How to use more than one computer

If you use more than one computer on a regular basis, here are five tips to make your life easier:

  1. Consider replacing desktop apps with web apps. Some desktop apps can’t be replaced (especially on Macs), but some can (especially on Windows). If you’re willing to sacrifice a few features and little performance, check out Writely (word processing), meebo (instant messaging), Num Sum (spreadsheets), Backpack (to-dos, notes, photos, files), Bloglines (RSS aggregation), and Yahoo! Mail or Gmail. What do we still need? A good calendar application (actually, personal information management in general), HTML WYSIWYG editor, and a good cross-platform, streaming music solution.
  2. Move your bookmarks online. Use, the Firefox bookmark synchronizer plugin (needs to be updated for 1.5), or get a .Mac account to synchronize your bookmarks across Macs (Safari only).
  3. Move your files online. I’m actually not sure the best way to do this. I’m using a Mac these days, so .Mac is one solution. I tried using Xdrive when I was using Windows more often, and it was a complete disaster. Omnidrive seems to have potential, but I’ve never used it, and it’s still in beta.
  4. Move your music online with something like Rhapsody. Rhapsody is the first service like this I’ve tried, and it was great. Worth every penny. Until I started using a Mac again. Their Mac support doesn’t really even deserve to be called such. I don’t know of a good cross-platform solution except to just cary around a high-capacity MP3 player in your bag. If all you use are Macs, and you are usually on the same network, you can always just share your iTunes playlists.
  5. Work off a USB flash drive. If you need a lot of capacity, use a high-capacity compact flash card and a PCMCIA adapter, especially if you need your computer to be more easily mobile (a PCMCIA adapter sits flush with a laptop case while a USB flash drive obviously needs to be ejected and removed before your computer can be packed up.) For sensitive information that you’re afraid could get lost, create a small encrypted partition on the flash drive. I carry a Swissbit Victorinox USB flash drive everywhere I go. You can even run several applications directly off of flash drives like Firefox and Thunderbird.

Any other good suggestions?

6 thoughts on “How to use more than one computer

  1. Hi there,
    I carry a 40Gb iPod, filled with songs and encrypted disk images of my libraries, projects and user profile. I mount the disk images and work on them, which is slightly slower due to encryption with every save. But no thief will jack my digital life! At some point there were rumors of an Apple “home folder on iPod” project. That would have been nice.


  2. Regarding the streaming music solution. I think mp3tunes does this (or at least this is what I gathered from their website – not used it personally yet).
    Putting Firefox on a flash drive is pretty handy. I’ve only put it on my wristwatch (has builtin flash drive) but I bought it some time ago and it only has USB1, so waiting for Firefox etc to load takes a while. I strongly recommend USB2 for this kind of thing.


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