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Old Dec 15, 2012, 03:21 PM   #1
docjay
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Please help me choose my first Apple computer(s)!

Hi everybody,

Thanks for the great posts. I am considering making the switch after 20 years of PC use to Apple. I run an online business through my laptop. The daily routine is having about 20 tabs open in Google Chrome consisting of about 6 GMail accounts, bank, Google Docs, and websites.

At the office, I quickly snap in my 24" monitor's cable, internet cord, printer USB and laptop power cords, and monitor's speakers and I'm ready to work. My wireless keyboard/mouse are logitech and use a really miniature USB that stays in the laptop 24/7. At the end of the day, I unplug, throw my laptop in my briefcase and off I go. This is convenient since my work follows me wherever I go and I may need access to a document that was worked on at work.

I'm ready to spend $4k on a more robust system that makes more sense and is more reliable. I'm personally scared of this $400 laptop crashing any day and I'm not sure I want to carry it with me everywhere. It has a large "footprint".

What would you recommend setting up for my office and/or on-the-go portable device? One macbook that I treat the same way (with me always)? Two Apple devices that are synced always? I have no idea where to even start having never owned an Apple product.

I don't deal with graphic design but do enjoy a larger screen. I can continue using my ViewSonic monitor if that's possible with Apple.

FWIW, I use and enjoy an Android phone.

Thanks!!!
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 03:26 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by docjay View Post
Hi everybody,

Thanks for the great posts. I am considering making the switch after 20 years of PC use to Apple. I run an online business through my laptop. The daily routine is having about 20 tabs open in Google Chrome consisting of about 6 GMail accounts, bank, Google Docs, and websites.

At the office, I quickly snap in my 24" monitor's cable, internet cord, printer USB and laptop power cords, and monitor's speakers and I'm ready to work. My wireless keyboard/mouse are logitech and use a really miniature USB that stays in the laptop 24/7. At the end of the day, I unplug, throw my laptop in my briefcase and off I go. This is convenient since my work follows me wherever I go and I may need access to a document that was worked on at work.

I'm ready to spend $4k on a more robust system that makes more sense and is more reliable. I'm personally scared of this $400 laptop crashing any day and I'm not sure I want to carry it with me everywhere. It has a large "footprint".

What would you recommend setting up for my office and/or on-the-go portable device? One macbook that I treat the same way (with me always)? Two Apple devices that are synced always? I have no idea where to even start having never owned an Apple product.

I don't deal with graphic design but do enjoy a larger screen. I can continue using my ViewSonic monitor if that's possible with Apple.

FWIW, I use and enjoy an Android phone.

Thanks!!!
Well any Macbook would work well with you, you'll need an adapter for your Viewsonic monitor (VGA or DVI).

I would suggest the 13inch Air for you but since you need a bigger screen, a 15in Macbook Pro can also be an option. And it seems that you can also afford the Retina version which is lighter.

One Macbook should be enough for you, keep the rest of your money for a nice vacation
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 05:14 PM   #3
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Grab a 15 rMBP - if your financially well off
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 05:16 PM   #4
docjay
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Well any Macbook would work well with you, you'll need an adapter for your Viewsonic monitor (VGA or DVI).

I would suggest the 13inch Air for you but since you need a bigger screen, a 15in Macbook Pro can also be an option. And it seems that you can also afford the Retina version which is lighter.

One Macbook should be enough for you, keep the rest of your money for a nice vacation
Thank you! I know this question probably could use a thread of its own, but is the main difference between the 13 inch Air vs 15 inch Pro a bigger screen (and nicer one)?

I was thinking I should buy an iMac + Macbook + something that syncs them (mini server?). It sounds like plugging and unplugging my laptop is the way to go, since some days I work from home. Hmm.

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Originally Posted by Spink10 View Post
Grab a 15 rMBP - if your financially well off
How would this solve the problem of having my work synced all the time in case I'm on the go and need to work (or at my home office)? Edit: I see that is the Mac Book Pro w/ Retina. So you recommend carrying that around with me and plugging into my external stuff when I'm at my office? Looks big and heavy online.

Last edited by docjay; Dec 15, 2012 at 05:31 PM.
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 05:31 PM   #5
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Isn't it a waste to buy retina display if I'm usually on an external monitor (90% of the time)?
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 05:37 PM   #6
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Something out of the box:
Get a Mac Mini connected to an AirPort Extreme to the Internet and keep it running; working as server.
Get an iPad and use a software called TeamViewer to connect to the Mini. Kind of remote terminal. This way you dot risk loosing the laptop & data while on the go.
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 06:05 PM   #7
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Something out of the box:
Get a Mac Mini connected to an AirPort Extreme to the Internet and keep it running; working as server.
Get an iPad and use a software called TeamViewer to connect to the Mini. Kind of remote terminal. This way you dot risk loosing the laptop & data while on the go.
Thanks for the input. I have an iPad (came with my car) and I don't use it for work purposes because I type a lot and need something sturdy. Should I use your suggested setup with a light laptop like the Macbook Air? Also, is the speed the same when you're working in the office or remotely via TeamViewer? I know on the PC, when using remote log in, it's very slow. I need a solution that is just as efficient as being in the office with no lag-time.
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 06:21 PM   #8
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Any Mac will work for you. Get a 13" MacBook + the cable adapter for the monitor+ enough external HDD for backups. Also a Mac Mini could work fine, and to keep them in sync you have several alternatives, depending on what exactly is what you want to keep in sync. Mac OS have many features for this.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 05:10 PM   #9
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I went to the Apple store today and absolutely fell in love with the 27" iMac - but the salesman said that if I want to keep the data on my laptop, I'd have to work from a thumb drive (keep my files there so I'd plug that in each day at work and then have it on my keychain to plug into my laptop when I want to work outside of the office). Is this really the best scenario? They said connecting to my office via internet, a la TeamViewer type services, would be choppy and too slow for regular use.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 05:39 PM   #10
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If ur willing to spend the money, a MacBook Pro with a Thunderbolt Display is a really nice and convienient setup. Most everything at work plugs into the back of the monitor so when u get there u only need to plug in the thunderbolt cord and power. If ur just doing email and web browsing, a MacBook Air would also do fine if u prefer the even greater portability when u are not in the office (u can still hook it to the TB display) Or u could get two devices and sync via the Internet, but if ur on the go and don't have access to Internet that would obviously be a problem. The single device solution is nice because u can pick up exactly where u left off
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 05:55 PM   #11
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If ur willing to spend the money, a MacBook Pro with a Thunderbolt Display is a really nice and convienient setup. Most everything at work plugs into the back of the monitor so when u get there u only need to plug in the thunderbolt cord and power. If ur just doing email and web browsing, a MacBook Air would also do fine if u prefer the even greater portability when u are not in the office (u can still hook it to the TB display) Or u could get two devices and sync via the Internet, but if ur on the go and don't have access to Internet that would obviously be a problem. The single device solution is nice because u can pick up exactly where u left off
That would be great. I just read some concerning reviews from people who tried this set up, though: http://store.apple.com/us/reviews/MC...isplay-27-inch
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 10:19 PM   #12
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That would be great. I just read some concerning reviews from people who tried this set up, though: http://store.apple.com/us/reviews/MC...isplay-27-inch
Yeah the reviews are either great or horrible, but thats pretty typical for a lot of products

I didnt check the apple reviews prior to posting but I checked the reviews on amazon - 4/5 overall - and they seem to be more promising, with most negative reviews from people doing something that you shouldn't (hooking up to Mac Pro or Apple TV) and blaming the product. If there is an apple store near, u could always try one and return if issues arise.

Or if u are content with your current setup u can plug everything in as u do currently. Keep in mind the MacBook Air has fewer ports than the pro if u need to plug in lots of separate things

Someone also suggested a data backup which is a good idea. Time machine which comes with the operating system is a really good and automatic backup tool whenever the external hard drive is connected. A cloud based service such as Dropbox or google drive can also be useful in case something happens to the desktop components.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 05:58 PM   #13
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The single device solution is nice because u can pick up exactly where u left off
... But for business a bit risky ... What if you loose your laptop or it get stolen. Some redundancy and backup is still required to keep business running (I assume).
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 05:54 PM   #14
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Yes, TeamViewer can be laggy,it's easy to use but similar to other desktop sharing apps limited in speed. You still could give it a try; there is a free trial.

I read your OP one more time. You said you use GoogleDocs. Do you store your documents also locally or on Google Server ? If the later you just connect with two devices on the same account and share.
You can also utilize DropBox to sync files between office and laptop. Or iCloud.

Key question is: What's your connectivity while on the road. Do you have stable online access or do you need offline mode ?

Here is what I would do (actually have for private stuff):
Setup a VPN connection into my office/home and have a server (Mac Mini, NAS or Linux) running providing the data as file server. Then you can use the iMac and and MacBook Air (MBA) to access those files; organize a centralized backup etc.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 06:08 PM   #15
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Yes, TeamViewer can be laggy,it's easy to use but similar to other desktop sharing apps limited in speed. You still could give it a try; there is a free trial.

I read your OP one more time. You said you use GoogleDocs. Do you store your documents also locally or on Google Server ? If the later you just connect with two devices on the same account and share.
You can also utilize DropBox to sync files between office and laptop. Or iCloud.

Key question is: What's your connectivity while on the road. Do you have stable online access or do you need offline mode ?

Here is what I would do (actually have for private stuff):
Setup a VPN connection into my office/home and have a server (Mac Mini, NAS or Linux) running providing the data as file server. Then you can use the iMac and and MacBook Air (MBA) to access those files; organize a centralized backup etc.
Work purpose documents are stored locally - Google Docs are used to collaborate with some contractors. Connectivity on the road is not stable. Just depends on where I am (coffee shop with wireless vs. literally on the road without wifi but needing to do some work). I guess a DropBox account for my work folder and two machines may be the answer? It seems silly though because I suspect I'll be carrying my laptop in my briefcase anyway. Hmm.

----------

Backup is quite important and should be factored into the equation.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 06:10 PM   #16
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Work purpose documents are stored locally - Google Docs are used to collaborate with some contractors. Connectivity on the road is not stable. Just depends on where I am (coffee shop with wireless vs. literally on the road without wifi but needing to do some work). I guess a DropBox account for my work folder and two machines may be the answer? It seems silly though because I suspect I'll be carrying my laptop in my briefcase anyway. Hmm.
Ok, if the connectivity is not stable and you need offline access to files I think a laptop serves you best. Still keep backup in mind.
MBP or MBA for the road; store data on DropBox and if you like get an iMac for office for convenience. It should sync to the same DB and can do the additional backup tasks of it.
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 03:54 PM   #17
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Hi everybody,

I run an online business through my laptop. The daily routine is having about 20 tabs open in Google Chrome consisting of about 6 GMail accounts, bank, Google Docs, and websites.

I'm ready to spend $4k on a more robust system that makes more sense and is more reliable. I'm personally scared of this $400 laptop crashing any day and I'm not sure I want to carry it with me everywhere. It has a large "footprint".
I would take a trip to the Apple store and test drive an Air. It would be ideal for your usage and frequent travel. Bump the RAM and HD to the max and purchase AppleCare (also handy for notebooks that travel often) after the first nine months of ownership. Buy a separate, base Mini that you use solely for banking and other money transactions, ie no email, social network, surfing, etc. Connect it to the internet only via Ethernet, behind a good router.

You can probably still use your current monitor.
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 07:21 PM   #18
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I will be replacing my 3 2110 11" 2.13 MBA' with 2013 Haswell I.7 11" MBA's, with 512 SSD and 8/12 MB RAM ,simply amazing machines, as in stock one must wait to get the Apple product/ results you want. I have unlimited patience!
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