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Making the most of two Macs

I have always preferred to use a laptop as my primary computer, for the typical reasons (I like to carry all my stuff wherever I go), but lately I've been using a Mac Mini as my primary machine because I splurged and bought myself a 23" Cinema display for it. I also realized it's nice to have a stationary computer for plugging in the iPod, external hard drives, consolidating iTunes, running backups, etc, and not having to worry about juggling everything if I need to move. I still have a laptop, a 15" PowerBook G4, with roughly the same specs as my Mini, so performance-wise, it's a wash as to which machine I use.

I set up .Mac syncing for all my GTD-ish stuff, and use an IMAP account in Mail. I installed all the same basic apps on the laptop, and if I plan on going out for any significant amount of time, I copy over any files I need. This works fine for the most part, but now I have a new wrinkle. Through a series of fortunate events, I'm getting a spanking new MacBook Pro at very little cost (long story short, if you have an old broken 12" PowerBook, talk to the Geniuses about your repair options). The new laptop's specs will easily outstrip the Mini, meaning it will be a shame if I don't use it as a primary machine, but as I said, you'll have to tear me away from this fantabulous Cinema display.

I admit, this is a nice problem to have, but how would you guys handle this and get the best use out of these machines (and don't say buy a new Octo to replace the Mini)? I would love to take advantage of the fast new MacBook Pro, but I also love working on the big display and having the "home base" of the stationary Mini. I usually work from home, so getting to my desktop or its files is never a problem, and I mainly use the laptop I have now for carrying around the house, the occasional coffee shop jaunt, and any travel. I copy any files I edit to the desktop when I get home so it can be backed up (I don't actively back up the laptop, other than a base image).

How would you set up the workflow between two computers like this, an older desktop with a badass display and a newer laptop that runs circles around it? What tasks would be best suited for which machine? How could I keep files in sync, and how do I make backups as simple as possible? What about KVM switches?

I'm open to any and all suggestions. Thanks!

About wood.tang

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Matt Wood is a writer, former IT drone, sometime realtor, and full-time stay-at-home dad. He and his family live in Chicago.




An Oblique Strategy:
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