Last week, I mentioned a number of computers that I’m evaluating. I’ll be honest, it gets a bit overwhelming having so many computers sitting around, begging to get used. Fortunately, many of those are headed back to their respective OEMs, while others will find their new owner via eBay.
So, how do I set up and keep the computes in sync? Three processes are crucial to my set up and allow me to get productive on a new system relatively quickly.
The very first program I install on a new system is SugarSync. I have SugarSync installed on all of my computers, so all of my photos and documents seamlessly synced to the SugarSync file servers. All I have to do is download the program, install it, and all of my data begins downloading to the new computer. I normally start this process late at night and let it run through the morning. By the time I get it up the next morning, all of my data has been duplicated to the new machine. Using SugarSync allows me to move seamlessly between multiple computers and not worry about accessing out of date data.
The second system I use is a hosted-Exchange service for my Outlook email. I’m using MailStreet.com, but there are a number of them out there. All I do is install Outlook 2007, configure it with my domain information, and all of my email and PIM data is seamlessly downloaded to my new system. Using hosted-Exchange also allows me to have access to that same PIM data (minus tasks) on my MacBook via Entourage. Hosted-Exchange totally rocks.
The third application I use is Evernote, which stores all of my notes. I keep Evernote data out of the SugarSync process because I want to utilize Evernote’s own proprietary syncing program, which syncs at the note level rather than the database level. Within 10 minutes of downloading Evernote to a new computer, I’ve got all of my notes accessible on the new computer and syncing to my other computers.
That represents most of the work involved in setting up a new computer. For client specific apps like Office, Quickbooks, Dreamweaver, and FTP, I have all of the executables and license keys stored on a 500 GB USB drive and just install them from there. The biggest pain is updating the various client applications with their latest service packs, etc.
As you can tell, the cloud is utilized greatly for accessing all of my data and keeping it in sync to my various computers that I’m evaluating.