New Office for Mac, and “should I ditch my MacBook Air”?

H. writes:

I’ve been using a 13” MacBook Air for about 3 years, running Bootcamp/Windows/Office. I’ve been happy with it, other than continually confusing the shortcut keys (e.g., moving the cursor to the end of the line or jumping over a word) with those on my work PC. I wonder if it’s a good time to consider an upgrade and maybe switch to a PC. Do you have a recommendation for a replacement with the same size/form factor on the Windows platform?

This is funny: when I started googling “pc alter…” it filled in “pc alternative to macbook air.” You ain’t the only one, H.! 

I can’t claim any experience with these, but just running with the top article — — I’ve heard that the Asus and Acer models are really great. You really can’t go wrong with Dell or Lenovo either, but I think Asus and Acer tend to have better design.

But of course you know what I’m gonna say: Why not go with the best and see how little you need Windows? The Mac OS accommodates Exchange just fine, and it looks like there’s finally a new Office for Mac on its way. (“Excel…now recognizes most Windows keyboard shortcuts.”) You can download a preview if you’re curious. 

Also, that new MacBook should be quite fantastic. Some reports suggest it may have performance issues, so I’m not going to recommend one unequivocally, but depending on your use, it could be the sleekest piece of kit you’ve ever owned.

Finally, if you need a current copy of Office for Mac, you can purchase a downloadable license from Amazon for $199:

I hope that helps!

Got the new MacBook

13″. Back-lit keyboard. Now with 4GB RAM. 0.1 lbs. lighter than my 12″ PowerBook.
Oh, it’s so good. I’m more impressed than I have been with any previous model, at the time. Although, now I’m thinking back [cue bubbly dream-sequence transition]…

  1. 5300cs – 750Mb HD, 256MB RAM – The passive-matrix 256-color screen made it adequate but not special. Certainly a workhorse, but a pre-Jobs/Ive design.
  2. PowerBook G3 “Pismo” with FireWire – 500MHz, 512MB RAM (I think), 6GB HD – Stellar, with heft that was attractive at the time. DVD drive was so nifty. Airport card. I had the Zip drive that I could swap with the optical drive, which was a nice trick.
  3. Titanium PowerBook – 800MHz, 1GB RAM, 60GB HD – Ahhh, 10 times more storage, a G4 processor and a huge, bright screen. And so well built. The metal-encrusted TiBook was a major move forward in laptop design.
  4. 12″ PowerBook – 1.33GHz, 1.25GB RAM, 80GB HD – The fetish Mac. Wished I coulda gone to 2GB. Wished for back-lit keyboard. Wished for brighter screen. Wished for sudden motion sensor. Wished for bigger hard drive. Was able to hack the two-finger scroll. But for all of that, the 12″ is a fantastic unit.
  5. 15″ MacBook Pro – 2.2GHz, 4GB RAM, 160GB HD – Had to buy it. The 12″ had run its course and wouldn’t run Leopard well. Needed Intel. A rocketship with a bright, beautiful (and matte) display, although I hate to say I’m biased against it because a) it’s heavy and b) its logic board was screwed up from day 1. Having received the 13″, I can finally turn the MBP into AppleCare for the second time. I’m looking forward to getting it back for designing, viewing, and gaming. Also worth noting here that this was the last rev of Apple’s original aluminum laptop design, which had stayed incredibly consistent from January 2003 to October 2008, when the glass-trackpad-and-screen MacBooks were introduced. That’s a long, successful run for a design in this industry.
  6. 13″ MacBook – 2.4GHz, 4GB RAM, 250GB HD – Hewn from a single piece of aluminum, which is hot. LED screen that I can actually make too bright for indoors. User-accessible hard drive (want 7200RPM, but I love this 250GB!), which compensates somewhat for lack of FireWire. One single glass multi-touch trackpad, which my (slight) paunch seems to brush against and prevent good cursor tracking. And two option keys, which means no more key-remapping hacks. I’m officially a fan.

The only non-laptop Mac I’ve ever bought is my Intel Core Duo Mac mini, currently functioning as my media server (with a Drobo) and OS X Server break-and-fix learning box.