I’m back from a two week vacation in Japan. We started in Tokyo, made our way to Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nara, Hakone, and then Yokohama. It seems that everything in Japan is designed with keeping a small footprint since space is so precious. As a result it was absolutely the right decision to bring the small 22″ suitcase (instead of the big 26″ one) plus only a backpack. Had I needed to bring my Macbook Pro 15″ life on the road would have been miserable. The size, the weight, and features I didn’t need. I probably wouldn’t have brought it at all if that were the case. Ah, but instead I was able to bring the Air.
The Air turned out to be my external hard drive where I could download my photos every night. It also turned out to be a really good lightweight photo editing station because iPhoto has *just* enough features for me to be able to quickly go through the thousands of photos, select the best, apply cropping and simple effects, and organize them ready to be uploaded. As a notepad it was perfect. Finally, I put a bunch of maps onto it so it helped us find our hotels.
Having a device with negligible weight and small enough dimensions for portability turns a computer into more of an extension of the person. I can forgo the number-crunching power and DVD drive if it means I can have instant-on, shock-resistance, and enough space to hold my data. Also, if it’s thin enough that I can cram an extra book into my backpack that’s a win too.
I remember when I first got an iPod. Only 60 GB and I couldn’t hold my entire library of media. But it was large enough that I could have a really good sampling of songs I liked and movies and podcasts. Then I got an iPhone. With the first version you only had 8 GB of space and that was really only good for just a handful of albums, but because I didn’t have to carry the heavier (and secondary) iPod it was a win. Of course the new iPhone 3G with 16GB of Flash helps alleviate this burden a little too, but still it’s only a small selection of my media library.
There’s this bar of “good enough” where if something is small enough not to be a burden but powerful enough to perform the things you need it to do then it’ll be a more enjoyable experience than a device which is loaded with features but is a pain to lug around or recharge or upload/download data to/from.