Laptop Musings

As part of the new work contract, I negotiated a new laptop. The wording in the contract is “…will purchase a new laptop (Macbook Pro or Macbook Air) for the use of Employee…).

Therein lies the question… Pro or Air?

Life’s questions should always be so rough. 🙂

I’m currently working on a 2.2GHz Macbook Pro, purchased for me by my current/former Evil Masters, as negotiated at my hiring. I didn’t negotiate hard enough though (which is partially because I was rushing to get a job as quickly as possible to finalize a mortgage application), and as a result the terms are much less favorable: I get the laptop, but I have to stay a year before I can buy it out, and even then the buyout is something ridiculous like $1500, which drops to $500 at a year and a half and $0 at two years. What can I say, I was a bit desperate for a job, and the laptop was just a perk.

As I see it, my options are to either keep the current laptop, paying the buyout cost of $1500, or to purchase a shiny new Macbook Air.

There are pros and cons to each laptop:

Current Macbook Pro:

Pro – battle-tested and proven
Pro – has my stickers on it already
Pro – 120G hard drive, faster CPU
Pro – firewire port
Pro – replaceable battery
Con – bigger and heavier
Con – screen has the nasty finger-oil marks
Con – isn’t a new Macbook Air

Macbook Air:

Pro – sexy and light
Pro – brand new screen
Pro – smells like a new laptop
Con – lose my stickers
Con – no firewire
Con – no optical drive
Con – smaller 80G harddrive, smaller CPU

For my needs, smaller and lighter is quite a value – I intend to throw it in a backpack every day and bike somewhere to work. The smaller drive is easily mitigated with fast external drives, which I already own; archival backups of all important data etc is trivial in OSX. Plus, the sheer “sexy” of the thing pleases me greatly.

On the other hand, I already have and use a MOTU 828mkII firewire audio interface – actually, based on that link, I see that they no longer manufacture the mkII in a firewire version, and that there’s actually a mkIII version now. Regardless, if I have any inclination to use my new laptop for audio-related projects I should really consider the firewire port – or maybe try to trade my 828mkII for a USB2.0 model.

There is a third option – to leave this Macbook Pro with the company and purchase a brand new Macbook Pro. That would take care of a few of the cons for sure, and is probably my best bet, all told. Still, it’s not a Macbook Air. For some reason this all feels like trying to decide between dating the super-hot, fun to hang out with and crazy in the sack blonde sweetie vs. the smart, elegant and beautiful brunette… the intelligent choice is obvious, but should I follow my head or my heart? When I listen to my head I usually accept short-term boredom but always win out in the end, but following my heart is invariably more fun.

I’ll have to decide this soon, probably within the next week.