iMac + macbook/pro/air, maintaining 2 computers

Discussion in 'iMac' started by i0Nic, Jun 2, 2008.

  1. i0Nic macrumors 65816

    May 17, 2006
    Sydney, Australia
    Hey guys, thinking about getting an iMac and a macbook air to replace my macbook, or a macbook pro and 23" cinema display.

    I like the simplicity of having all my files on one machine, but it gets annoying having to unplug/replug all the time. To the people who have multiple computers, how do you go about maintaining them both in regards to syncing files, media files (where do you keep your itunes library), how is your home network setup, mail and other such issues regarding owning and using two machines.

    Do you like the dual computer option or would you prefer one machine? Any key advantages or disadvantages?
  2. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    I keep my emails and spam filtering app on my laptop.

    As to syncing, there are plenty of threads on softwares and methods for it.

    In term of media, I have a bus-powered drive with all the music that works on both computers, just copy the 2 iTunes library files onto the external and then copy onto the other computer.

    I only carry some movies and some TV shows I am interested in watching on the laptop.

    Advantage of 2 Macs, if you have to boot into windows, you still have OS X.
  3. iToaster macrumors 68000


    May 3, 2007
    In front of my MacBook Pro
    Most of the time at home my PowerBook is sleeping next to my Mac Pro. If I purchase something on iTunes, I'll connect it with a FireWire cable to the Mac Pro or via Airport and get my file. Photos are on the Mac Pro, Movies are on the Mac Pro, and anything I need to get on the go can be attained via Back to my Mac. To tell the truth, if I could, I'd have one computer just because it's much easier to maintain, but I'm on the go a lot and need a laptop in addition to a powerful desktop... it's just an organizational thing.
  4. xxjuicymintxx macrumors regular

    May 2, 2008
    Grand Rapids, MI
    I'd like to hear some more responses towards this thread.

    My ideal setup is to have a 24" iMac at home, and as my central computer, but also have a Macbook to branch off with, and take on the go.

    I've thought the same things as the OP, and wouldn't mind getting more ideas on how to simplify everything.
  5. Epicurus macrumors 6502


    Apr 28, 2005
    Minneapolis, MN
    Having multiple Macs as part of your day to day life is a little more tricky than I would like, but I manage. For the most part, my iMac has the most up to date copy of everything I have or do, while my MacBook Air has only the most basic collection of files. Mail and calendar items, iTunes music and shows, etc all stay on the iMac alone. Everything I need gets synced with my iPhone, which is more handy anyway, so it isn't a hassle. I try to keep the MacBook as trim as possible, but that takes discipline. Back when I had a PowerBook, things were reversed (I had the PowerBook before the iMac), with all my calendar and email on the laptop. When the iTunes library got unwieldy, I moved it to an external drive (which I still use, only now attached to my AirPort network). What helped me most, as strange as it may sound, was getting an Eee PC as a transition from the aging PowerBook to my new MacBook. I spent about two months on the little Linux box, surviving with just an 8GB SD card to hold all my day to day files. It wasn't the most comfortable arrangement, and I was very, very happy to come back to a Mac, but it taught me a lot about what files I really need on a daily basis. The most surprising thing was that after the initial shock that not everything would fit, I hardly ever maxed out the 8GB card! Now with the 80GB drive in the MacBook, some of that discipline is lost, but I've still got 40GB free.

    The core of what I've done is to eliminate loose files in any of the main folders in my User directory (Documents, Pictures, Movies, Music, Sites). On my iMac, I've got 83 folders in my Documents, 19 of which are mirrored on my laptop. Since I use the laptop at school, and all my music is already on my iPod/iPhone I don't keep any music on the laptop (or any photos in iPhoto). I have a web collection of photos as well as some selections on my iPhone, so no trouble there (what I do have on the laptop mainly consists of desktop background images and photos I need for school). The Movies folder is also pretty sparse on the laptop, mostly consisting of a few YouTube videos I found funny or a movie trailer or two. Whenever I remember I just move these files back to the iMac and delete them from the laptop. I do keep my Safari bookmarks synced, but only by using the most arcane method of "Export Bookmarks..." that is built into Safari.

    As for keeping what few user documents and files I have in sync with the home iMac, I basically use the Shared drive feature right in the Finder. I keep a few folders duplicated on both systems, so I can just drag and drop from one to the other and overwrite without fear. Time Machine is keeping track of things in the background too, so that helps as well. I've tried a lot of other Sync apps, but none really "clicked" with how I work on my machines. To each his own, I guess.
  6. cloudnine macrumors 6502a


    Jul 3, 2006
    San Francisco, CA
    Yeah, I've noticed it's kind of a pain in the butt to keep track of the files on one computer vs. the other... I have an iMac and a PowerBook, and about once a week, I make sure to copy my iPhoto Library file to my PowerBook (I usually do it overnight since it's about 15GB now), as well as my "Current Projects" folder that I keep on the desktop of both machines...

    Thankfully GMail is imap now, so I don't really have to worry about keeping my email in sync :p As far as everything else, eh... it's not that big of a deal if it's out of sync since they're both being backed up via Time Machine :)

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