Yesteray morning, after a tiring Saturday and a short night I stuffed my MacBook Air into the bag for the last day of Eric Kim's street photography workshop. I hadn't used the Air for some weeks after deciding to concentrate on my retina MacBook Pro. I even took this larger laptop to China earlier in the month specifically because I needed to work with photographs. At the last minute I remembered that the Air doesn't have an SD card slot so I rummaged around the cable drawer and produced an SD dongle and dropped it into my Billingham Hadley Pro.
Usually I am a pretty careful packer and make checklists of bits and pieces, especially cables and camera chargers (set off for Timbuctu with your Leica M and forget the charger, you are in big trouble). This time I was tired and let down my guard.
After the morning's tramp around Oxford Street in search of photo opportunities, it was time to download the files and pick a selection. Just one snag: The SD card reader didn't work. Dead. Vainly I rebooted the Air just to make sure it wasn't a USB glitch. But the dongle had definitely dongled its last.
Fortunately I was in a room full of photographers with over a dozen laptops and several SD card readers going spare. Otherwise I would have been scuppered. This would have been a disaster at such a vital time.
So I learn yet another lesson. I knew it already, of course, but I let down my guard: Test out everything before you leave for an important assignment.
Another thing I've decided is that I no longer want to rely on travelling with the MacBook Air because of the absence of a built-in card slot. I now think that the new, slimmed-down 13in retina MacBook Pro is the ideal all-round travel companion. I've had this discussion with my friend Austin White of Thoughtfuldesign.net and he is also ready to drop his Air in favour of the 13in MBP. In his case the main motivation for the change is the retina screen and I enitely agree with him on that score. After working with that retina screen, the Air's display is now a big disappointment. This is especially the case for photographers. But the presence of an SDXC card slot on the Pros is just so convenient and safe. Again, it is a vital feature for photographers.