I don’t want a fancy stereo. I don’t want a Tivo. I don’t even want a Kindle (very much). The only consumer fetish I have is for laptops to write on and smartphones that help me maintain the sense of being organized — all other technology leaves me fairly cold. So, for several months now, maybe longer, I’ve been fighting the compulsion to buy a Macbook Air, Apple’s lightest portable laptop.Do I need one? Not that badly. I have a two-year old Powerbook that works just fine.
Will it make my life simpler? Yes — it would be nice to carry 3 lbs rather than 6 lbs when I move around. 1.0 lbs would be even better, but I am cool and won’t go PC.
Will I have to spend two days making sure all my data and programs (Matlab, Mathematica, FrameMaker, Parallel Systems, etc) port over and run? Yes, and the time would be better spent on other more productive activities.
Will I have to carry around a small USB drive if I go away for a while and want to take all the contents of my normal desktop with me? Yes, because the Air has a small hard drive. I will also need a SuperDrive to read/write DVDs.
Nevertheless, I want one … but it’s wrong. People shouldn’t buy things they don’t really need.
However, faculty in my dept get some money to spend each year on hardware and software to do their research. And that money will just sit there if I don’t spend it. It will be cash hoarded rather than cash spent. And if you listen to the administration, you know that that’s bad.The paradox of thrift …
So, I am going to do what’s good for the country and get the Air. If you have someone else’s money you can use to stimulate the economy, I suggest you do it too.
Originally published at Wilmott.com and reproduced here with the author’s permission.