Getting In Sync

The Techie Scheky series offers tips and tactics for being more productive and creative through technology (especially with a Mac).

My baby got hurt this week (not my two daughters, they are both fine… or so my wife tells me), my beloved 13″ Macbook Air1 got a booboo and had to go in for service. Normally, this would derail me. I do a decent amount of work from home and am still going strong on my 5 posts a week here on the blog. And if I’m really being honest, if you’ve ever seen the withdrawal scene in Trainspotting, you can imagine what I’m like without my computer.

Like any good geek, I’m a compulsive backup person. I have everything on a Time Capsule, a bootable USB hard drive, two backup drives of all my media and a cloud backup through Backblaze2. But did I really want to go through the headache of taking my old computer and getting it completely up to speed for what is bound to be a week-long inconvenience? While I was tempted, better judgment inevitably prevailed and I decided to dust off and deal with my long-shelved 15″ Macbook Pro.

Now, considering this computer hasn’t been off my shelf for about 6 months now, I needed to let it charge back up and do some serious updates, but this took less than a half an hour. Once everything was up to date, I was shocked about how easy it was to get going. You see, over the past few months, I’ve been moving more and more of my work to apps that sync over the web to multiple platforms and better yet, multiple devices. So instead of needing to access and update from recent files on my backups (which I didn’t end up touching) the sync features of applications like Dropbox, nvALT, Evernote, Omnifocus, TextExpander and 1Password had did the heavy lifting of pulling down all of the data I had created over the past six months. My love of Google Apps for contacts, calendars and email instantly gave me an up-to-date look at my personal data3 and best of all, my recent shift to the Mac App Store made it fast and easy to seamlessly get almost all the apps that have been added into my workflows onto my temporary solution.

While I’m still going to remain vigilant (if not compulsive) about backup, the whole experience really helped me to see the benefit of the syncing culture that computing is rapidly shifting toward. Data has become far more portable, especially when you take the time to make it as portable as possible by writing in raw text and using services that treat multi-platform and multi-device as a key feature. Thankfully, less than a week later, my baby is back in my arms and I am writing this post in her familiar arms. And those same syncing features that helped me get my old computer up to speed, they also made it seamless for my new Mac to get up to date mere minutes after I booted her back up4.

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  1. One day I am going to have to go on a super-long rant about just how good this computer is.  

  2. Yes, I know, I have problems  

  3. Yes, I believe that the convenience of this service outweighs any creepy Google spiders that may be reading my crap.  

  4. And with a full battery none-the-less, nice touch for Apple!  

10 Responses to Getting In Sync

    • Carbonite was one of the offline backups I considered. Just ended up liking Backblaze’s UI a bit better. I wish both would allow you to send a hard drive the first time around as NY Cable upload speeds are a bit brutal…

      • I’ve had to restore from backup twice (thank you Windows Vista + McAfee) and oh God yeah, that took forever. It was rough.

        I don’t remember how much the initial sync took though…perhaps it’s like childbirth. You forget.

        • This is why I like the local backup. You may just want to get yourself a USB drive for something like WD. Just update it monthly and you will save yourself a good amount of time with the offsite downloads.

    • Easy, unless you are doing heavy video editing or photoshop, you are crazy to go pro. From a sheer usage standpoint, my 13″ MBA gets so much more love than my 15″ MBP. 

      The biggest challenge would be if you have a large media or iPhoto library (which I do). In this case, I still found the tradeoff of carrying around a deck of card size terabyte drive with this worthwhile. It also keeps me from throwing on movies and keeps me on task, but that is just my crazy adhd ass :)

        • I could come up with some smart sounding, non-sensical answer, but the answer is the obvious. Screen size. While Lion goes a long way with full screen, I still don’t think 11″ is ready to be my prime computer. Especially when it comes to writing. I also wanted the 256GB hard drive. (Not sure if the new models offer that in 11″)

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