When it comes to laptops and desktops, nothing matters to me more than reliability. While I may be directly or indirectly responsible for thousands of servers, desktops, and laptops, the one that matters the most is the one I'm using to manage all of those resources. My laptop is my gateway to everything I do. It must be absolutely reliable and available constantly.
I'm currently on my third MacBook Air. I bought (and reviewed) the first one back in February 2008 when it was released; I then upgraded to the next iteration in June 2009. Last week, the new MacBook Air arrived, and I wasted no time in putting it to good use.
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Over the past few years, I've used some model of MacBook Air for probably 85 percent of my computing needs: email, browsing, more xterms than you can shake a stick at, writing, reading, creating, and consuming. With the exception of my review of the iPad (which was written on the iPad), every word I've written for publication in the past 2.5 years has been written on a MacBook Air. I've logged over 100,000 miles with them and carried them all over the globe.
They've never let me down.
Here's a quick history of the punishment I afflicted on my previous Air. I purchased it in early June 2009, and until last week, I used it constantly. I tend to run a ton of processes that have connections to other computers: xterms with ssh sessions to dozens of servers, RDP sessions, and so forth. I don't like to break and recreate those connections, so I just leave the laptop open and running with the screen blank if I'm not actively using the system. I also never shut down and reboot only when required by an OS update.
According to my calculations, in the 406 days I had my previous Air in full-time use, it was on and running for over 9,500 hours. That's 23.5 hours a day, every day of that time period. I did not have a single problem with the unit the entire time.