The ultimate writing machine?

I am very excited about the Sony “hybrid” PC rumours! A superthin take everywhere laptop (Mac Air ‘beater’, apparently, but then they would say that! Although having used the recent x-series, it’s possible) with an i7 processor, that docks into a second unit via LightPeak to access bluray, hardcore graphics processors, etc.

Superlight on the road. Powerhouse in the home? Assuming it’s not rubbish, this could be the machine I’ve always wanted!

Careful! You’re one of the few Windows users who have ventured into this part of the forum (where are the others, don’t they like us?), so watch out for us pesky Mac users: how dare you even consider the possibility of suggesting that there could be a MacBook Air beater? Eh? Eh? :slight_smile:

:slight_smile: The only nit I have to pick with that idea is this: unless it runs Mac OS X, it’s going to have an awful time shoving the MB Air out of it’s market niche. Do these companies honestly think that making a compelling hardware platform that runs windows is going to lure people who prefer Mac OS X? Before the latest Air machines, Mac users weren’t exactly flocking to the netbooks, after all.

I guess their marketing department gets paid by the hyperbolic word. Can’t we all just be happy that we can have these nifty machines*, without the zero-sum, one-machine-to-rule-them-all nonsense? Can’t we all just get along?

  • Computers in general.

Actually, I purchased two netbooks (one Linux, and the other one Windows-based) hoping to replace the small machine that Apple was not delivering. The Linux machine resulted useless. The Windows machine, with the right full-screen software and my Italian ISO layout, was usable. Even if it run hot as hell, the fan started running quick, and the wifi only worked when in a good mood.

There are others, in this forum, who did the same, and the phenomenon of Hackintosh was very common between writers. I wonder how many small Dells are still running the original Windows system, compared to the ones running OS X! :slight_smile:


I like the phrase “Windows User”. Yeah, I’m a User, what of it? I could quit. I could quit any time I liked. I just need one more month, man. One more. I’m good for it.
<shakes uncontrollably at the sight of Internet Explorer 6> (*)

(* - actually I think this is true of most people)

By “Mac Air beater” I guess they mean it might be smaller? Although since it’s only a hypothetical machine, I guess they could claim loads of other things too. It’ll be immune to viruses. It will earn you 10% cashback on all purchases. I hear it will be able to predict the mood-swings of domestic animals.

Agreed, they won’t tempt people who prefer Mac OS - They are probably just looking to stop the leakage of people who prefer Windows (or at least have used it to date) going over to Mac purely because of “sexy” hardware and the iPhone/iPod “halo” affect. These would be the same people you see queueing up at the “Genius Bar” in Apple Stores trying to get someone to show them how to change the font to “Times New Roman”.

Oh, all right then!

I’ve heard discussion on this forum about wanting a Macbook Air for writing on the go, and a Macbook Pro for home. I have held back on upgrading my 9 year old laptop until I can afford two - a sleek little number for writing and a powerhouse for photography and music. This might just be the answer! For me anyway.

Shake, no. Cry at the number of folks still using, yes. Scream in horror at having to use nothing newer than IE6 to access the payroll site at work…

My “Mac Air beater” one could be referring to one or more of the following:

  • Higher rate of successful crashing
  • Reaches higher running temperature
  • Reaches that running temp faster
  • Beats the MBA TCO as desired by the multiple required software licensors.
  • Increase the profits of the pharmaceutical companies through increased psychiatric prescriptions.
  • Out preforms the MBA in competitive “notebook tossing contests”†

But that is just me guessing

†[size=“70”]The numbers may be skewed as all but one of the participants in the contest absconded with the MBA to be tossed as soon as it was in their possession. Mr Gates admitted that his throw was only completed do to contractual obligations. [/size]

waves Windows user here.

[size=50]Also a former member of the Hackintosh club… Ahem.[/size]

If the MBAir gets a thunderbolt port, I might be tempted to get half of this hybrid pc just for the convenience factor. What I’m really looking forward to is a Thunderbolt hub, with lots of USB ports, firewire, video, esata, audio in & out, and gigabit wired networking. If someone (anyone) comes out with something like that, and Apple produces a compatible MBA, I’ll snatch both of them up.

That’s a very key point right there. Apple’s laptop division is booming while the rest of the industry is not doing so hot. All you have to do is set an 11" MBA next to an Asus Eee PC (which only cost about $300 less) to see why. One is a big noisy chunk of plastic with barely adequate built-in mouse and keyboard devices, really requiring toting around more peripherals just to use the thing. The MBA on the other hand is a sheath of solid aluminium that is actually thinner than the entire LCD lid on the Asus, runs at practically room temperature for normal work, and can be tossed onto a couch while running since, with the exception of a couple of ultra-silent fans, the thing is otherwise a solid chunk of metal and soldering. There is no competition, and the 11" doesn’t even bill itself as a netbook. And it does all of that while actually outperforming larger high-powered laptops at certain disk-intensive tasks. You’d be amazed what you can do with the thing from a performance standpoint.

So more power to other hardware vendors producing better slim laptops, be they hybrids or netbooks. They’ve got to do that if they want to keep selling small laptops in the coming years as they are losing ground with this cheaper-is-better philosophy. A cheap laptop is great, but not if the keys fall out after six months and it runs with all of the speed of a sleeping sloth when doing so meagre a task as firing up Notepad.

I also agree with the counterpoints above. Hackintoshing was a fairly common practice amongst writers prior to the MBA revamp. Jobs sure tried to convince us we don’t need ultra-portable laptops during the iPad announcement, but hardly anyone that actually works on these things took any of that seriously. But just the existence of hackintoshing and Linux HowTos for installing distros on these things means there is something transcending the OS here: a form factor we all want.

Before the MBA came out, I used my netbook as a portable writing machine. I didn’t bother hackintoshing it, but there is just a big difference between something that weighs several pounds and is full of delicate machinery, and something lightweight, the size of a large book, and durable.

These really are the ultimate writing machines on the go, and if Windows Scrivener users can have access to a nice solid machine like the MBA, that’s great.

That all said, once I get home and I’m back in front of my main computer with its 27" monitor and constant external backups and so on—yeah, I’m not using the MBA or any other micro laptop. I think as said above, it’s the combination that appeals so much to writers. Writing outside of the home is just essential for many of us, and being able to stow our entire toolkit with no more difficulty than one would stow a magazine in a bag is just what the psychiatrist ordered.

The people at Microsoft’s Marketing department will tell you that machine is already here.

Its called “Windows Phone” and is about as exciting as a chocolate brown Zune. Microsoft is still scratching their heads over why the brown zune didn’t kill the iPod. I mean it had a FM tuner in it, a feature the iPod did not have factory.

But hey we are also talking about the people who designed a GUI that forced people to click a “start” button in order to stop their computer.

Also “lightpeak” I think is the fiber optic version still in testing (does not supply power over the bus as of yet) and “Thunderbolt” is the branded name for the copper version (supplies power over the bus). Thunderbolt would be the one you would see connecting peripherals, (up to 6 daisy chained per port I think).

Myself I hate the MBAs. Too whimpy and light. If you have to beat off some rabid midget alien zombies you want something with some heft and that could deal a few killing blows. PC’s would never pass the zombie test. Too much plastic, would shatter at the first attempt to double tap a zombie. MBA not enough weight and would probably just warp and bend. 17" MBP could do some real B horror movie damage. And with some duct tape, moonshine, a swiss army knife, the first season of McGyver on DVD, and some cotton swabs, you could build a class laser pistol using the the thunderbolt port on that MBP where if you had a MBA you would have to stick to a lower powered taser gun.

Oh wait, I thought the title said “ultimate fighting”…
my bad…

You’ve gotta do a little modification to bring them up to zombie specs, I’ll admit that. But give yourself an hour or two with a whetstone and you can bring that leading edge down to a razor point. Flip it open and fling it like a Frisbee for a double-sided flying zombie death.again machine.

Wouldn’t it be easier, cheaper, and a heck of a lot more fun to just ask Milla for some help?

Heck I’d prefer watching her kill the zombies over … well just about anything.

People assumed that the “MagSafe” power cable connector is to prevent crashing the laptop to the floor if you trip over the cord.

Now it all becomes clear: it’s really a quick release for when the zombie hoards start climbing through the windows.

[UNRELATED POINT: Should you follow a colon with a capital letter, or lowercase text?]

Now all we need is a robot and we got ourselves some SciFi

This is entirely a house-style thing, like the Harvard versus the Chicago comma.

At our pub, if what follows the colon constitutes a standalone independent clause (i.e., it could be a complete sentence), and it’s more than five words long, we capitalize. Otherwise, not.

I wan’t aware that there was a Harvard vs Chicago comma thing. Fearing it might be (a) a graphical difference (“we use a small picture of a cat with a dangling tail here in Chicago”) or (b) a secret reference to robots, I did a google search.

I’m glad I did. The Wikipedia article seems to delight in using odd lists to illustrate the different conventions in comma use.

For example…

So far in this thread you folks are definitely putting cart before horse.
That is, you’re salivating over machines instead of thinking about writers.
You know, the nut behind the butt plate, as we say on the rifle range.
If I could design a machine that would assist my writing, it would:

(1) Listen to me. I speak, it types out what I say.
Perfectly, including the imperfections of dialogue.

(2) Heed my revisions as commands, either spoken or via multi-touch.
If I want to reverse the order of words or clauses, just select & drag to new position.

(3) Read back passages to me in a normal, pleasant voice.
Maybe recognize the gender and age of characters; bring them alive.

(4) Maintain word-count, Flesch-count, spell-check, and smart stats.
With auto-comparison to my other drafts and projects.

In other words, have amazing software to run on hardware not yet invented. :open_mouth:

It should have a casting database! You could tell the machine that the robot, Gerard, will be played by Jeremy Irons and the computer will use his voice to play back those parts.

It can build up the voice characteristics by searching online youtube clips.

You forgot one.

(5) It presents the editor in white on blue, and plays MP3 files of people sneering at you if you try to change it.

Sony finally revealed a photo of their new ultramobile that pigfender mentioned. I quite like it, however I wonder what the rubber (?) thingies are for on the backside of the lid.