Product review.

In early July, Dorothea died.

Do you remember Dorothea? My 13-inch Macbook Pro that I bought with the first money I made working at elections? Like all of my electronics, she was named after an artist, in this case, noted Depression-era photographer Dorothea Lange. She was a good computer, although she had gotten somewhat sluggish over the years. Her battery life had degenerated as well, even though I had replaced her battery in the summer of 2020.

She died as a result of a freak iced tea accident.

Attempts to revive her after she dried out a few days proved unsuccessful, so there was really nothing else to do but buy a new computer. I could have simply bought a “renewed” machine from Amazon, and it undoubtedly would have been a serviceable machine, except that… it would not have had a MagSafe power cord.

MagSafe cords are wonderful. If you have never experienced them, they are magnetically attached to the computer. When the computer is plugged in, if you pull on the power cord (by, say, tripping), the cord will disconnect rather than pull the computer toward the floor. They were standard on Macbooks for years until 2017, when Apple in its inscrutable way stopped making them.

I trip over air. “Klutz” is too generous a word to describe my relation to the physical world. My sense of space is warped beyond all recognition. I stumble, I veer unexpectedly, and I occasionally fall. (In July, a fall sent me to the ER — I looked like I had lost a bar fight.)

Apple must have finally gotten tired of people complaining all the time about how the MagSafe cords were so much better than USB-C power cords. They blinked. Starting with the 2022 models, some Macbooks now come with MagSafe cords. Specifically the latest Macbook Air.

Meet Frida.

She’s named after Frida Kahlo. And boy, is she pretty.

She is not your standard titanium gray, but a lovely silvery-gold color that Apple has named “startlight.” (I nearly opted for their other new color, midnight, but it’s a fingerprint trap.) She has a very long battery life. (I can go at least a day or two without charging. For example, she was at 100% two hours ago, and now she’s at… 95%.) She is incredibly light — closed, I can hold her in one hand. Not as light as a tablet, but much less than Dorothea. She has the aforementioned MagSafe power cord. And, best of all, she has a fingerprint reader in the power button.

My tremors have gotten bad. Typing passwords is a major pain, even if the built-in password manager on Safari can take care of most of them. I tend to use long passwords, and retyping them drives me nuts. And now I don’t have to! I simply have to touch the power button — much like on my phone. This makes me irrationally happy.

Unfortunately, she only has two USB-C ports. On Dorothea, I had two USBs and a HDMI port. I have to use an adapter now, which is annoying. It tends to deter me from keeping my backup drive in place.

I love her, and have been careful around her. I have had her for nearly a month, and today is the first day I have allowed myself to have anything to eat or drink in her vicinity (a Cherry Vanilla Coke Zero Sugar in a covered tumbler). I know that at some point she will become old hat, and I will eat breakfast while reading the Washington Post and lunch while checking Facebook, but that’s for the future. For now, she’s a lovely little toy, albeit a necessary one, and will be treated gingerly.

My grade: A- (points taken off for the lack of ports)

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