I love my Macbook Pro. I’ve been sitting here in my living room all day typing away. It’s been rainy, but warm, so I’ve been working with only the screen doors shut. The smell of spring has been wafting in. I’m sitting in my favorite chair, with a great mug of coffee. It helps that I’ve been productive all day, but that would have happened with any machine I’m working on. That’s not what I want to comment on here. I want to make a note about the aesthetics of this work.
This Macbook is beautiful. It’s not perfect, but still, it’s beautiful. There three aspects of its design I want to talk about: the keyboard, the weight, the unibody construction. And they I want to talk about what those elements have to do with writing practices, at least for me.
First of all, the keyboard is a “chic-let” style keyboard. That is, the keys look like little, black pieces of chiclet gum. It feels great. Solid. Sort of like it pushes back after you hit the keystroke. But not before. It doesnt’ feel like the keys are stuck or harder to engage. Is that they seem to push back in some way. I love it. Like the keyboard is sort of typing me, I guess.
Second, the unibody construction makes it feel incredibly solid. It makes the machine feel rigid and durable. There’s no flex to it. It makes the machine feel… well… unified. Simple. Clean. No seams. Like its a single piece of machinery without moving parts inside. Like something that exists in stead of something built. Substantial.
And then there’s the weight. It’s not really all that light. Or maybe it is, but it’s not that light for it’s size. Maybe the ridgidity give the impression of weight. The machine is well-balance from side to side, but it’s really got a lot more weight concentrated in the keyboard body than in the screen. As a result, I can set it here on my lap, and it feels really stable. My key-strokes don’t shake the screen. The body doesn’t slide around on my lap. It feels like it’s almost rooted on my lap.
To sum it up. The Macbook feels like an incredibly stable, responsive, and solid machine. And this is just the “build” quality. This is to say nothing of the intuitiveness and clean-ness of the interface and installed software.
The bottom line is that I LIKE writing on this machine. I felt the same thing when I ponied up the dough and purchased a much nicer road bike than I had been using. I still needed to do the riding, to get the exercise, to get me from place to place, but the experience of it was entirely different. It took work and turned it into pleasure. Still work, granted, but pleasure, too.
And I would have to say the same thing about this Macbook. It doesn’t just change the efficiency of the work that I do on the machine. It changes the nature of that work. Not radically, but substantially.
This isn’t to say that Macbook’s are the best computers out there, or that Apple is the best computer maker in the world. I’m not qualified to say that.
What I can say is this: This 13″ Macbook is right for me. It matches what I value in a machine. And that changes the way I write. It changes the way I feel about the work I do. It changes my attitude while I’m doing that work. All, I think, for the better.
That’s why I want to share this insight. Because I want the same for you.
To pay attention to the affects that your machines have on your writing. That the machine isn’t transparent. It is the opposite. It’s at the heart of what substantiates your own experience of the work you do. Pay attention to it. It can be beautiful.