I don't really know what motivates people's computer purchasing decisions. Maybe it really is about brand and styling; that could explain why everyone was either using Apple or Sony laptops back when I was an undergrad. (Back then - and maybe it's the same now - Sony was the most expensive and offered sub-par hardware in exchange, but their designs were the most unique in the PC world.) I can tell you that my family, my friends, and I buy Apple computers for a very different reason.
I have no doubt that Windows has made major strides in user-friendliness and stability over the years. However, I'm content to stick with Macs because I feel that the overall maintenance is less. There's less to muck around with, and in turn, less to mess up. I understand that for some people that's the fun of computing. That's how it was for me for many years; I'd customize the heck out of my machine, break something, spend a day or weekend fixing it, and be on my way. These days I can't afford that time, and even if I could, I wouldn't want to spend my time doing that. Macs aren't flawless, but they're good enough that I've only ever had to do one major servicing software-side on my system in about six years, and none on my family's computers.
(On the downside, since most people don't encounter problems with their Macs, documentation on some of these issues is pretty scarce. Compare that to Windows or Linux, where you can usually find multiple people talking about the issue, and sometimes even giving steps to resolve it.)
Macs aren't right for everyone, but that's no reason to trash the people who choose to use Apple's devices. Are we really paying more for what we're getting? I don't know, and I don't care, because as far as I'm concerned the stuff works damn near flawlessly, and to me that makes it worth the expense.
For what it's worth, I'm not a huge fan of the Air design, and I also don't like the new Macbook Pro (Retina) redesign. I worry about the cooling abilities of the Air. Plenty of people don't experience problems with them, but I've known some who did. It colored my opinion of the model. I also like having more ports
Manually focusing, especially with a shallow depth of field, is very challenging. Doesn't the NEX-7 have "focus peaking"? That should make focusing much easier. Otherwise, you basically adjust the focus in one direction, overshoot it, go back in the other direction, overshoot it, and by then you should have an idea of what near-perfect focus looks like, so you just focus back, hit it, and then take the shot. If you're stabilized (tripod or solid surface) you can digitally zoom to really nail the focus perfectly, but most people are shooting hand-held. Just stop down a bit to give yourself some room for error, and then practice
I find manual focusing with legacy lenses to be fun, but at the end of the day, I much prefer autofocus...
Since I didn't get a chance to comment about it on the weekend: anecdotally, I get the impression Mac sales have been accelerating dramatically recently, and I actually would attribute that in large part to form and brand- but not in the sense of just having good styling. Apple's made good looking computers for years. They've also made easier to maintain systems for years and I personally feel Windows 7 has narrowed the gap a lot in that regard. To me, neither provides a satisfying explanation for Apple's recent success on the Mac scene. I'd cite two causes: 1) iOS getting people interested in other Apple gear and 2) the fact most people have never seen a computer like the Macbook Air. We've reached the point where average person probably doesn't see much difference between the computer they have and your average new PC... but the Air is something completely different. And from what I've seen, loads and loads of people seem to be buying Airs.
It probably helps that the price difference between PC ultrabooks and the Air is a lot lower than the price between entry level PC notebooks and entry level Macbooks was.
(The Air actually has one other huge advantage over PC ultrabooks in my opinion, and one most people probably don't think of: a large installbase and a dealer network that services them. I don't envy the mainstream PC ultrabook buyer who has to replace a battery in a few years.)
As a side note, I met a guy at an anime event Saturday who brought an NEX-7 with an adapted M mount Voigtlander 50mm f1.1. And I must ask... how exactly are you supposed to manually focus those things? I admit that my photography skill doesn't extend much stuff like using spot metering and flash to achieve a Shaft-esque high contrast background, and that I only tried it for a couple minutes - but it seemed bloody hard.
I'm convinced that the various sexual gags with Mayoi are intended to be flippant and tongue in cheek, much like some of the other humour in the series. Nisemonogatari episode 1 kind of removed all doubt I had about that, at one point in an extremely surreal way.
My personal assessment of Nise is that true to the author's original intent that it was going to be a "for fun" project rather than something he'd publish, Nise favours the flippant and tongue in cheek elements of the franchise more so than the plot. A lot of people disliked the change, I didn't mind too much although there's a few bits (especially during Tsuhiki's arc) that are cringeworthy in a "does the author have no professional dignity" kind of way. The best bits are a riot though.
I just finished episode 5 (the end of the "lost snail" arc), and I've taken a better liking to the series. I am curious, though - in terms of wordplay, what do you (and by extension, Vexx) mean? Is it that what the characters are saying is cleverly done?
In addition to agreeing with Vexx that a lot of Bakemonogatari's appeal is in the wordplay, I'd like to note that the show has a major "d'awww" moment near the end of episode 12. Episodes 9-10 are also introduces Sengoku Nadeko, who is the sweet girl of the series.
Apple does have a full-sized, wired keyboard, but you're right: if you want to go with wireless, they only offer the "condensed" keyboard. (Actually, I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that I have both... had the wired one for years, then changed desks to a design that made running the wire difficult, so bought the Bluetooth variant.) For what it's worth, I've never experienced interference issues with the keyboard. I have experienced interference issues with Bluetooth audio (although the Bluetooth driver stacks have been greatly improved in recent years, and this is no longer such an issue), and with my non-Bluetooth wireless mouse. Shifting my computer to the 5 GHz network band seemed to fix that one, although that's not a luxury that everyone has available to them...
Good luck with the keyboard search! I still stand by the Apple ones - my fingers just glide across the keyboard and the key presses are pretty effortless, it feels wonderful.
Interesting pick. I generally find scissor switch based designs a bit shallow for my tastes as a typist (even though I like the one on my Thinkpad X120e), but a compact, scissor switch design seems like it would probably be a good choice for an HTPC.
Now, that said, from what I can tell Apple only offers a "compact" design (in my experience full size boards are too big for HTPC use) with bluetooth, and given how much tweaking it took to get my wifi working at my apartment, I'm somewhat worried about interference. There are clones available using USB that are well regarded in the community though.
(This seems to be true of a number of keyboard manufacturers BTW - Microsoft has a curved compact I'd like to take a look at, it's also bluetooth only.)