MacBook Air
#295 Henry, Wednesday, 21 October 2015 5:23 PM (Category: Apple)
(Tags: macbook apple)

Couple of days ago, one of my co-workers came to ask questions. He had come home and found his roommate with a big brand new MacBook Pro. He asked what happened to the little MacBook Air. It had stopped working. His roommate then gave him the dead MacBook Air. His question for me was - could I get it working?

I had a look at it. It would not turn on. I tried it with the charger for my MacBook, and after a few minutes of charging, the MacBook Air started up. That was the problem - the charger was dead. I gave him the news and suggested he buy a replacement charger at Best Buy.

He suggested that he was not a Mac person and would prefer to convert it to something he could use with Windows. So I did some thinking about it. It's a 2011 Mac Book Air. So five years old. It's been dropped, and the corner is dinged in. The battery is a quarter through its life span. The down arrow key is sticky and has to be be pushed hard to work. So a five year old laptop that's been damaged and is missing components, what is that worth? I made him a ludicrous offer, and he accepted it. I suggested he make sure his roommate knew about this, as the laptop was going to be erased. He preferred that his roommate not know. Fine with me.

Macbook Air with corner ding

It was a struggle to transform this device. I had the original owner's password and had to get it disowned by her and transferred to my Apple ID and then upgraded. Took me about four hours. First step was to set up a new admin user, and then reboot as that, and then remove her user. I wanted to do a clean install, but it kept telling me I wasn't authorised to do that. After going around and around, I got it attached to my user ID and then it got better. I was able to upgrade to Yosemite and clean out almost everything that shouldn't be there.

Once it was remade in my image, I started working with it. Once I was in Yosemite, I was allowed to upgrade all the way up to El Capitan. That went very well. It runs, it runs well, no slowness. This is a five year old machine and it's quite adequately running the latest version of the OS. It's good. My existing MacBook is a 2006 model, and it won't take the latest version of the OS.

I installed XCode, and then that allowed me to install MacPorts. Can't work without Midnight Commander. I configured the Mac side of it with my regular software, and got it looking and acting the way I like it. Then I got the Unix command line side working the same. It's a neat machine.

I discovered that I need new eyes.

This is an 11" device, and the screen is marginally larger than the iPad. I mostly use reading glasses with the iPad now, but can still work without them. The same goes for the Air. It is tiny. But that's the main advantage. I can travel with it and it's small and light and very easy to work with. I love that it has an SSD.

I've been doing some heavy duty stuff with it, like Time Machine to an external HDD, and all the upgrades, so the battery has taken a battering. It should last long enough in meetings. I was expecting all day battery life, but that might be too ambitious. I think that came with a later model with a new battery. If I can get 5 or 6 hours, that's good enough for my needs.

So there we go. I've moved from the 2006 MacBook era to the 2011 MacBook Air era. I prefer to sit on the blunt end of the axe. I'll get my old MacBook ready for sale now.