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To Heck With Syncing

Monday, January 03 2005

I’ve had this sort of puzzle brewing in my head recently about how to keep my iBook synced with my desktop G5 and the answer struck me today with such clarity: screw keeping them synced – work directly off the iBook all the time, sort of.

With Macs you can setup a computer to act as a “Firewire Target” by holding down T as it boots up. You can then connect that computer to another computer with a Firewire cable, and the other computers sees the drive of the first computer as a portable Firewire drive. Pretty clever.

With Macs you can also boot off external hard drives by pressing the Alt button as the computer boots. Put those two ideas together and you get the solution to my puzzle: setup the iBook as a Firewire Target, then boot the G5 off the iBook HD. If I need to travel I can shut everything down and take my iBook with me and I have all of my applications and all of my data (provided I saved it to the iBook drive) intact.

Of course, there are some limitations – my iBook has a 30GB HD, and nearly half of that is taken up by the OS itself. So I have about 15GB of space to put my essential applications on as well as any projects I’m working on.

But when I think about space limitations I welcome the idea – I will be forced into keeping my machine tidy (something I’m not concerned with on a 160GB HD) and in order to stay tidy, I need to stay organized. Staying organized has benefits beyond keeping my hard drive lean. I can use my nearly 400GB of space on other drives throughout my house as “deep storage” and even carry one along when I travel if the data won’t fit.

So, I’m going to try the setup out for a while and see how it goes. I’ll report back in a month after the glow of the new idea has faded.