The Right Tool

A few months back, my precious (and venerable) Macbook Pro died after 5 years of faithful service. Shortly after, I wrote a post about carefully assessing what applications I really needed to install on my computer, and choosing only to install the ones that were necessary. I actually went further than that, and chose not to buy a new computer at all. My thinking was to see if I could do everything I needed on my little MacMini and for mobile stuff, just use the free iPad I got from work.

I tried. I really did. And the iPad is an awesome tool for reading ebooks, articles, websites, or jot quick notes. But even with the wireless bluetooth keyboard, (try negotiating all of that on your lap on a bus!) when it comes to writing book, it just don’t cut it. You know what does, though? This:

That’s right. An 11” Macbook Air, and I just got it yesterday. It will be running Scrivener, Writeroom, Notational Velocity, and not much else. I am so in love with it, I think I might name it.

An 11” Macbook Air probably isn’t the right tool for a lot of people. People who do a lot of work with graphics or need multiple apps open simultaneously. The screen is tiny, and even though I maxed out the RAM, it’s nowhere near as fast as the new iMac my friend Ryan Benyi just got for his photography business. But for my needs, it’s perfect.

My point is, there’s been this recent trend toward simplicty, of embracing limits. And I’m all for that. Limits can be an artist’s best friend. But as Patrick Rhone of Minimal Mac often points out, it’s not about getting rid of as much as you can. It’s about dispensing with the idea of “one size fits all” or more to the point, “one tool fills all needs” and taking the time to consider carefully what you need.

Focus on what’s important and give it the attention it deserves. That’s what I’ve learned.