MBA and desktop Mac working together

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by RicAlonso, Feb 5, 2008.

  1. RicAlonso macrumors newbie

    Feb 5, 2008
    I agree with a lot of other people that this is supposed to be a secondary laptop for most people. I'm sure it will be Paris Hilton's only laptop, but for those of us who work and travel a lot it will be a secondary. The only problem is the lack of Target Disk mode. To be a useful secondary laptop it would work best to keep your email files, and other needed files, on the MBA's home directory. You would then connect it to your desktop via firewire as an external hard drive and using aliases, be able to use your email and files. Then when you are ready to go on the road you just grab your MBA and you have all of your files already there. There would be no need to sync.

    Now, I can place the MBA next to my desktop Mac and connect wirelessly to it, but let's not pretend this will really work. First, it will have to be through AFP, secondly it will be much, much slower than a firwire or USB2 connection, and secondly there will be all of the authorization issues and permission issues to deal with.

    I don't object to the lack of a firewire connection. I do object to the fact that Apple has not designed this to become a USB2 target disk. Maybe it will be an update, hopefully software and not hardware.

    If anyone has any thoughts on how to work with both a desktop Mac and an MBA, without constant syncing, I would greatly appreciate it.
  2. rsbell macrumors regular


    Jul 5, 2007
    Murrieta, CA
    Keep files that you want to sync to both machines on your iDisk through .Mac.

    Works VERY well.

    And they are available to you on ANY machine with internet access.
  3. bwiley macrumors newbie

    Feb 4, 2008
    Great way to do syncing.

    .MAC gives you 5 Gigs of storage to sync with, so if you have a lot more than that on your primary MAC you "might" run into a problem. Also, to my knowledge .MAC isn't going to handle "selective" syncing of multiple unrelated sub-folders, or "exclusions" for specific documents and sub-sub-folders, or things like syncing Entourage (if for some reason you are using Entourage without Exchange Server).

    If you don't use .MAC, intend to regularly sync more than 5 Gigs or you are looking for a finer granularity on exactly what you choose to sync between your MBA and your primary MAC, there is an outstanding program out there called ChronoSync. Costs $30 bucks, and is one of my most used utilities.

    Not only can you keep all of your documents synced, but I also use it to sync my iTunes and iPhotos libraries, playlists, etc., across the four MBP's and iMACs I currently have in my house . I download a song from iTunes on one, or create a new playlist, and automatically all four of my MACs have it. I also use it to sync my private/family calendars that I maintain in iCal that I don't like having on my company's exchange server (for which I use Entourage). Basically, I haven't found a single thing/scenario that you can't sync with it.

    You can auto-configure synchronization so that it runs in the background while you are doing other things, and works fine over WiFi, so will be perfect for the MBA. You can configure it to just sync specific sub-folders within your documents rather than everything, etc. You can also set up exclusions within sub-folders to exclude specific documents, or exclude specific sub-sub-folders, etc.

    So, if you have several Gigs of documents on your primary MAC but only want to sync limited folders and documents and items specific for your MBA in order to conserve that precious little storage space (I ordered the SSD), I don't think there is anything better you can go out and download for $30.

    Great software. I have no affiliation with these guys other than as a satisfied customer. Takes about 15 minutes to figure out how to use it. Have fun!
  4. jhsfosho macrumors 6502

    Jun 9, 2006
    Houston, TX
    It would be cool if Apple came out with a way to use time machine/time capsule/airdisk to handle the syncing of a laptop with a desktop. More than just filesharing though.
  5. Mhaddy macrumors 6502


    Oct 26, 2005
    Excellent post, bwiley! I just picked up an MBA and will be using it as my secondary computer to my PowerMac G5. I have ChronoSync installed on the PowerMac and use it for backup purposes, but did not know about the syncing between multiple Macs option. Looks like I've got some testing to do!
  6. RicAlonso thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 5, 2008
    I use ChronoSync and it's great, but my original post asked if anyone knew of a way to avoid syncing.

    I use Microsoft Entourage for my emails, many of which contain large attachments. My Entourage database file is over 5gb. I hate how Microsoft handles emails in a database, but isn't nearly as capable as Entourage when it comes to organizing emails. And I have 6 different email accounts to juggle. So every new email I get means that 5gb database file changes. So everytime I want to synch I'll be synching at least 5gb over wi-fi. That just isn't time efficient.

    Has anyone else worked with a large file, over 5 GB, over wi-fi with the MBA? What i would love to do is to have the Entourage db file on the MBA, and then set up an alias to it on my desktop. So when I launch Entourage on my desktop the huge DB file will be accessed on the MBA. But I can't imagine this working over wi-fi. Maybe an ethernet cross-over cable is the solution.

    Any thoughts are appreciated. I'm dying to buy one of these things, but the folks at the Apple store won't let me test what i want to do. I can buy one and if it doesn't work return it and lose $175. :mad:

    Thanks - Ric
  7. mcvaughan macrumors 6502a

    Aug 9, 2007
    Houston, TX
    I currently use .Mac to handle my syncing needs. I'm about to replace my MBP with a Mac Pro in the office and will do the same setup. I also use BusySync to push my iCal out to Google Calendar.

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