True Synchrony

 

I use a PC every day. I also use a mac every day. My workhorse, the PC ( a Dell Precision T1650), is for CAD work – Solidworks, Rhino, AutoCad. The mac (a workhorse 2008 MacBook Pro with a great 17″ screen and a 500Gb SSD) is for pretty much everything else – emails, some web surfing, timekeeping, bookkeeping, image editing etc. Tying together these two computers and their files has been a slow evolution to a pretty great system which I thought I’d share:

Synergy – I’ve posted before about how I use the two computers with the same keyboard & mouse using Synergy – which is priceless. The seamless use of one keyboard/mouse for 2 computers is beyond awesome (I’ve even discovered that when I copy text in one computer, I can paste it into the other computers’s document – COOL!)
Dropbox – It seems old hat by now but when I started using Dropbox a few years ago it was a revolution for me – I could share all the files between computers without having to set up a finicky network between pc & mac. This is a pretty big deal since I like to use a mix of PC & mac applications to do various things while I do a project. While I’m working on the PC, Dropbox is making sure that I have everything also available on my other computer if I need it.
Time Machine – this is an Apple feature that saves backups every hour for the past 24 hours, and keeps daily & weekly versions thereafter. Time Machine is seamless – it is built into the operating system so you don’t even know it’s there until you need it. Since all my work files are on Dropbox – which is shared by both computers –  all of my CAD files are backed up on the mac’s Time Machine while I work. Since the mac is saving files while I’m working on the PC, there’s no noticeable lag (I have Acronis True Image for saving daily PC backup images, but I’ve found that if I set it for hourly backups it tends to slow down Solidworks). So if a Solidworks file gets corrupted (which happened the other day) I can easily go to the mac’s Time Machine to restore the previous hour’s files or folders that need to be restored. Dropbox will then make sure I have the files on my PC so I can get back to work!