The holy trinity of working on more than one Computer

Like perhaps many of you I live & work on multiple computers. It's almost a embarassing but I have
  • A Mac Pro as my main development machine (and is it ever sweet!)
  • A HP laptop at my 'day job' (While it certainly doesn't have the stylings of Apple it's actually quite a nice machine)
  • A Macbook pro for when I'm away from home
  • A Hackintosh MSI Wind that I use for fun
Crazy -- Four computers for one guy but there you have it. For the most part I can keep my work PC and Macs separate -- I usually don't need to share files back and forth and on the odd day i do need to share I usually end up emailing myself (or a USB thumbdrive) - A little awkward but it gets the job done.
My Macs are a different issue all together -- It's horrible to be working day in and day out on one computer (my 'pro) and then have to prepare a laptop for a long weekend away. I *always* forget to transfer something and when I'm away I'm always fretting that I am editing a old version of a file and then coming home is terrible -- I need to remember to transfer them back.
I've come across four solutions, however, that almost perfectly fix my problem and make multiple macs (or to a large extent PC's) sync up perfectly. They are DropBox, Evernote, & Mobile Me.
DropBox is the home run of this solution -- I had tried it about 6 months ago an uninstalled it as it seemed to be a resource hog (chewing up tons of CPU, bandwidth & memory). Since then the dropbox folks have done a lot (plus I've upgraded my hardware) so now it runs like buttah. You just store files in your dropbox on your PC and amazingly fast they get synced. Open up another computer and it syncs that. It even works on my work PC so I've begun to keep all my documents in my dropbox to have always access.
The other thing dropbox does is keep revisions -- If you modify or delete a file you can go online and restore it (I'm not sure how far back they keep them -- I suspect they keep them until you run up against your limit)
DropBox is free for 2GB accounts and $99/yr for 50GB accounts.
Evernote is a notes taking application -- They have a great iPhone, Mac & PC client and I use it to scribble things down. Like dropbox it works like magic and it's replaced my various folders of text documents, outlook items, etc. Evernote is free but there is a premium service for (I think) $49/yr that increases the size of notes as well as attach arbitrary files (so you can embed a PPT along with the note)
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Finally mobile me. At this point I use it for calendar, address book and preferences syncing across macs and my iphone. It works pretty well for this but at you can get the address book and calendar syncing through google so the preference & keychain syncing is the only thing I use it for with multiple computers. I do occasionally use back to my mac which is nice but honestly I hope apple finds a way to make it more valuable otherwise they may not see my $99 come september.
Of the four DropBox and Evernote are my most favorite -- They work amazingly well and are free (but both offer paid upgrades with enhanced capacity & storage)
Highly recommended.
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Newest Project (DreamHost customers read!)

I've been playing with a new project recently -- I honestly never intended for this to turn into anything "real" but somehow it took on a life of it's own. If you use DreamHost as your web host you might be interested in looking at this -- It's a domain & list management application for dreamhost accounts (and I must say that it's turning out pretty slick) http://dreamhostapp.com If you want to help finish it via beta testing send me a note.
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Drawing Mode

Google just released a 'drawing mode' in google docs. While it certainly won't replace Adobe Illustrator it's still a amazing achievement for an online word processor and should be quite handy to toss up a few quick diagrams to explain a point.
Of course I've updated PlusKit to work with it -- Grab 1.58 and enjoy all of the drawing goodness.
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Safari 4.0 & RapidBlog

If you've installed Safari 4.0 you'll notice that RapidBlog has stopped working. A fix is forthcoming in the next 10 hours or so.
[update: RapidBlog & RapidFlickr updated and should be working now]
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DefaultPaperID

When I first came to the Mac there were a handful of things that I didn't initially get -- Honestly speaking in some cases I still don't get them (and/or think the PC way is perhaps better)
One of those is the font dialog (cmd-t) -- I find it so frustrating to work with and what are all of those little funky controls at the top?
But I digress -- this post is about printing. My first experience on Mac was 10.3 and the printing seemed a little funky, pages never quite came out as I was expecting without a lot of twiddling. 10.4 seemed to really improve it and in 10.5 it's been (almost) flawless.
Over christmas I was doing christmas card and made a custom paper size to print them out with -- So far, So Good. The problem is ever since then my default paper always ends up being the custom size. No amount of going to preferences, saving, restarting, etc. seemed to force it to stick -- It subbornly reverted to my 'christmas card' size.
Finally tonight I dug in and did some digging -- Turns out there is a preference com.apple.print.PrintingPrefs.plist -- One of the items in there is 'DefaultPaperID' which pointed at, you guessed it, my christmas card size.
Deleting that one plist entry fixed the problem -- Now I happily print to the proper size by default -- It does beg the question what happened -- How did it get changed and why wouldn't it change back but at least I'm back up and working again.
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Lockdown Screencast

If you haven't yet check out the Screencast done by the fine folks at SupportCasts. It's very nicely done.
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MWSF09 predictions

I'm actually kind of excited this year -- The rumor mill has been pretty quiet which means either
  1. There is nothing to announce
  2. Apple has kept a good lid on it
Here is my wish list of things I want to see -- Unlike some pundits *everything on this list is achievable today* -- I'm ignoring the obvious (iLife 09) and the boring (update to time capsule)
  1. iPhone nano -- No big screen, no apps -- just a phone that syncs your contacts, calendars and is an ipod (possibly wireless syncing with mobile me) -- A great phone for folks who don't need the big screen (I'd get one for my wife) and who don't want to pay the data fee.
  2. i7 based computers -- Ideally a 4 core iMac (24+ LED screen)
  3. App store reforms with trial period for apps.
That's it -- If I get 2 out of 3 I'll be a happy guy.
[Update after keynote]
  1. iPhone nano -- FAIL
  2. i7  based computer - FAIL
  3. App store reforms - FAIL
New iWork & iLife seems promising but hardly worth a MW keynote, new 17" is fine (and expected) 
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MovieFlick

Over the past few months (on and off) I've been working on an iPhone app -- I'm happy to say it's not released. First let me say that any of my (few) readers who want a free copy just send an email to support@movieflickapp.com with the subject 'free copy for reading the blog' and I'll shoot you a coupon for a free copy (maybe you can say something nice about it in the comments in iTunes...)
Anyway it's an app for managing your NetFlix queue -- Sorry to say it's only available in the US itunes store since NetFlix is only (sadly) available in the US (For those of you outside the US I suspect you know what it is, originally dvd by mail rental and now also an 'instant' view for about 10,000 or so titles over the internet)
It's been a fun experience writing an iPhone app -- I'll probably end up sticking mostly with Mac Apps going forward since I enjoy the richness you can bring with them but it is amazing how much of a 'desktop' experience you can achieve with a mobile application.
If I don't post again before Christmas I hope everyone has a nice holidays and (hopefully) a prosperous new year
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End of an era

  • Steve doesn't do the keynote: Not a huge suprise -- They've been backing him off the one man show stick for a while.
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RapidWeaver 4.2 & RapidBlog

Hi All,
If you are using RapidWeaver 4.2 & Rapidblog you might see some problems uploading pictures.  I've put up a release that *should* fix it here
The reason it's not available on sparkle or the download section is I am still waiting for some testing results -- if you try it and see any problems let me know.
-John
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