Archive for the ‘Buying Tech Wisely’ Category

30 Days of Apple’s MacBook Air

Saturday, May 17th, 2008

Living with the MacBook Air is not only possible, even for a power user, it changes the way you work and play in a positive way.

For the last month I’ve been living with Apple’s diminutive MacBook Air as my sole production computer for all professional and personal use. My previous main Mac was a 2007 2.4GHz 4GB RAM MacBook Pro 17 with the highest resolution Apple offers in a notebook. So I went from one Apple portable extreme (highest resolution, most power, heaviest) to the other (smallest, lightest, least powerful, least memory, weakest video). There are a number of trade-offs, but the positive outweighs the negative.

It happened that late April through May is a slow travel period for me, so while I’ve attended local events offsite, I haven’t hit the road yet. But in a couple of weeks, I’ll be on a tour that includes D.C., NYC, Boston, and Miami. The east coast thang. I’ll give the MacBook Air a thorough travel test then. Once that’s complete, I’ll write a full long-term review of the MacBook Air on


Mac vs. PC Cost Analysis – Round 2

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007

There’s no question about it. Last month’s Mac vs. PC Cost Analysis article struck a chord. I was praised and lambasted around the Internet for it. It was also republished by Computerworld, where it pulled in a lot of traffic. If you didn’t catch it, I recommend the Computerworld version of the story, which was lightly updated because of Apple’s release of its new MacBook Pro model line on June 5.

It seemed to me that people who criticized this story missed the key points I was trying to get across:

1. This was a pure, hardware-based, speeds-and-feeds kind of comparison. I was comparing the hardware goods only, including CPU, chipset, RAM, video, display, hard-drive capacity and specs, ports and upgradeability, dimensions and weight, and so on. In other words, I was attempting to make an objective comparison that did not inject any evaluation about the hardware, anything at all about the software, or my personal experience with the operating systems and hardware involved. It was an on-paper comparison.


Mac vs. PC Cost Analysis – Round 1

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

The debate about whether — or not — Macs are more expensive than PCs has been raging on the Internet for more than a decade. There are some hard realities about the discussion, and there are also some myths. As a longtime Windows guy who has recently migrated to the Mac, I think I’m in a good position to put this discussion into honest context.

For all those people who have ever bought Packard Bell or eMachines PCs — and who continue to believe that great value in a Windows computer is any model that sells for $600 or less — I agree: Apple doesn’t have an answer for you. In fact, I suggest you skip this article entirely. You’re not going to find anything of interest.

It’s the Hardware
For those of you who are left, what my research shows is that neither the Macintosh nor the field of Windows PCs has a lock on good value. If you view this discussion from Apple’s side, what you’ll be doing is starting with Apple’s relatively short list of SKUs (three or four model variations for each of its lines, such as MacBook Pro, MacBook, and iMac) and then looking for Windows machines that are comparable. Apple bests the competition in some spots, though not always. But the pricing is surprisingly on par.

The reality is that there are Windows machines that fit in between Mac SKUs. And in those niches, they represent very good values. But when they Windows and Mac models meet square on, the answer is not so clear cut. That in itself may be a surprise to many Windows people. Only a few years ago, it was a no-brainer that Windows hardware was much cheaper. But if you’re talking name-brand hardware, that’s no longer the case.