Tough choices

While I was in California last week, I found myself deep in the reality distortion field induced by the presence of MacBook Airs. Alec bought himself one, and several of the speakers at Stanford were using them. The weight, screen, and keyboard are pretty damn near perfect…
I’m looking at two basic options for my next laptop. The first – the conservative approach – is to get a loaded MacBook Pro with a 250GB disk (or perhaps the 200GB 7200 rpm unit, for speed). Physically it’s a drop-in replacement for my PowerBook, but much, much faster. If I use it the same way, it will spend 90% of its time as a desktop system.
The alternative is to admit that I would rarely use all of the features of a MacBook Pro, and with a lighter machine I’d actually treat it as a portable. Of course I need plenty of disk space for my iTunes library and photos, but a 1TB Time Capsule (combination 802.11n base station and network disk) could solve that. I assume that iTunes will be able to work with its library stored on a network disk; I just need to be able to rip the occasional CD using the external SuperDrive, and then sync between my iPhone and the iTunes library.
In terms of price, the two options are roughly comparable. But can I really use a MacBook Air without a second computer? I guess I could pick up a second hand Mac Mini for a couple of hundred dollars…
One of the things that’s causing me to lean towards the MBA is this MacWorld review by Dan Frakes, who actually lived with one for a while. The comments on his piece are fascinating, including this wonderful bit of truth-telling by “OlsonBW”:

Most of my friends scoff at the MacBook Air. But you know what? The only time they pull out CDs, DVDs, or their video camera is rare.
“But I use it to edit our vacation video.” They claim.
BS, I tell them. Show me the videos from your last three vacations.
Uh … they blush and then admit they only imported it into their computer and never touched it after that.
When it comes down to it, “most” of the time they never need anything that the MacBook Air doesn’t have. Once I prove that to them they are surprised at what they actually do.
People lie too much about what they actually need. They lie a lot because they’ve got to have the biggest and fastest even when they don’t use it.

And it’s true. Most of the time I don’t use all of the features on my machine. But 3 lbs. (versus 5.5 lbs.) is a “feature” that I can really use.