Thursday, February 14, 2008

Macbook Air, part 3

I have had the MBA for a while now and all seemed to be well until tonight. I uploaded a presentation I am doing next week which included 5 wmv files embedded in a Powerpoint 2007 presentation. The movies would begin to play and then freeze up PowerPoint. I thought it might be PowerPoint, and re-installed, but that did not work. (The movies played fine in Media Player and I even converted them to AVIs using Premiere Elements and that did not work, either.) (4/28/08 follow-up: I found out if I save the presentation as PDF with Adobe Acrobat 8 Professional and embedded the videos as AVI or MOV (which are the only two choices) into the resulting PDF, the videos played pefectly in the PDF on the Windows side of the machine. Just a simple work-around...)

It took a while, but I found the answer was to decrease the hardware acceleration of the graphics card. To do this on XP, simply right-click on the desktop and choose PROPERTIES-SETTINGS-ADVANCED-TROUBLESHOOT. I had to drag the slider down to the middle of bar in order for the wmv movies to run within the PowerPoint presentation. This disables some things that apparently could cause problem with Direct X programs, but I need the videos to work right now. It is easy to set it back to full for all other applications.

This must be an interesting chipset. I found newer drivers, but hesitate to install them because of the Bootcamp/Windows/Mac thing. However, I did find a fix for those with the Intel 965 chipset (on any computer) who cannot seem to get Second Life to run. That post is here. I successfully followed these directions on a student's Dell laptop with Vista earlier this week and he is having no problems!

I promise not to continue with many more postings on the Air. However, people are reading and responding and asking me additional questions via email, so I feel compelled to share what I learn to save others some time!

Kathy "The Techno-Geek" Schrock

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Macbook Air, part 2

I finally had time to actually use the Air. A few thoughts...

Second Life works tremendously better on the Mac side and there is no lag.

The VGA-out dongle worked fine. On the Windows side, you need to use the Intel mirroring software and on the Mac side you have to set the screens to mirror. By the way, the native resolution of the Macbook Air is the same as the Macbook @ 1280x800.

Below you will find two photos of the thickness/thinness factor of the Macbook Air. Clockwise, the items are the Macbook Air, the Fujitsu P1510D tablet, the XO, an iPod Touch, a Treo 700wx, and the Asus eeePC.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Macbook Air first thoughts

My Macbook Air arrived yesterday and I have been installing software ever since. I have installed Bootcamp and Windows XP (glad I ordered the external Super Drive since it made it easy!) and all of the programs I will need on the machine. I broke the drive directly in half, which gave me about 37GB for each platform. I knew I had to pick and choose wisely.

The Macbook Air is very slim. I was surprised at its weight...seems heavier than a little over 3 pounds, but the fact it is so compact might have something to do with with that. I made my own Vera Bradley slipcase for it out of two placemets today, which you can see below.

Compact and sturdy
The multitouch touchpad is awesome!
Comes with DVI and VGA dongles that have their own connection under the little door
Screen is brighter than bright!
External Superdrive works great for a single-USB non-powered device on both platforms
Second Life regular client (Windows) works just fine (not as well as the Macbook Pro, but just fine)
Peppy on program start up

A tad top-heavy when it is open wide since the screen area probably weighs as much as the keyboard area.
The mono speaker comes out from under the keyboard only on one side. A tad tinny, IMHO.

All software installed like a charm and the list follows.

Apple side of the machine
Microsoft Office 2004 for the Mac
iWork 08
Quicktime Pro
(18GB of HD left)

Windows side of the machine
Windows XP Pro
Office 2007 Pro Plus
Paint Shop Pro
Second Life
Screen Print Platinum
Adobe Photoshop Elements 6
Adobe Premiere Elements 4
Acrobat 8 Pro
Microsoft Photostory
MacDrive 6
Microsoft Streets and Trips 2008
CA eTrust AV
Stardock ObjectDock
(24GB of HD left)

I have not tried hooking up via the Ethernet dongle or to a LCD projector. I will do that later this weekend.

(Update 2/5/08: Good review here for the ones who really need to know how it performs!)