The First 64 Gigs 

Patrick Rhone and Ben Brooks have been talking this week about minimal computing.

More specifically, about applications and minimal computing.

The most minimal Mac is the base model MacBook Air. At 11.6 inches with just 2GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, operating one seems to be a practice in minimalism in and of itself.

I’ll be honest — I love the small MacBook Air. I’m often tempted to order one, as it would be a great fit for me. At home, I have a beefy 27-inch iMac, and a super fast 15-inch MacBook Pro at work. Those machines aren’t minimal, simply because of what I have to accomplish while using them. However, I would love a third machine — the little Air — as a machine to use primarily for writing.

With such a machine, I could live without the CS5 suite, QuarkXPress, Aperture and many of the other tools I use at home and at work on a very regular basis.

So, what software would I have on such a Mac? For one, I would re-install OS X with no printer drivers, no language packs and no iLife.[1. I never use iLife, even on my current machines.] Doing so would save some space. Here’s the list of what I would install, in no particular order:

  • Dropbox
  • MarsEdit
  • Transmit
  • Twitter for Mac
  • OmniFocus
  • NVAlt
  • Reeder
  • Pages
  • Keynote
  • TextWrangler

That’s not a lot of software. While I wouldn’t want to lug around a USB drive with music on it, I think I would have plenty of space for 5 or 10 of my favorite albums in iTunes. Hell, maybe I’d just play them in QuickTime X.

Looking at this list makes me really, really want to pull the trigger on a new laptop. Right now, I use the iPad or my work MacBook Pro as my mobile machine, and I’d love to leave the MacBook Pro at work each evening. Too bad I have real things to pay for first.