My Nervous Mac Buying Spree

I’ve talked about this off and on to Shawn Blanc on listeners of the B&B Podcast, but I thought I would write up my recent experience here — should one of you find yourself to be this foolish with computer buying at any point, ever.

The Story

On Friday June 8th, 2012 my MacBook Air started acting up. In fact, it would later turn out, the logic board was shorting out. I noticed it when I went to put away my Air in my backpack before heading to work. A quick troubleshooting at the office and a genius appointment later, I found myself without a Mac — until Tuesday at the latest, I was told at the time.

That’s OK, it was the weekend and then 1-2 days of iPad only, I would be fine. It’s not ideal, but I can make that work — I’ve done it before for a day here or there.

Sunday night I received a call from the Apple Store, bad news, they needed to ship out my MacBook Air to “the depot” for repairs — that’ll be 5-7 days starting now. Crap.

Since WWDC was the next day, I decided that it was time to get a new machine — that should something awesome be announced, that would be what I get — I resolved myself to getting something new to replace/compliment the Air. I just needed it to be under $3,000.

After the WWDC keynote my plans were further complicated. The retina MacBook Pro was announced and it looked perfect for me, but you could only order them online. I still needed a computer for what could be 7 days worth of work — 7 days that I now realized I did not want to do with only an iPad.

So I order the retina MacBook Pro, then drove to the Apple Store and purchased a Mac mini. I’ve already posted about why I didn’t like that Mac mini, but there’s more to the story.

My entire idea was that I could restore the Mac mini from a backup overnight, be up and running Tuesday, for the rest of the week. No problem.

I spent all day Tuesday watching Time Machine and Migration Assistant fail to restore from my Time Capsule and from a cloned HDD. Ugh. Finally, Wednesday afternoon, I was up and running.

(As it turns out, the issue was that I had Mountain Lion backups from the Air, and was trying to restore from that on a Lion machine — OS X doesn’t like that.)

I used the machine happily Thursday morning, then got a call from Apple: my MacBook Air was ready for pickup.

So I purchased a Mac mini to make my life easier for a week, only to waste a day and a half setting it up, to make my life easier for 4 hours of work.

Yeah, that sounds about right. I figured my Air would be out all week — and had it been, I probably would be less embarrassed about this story, but Apple under promised and over delivered. Lesson learned.

Why iPad Only Didn’t Work

There’s something interesting that I learned about myself along the way. There are two main reasons I didn’t want to be iPad only all week:

  1. With Shawn down at WWDC with no Mac, I needed to be able to record the B&B Podcast with him — I knew I needed a Mac for that. And I didn’t want to have to push around the show. (I did get my Air back just before we recorded.)
  2. I really didn’t like the idea of being iPad only for a week.

The first one is hard to get around (aside from borrowing a Mac and installing needed software), but the second really seems silly to me. I can and am able to do all of my work on the iPad, but I was terrified at the prospect of doing that for a week.

Again: I can work productively on my iPad for both this site and my day job, with no problems.

When I travel I typically only take the iPad, unless I know I need a Mac for a specific something, so this wasn’t an unproven theory. The idea of a week going iPad only was something I simply wasn’t willing to do, and I think I know why: there’s a stigma that I perceive to be attached to the iPad.

I work in an office, like a real office with older people, and I think that they view the iPad as a toy and not a work machine. I think they view the iPad as something for consumption, not creation. Who knows how they actually view it — this is how I think they view it. And that mattered more to me than I thought it would.

So only using an iPad for a week, well, I was worried that everyone would assume that I really wasn’t working. Turns out that in my effort to appear to be productive to others, I ended up being far less productive than I would have if I would have just used the iPad. Lesson learned.

Originally posted for members on: June 22, 2012
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