. Cali to Southern Ontario.
The only problem is I am here at work. And have an all evening engagement later. Oh, the torture...
I will implement many of the tips posted in this thread, and add my own later if I discover anything worth sharing.
Good idea, Karl: for starters definitely going to browse through Jim's posts.
i removed the file /private/var/sleepimage (which is where your settings are stored in your RAM) and disabled the 'smartsleep' status using the method below...instant sleep AND 2 more GBs of space on your SSD