Eating my own words

As some readers might have noticed, a while ago I tried living on a Mac instead of a Linux PC and at the end of the experiment decided to go back to what I was used to using and ditched the Mac in favour of my Ubuntu machine.

But, about a month ago, while working on it, my trusted Thinkpad decided that after 4 years of service it had a good life and it was about time to die, so it extended the size of its battery by about 4 times, broke the case, gave me a real good scare and died on me.

So it was about time to look for a new notebook and given my main machine is a self built Ubuntu PC with a Ryzen 9, I figured for connecting remotely to that machine, just about anything would do and the battery life was the only thing I was concerned with.

In short, I went with a MacBook Air with the M1 processor. Advertised 18 hours of battery and all in all a small, lightweight and well designed machine and for the job I intended it for more then enough.

The history

This is not the first Mac I ever used or owned, my first one was a company MacBook Pro late 2010 and at the time I got that machine it turned me into an Apple Fanboy for a while. Mind you, my co-workers were stuck on Windows Vista and 7 machines. 7 wasn’t half bad while Vista is still the OS of my nightmares, but the level of polish and reliability OSX Snow Leopard had, neither reached. I can’t remember rebooting that machine often and waking from suspend was seamless, which I can’t say about Windows or Linux machines back in the day.

But I fell out of love soon, the next OS updates made the machine more and more unreliable, when I upgraded to Mountain Lion I remember that switching the “Garage Band” App to use my MIDI interface for my guitar made the entire OS crash every single time (By that time I bought the laptop out of the company and used it as my private machine). Apple did not give me Airplay support for that machine, with a dedicated GPU, while the follow up MacBook Air with way less computing power did get that feature and I got more and more frustrated with that laptop until I finally sold it and got an Alienware MX14 which, I think ran Windows 8 and later Windows 10.

Around that time I also switched to Windows Phones from my old Nokia (yes I did hang on to that one very long), which I still think are the best smartphones ever and forgot about the whole Apple crush I once had.

With more and more concerns about privacy and the death of Windows Phone (and Blackberry which was the follow-up) I went back to iPhones for mobile and switched to Linux for my PCs.

Fast forward

Back to the present. The only Mac I recently owned is a Mac Mini with a quad core i5 I used for developing iOS Apps. Everything else I did on my Thinkpad running Ubuntu or later my desktop running Ubuntu. But no really modern Mac not to speak of an Apple Silicon Mac.

And I have to say, that little MacBook Air worked its way into my heart.

I think I never owned a computer that was more painless to use, you open it up and it is there, no reboots. Rosetta2, the compatibility layer for non arm binaries, works so seamless I can’t tell whether I am running an ARM application or a x86 Application.

Apple did a very good job on that one.

So yeah, I find myself booting my proper Ubuntu machine less and less although it is a way more powerful machine that I designed for my needs.

You might ask, what is the reason for that and the answer is the Mac just does a better job right now.

I am not sure what kind of black magic or deal with the devil Apple had to do to get as mobile machine with so little power consumption to do compilations of huge amounts of code in so little time or to be so quick when editing photos or videos while keeping a battery life, like it actually does, of 18 hours, and that while powering a 2K screen and not even needing active cooling, I mean, that thing is insane.

So all in all, when I said I can’t work on a Mac, I was wrong. I couldn’t get myself to work on a Mac prior to my MacBook Air M1, but right now I can’t imagine working on anything else.

The bad side

I am going to start with the elephant in the room, only having two, 2 USB-C ports on a machine is a nightmare. USB-A is a standard you just can’t ditch yet and dongles are not a solution. The recent move of apple to include more ports in their “Pro” machines also means even they understand that, so here is to hope for more ports on futur MBAs.

But then again, in one month of owning this machine, I did not find myself in a position of having to connect anything but my thunderbolt dock at home, so maybe I am wrong on this. Give me a year with it and I’ll let you know.


After being a Linux user for some time now, I often find MacOS limiting, I am used to switching things I don’t like for something I do and on MacOS that often is not an option. Apple thinks they know what is good for you and you are going to have to stick with it. Same thing on Windows by the way…

But the worst thing for me is that doing anything you could do on any other current OS by default, like snapping a window to the left or right of the screen on a Mac means buying additional software. How is that not a standard feature??

Ad-Blocking in Safari is the same.

Luckily I am still able to use my preferred free software options on this device, so running Firefox instead of Safari solves a lot of issues. I also went directly to Thunderbird, because don’t get me started on Apple Mail…


The keyboard itself is actually ok for a notebook. Not as good as the one on my old Thinkpad but I have had worse and way better as the butterfly versions they used to sell.

But the shortcuts are a nightmare still. For design reasons things like []{}| are not marked on the physical keyboard and are not where they are on standard ones. There is no cut and paste for files but a copy and alt + paste which is just strange for me.

Looking back at the history of how keyboard shortcuts worked on Unix systems I get way Apple added the cmd key to give their users more options and it was a good decision, but these days, for a switcher, I is a huge step to take and without the option to switch to a standard way of using a keyboard.

Where we are at

All in all, I have to say, that I switched my primary work over to the MacBook Air by now, I hardly find myself booting my PC these days because that little thing can do just about anything I need and I am getting more and more used to the keyboard shortcuts.

So about 12 years after my first encounter with a Mac I find myself becoming a Mac user again and this time Apple is making a good case for itself.

This little thing is just brilliant and I hope they keep going in this direction. The recent “Pro” updates to the MacBook line-up are pointing the the correct direction.

I know, that with this post, I have fallen from the graces of free software users, but prior to trashing me for it, please keep in mind that moving over to this Mac saves me hours per week I used to spend on making sure my machine runs well after an update, I haven’t had to think about charging my notebook in over a month, because only a short time of running on the dock made charged it to the point of being usable for days.

It just works.

So to conclude this, what made me go back to the Mac full time was not Apples marketing, the nice design or an application I couldn’t find on Linux, but the fact this laptop does everything I need it to, without a headache, without thinking about it in any way. It is just there to support me when I need it and by that it got me back an entire weekend day I used to spend on updating and checking my Linux machine just to make sure it was working the next week.

And that, makes me eat my own words, but also makes the MacBook Air M1 the best computer I ever owned. All Rights Reserved. Theme by 404 THEME.