New Air to live with my iMac

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by stockcerts, Jul 13, 2013.

  1. stockcerts macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #1
    I just ordered a new MacBook Air as I'm going to be doing more traveling with my job. I also have an iMac that I bought less than a year ago. I'm thinking there is a good balancing act between having two computers as far as what apps to keep on the Air and what files to keep where. I'm thinking the cloud may be a good option for some of my files (have Dropbox now).

    I also have a single USB drive that I use for backups, but thinking I may need a second.

    Just wondering how some of you balance having two computers and decide which apps live on which machine. I think the last question will answer itself after I've had the Air for a while.

    Thanks for your input!!
     
  2. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040

    FreakinEurekan

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    #2
    Dropbox/iCloud/SkyDrive for data you want to access from either computer. All have their benefits & drawbacks but basically all support synchronizing data accessible to either system. Personally I use Dropbox because many of my iPhone/iPad apps explicitly support it, and I have enough space for my needs. If I needed more storage I get 27GB free from SkyDrive with my Office 365 subscription but so far my Dropbox is plenty large enough.

    If your external USB on your iMac is big enough to handle backups for both (or if you want to get a 2nd one, or a single larger one for both) you could put Mountain Lion Server on your iMac and remotely back up via Time Machine from your Air. That's convenient in that you never have to remember to plug in the drive to back up the data on the Air; it just runs automatically once an hour when it's on the same network as your iMac. I am doing this with mine (actually my Air and two iMacs all back up to my Mac Mini with ML Server) and it works great.
     
  3. stockcerts thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #3
    Sounds like good suggestions, thank you. Do you need to buy a license to use Mountain Lion Server?
     
  4. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040

    FreakinEurekan

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    #4
    Yes, $19.99 from the Mac App Store.

    One caveat about Server - the iMac has to be on in order for the backup to work. My Mini is set to never sleep so that works for me, but not practical if for example your iMac is in the bedroom & you don't want it making noise at night.
     
  5. flynz4, Jul 13, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2013

    flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #5
    I personally think the iMac/MBA is the perfect combination. My general advice is dependent upon how many computers the person wants:

    1 computer: 15" MBP
    2 computers: iMac/MBA combo

    For starters, having an iMac enables having a compeer with "unlimited storage" all the time. This is extremely valuable because you can implement the methodology that 100% of your data "lives" on the iMac. Any data on any other computer is a "temporary copy".

    This means that you have a single place where it is "mission critical" to have a very robust backup system. I use dual overall backup on the iMac: local via Time Machine; cloud via Crashplan+. I also keep manual copies of my irreplaceable media (personal photos and camcorder movies) on a pair of external HDDs that I rotate between home and off-site (my work office).

    Once you do that... you can create a mobile environment on your MBA where everything is automatically synced back to the iMac in real time, irrespective of where you are in the world. The few things that I find very valuable are:

    • Dropbox
    • IMAP email
    • 1Password
    • iCloud Services (Contacts, Calendars/Reminders, Notes, Safari bookmark sync and iCloud data
    • Music Match
    • Aperture
    • Witopia VPN

    Dropbox is pretty obvious. Any content that I need when mobile "lives" in dropbox. If I create new documents etc on the road... they are stored in Dropbox. Hence... they are always synced back to the iMac (which is on 24/7) so they are automatically backed up back at home. This makes backing up the MBA less critical while traveling.

    IMAP email is supported by most (but not all) email providers now. It gives a "common view" of your email from as many clients as you wish. Hence, you can delete, organize, or manipulate email from either the MBA, iMac, or devices... and the organization propagates everywhere.

    1Password is generally considered to be the top password management system out there. I use the dropbox sync feature to keep the encrypted keychain in sync across every system and device that I use.

    iCloud service continue to improve and I find increasing usage of the features. This is especially true as I've gone "all Apple". For example, I've shut off Xmarks bookmark synchronization and now just use iCloud sync of bookmarks among my computers/devices.

    I am a Music Match subscriber... which gives me access to my entire music collection on both my MBA and devices. My "original music", like everything else, lives on my iMac.

    Photography: I am an Aperture 3 (A3) user... and one of it's greatest features is the ability to migrate projects from machine to machine. I am not generally using cloud services to do this... but what I do is import my photography into A3 every night, so I can begin the steps of photo organization during the trip... or on the flight home. This is especially true when I take long trips (sometimes 2-3 months) and accumulate 1000's of photos. In addition to importing photos into A3, I never delete SD cards... and I always keep the SD cards separate from my computer... in case of theft. Then when I get home, I'll transfer A3 projects into my iMac, and after everything is backed up, I can erase the SD cards. I do not use "Photo Stream". It can work well for typical consumer use... but I consider myself more of an enthusiast and for the amount of photos I take, photo stream seems to get in my way.

    VPN: When traveling, it is inevitable that you will be connecting to hotspots in hotels, airports, coffee shops, etc... which is akin to having unprotected sex with hookers. Subscribe to a VPN service or set up your own. I use Witopia which is fairly inexpensive and generally has good service. I NEVER EVER use any hotspot (outside of my home) without turning on Witopia or using my corporate VPN.

    A couple of things I have not touched on:

    Backup while traveling: I personally use Time Machine/Time Capsules at home for both my iMac and MBA... but I do not use TM while traveling. I think it is too cumbersome to carry an external HDD... and if you follow the advice above, then all of your data is automatically backed up to your iMac at home (I never shut mine down). There are exceptions. When I was on sabbatical and traveling for 10 weeks, I turned on Crashplan+ on my laptop... so that it was continually backed up during that long trip. I did this primarily as an extra step to protect my photos. However, for routine travel of a few weeks or less... I don't bother with backup... since all the data is continually synced back to the iMac where it is double backed up automatically.

    Remote access to your iMac. There are a number of services such as LogMeIn, Teamviewer, Back to My Mac, that give you remote access back to your iMac. I am currently not using any of them on my MBA. I used to have LogMeIn, but I didn't like that it was always running in the background and if I turned it off... it would come back on at the next reboot.

    Finally... for security purposes... turn on FileVault2 on both your iMac, and especially your MBA. This provides full disk encryption of your data. It is also wise to set a firmware password on your MBA which closes a minor vulnerability even with FV2 enabled. Also... it is best to power down your MBA when unattended, such as when you leave it in a hotel room. I also power down when I put it away in the hotel safe because I do not want the WiFi or BT radios blasting away at full power trying to get outside of the steel safe.

    Bottom line: Try to think of creating a mobile environment that would pass the following test: If your MBA was stollen during a long trip... your data would be safe (i.e. you would have only lost a hunk of iron). Also... you could walk into the nearest Apple Store, buy a new MBA, set it up with just a few steps and a few cloud logins... and you would instantly have your entire computing environment recreated... including all of your mobile data. It is incredibly powerful (but something I hope you never need to do).

    Hope this helps... no doubt I am forgetting some things that are very helpful. Enjoy your iMac/MBA combo... the ideal computing combination.

    /Jim
     
  6. stockcerts, Jul 13, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2013

    stockcerts thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #6
    Some great ideas for managing data between computers. You've definitely got the backup solution covered. I think a similar Dropbox scenario should work for me as well. Thanks Jim!
     
  7. mattferg macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 27, 2013
    #7
    I use SkyDrive. Works on everything I own perfectly (Windows 8 desktop, MBA, Lumia 820, Nexus 7)
     

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