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):
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:
- A laptop powerful enough for your computing needs
- A sizable second monitor to make up for the small monitor on the laptop
- An external keyboard and mouse
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.