Coming Soon to a desk near me: M1 MacBook Air

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I recently pulled the trigger and pressed the “buy” button on the new M1 MacBook Air.

After all my work to create cross-platform compatibility in all things, and to pull back from my info being handled in other people’s clouds, this is quite a distance from where I thought I would be at the end of 2020. But then, what did go as planned this year, right?

My circumstances have changed in ways that I wouldn’t have predicted. Here are a few key factors in my decision to rejoin the mainstream/feudal computing world now:
  1. For the first time in my life, I’m a full-time employee of someone else’s company. I’m not active with my own and not really planning to be, so my typically diverse and very high-end computing needs don’t really exist anymore.
  2. As an employee, I have to carry my company laptop and my company phone with me for the foreseeable future. I need a personal device — preferably only one — to compliment this. I’ve often been in the situation where for client reasons I need to carry 3 laptops, 2 tablets, and several phones before, and it makes for a very heavy backpack and lots of extra screening questions at the airport. I don’t recommend that.
  3. Apple’s new M1 Macs are impressive! I’ve never owned a MacBook Air or any of their other Air products because I typically require the full firepower of the Pro grade machines. But this is an interesting disruption to the entire computing market, and the current difference between the Air and the Pro is really only marginal. The new M1 Mac Mini was also something I considered, though because they are not considered a portable device by airport security (and I do hope to fly again someday!) it seemed to be a bit short-sighted to go that direction.
  4. App Privacy feature in OS 11.1 Big Sur. I’m exactly the kind of person this feature was added for, and to be honest it was a factor in my decision to return to Apple. There were some recent rants and reveals about Apple spying on everything people do with their Macs running OS 11 or later. After looking into the actual data people have been panicking about, I don’t think it’s that a big deal. Yes, there is a “phone home” hash that’s sent back to Apple Central every time you open an app to verify that it’s registered, and things like Little Snitch will no longer work to block this. What does work is simply going offline, opening your apps, then going back online. Ok, I often do that anyhow so it doesn’t really change anything for me. Plus Apple has promised that in the next revision they will provide an Opt-Out feature, and I do believe they will follow through as there is enough public pressure on them now. Apple takes privacy more seriously than most of the competition.
  5. That said, there are more secure systems than Apple. For instance, I was seriously considering Purism for a while. I might still go that direction someday, but now that no longer makes personal sense in my case because I’m not in charge my company’s data policies. My laptops and phones will be traveling together, pinging together, and for all monitoring purposes would be considered extensions of me together. Controlling what info one device sends about me does little good when I’ve got two others that make up for the difference.
  6. You can now install iOS apps on the M1 Macs! This is a surprise side benefit that allows me to ditch my tablet. I’ll be able to use my MacBook like I use my iPad, just without the touchscreen. Fine by me! One less thing.
As I first wrote about last month in my Releasing Stuff post, what I’m designing toward is:
  • business laptop (ThinkPad T490)
  • personal laptop (MacBook Air M1)
  • business phone (iPhone XR)
  • personal phone (Kyocera DuraXV)
That’s for anywhere use. Then for my home network:
  • NAS (Synology 920+)
  • Single-board computer (Raspberry Pi 4)
  • VR headset (Oculus Quest 2)
  • network printer/scanner (Brother MFC-7840W)

So no more tablet (iPad Pro), no more desktop PC, no more old desktop PC running Linux, no more old Macs, no more old external hard drives, no more mad science projects that force me to break out my soldering iron and magnifying lenses! Basically, lots more space and a lot less complications. I hope, anyway.

Well okay, I’ll probably still keep my most recent desktop around (unplugged) as a backup and potential streaming machine, just in case something goes wrong or I decide I want to return to livestreaming seriously again.

There’s a ton of stuff that I’ll be letting go of soon, from computers to proaudio to cinematic production gear. If you’re interested, hit me up before it lands on eBay. I just talked to a friend who is overjoyed to receive one of my favorite loopers she’s seen me perform with but that I don’t really use anymore. I’m happy for my former things to find happy homes, in order to make a happier home for a select and purposefully limited set of new things.

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