Roam - The Road Warrior's Survival Guide

Roam - The Road Warrior's Survival Guide



Rejuvenate Your Battery


Do yourself a favor by using your power adapter to condition your hard-working battery.


A properly calibrated battery is the foundation of maximum power efficiency on the go. To keep your battery functioning at its best, follow these steps once a month.


First, plug in your MacBook’s power adapter and charge it until the light on the adapter turns green. Once it does, continue to work with the adapter plugged in for a
few hours. This will let your battery rest while fully charged before you begin to discharge it.


After a few hours, unplug the power adapter and continue using the MacBook
until you’ve drained the battery. After a couple more hours, you’ll get a low-battery warning, which is your cue to save any work in progress. Keep working until the system goes into sleep mode.


Once the system goes to sleep, leave it unplugged overnight (or for at least five hours) to fully discharge the battery. Then plug it back in and fully recharge the battery until the light on the adapter turns green again, which will leave it calibrated for optimum performance.


Live Long and Prosper


To get the most battery life from your ’Book, adjust your power settings aggressively in the Energy Saver preferences pane.


If you’re lucky enough to spend only a couple of hours per day working without a power outlet, you may not give much thought to your notebook’s power consumption. But frequent travelers sometimes need to make serious concessions to energy efficiency by adjusting their Energy Saver preferences and turning off unnecessary wireless components.


Unless you’re actively connected to a wireless network or a Bluetooth device, your ’Book’s built-in transmitters make it hemorrhage power. Turn AirPort and Bluetooth off by clicking their icons in the menubar and selecting the appropriate option. That’ll go a long way toward making your battery last all day.
Connected devices, such as USB drives and even CDs in your optical drive, draw power from the system. Eject optical discs and disconnect drives to eliminate the unwanted drain.


To really stretch out your Mac’s battery life, set your sleep options to zealously efficient levels. Under System Preferences > Energy Saver, select the settings for Battery and set the display to sleep when the computer is inactive for five minutes, and have the whole computer sleep after 10 minutes of inactivity. Under Options, be sure to check “Automatically reduce the brightness of the display before display sleep.” That way, you won’t be wasting juice while you’re waiting in line for the bathroom on a transcontinental flight.


Even with the most aggressive Energy Saver settings, you’ll be hard-pressed to get more than five hours out of your MacBook’s battery. If you really need to get a full day’s work done without a power outlet, carry a fully charged spare battery in your bag. FastMac’s TruePower Extended-Life Battery ($99.95, lasts slightly longer than a stock battery, and costs less than a spare battery sold by Apple ($129,



Keys to Success


Regardless of whatever other backup measures you may take, you should never head off on an important trip without putting your most essential files on a USB thumb drive. That way, even if your MacBook Pro is stolen 20 minutes before your big presentation, you’ll still have your mission-critical PowerPoint or Keynote files ready to plug into a borrowed computer. And just in case you can’t get your hands on another presentation-ready machine, you should also save copies of your presentation as
PDF files that you can readily print at any nearby Kinko’s, or present in a pinch with Preview or even Adobe Reader. To make the PDFs, go to the Print dialog, click the PDF button, and choose Print As PDF from the drop-down menu.


.Mac Backups


One of the easiest ways to keep your data at hand is to back it up online with a .Mac account. (The downside, of course, is that you must be online to back up.) For $99.95 per year, you get 10GB of storage on your iDisk, which you can use to back up your home folder, contacts, iCal, and any other files you like. Once you have a .Mac account, download the latest version of Backup from and set it to back up the data you care about most. That way, whether you’ve left your MacBook on the train or simply at home, you can always get to your latest backup from any Web browser. Your iDisk also has a Public folder to let you share files with friends and colleagues.


Back to My Mac


Get back to your home or work desktop machine from anywhere with Leopard’s awesome Back to My Mac feature.


Leopard, aka Mac OS 10.5, makes it easier to access your Mac back at the compound from another Mac on the road. You’ll need two Macs with Leopard installed and a .Mac account. On each machine, go to System Preferences > .Mac and select Back To My Mac. Click Start, then Open Sharing Preferences, and enable File Sharing. Now whenever you want to access either machine from the other, you can open a Finder window and look for Back To My Mac under the Shared section in the Sidebar. Cool, huh?


Time Machine


Gotta go back in time to before you trashed that important file? Use Time Machine.


As you travel through space, you may occasionally need to travel through time as well, and especially if you’ve lost or somehow unintentionally overwritten an important file. Leopard’s Time Machine feature makes hourly backups of your system so you can look back in time and recover older, less ruined versions of your files. Provided you have a large enough external drive attached, Time Machine will retain hourly backups from the last 24 hours, daily backups from the past month, and weekly backups until it runs out of space to store them. So there’s virtually no limit to how far back you can reach.


For use on the road, we suggest a high-capacity, rugged external drive like the 250GB LaCie Rugged All-Terrain Hard Disk ($199.99,, which has USB and FireWire. Its ample capacity and sturdy, shock-resistant construction will ensure that you always have plenty of Time Machine backups on hand. Or you can just connect your laptop to the drive each evening (or morning) when you’re at home and let it back up overnight. (Only if your external drive is connected via FireWire will you be able to start up your Mac from it. To restore from these backups using a USB drive, you must have your Leopard Mac OS X Install Disc with you.)





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