Running on Air: Bill Barnes


I came across Bill Barnes web site called Not Invented Here and a post he wrote more than a year ago about using his MacBook Air for work.  I reached out to him to see if he was still using it and he generously offered to respond to my questions.

According to his bio on his about page Bill spent two decades in the software industry working a variety of jobs from coding to speechwriting before becoming a professional cartoonist.”

I personally think one of the more interesting things is that Bill uses his Air for both the creative side (creating the comics) as well as the business side (coding and general business management) of things.

1. Who are you? What type of business are you in, what do you do?

I’m Bill Barnes, co-creator of the comic strips Not Invented Here and Unshelved. I also do a little coding for my businesses and that of a friend.

2. Which model MacBook Air are you using?

I have a fully loaded (1.8ghz/4GB/256GB) mid-2011 11″ MBA

3. Why did you select the MacBook Air over other Mac models?

I moved to the MBA from my mid-2009 13“ MBP because I travel every 3 weeks or so and wanted a lighter load. The only thing I regretted about returning to Mac from the PC world was the lack of ultraportable options. The original MBA was too limited, and the revised MBA was close but not quite there. I briefly considered the 13” MBA, but then I sat down in an economy section seat and realized that for me the 11” was the way to go.

4. How are you using your MacBook Air to run your business ?

Aside from my iPad it’s my only computer. I draw my comics with Photoshop, design my books with InDesign, code in Rails using Sublime Text 2, and in ASP.NET MVC on Windows 7 using VMWare Fusion. I run my businesses on iWork and QuickBooks, and deliver keynotes at conferences around the country using, well, Keynote.

5. Which has been the best thing about using your air to run your business?

That I don’t hesitate to take it with me on every trip, and as a result I have fought a number of business fires that would otherwise have gone on raging for days. The cherry on top is that, while on the road, I use my iPad as a second screen using AirDisplay, and the combination of the two is still smaller and lighter than my previous computer.

If you are not familiar with the comics it is well worth it to go over and check them out. Thanks Bill !