2013 MacBook Air - Questions & Answers

Bosebeer

n00b
Joined
Jun 28, 2013
Messages
40
Recently I purchased a MacBook Air - Q2 2013 Version. This was, personally, my first MacBook. I've played around with MacBooks before but I finally pulled the trigger for myself. I own multiple PCs and laptops that run W7/W8/Ubuntu/XP and so on. So my background with the MAC OSX is very limited.

So a little about the product. I went with the 13.3" version with the 256 GB PCIE SSD. I will be working with MATLAB and a few other high intensity programs so I upgraded the processor and memory (Core i7-4650U and 8GB DDR3 @ 1600MHz).

Why did I go with the Macbook Air? Instead of a notebook with an OS I'm more familiar with (W7/W8), such as a Sony Vaio Pro. Well it was a difficult decision choosing the MBA; I jumped between a handful of laptops and I was very hesitant to choose it.

I initially wanted to purchase the Razer Blade 14" but the $2000.00+ price tag drove me off; I then started leaning towards clunkier Lenovo laptops, but they lacked the features I wanted at a decent price. So what was I looking for in a laptop?

1. Good battery life
2. i7 + at least 8GB RAM
3. 256GB SSD
4. A strong dGPU or a iGPU with GT3/GT3e graphics
5. $1400 - $1800 Budget
6. Durable and light

If the MBA (hardware wise) was the perfect laptop for the time I purchased it, I'm sure some upcoming Ultrabooks with GT3e graphics would have been a more comfortable choice, but by far the best choice at the time. And for the price ($1479.00 + Tax) it was definitely the best deal, plus I was given $100.00 App Store Gift Card.

I have read many guides regarding transitions from Microsoft OS to Apple OS; but none of them go into the detail that I was hoping for. Are you guys aware of any technical guides for Mac OSX? Do you have any good tips for someone new to Mac OSX? Any must have apps / widgets you think I should purchase?

Also if anyone has any questions regarding the Q2 2013 MBA, please shoot!
 

UnknownSouljer

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Sep 24, 2001
Messages
7,405
OSX isn't a particularly difficult OS to use. Of course like all new things it does require adjustment.

There are 75 or so views on this with no replies. There are few reasons for that. Most notably that your question isn't really specific (what sort of guide are you really hoping for? A technical guide? What is that? Does it supply you with source code, technical specifications, and OS design decisions?). Additionally similar questions get asked at least twice a month (switching to OSX, help? New to OSX, what programs should I get? Made the switch, now what?).

So here's the super short version.

Tips and Tricks:
-Learn Hotkeys, OSX's efficiency is based around them
-Get Quicksilver or some other launching program. You can continue to use Spotlight if you'd like, but other things are better.
-Learn about Mission Control, multiple desktops, and make your own workflow on how to use them efficiently.

Programs: This is the same as in Windows. Same stuff different flavor. Without knowing what you want to do, giving out suggestions is kinda pointless... but anyway.
-Adobe Creative Suite
-Microsoft Office (I use 2011, happy with that)
-If you hate iTunes (I find it serviceable and not nearly as bad as people say), they I suggest the Zombieware music player: Cog
-Quicksilver listed above...
-Alternative browser. Recently I've actually started to use Safari, but both Firefox and Chrome are available in OSX.
-NetNewsWire is useful if you read a lot of RSS feeds
-VLC, you should know this from Windows...
-uTorrent, you know what this is...

Widgets: Widgets for the most part are outdated and Apple has sorta ignored them for about the past 2-3 releases of OSX. That said I only really use 3 Widgets that don't already come with OSX.
-iStat Pro. Hardware monitor, nuff said. Unfortunately it is no longer being updated, but still works in Mountain Lion.
-Timescroller. Shows the time in multiple timezones. As many as you'd like. Also has colored globes to be able to tell the general time of day with a glance. I do travel and have friends in different timezones.
-Countdown. Exactly what it sounds like. Counts down Years, months, weeks, days, hours, seconds. It is a useful tool for me to think about how much time I have to accomplish things. Totally not necessary, but I use it.
 
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d4nnn

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 8, 2004
Messages
1,392
What type of work do you plan to do outside of matlab? Is this your go-to device?
 

cnealjr

Gawd
Joined
Aug 27, 2003
Messages
921
Be prepared to never want to use a Windows based laptop touchpad again. The gesture based functions of Apple's trackpads are a thing of beauty. Hands down my favorite thing about switching from Windows laptops to a Macbook Pro in Summer of 2011. It took me a bit of time to figure out how to do things, but Google is your friend, and Hotkeys are great shortcuts. I have enjoyed my OSX experience. I just casually use the machine, but if I had to, I could use it for work related functions very easily now that I am comfortable with it.
 

jimh425

Gawd
Joined
Jan 7, 2012
Messages
644
Don't give up. Although my coworkers were initially disgusted by how hard some things were to do, they were eventually able to do most things that were easy for them in Windows in OSX.

I think the trick is to pretend like you don't know how to do anything on your computer which means follow the OSX basic tutorials, etc. It also helped them when they avoided Windows for a few days.
Don't make the mistake of thinking OSX is easier. It is different, but not easier.
 

MrMike

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Nov 4, 2000
Messages
6,511
I did the same thing. The 13" MBA (i5/8GB/256) is my first Apple computer. What really drove me to it is the battery life. I was also open to trying something different.

I'm happy with OSX so far, and I use Win8 dual boot for the times I really need Windows. Those times have been more uncommon than I expected.

I agree with the poster above that OSX isn't necessarily easier. In some ways I prefer the way Windows 7 works, and in others I prefer OSX. I prefer OSX to Windows 8, even though it's what I chose to bootcamp on my MBA.

Be prepared to never want to use a Windows based laptop touchpad again.

Agreed. I just tried the other day after having my Air for two months now. There is no comparison. Quite glad I didn't get a VAIO Pro.
 

Bosebeer

n00b
Joined
Jun 28, 2013
Messages
40
What type of work do you plan to do outside of matlab? Is this your go-to device?

I have a strong PC (3770k/GTX770/16GBram/SSDraid array) that I'll use at home for more complex programs/sequences and 3D programs. I jumped on the Office 365 subscription for 4 years; one license on my PC one on my MBA.

Other than MATLAB; MS Suite will be the main set of programs I use. Don't think I will even try to dab into 3D programs with GT3 graphics.
 

JPF_

Limp Gawd
Joined
Dec 30, 2011
Messages
494
My thoughts going into my first OSX device is to do it with out any help and as soon as you get stuck then Google the question;

"How to turn off wifi in OSX?"
"How to ________ in OSX"


I guess I have always been the type to learn in the dark.
 

Putz

I have a custom title
Joined
Jul 8, 2002
Messages
5,438
i just bought the base air my only complaint (which i knew prior to purchasing)

-they could at least go to 1080p
-the slightly better intel igpu options would have been nice

other than that its fantastic, my gaming days have been pretty much done for over a year now i havent had the patience to sit and play anymore since my divorce (lol go figure!) but the base i5 will still do d3 and SCII ok (not on max settings by anymeans)
 

equinox654

Gawd
Joined
Apr 7, 2005
Messages
770
i just bought the base air my only complaint (which i knew prior to purchasing)

-they could at least go to 1080p
-the slightly better intel igpu options would have been nice

other than that its fantastic, my gaming days have been pretty much done for over a year now i havent had the patience to sit and play anymore since my divorce (lol go figure!) but the base i5 will still do d3 and SCII ok (not on max settings by anymeans)

That sounds like me. I just sold my gaming rig and got a 15" macbook pro. Woman ruined video games for me :(
 

jbltecnicspro

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Aug 18, 2006
Messages
8,018
Sex is better than video games, or is that not what you meant? :D

If I was to get a Mac, it would definitely be the 13-inch air. Very sweet. My buddy has one and I'm impressed with it.
 

sniggle

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 15, 2006
Messages
252
My suggestions:

  • MenuMeters - great if you're into system stats
  • TotalTerminal - once you get into doing things in the terminal this is a nice quick way to get to the terminal, similar to opening the console in a game
  • Adium - great chat app
  • CoRD - decent remote desktop replacement, although the official MS ones works well enough
  • Parallels - if you want to simultaneously run Windows, this is a pretty good solution. Since you got the 256GB SSD and 8GB of ram, you can confortably run Windows alongside OSX
  • As others have said, get used to multitouch gestures for switching desktops and expose. It really is amazing
  • Consider getting an Apple TV. Once Mavericks comes out, you can use it as a wireless secondary display seamlessly. Refurb Apple TV's are $75.
 

Bosebeer

n00b
Joined
Jun 28, 2013
Messages
40
Thanks for the suggestions; I don't think I will be putting too much time into games (maybe Civ5 or KSP when I'm bored and away from my PC). But I'm still worried about how MATLAB will handle... Just got my student status verified just trying to gather the $99.00 for the software!
 

linziyi

Weaksauce
Joined
Aug 8, 2013
Messages
70
You can try SAGE if MATLAB doesn't turn out well, it's a very powerful open source program comparable to MATLAB and mathematica.
 
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