Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Joy of New MacBook Pro

Well my new MacBook finally arrived last week (delays caused by "constrained supply", which I interpret as "we can't build 'em fast enough"), and I moved my working environment from my trusty Powerbook to the new machine over the weekend. Yesterday (Monday) was the new machine's first day of work, and it worked like a dream. So I'd like to say a few words of thanks to the people whose software helped me clean up the mess on the old system, and achieve a quick and orderly transition.


Cleanup ($US10) comes from the lovely people at Synium Software . You install it, enable its logging mode, and it watches everything you install, and tracks the files that get touched. When you want to uninstall something, you drag it to the CleanApp windows, and it gives you a list of all the files involved with that package (including files that you would never have located without CleanApp, because they have no obvious connection with the application you are trying to delete). CleanApp gives you option to delete the files, move them to the trash or create an archive. Obviously you need to be careful - don't just delete files that you don't understand. But used carefully, CleanApp can help you recover a lot of disk space. If you didn't have CleanApp installed when you first installed something that you now want to get rid of, just reinstall the offending app, so that CleanApp can get a look at it, and then use CleanApp to wipe the files off your disk.

Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning comes from SmithMicro Software . I haven't tried all of it many features, but the two utilities that I have used worked well, and helped me clean up a mess caused by years of lackadaisical file management on my part. In the past, new laptops have generally been handed to me by someone from internal IT, and I've usually had to move my environment in haste, because I've been in the middle of some big infrastructure deployment project, with very little spare time, and the IT person has had an urgent need to reclaim my old laptop, to be reloaded and given to someone else. [There is a sort of hierarchy of laptop allocation in a lot of places: the engineers and the project managers tend to get the newest and best machines, and admin staff get cast offs]. So every time I've created a directory on the new machine, called something like "Old Laptop", and copied the files I needed to keep from the old machine to the new machine, each time promising myself that I would clean up as soon as my current project finishes.

Cleanups never happened, and after a few generations of laptops, going from Windows to Linux to Windows to Mac (depending on my employer and the capabilities of the hardware), the nested directories had got quite deep, and the number of duplicated files was very large.

Spring Cleaning's Duplicate Finder helped me get rid of a lot of unneeded files, and the Quick Compare utility allowed me to identify the differences between directories full of files, and synchronize them easily. I would strongly recommend making a backup copy of your data before you start using Spring Cleaning - the application can't protect you from synchronizing old over new files, if you make a mistake, but used thoughtfully and with care, this is a great set of software.

So, having recovered gigabytes of space, and achieved a level of order that I had never thought to achieve, I moved everything to the new machine in an afternoon. Nothing needed reinstalling, and only a couple of things needed their license strings reloaded.

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