I really enjoy documenting my computer setups, I imagine much like people enjoy taking pictures of their family as they grow and age. Seriously though, it’s just such a big part of my every day life, I think it’s interesting to be able to review the way that the tools that enable my workflow change over time.
For as long as I’ve owned a computer, I’ve always had a desktop as my primary machine. At times, I’d augment this with a secondary desktop (I kept a Windows desktop in my design studio for a couple years) and my 12″ Powerbook which served as a mobile workstation for web/communication/photography duties. I experimented with several tools such as Foldershare and (must successfully) Dropbox to syncronize files between all of these machines. My first desktop was a Pentium4 Windows machine, which moved to serve design studio duty when I got my Core Duo iMac.
This past fall I decided that my Powerbook wasn’t meeting my needs anymore, and I held out until Apple announced the Macbook redesign that brought us the Unibody models. I picked up a 15″ Macbook Pro in late October and continued to use it in the same mobile communication/workstation capacity that my Powerbook had served. However, I quickly realized that the new Macbook Pro outperformed my iMac in every regard, and even matched the iMac’s 250gig storage capacity. What started as an impulsive thought quickly grew to neccessity, I needed to sell the iMac and get rid of the redundancy.
So now my only computer is a laptop (my P4’s power supply died, and I can’t justify the $40 it’d take to replace it), which is something I honestly never expected. I’ve always considered myself a power user and tinkerer, and love opening up a computer case and swapping out components. Of course, getting the iMac weaned me off of that hobby, and once I realized that my primary computer was a laptop strapped to a 20″ LCD, making the move to a true laptop computer didn’t seem as drastic.
I’ve always had fun playing with new tools and services to synchronize data between multiple computers, but I have to admit, life is so much simplier now that I’m only worrying about a single machine. I still use Dropbox for its public sharing and real time versioning and backup benefits, but I don’t have to evaluate every piece of software based on how difficult it’s going to be to sync its data across multiple machines anymore. The move to a single laptop has not only uncluttered my physical space, but it has also decluttered the logistics of my workflow. Also, thanks to Kitch for his blog post that reminded me that I wanted to write up a reflection on my new setup.
Here are links to photos of my computer setups through the years, in chronological order.