UPLINK: 2020-04-30 How a ten year old laptop liberated me

I bought a 2010 11 inch MacBook Air. It's old and it's slow, but I love it. Here's why:

It's tiny

The 11 inch MacBook is perfect for my needs. It's totally portable. Not much bigger than a large tablet. I can take it pretty much anywhere. I can travel. I'm a nomad and this form factor is perfect for me. I thought I'd struggle with the smaller screen compared to my 13inch work MacBook. Not so. I love the tiny screen, which forces me to run apps in full screen and focus on the task at hand.

It's functional

The keyboard is great to type on. The trackpad works beautifully. The battery is replaced and hold it's charge. The aluminium is tough and rugged. Even the massive bezel and thickness of the device make it feel less fragile. It has old school USB ports and a headphone jack, both of which I'm fans of.

It's slow

This thing is slow compared to modern machines. It struggles to multitask and some web pages are slow to load. It's not very good at multi-tasking, both because the screen is small, but also because it's slow. I like that. I'm not distracted. I focus on writing, reading or watching. I slow down, I what I'm doing more, how I'm valuing my time.

It's private

Until I bought this machine I was using my work machine for home use. Crazy thing to do. "I have nothing to hide" right? I've been using my work machines for personal use for 15 years and never had a single problem. No I see the error of those ways, especially during these times when everyone is working from home and there will be more scrutiny of what employees are doing. That is mainly why I bought this machine, but the privacy has given me so much more freedom to express myself into notes, research websites, and securely message. All of my notes are stored either in Standard notes or an encrypted disk image - lovely. Signal is installed for secure messaging and all of my browsing history is private from my employer. This is liberation.

It's minimal

There is something nice about everything being stripped back to the basics. I loved the 1990s-2000s. Life was in many ways more minimal. I also love (loved) my holidays where I would travel light with the bare essentials. A camera, a phone, a small laptop. I would journal and live a simple life on the move. None of the extra paraphernalia that modern life required. Right now I'm just typing this whole journal entry up on this 10 year old machine in a simple notepad. No fancy app, no cloud storage, just a plain text file stored on a hard drive. I love that simplicity and minimality that you can't get from complex machines.

To summarise, in an increasing era of mass surveillance, complex machines and the crazy pace of change, I'm loving taking a step back and looking for a simpler life and more private life. My technology is becoming increasingly slower paced and offline and private.


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