May 30, 2024

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I traded in my MacBook and am now a desktop converter

I traded in my MacBook and am now a desktop converter

When the M3 MacBook Airs launched last month, I pulled off a good double-face move that Captain Picard would be proud of. It's not more wedge shaped (kinda). My M2 MacBook Air 15 was a bit too big, too heavy, and no matter what some people say, the 8GB of RAM wasn't enough. Analyzing the various MacBook Air and MacBook Pro configurations and prices has left me scratching my head. The thought of carrying a heavier laptop made my back hurt.

So I said, 'Screw it. I'm going back to the desktop life.' I traded in my M2 Air and got a Mac Mini.

It made sense. I have an M1 MacBook Air issued for work—a delightfully lightweight wedge that's more than enough for occasional trips to the office. At home, I use my phone for everything except writing and tasks more suitable for large screens (like spreadsheets, research, etc.). I already had an external keyboard, mouse, and monitor. In fact, I was using my laptop as a desktop computer In any case.

But the last time I owned a desktop computer was in 2001. Twenty-three years is a long time, and in that time, I've forgotten a lot about office life — like how peripherals aren't a good option to have; They're a must have. With Macs, setup can be difficult if you're not using Apple's Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse.

I missed the trackpad once I realized I had to connect the Keychron K2 Wireless Keyboard and Logitech MX Vertical Mouse to get started. After that initial hump, the Keychron wasn't difficult to pair. The mouse was another story. Bluetooth pairing will not work while the mouse is connected. However, I was unable to click to pair the mouse in the Bluetooth menu unless It was plugged in. I sat there looking like a surprised Pikachu for three minutes while I racked my brain in every possible way that didn't involve looking for a second mouse. Then I spent three hours searching for my wife's dead magic mouse. It took another hour to get enough charge. This is it Known caseHowever, like me, many people do Busy Unawares So, if you're thinking about making the switch, make sure you have a wired mouse and keyboard on hand.

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We ended up getting a Mac Mini hub and stand from Satechi. At least this way, I now have front ports.
Photography by Victoria Song/The Verge

In my 23 years of using desktop computers, I also forgot that desktop computers don't have great built-in speakers. The M2 Air had great speakers. The Mac Mini's speaker is little rubbish. I tried wearing the headphones all day but found them very uncomfortable. After a week of denial, I bought some Small desktop speakers, $19. Even though I already had a webcam, I wasn't prepared for the amount of times I'd need to unplug and then plug it back in for it to work. And then I had to transfer the photos from the SD card. The Mac Mini does not have an SD card slot. I stared out the window, sighed, and bought a Saatchi Mac Mini 2-in-1 hub and stand.

But once I solved the puzzle of ports and peripherals, I appreciated the intentional life span of the desktop. Laptops are great, but their portability made it difficult for me to separate work and home. It's easier for me to get started in the morning if I know I can't roll over, grab my laptop, and start working from bed. (It turns out that getting out of bed has a strange effect on my mood.) I have to get dressed, brush my teeth, and head to my office. Since I'm just sitting at my desk to write my journal or work, it's like I flip a switch in my mind that says, “It's time to write.” Every other space in my house is now a place I can live.

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It's a little different from childhood. At that time, the desktop was a family computer. There was no real privacy. My parents had priority – which meant I had to hide all my very important middle school AIM chats and illegal LimeWire downloads as soon as they had to email. This is what made the laptop so attractive at the time. I can take my work somewhere else, away from their prying eyes. But now that no I have to share, I find that office life helps create a daily structure that allows me more freedom – not less.

The Mac Mini is square. Cats love to sit on boxes. its a problem. A nice one, but there's still a problem.
Photography by Victoria Song/The Verge

At least most of the time. There's still one issue I'm having with my Mac Mini that I haven't been able to quite resolve. Unfortunately, the Mac Mini is square. the cats It is famous for sitting on the squares. In the past month, one cat, in particular, has taken to sitting on it while staring at me domineeringly — blocking my view, stealing my lunch, and aggressively demanding pets. It's very nice but not sustainable, because I want to keep my job. It's not clear whether having a second external monitor will help or plunge me into another port-related conundrum. I will take any and all suggestions.