Tips for optimizing my Macbook Pro for work AND personal use: OS 10.5 Leopard
June 11, 2008 2:28 PM   Subscribe

I've had my Macbook Pro for a year now and I originally used it just for personal activities, the problem is, now I use it for work as well.

I'm looking for some tips that can help reduce the amount of personal crap that mingles with my work crap. My main problem is that I have certain applications, folders, preferences, etc that I use specifically for work and nothing else; I'm finding myself getting distracted by having nonessential work items cluttering up my computer and making me less efficient.

I've thought about trying to create a new user account just for work, but I'm hung up on the fact that I cannot use the same .Mac account for two users on my computer. (correct me If I'm wrong on this, but when I tried to enter my .Mac account for the new user it wouldn't allow me.)

So... any tips?
posted by ISeemToBeAVerb to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
You could just buy a USB hard drive and keep all your personal stuff there. Most apps can easily be moved out of the main Applications directory onto an outboard drive. Unplug the drive and voila, everything is gone.
posted by GuyZero at 2:39 PM on June 11, 2008

Here's an idea.

(pretty much anything you need to split)

Then you set up a shell script. Call one "home-on" and one "home-off" (or "work-on" and "work-off" or whatever you like.

All this script does is add a period in front of whichever one you want out of view. So if you're switching it to "home mode," it would be:

mv ~/Applications/Work ~/Applications/.Work
mv ~/Music/Work ~/Music/.Work
mv ~/Pictures/Work ~/Pictures/.Work

The period in front of the directory name hides it from view. When you're looking at it from the Finder, you won't see the period files. Switching back:

mv ~/Applications/.Work ~/Applications/Work
mv ~/Applications/Home ~/Applications/.Home
mv ~/Music/.Work ~/Music/Work
mv ~/Music/Home ~/Music/.Home

You can have this done automatically by making it a LaunchAgent (using the "Lingon" application) or embed the scripts in a clickable-icon (to avoid the Terminal) by using the "Platypus" application.

I know this was a very technical-ese post, so if you need me to decode anything, ask away.
posted by WCityMike at 2:45 PM on June 11, 2008 [2 favorites]

Have you tried Spaces? You could set up one desktop for home and another for work; certain apps could show up on one, the other, or both. It would still require discipline to not switch back and forth but if you just wanted the stuff out of your way Spaces might be a solution.
posted by justnathan at 2:47 PM on June 11, 2008

Sounds like you haven't tried making a second user account yet. Give it a shot at least. Fast user switching should ameliorate some of the pain as you can keep both accounts logged on at the same time. Why do you need to use your .Mac account from both user accounts?
posted by chairface at 3:38 PM on June 11, 2008

Do what chairface said. Two accounts and fast user switching will give you the separation and convenience that you need.
posted by pmbuko at 3:50 PM on June 11, 2008

Yup, I use the two user account approach and it works great.

Don't think there's any reason you can't sync your .mac across both accounts...
posted by puddpunk at 3:54 PM on June 11, 2008

fourthing or so the 2nd account. also, .Mac can be used on many computers/accounts - I have it on at least 3 right now, and I could put my .Mac info in after creating a test user on my MBP (my real account uses it as well). (there's all that bookmark/calendar/contact sync stuff, yano..) maybe you just typed your password in wrong.
posted by mrg at 5:06 PM on June 11, 2008

I used the same .mac account on two different machines (home and work) with different accounts, and I don't see why the computer would care if the two accounts were on the same computer or different computers...
posted by leahwrenn at 5:17 PM on June 11, 2008

I just use my own account, but for work-related stuff, I specifically use an encrypted DMG-file. It should be stated that for office-applications at work, I rely on Citrix/Windows Terminal Services, so a lot of my work-windows are "just" windows with nothing else on my Mac.
posted by KimG at 5:23 PM on June 11, 2008

two user accounts works out very well for me. fast user switching! (+one account for the girl... shame about her pc)
posted by mmdei at 12:55 AM on June 12, 2008

You should be able to access your .Mac account from either account. I used to access my .Mac account from both my home and work Macs. You cannot be logged in from one user account when you try to log-in from the the other user account, though.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:37 AM on June 12, 2008

Nthing two user accounts, but i find that it is useful to have dramatically different (and labeled) desktops to make it immediately obvious which account i'm currently in.
posted by nightwood at 2:03 PM on June 13, 2008

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