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08 27 2007

Recently I’ve decided to swear off Windows for good. Which is difficult, because like many, I’ve been raised on Microsoft operating systems (and still fondly remember the days of DOS). Yet I have committed to the Mac way of life and have found that my routine for web development has changed significantly. This is probably due more in large part to my decision to go with a laptop over the traditional desktop I’ve been so used to.

I used to only have one work area and that was my desk at home, nestled tightly into the corner and surrounded by a wall of technology. Owning a huge tower was a bonus as I ran pretty much everything into it: television, video games, and more in addition to normal computing and working. However, I’ve since been moving between work, home, part-time at school, and traveling on occasion; needless to say that tower can’t come with me everywhere.

So I switched to a Macbook Pro about half a year ago, and it’s changed the way I think about getting work done. I always have all of my files with me, all of the applications I need, even my music with me wherever I need it. Gone are the days of putting last night’s work on a flash drive to carry along with me, the only file transfers I do now are back-ups. It has also saved me some money in the long run. I used to maintain a lesser laptop and my main workstation, now I just have my Macbook Pro and external monitor for more workspace.

In addition to the change of physical form, changing operating systems has also been a blessing. No longer do I work in the bloated confines of Dreamweaver, or hassle myself with a WAMP setup or deal with second rate FTP programs. Now I can use Coda, Transmit, and an excellent application version of MAMP among the other benefits of the Macintosh OS.

A Prime Setup

While I’m still working on acquiring all the pieces, I have a definite ideal workspace in mind. Dan at Simple Bits is a man after my own heart and his workspace is the closest picture I can give to my ideal (without the mess of wires):

The Simplebits OfficeFigure 1: The Simple Bits Office

You can click the image to check out more photos of his place. But for mobile computing this is an ideal setup for someone in the design profession. The pieces are simple:

It takes only a moment to plug things in whenever I sit down, and for all the monitor space and traditional keyboard/mouse, it’s just as good as a desktop. I’ll be moving at the end of September, and hopefully I’ll have some pictures of the new workspace to showoff.

Not Without its Hiccups

That isn’t to say that everything is perfect. I still need to pickup a copy of parallels so I can test Internet Explorer without having to hunt down a Windows box in the vicinity, and for all the power that can be packed into a laptop there are times where I miss the massive power of a desktop when working in Photoshop or other memory intensive programs. Yet I feel the pros far outweigh the cons and its been a great boost in my productivity.

What About You?

What type of setup are you using to get your work done? Are you a mobile or desktop person? I’m interested to hear from others whether they’ve discovered the delights of being more truly mobile or even those who are hand-cuffed for life to the power of the desktop.



  1. I’m on the same page as you. Currently I have a fairly new iMac at home and an older 17″ powerbook that’s slowly losing its strength. When the time comes for an update I’ll be purchasing a top of the line Mac laptop, whatever that is at the time, and a decent size monitor. It’s a hassle trying to make sure that all my files are always current on both machines. Sometimes circumstances will put me in a position where I’ll end up working on the same file at different times on different machines (mostly in the idea generating process), leaving me to have to then go through and pick out the newest work on both files and combine them into a new super file. Throw in the fact that I also work off a different iMac at work, the headache of having multiple versions of software running on all three machines and the juggle act of backing up what’s what and it’s easy to see what the laptop starts to make sense. Ideally though, I’ll also have a very large flat screen television by that time that I can also plug that bad boy into and design like a king.

  2. one idea for fewer wires - wireless mouse and keyboard. also i like the idea of a macbook. just seems like a better platform for desiging web pages, dealing with pictures and music. once this new venture of mine gets rolling that’s where i am going to put my money. may be a bit of a learning curve but hey i’ve been in computers for over 20 years (yikes!) i think i can figure it out!

  3. I have this exact set up.

    Macbook Pro with a Dell 2407WFP, bluetooth keyboard & mouse.

    Also, hi Kyle, this is the other Kyle Meyer from (No you can’t have it!). I googled myself and saw this. Nice blog.

  4. I replaced my Vaio and my PowerBook G4 with the new 17″ MacBook Pro with the high-res screen. It also replaces my need to have an external monitor when I’m away from my desk. I’d recommend it to anyone.

  5. mikeo: I recently picked up one of the now-outdated Apple Bluetooth Keyboards (not a fan of the new laptop style ones), but the bluetooth mice that I’ve tried have been difficult to get used to since they go into a sleep mode and then lag for about a second upon waking. I think I may be stuck in the world of wired mice for now; but I have finally freed up that second USB port to keep the printer hooked up all the time.

    I’ve been thinking about purchasing an Airport Basestation and hooking up my external hard drive and printer to it, has anyone tried this? And does it work well over a wireless network not powered by an Apple Airport?

  6. i have not used apple airport so i can’t comment. sorry. maybe when i get a powerbook i can be of more use!

  7. Switching from Windows to Mac means investment. I heard many positive opinions about using Mac, from many web professionals and, yes, I am curious about it, but financially I am not ready…

  8. Congrats on the move. I did the same thing myself a couple of years ago, and now I even have a Mac at the office. I have one complaint about your opinions here though: The new keyboards are awesome! I could never go back :)

    About the wireless setup you’re wondering about: I have an Airport Extreme and an Airport Express at home. I have the Express one hooked up to my stereo so I can easily play music on my stereo while sitting in my couch. Wireless is sweet.

    About the external harddrive though, that hasn’t been problem free. I have a LaCie with USB 2 connected to the Airport Extreme. It worked really smoothly when I set it up. Just plug it in and my Powerbook went “hey, a disk, lets use it!”. But after losing connection I can’t connect again. Dunno why that happens, but weirdly enough it helps to unplug the drive, plug it into the Powerbook, disconnect it properly and then connect it to the Airport again. Hassle!

    I have found that other people are having the same problems too, so I would not recommend it, no. If it worked though… The idea is sweet.

    Oh well… keep on blogging!

  9. Torkill: Thanks for the information on the hard drive. With how much Apple has been touting wireless backups with Time Machine often I’m hoping that issue is resolved in Leopard. :)

  10. I have to say, I envy your ability to afford this kind of workspace. As of right now I’m working solely on a 15” MacBook Pro, with a cheap Activia mouse from Office Max. Eventually I would like to get a nice iMac for home, but at the moment my financial status is quite, well, horrible.

  11. I have to say, I envy your ability to afford this kind of workspace.

    Can’t say I have it really, still no Cinema Display, just an external Dell 19” LCD. :)

  12. My parents have a desktop, I have a laptop, botha re running windows. I first plan to get a digital camera but for highschool I will need yet a nother windows machine (they require it) I am thinking of getting a macbook though and a nice monitor, but boarding school dorms are small and that may be to big of a hassle.

  13. well, i’ve switched to a macbook 2 years ago. used to use a Toshiba laptop. it added my time of working, and maintenance? i must’ve forgot bout that! hehehe. it surely was the most positive move of my life.

  14. Hey Kyle, I just wanted to leave you a comment over here saying great post. This is the motivation I need to get a Mac.

  15. Hey, just wanted to say I stumbled on your site just now, and I think it’s awesome. But anyway, I currently use Windows on a good desktop, and my eyes have been on the Macbook Pro for a while now (the cost of a maxed out laptop, still a bit much for me at the moment).

    The funny thing is I use Windows at home and Macs at school, when I started last semester I was a Mac-hater and now I’m dying to get rid of this machine, I should be able to within the next few months…

  16. Right now I’m using a desktop,
    but it’s been slowly getting slowwer and slowwer.

    So I already was thinking of buying a new Computer, a Mac that would be.
    And I was not sure what to pick, an macbook or Imac.. but reading this made it a little easyer for me.
    thanks for that.

    Alos, I just wanted to tell you how mutch I enjoy reading your articles.
    Thats all.

  17. I moved to laptop-only (MacBook Pro, naturally) in 2007 and never looked back. Sooo nice to have it all, anywhere you need it.

  18. For those who don’t want to spend a lot of money for mac computer I would recommend to consider linux Ubuntu, its great operating system and all software is free. Its technologically more superior than windows os, no viruses/malware, security attacks, you don’t need any antivirus software, which just eats your money and computer resources. I found really good coreldraw, web development, photoshop, onenote, office etc. windows software free alternatives. Also increasing number of software delevopers devoping software versions for ubuntu linux (skype, adobe air, boxee, miro, etc. are availiable for ubuntu), because this is the most successful distribution ever. And its completely free driven by open-source movement and cannonical ltd. This OS will make your old slow windows machine like brand new horse ready for Rock’n’roll and you will find it more user friendly

  19. Hey Kyle,

    I’m just about to try this :) So what MBP did you pick up? I’m currently stuck on which to choose. The 2.53 i5 or the 2.66 i7?
    Anyone? Would love to hear your thoughts :)


  20. Hi Lance,

    I’m currently using the base i5 Macbook Pro. It has plenty of power for Photoshop and Illustrator, and I couldn’t justify the higher price points!

  21. I see. Thanks for the insight Kyle, though I bet you opted for the Hi-Res screen? :D

  22. @Lance: Unfortunately not yet! Hoping to upgrade to it soon though!

  23. Just another comment in favor of Ubuntu. If you have more time than money, it may be the best way to get a hassle-free computing experience. I’m using it on an extremely cheap, minimalist 15” laptop, and I affectionately think of it as my “generic-brand MacBook Pro.”

    Obviously, if you’re already invested in Apple kit and Adobe software you might not want to go this route. Although just playing with Ubuntu can help expose you to new design concepts, and new ways of seeing the world. The integrated App Store and consolidated updates especially are two things I missed, even while using Mac OS X.

    Laptops FTW.