advice for working across platforms

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by jojoba, Feb 7, 2012.

  1. jojoba macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2011
    #1
    So, I've had my 13" MBA for a few months now and I'm loving it. I especially like the mac apps that make my working life easier, such as Scrivener, Curio and Circus Ponies notebooks. Mac really seems to be so much better designed for non-linear work processes.

    What I am struggling with a bit, though, is to figure out how to best work across platforms. My office environment is Windows, and factors like access to various storage areas and software programs as well as using a large size screen mean that I still do a lot of 'serious' work on my office desktop.

    With that comes the 'syncing' issues. I'm using Drop Box for what it's worth (I think). I've bought the Windows version of Scrivener in addition to the Mac version. I'm having issues with EndNote and was considering switching to Mendeley, but it doesn't seem to quite have the functionality I need. Some days I end up working on the MBA and my work desktop side by side. Maybe that's OK, but it felt a bit weird. I do use remote desktop to access my work pc from my MBA, but it gives me a very limited access to available programs and storage areas.

    So, I guess I don't have a very specific question as I'm kind of in the process of figuring out how to approach this, but I'm basically wondering what people's experiences are with working across platforms, how they organise their work flows and if anyone has good tips and advice for making this process smooth.
     
  2. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2002
    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    #2
    I am in a simular situation and have an Apple MacBook Pro next to a Windows PC at work.

    I spend most of my time using Microsoft Office, and now that Microsoft have bought out Office for Mac 2011, I prefer using that, rather than the Office 2007 for Windows. I tend to use Office rather than iWork in case I need to collaborate with other Windows coworkers. Presentations are more often that not produced using Apple's Keynote rather than Powerpoint (I create a pdf copy for anyone at the presentation). All of my files are stored in Dropbox that way I can access them from my Windows Desktop, my MacBook Pro or from my Mac Desktop when I am working from home. I have set up Finder favourites to key sharepoints on the Office server on the MacBook Pro. I sometimes also use Pages, rather than Word to create short graphical documents (again for short reports that I can send a pdf for).

    My Windows PC runs some specialist ERP software that is not available for the Mac.

    I use Evernote as a cross platform notebook to store Web Clippings, Pdf and anything of interest that people send me via email.

    I also use TextExpander to save some typing, as this application will expand short codes that you type into full sentences. I use it a lot in emails to create different signatures, as well as generating quick emails back to people. Although I don't use it on the Windows PC you can buy an App that can share the TextExpander database. I have more information on how I use TextExpander here.
     
  3. jojoba thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2011
    #3
    Yes, I use Evernote, I love that app. I also have Microsoft Office on my MBA, since I co-write a lot with colleagues.

    The things I'm finding more challenging to work with are

    - I have various data analysis programs on my work pc that aren't available through remote connection (our remote connection is much better developed for windows than for mac, which is annoying)
    - I have curio, CP Notebook and now probably DevonThink that are only available on my MBA
    - my EndNote library sits on my work pc and I haven't found a good way of syncing that (I gave up on Mendeley since it doesn't do page references)

    Maybe I just need to use both while at work.
     
  4. James Craner, Feb 7, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012

    James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2002
    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    #4
    I am not sure what remote connection is, but I use the Microsoft Remote Desktop connection client to access the PC from my Mac, That gives you full control of your desktop PC, which I always leave on, but with the screen locked so I can VPN in at home to access the ERP software, generate a report then drop it my Dropbox folder on the PC and would then sync to my Desktop Mac at home. The connection speed is so quick these days it is as fast as actually being at the PC itself. This will also give you full access to the PC Apps and network drives.
     
  5. jojoba thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2011
    #5
    Yes, I use that, too, as well as CORD. CORD is the recommended app where I work but I found that it didn't work well with Word (left lots of 'dots' all over the screen as I was navigating through a document). Microsoft RDC took care of that. However, there are still quite a few key programs such as HyperResearch, Nvivo, InqScribe and Videograph that for some reason are not accessible to me through remote desktop. I guess I should talk to my IT dept about that, I only really found this out a couple of weeks ago.
     
  6. meiluj macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    #6
    Hi,

    I find parallels to be useful. This way I can use software like Nvivo (which only works on Windows PC) and at the same time work on other softwares using my OSX. Hence, I have all my data/information on the same laptop and do not need to transfer/sync data. I also have my data in dropbox as backup.

    I also use Endnote for Mac and Windows 7 for Mac. Basically I use Mac OSX most of the time. The only time I use parallel is when I need to use Nvivo.
     
  7. jojoba thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2011
    #7
    So, for the most part, I've settled into this cross platform thing. In my office, I have my MBA next to my pc when I need to, and switch between the two. I'm having some issues syncing Scrivener between my pc and my mac, but I think that can be resolved.

    The only thing that's really bugging me, is EndNote. I've wasted a lot of time today because attempting to copy my EndNote library from my pc to my mac and inserting some additional references into a document that I had started on my pc and continued on my mac really messed up my article big time. In frustration, I downloaded Mendeley as a cross platform alternative, but now I can't find a way of importing references directly from my university's library base. Journals work fine, library base doesn't. I really don't want to fill in those library references manually. I'm annoyed :mad: and not sure what the best way forward it. I don't want to rely on remote desktop towards my work pc, because it's REALLY slow for some reason. The primary institutional route for accessing my work desk top remotely isn't available for mac.

    Does anyone have good advice for reference management across platforms? I don't really want to partition my mac, at least not until I've tried all other options.
     

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