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This is kind of a vague question. Do you mean "is the keyboard good enough to type on"? Do you mean "is it good for me to stare down at a weird angle for 8 hours a day"? Do you mean "is it easy to upgrade the hardware when I want to"?

If that's what you mean, no laptop is going to be acceptable. Laptop keyboards are crap. Laptop ergonomics are crap. Laptop expandability is crap.

If the question is, "does Ruby run on 2.13GHz dual core machines", the answer is yes.

I like to work from not-my-desk once in a while, so I have a small netbook for that. But honestly, it's so much nicer to work at a properly ergonomic workspace that I rarely do this -- only for hackathons and the like. If I am by myself, I am in front of a proper workstation.

(I also don't like the "well, just ssh from your laptop to a server" approach that others are mentioning. I can feel the latency. If I run Emacs over ssh or X to another machine, I notice the key lag. If I edit files on a remote file system, I feel the latency for operations like "git status" and even saving. Perhaps I am just very picky.)




If that's what you mean, no laptop is going to be acceptable. Laptop keyboards are crap. Laptop ergonomics are crap. Laptop expandability is crap.

Well, I tried the 11.6" in the Apple Store today. The keyboard is awesome. It is a full sized keyboard. There is nothing 'laptop' about it. So it is exactly what you are used to if you have been using the recent wireless keyboard.


These are not good keyboards. See current front page article about mechanical keyboards for more details.


It's subjective. They're great keyboards and I love them. As a former hoarder of IBM buckling spring keyboards, I'll take an Apple keyboard any day. And a Magic Mouse, too.

They're what I'm comfortable with and that makes them good.


Well, buckling spring keyboards are not that great either. Time to update your standards from the early 80s to the late 80s...


My standards are a bit different. I use what I like, not what other people tell me I should.

PS: I didn't down arrow you. What's with all the Redditesque down voting lately?


I use what I like, not what other people tell me I should.

Blub :)

Seriously though, I was a big Model M fan for a while. Then I tried something newer, and could never go back.

Also, the new keyboards are less likely to cause your desk to collapse ;)


As ohers said, it is a very subjective qestion. Personally, my hands start to hurt after about 15 minutes typing on a "real" keyboard.

That being said, the ergonomics of using a laptop-style keyboard is usually much better when it is external than when it is connected to a computer. The thinness of the Air might change this though, haven't tried it yet.


Personally, my hands start to hurt after about 15 minutes typing on a "real" keyboard.

Which model, specifically?


Essentially anything with more travel-distance than a laptop keyboard. I've tried a lot of different models. Currently, I'm using a Logitech diNovo as my main keyboard, but I'm looking for a replacement since it is starting to break.


Ah, OK. I thought you were talking about mechanical keyboards, and then I found it strange that you were still having trouble.

I have a coworker whose right pinky finger starts hurting about an hour into using a keyboard. He replaced his no-name rubber dome keyboard with a Cherry Brown-based Filco, and the problem was solved. The advantage a mechanical keyboard offers over the standard rubber-dome keyboard is that you don't have to press the key to the bottom of it's travel to make it register. This limits the force that your finger is required to transmit to something like 60g, instead of an infinite amount as you press the key against the immobile bottom of the keyboard. Less stress, less pain.

Anyway, if you do get a mechanical keyboard, just make sure to consciously avoid bottoming out for a while. If you pound on it, it will still hurt.


Thanks for the info. Maybe I'll try something a bit more mechanical for my next keyboard. I'll definetly remeber to try and stop bottoming out if I get one :)


I actually find the Mac laptop keyboards to work pretty well (other than the crap placement of the fn key). I am not sure why, but I don't feel as great with the wireless keyboard. I thought their was no difference but it sure feels like it.

My desktop setup is a matias keyboard.


There's just no way a Mac keyboard is as good for someone who does a lot of key entry as a Unicomp or similar third party hardware.


I don't understand. What is a "proper workstation" ?

In my home office I have a MBP w/ a Microsoft Ergonomic Elite Keyboard w/ one 24 inch Cinema display (Apple) and one 19 inch flatscreen. I also use an Intellimouse.

As far as I can tell, that's the best of both worlds. Take the MBP on the road when you need to; stay cozy at home all the rest of the time.


Right, but there's no way to upgrade your hardware with that setup. Want a RAID-1 array? Too bad. Want a new CPU? Too bad.

And it costs more than a desktop + netbook combo.


The lack of hardware upgradeability on Apple products in general kept me from switching for many years. Then I realized by the time I was ready to upgrade my system the CPU sockets changed, the memory changed, etc.

So I'm not concerned if I can't upgrade my hardware down the road. Having everything soldered in place means I get a lighter product with fewer points of failure.


> fewer points of failure

Do hardware parts really fail enough to make it worth eliminating cpu sockets, memory slots, sata, pci express, etc?


The more you play with a component's mechanical housing the more likely it is to break. There's also just human error in replacing hardware that leads to housing fractures.

Creepage among memory chips is also possible. RAM doesn't sit as snug for the entire life of your computer. It creeps out a little bit over time and allows for dust to prevent conductivity between the chip and the slot. Having everything soldered in place is much better.

The biggest issue, though, is all the added space required for the housing. The slots, connectors, clips, etc make the product bulkier. While that's fine for a desktop it's not ideal for a mobile device.


By the time I tend to want a new CPU it tends to be a new architecture anyway so I have to replace most of the parts. Other parts of laptops tend to be replaceable.


If you want a RAID array on a Macbook series laptop, you can get a cage to replace the optical drive and pop in a second 2.5" drive of your choice. It's a compromise, but it's doable.

Not sure that CPU replacement is -that- common an upgrade, even for desktops. Every few years, the latest and greatest CPUs seem to use a new socket anyways.


It depends. I bought an i7 when they first came out a few years ago. My motherboard is still compatible with the newest i7s; if I wanted a 6-core CPU, I could pop one in right now.

Only problem is that the 6-core CPUs are $1000 :)


operative phrase -that- common

Just because you can doesn't mean you will, in many cases.


it's so much nicer to work at a properly ergonomic workspace that I rarely do this -- only for hackathons and the like.

This is my basic feeling right now, and I wrote about it in more detail here: http://jseliger.com/2008/12/26/computer-post-desktop-or-lapt... . Notice in particular the apt Lord of the Rings quote at the end.

I think laptops are (somewhat) overrated, though they might not be for you, in the plural sense.




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