Mac for Oz

Any suggestions on how to clone my Mac onto an external drive to use on a rental machine in Australia.

As Eric was saying earlier, I too am more concerned about the prospect of trusting my trusty Mac to a cargo hold than I am about having my plane blown from the sky (if you believe any of that stuff anyway). So my thoughts have turned to taking only my data and renting, borrowing or possibly stealing a Mac in Australia for Web Directions.

Renting Macs in Sydney

A quick Google showed up several companies in Sydney with Macs for rental at fairly reasonable prices: far less than I imagined and even more worth not having to have my own Mac dropped, lost or stolen by baggage handling staff.

The thought is really rather appealing. I can easily transfer my bookmarks and iCal to .Mac and transfer my other important data to a Firelite drive or DVD. But what about the apps that I use everyday? I need to check, but I imagine that most rental Macs come with a copy of iLife and possibly even iWork for my Keynote presentations. But what about the rest?

Not being a font of all knowledge when it comes to all things Apple, how can I effectively clone my machine onto an external drive or take my apps with me when I go?

Any suggestions?


  1. #1 On August 13, 2006 01:34 AM Kanashii said:

    I haven't personally used it before but the free utility Carbon Copy Cloner may be what you're looking for.

  2. #2 On August 13, 2006 01:38 AM Ryan Irelan said:

    You can easily make a complete, bootable backup of your hard drive to a firewire drive and either a) boot from it and run off it, so you never put data on the rented hardware or b) image the rented hardware from your firewire drive and bam! you just repro'd your data on the other machine.

    Just dont' forget to run the copy back the other way before you hand the machine back in (so you have all of your changes) and zero out the drive on the rented hardware using Disk Utility.

    I believe Disk Utility will do it all, but I recommend SuperDuper! or CarbonCopyCloner. Both great apps, the former I would endorse. :)

  3. #3 On August 13, 2006 01:45 AM Malarkey said:

    Interestingly, the CarbonCopyCloner site says that:

    "A word of caution: Apple currently does not support booting an Intel Mac from an OS installation that came from a PowerPC Mac, and vice versa. Until Apple provides a Universal OS that is capable of booting both architectures, do not clone a PowerPC Mac to an Intel Mac or vice versa."

    So I guess I will need to rent or borrow an Intel Mac there too.

  4. #4 On August 13, 2006 01:51 AM Jan Bra�na said:

    Okay, I think our concerns are somewhat the same, I'm more afraid about my laptop, camera and cellphone being screened by the heavy-duty checked luggage x-rays. Not talking about the recent higher rate of delayed baggage.

    +1 on CCC and SuperDuper, you can even boot off that drive then.

  5. #5 On August 13, 2006 01:57 AM Ryan Irelan said:

    I wonder if that includes the User folder or just a operating system files. I haven't yet tried it with my MacBook.

    If it's just OS (which would be my guess), you can get around it by only moving over your User folder and then your Applications folder. Neither of these should fall under that disclaimer, but I'm not entirely sure.

  6. #6 On August 13, 2006 01:57 AM John said:

    Opportunity knocks...
    LappyRent kiosk in every International Airport lounge in the country, hell...the world. Unfortunately the franchise won't be up and running before you arrive.

  7. #7 On August 13, 2006 01:59 AM Twisted Intellect said:

    Well, portable applications comes to mind - though those are a pretty limited list for the time being...

    But taking it all with you on an ext. HD should be possible... And honestly - if they are renting macs, it would suprise me if they didn't have any with preinstalled Creative Suite and the likes...

    As for other software - you could probably download the freeware bits from the web within half an hour - and the commercial, like skEdit, for instance you could probably get demos for, which would at least get you through a couple of days...

  8. #8 On August 13, 2006 02:20 AM Damien said:

    I use carbon copy cloner all the time - works a treat and gives you a bootable backup - just like using your own machine running from the backup drive. We're in Brisbane and not going to WD but I'm sure someone will help you out with a mac for loan.

  9. #9 On August 13, 2006 02:20 AM Jan Bra�na said:

    One thing... Place all the important stuff on the Intraweb as well... And mail it to Maxine... Twice. You never know what they could do with your bags (incl. the external drive with all that amazing pieces of your preso and workshop...).

  10. #10 On August 13, 2006 03:00 AM Julian Bennett Holmes said:

    I would honestly just reccomend packing your laptop really well � bubble wrap, duct tape, etc.

    The only problem is that they might think it's a bomb, open it up, see that it's a laptop, and then just throw it back in the bag, with no bubblewrap.

  11. #11 On August 13, 2006 05:46 AM Collin said:

    Your best option may be to just set up or rent or whatever a secure ftp and place the files you will need on there. Then get to where you are going and rent a laptop and then download the files you need to it. As for applications just take your installer CDs with you.

    Just a thought.

  12. #12 On August 13, 2006 05:51 AM Collin said:

    Sorry forgot to add this to the last post.

    As for the legal side of installing your applications on the rented laptop while having them on your laptop at home, I believe in most instances this is a grey area as long as you are not using both machines at the same time.

    I know MS Office is allowed on 2 machines but they can't be running an application at the same time. Also with the drag and drop installation and un-installation of most Mac programs it would not be hard to set up the stuff you need on the rented machine.

    You could even go as far as copying your .pref files for said applications to a CD to take with you so the applications would have the same settings you are used to without the hassle of going through it all again.

  13. #13 On August 13, 2006 06:44 AM Daniel said:

    Being a photographer, this pathetic knee-jerk reaction has also made my life hell.

    Ill be going back to paranoid central (london) and have decided to get a Peli Case to pack the camera + 17" powerbook in

    Seriously YOU cannot break these bastards

  14. #14 On August 13, 2006 09:52 AM Vicki said:

    When I went to the US to present at TODcon in May, I borrowed a MacBook Pro and simply took some install disks and some CDs with necessary documents and data (such as my prefs and Application Support files for the apps I knew I'd need) as well as apps like Quicksilver and CiphSafe that I can't do without. I had maybe 10 or 12 disks and lots of blank ones for backing up later. Worked well for me and didn't take long for all the installations and copying.

    For home I have SuperDuper! and it is excellent. At that time I didn't have my own MacBook Pro so couldn't clone my (G5) system to use on the borrowed MacBook Pro.

    Doesn't the Apple remote work beautifully for Keynote presentations?!

  15. #15 On August 13, 2006 04:19 PM Richard York said:

    If it were me, I'd probably use the rsync utility that comes prebundled with Mac OS X. It's an open source utility that compares files, and updates only the ones that have changed (to an external drive or to a server via SSH, if you prefer). This is what I use to do backups on my Mac and my Linux web server. I've done it both ways, I can rsync to my home server via SSH, or to an external drive.

    ...yields some promising hits on the topic. Don't know if that will get you what you're after, but it's a start. Rsync is a command line utility, but there also seem to be several people making GUI frontends for it as well.

    Good luck with your search!

  16. #16 On August 14, 2006 04:42 AM Peter Asquith said:

    Looks like you may be able to avoid a lot of hassle and stay relatively amused on the way - this is the latest from the Department for Transport:

    Your MBP can travel with you. Plans for overland scootering, slow boating and reconstituting your MBP in Oz may not be quite so necessary.

    Looking forward to seeing you in Sydney.

  17. #17 On August 14, 2006 09:10 AM Ian Lloyd said:

    Right, just skimmed through comments, so someone *may* have suggested the same.

    Carbon Copy Cloner is fine - I have done an entire clone onto a portable firewire drive (Lacie) and booted off that, but as I understand it, you'd have to be using a machine that matches the cloned drive.

    If you need presentation slides and the like, a big USB key will take care of the essentials (which you can then plug into pretty much anything), although you might want to include the Keynote installer too. And being solid state, these keys are fine in main luggage.

    Finally, I *would* take a risk on hardware if I had them packed in a pelican case - with the foam cut to match your computer. As long as you have the essential data on a key as well, you should be OK, even if the computer were damaged.

  18. #18 On August 14, 2006 10:35 PM Ms. Jen said:

    Various UK authorities are now saying that mobiles and laptops are allowed in hand luggage but no liquids.

  19. #19 On August 15, 2006 03:13 PM opl said:

    Speaking about rsync (#15) and synchronizing files, Unison uses rsync and useful indexes to do the following via a graphical front-end (extract of the doc):

    - Unlike simple mirroring or backup utilities, Unison can deal with updates to both replicas of a distributed directory structure. Updates that do not conflict are propagated automatically. Conflicting updates are detected and displayed.

    This free GPL software works with Windows and Unix (OS X included though I didn't test it myself), FTP, SSH, local and network drives, CVS-likes, etc A great tool when you want to avoid data loss and work with numerous computers!