Macworld 2008

· technology ·

So, the Stevenote is over for another year, and some very interesting stuff was announced. The MacBook Air is a really stunning design, I think. I love the way that they emphasise the weightlessness of it^1^ by tapering the edges of the case so that they are not actually sitting on the surface of the desk. It makes it look a little as if it's floating. Of course, there's a compromise for losing the weight and shrinking the thickness so the specs aren't as good as the MacBook Pros, but I think it fits its intended niche pretty well. Though it's gorgeous, I don't want to buy one. Correction: I want to buy one, but can't justify a need for it.

I was also very interested in Time Capsule. As it happens, I was in the process of thinking about getting more external storage, possibly Network Attached Storage, to enable me to back up all our computers using Time Machine. Our existing discs are getting a bit too full for comfort, and would be better employed to store music or to hold bootable clones of the drives. Time Machine is brilliant -- one of the best features of Leopard in my opinion, and while I thought I'd only use it for backup, it has saved my bacon a couple of times when I deleted files unintentionally. Anything which makes that process even more transparent and effortless would be a great thing. I don't currently have 802.11n wireless in the house, and Time Capsule seems fairly decently priced for the capacity offered.

I'm also intrigued by the iTunes Movie Rentals. We have a LoveFILM subscription which we enjoy, but it has a number of drawbacks. The somewhat random nature of the order in which you receive the DVDs (depending on availability) means that you often end up with a pile of very serious, depressing films when you actually feel like watching a light comedy. It's also not very spontaneous because of the postal delay, so if you find that all you've got when your parents come to visit is a batch of incredibly sweary films (for example) you're a bit stuck. Finally, we intermittently have trouble with scratched discs (something I've ranted about here before). When our player hits a bad scratch, it tends to jump back to chapter one. This means that we watch films with one eye on the DVD counter, so that if it does its skipping act, you can at least laboriously skip forward through the chapters to just after the point where it failed.

If (when rentals appear in the UK iTunes Store) there is a good range of films (including foreign language films and independents), we might well ditch our LoveFILM subscription and just rent-as-we-go: for our level of usage, the price would be about the same.

^1^ OK, I know it's not literally weightless -- 3lb (1.36kg) is not nothing, but it's pretty light.