The workhorse

I’m typing this blog post today on a 2013 MacBook Air.

I have to say, this little machine has fit me like a glove, however unintentionally. It was bought hurriedly, to replace an aging PowerBook with a dying battery, and at the time I overbought because the tricked-out model was in stock at the Apple Store.

Since then, it’s been a trusty partner for our household. For most of its life, it was the shared home computer for my wife and me, as well as for our children as they began to get online. Between that and our work machines it did good broad duty.

Last year, we got two new computers in rapid succession—a family replacement for this computer, and a new Macbook Air for our older son—and this became our disposable unit that I’d bring to work, coffee shops, etc. When covid-19 hit, our younger son took over the new laptop, leaving me on this machine full-time.

With the exception of a command key that popped out (I popped it back in, poorly but effectively; one corner has been sunken into the body for years) and a midlife battery replacement, it’s been reliable and productive. In this year of remote use, it’s finally starting to falter under heavy use: the trackpad isn’t clicking well, and I’m wearing off the coating on the other command key.

With the specter of more remote learning ahead, I’m probably going to buy yet another laptop, so my fourth grader and I don’t have to bicker over the “good” computer. If the 2013 Air died midstream I’d be in for a long week.

But I have to say I’ve been very content. This computer just goes and goes. When it crashes—there’s a lot of cruft on my machine after 7 years—restarts are quick and save states respected. The Magsafe power cord has saved me many times. Staying on an old OS (I’m still on Sierra! That’s borderline embarrassing) has allowed me to keep old software humming along (I’m looking at you, Photoshop CS 5.1). And while I’m not fussy about such things, I do find that the old school keyboard is more comfortable than the chiclets on the 2019 Airs in our possession.

It’s been a good machine. I’m sure it will linger (for the Photoshop, mostly). And that will be fine.