First time traveling without a Mac. My plan is as follows:

Those of you who “know” me (inasmuch as anyone knows anyone online – I could be an 85 year old great-grandmother of seven, for all you really know), know that I’ve been a diehard Mac/iDevice user for quite some time. And while that’s still the case (I live in, and will always live in, a Windowless house…get it?), I’ve modified my “mobile” usage over the past year.

I’m jumping on a plane tomorrow (well, walking slowly so as not to alarm TSA) to Spain for an 8-day business trip, and for the first time since my pre-laptop days (right around the time the mammals rose up) I will be traveling without a Mac of any sort. This is a BIG step for me. With the lone exception of a one-night trip to Milwaukee last year (which totaled less than 30 hours away) when I brought only an iPad, this trip will be Mac-less for the first time.

homepage-promoAs sad as this may sound, I’ve been preparing for this Mac-less trip for a while, knowing how my mobile habits were changing. And now, for the first time since those mammal days, I don’t even technically own a Mac laptop. The trusty MacBook Pro is now in the extremely capable hands of my son Zack, who will surely put it to great use. I am now down to the eclectic mix of:

  • Main computer: Mac mini (running dual-core i5 processor @ 2.3 GHz, 8GB RAM, added in a 256GB SSD drive – smoove)
  • Laptop: Samsung Chromebook (installed Ubuntu on SD card, so it dual boots to either Chrome OS or Linux…muahaha)
  • Tablet: Nexus 7 (completely replaced my iPad 3 – just much more portable & convenient)
  • Phone: iPhone 5 (I haven’t moved away from iOS, but I am curious to see the next Nexus phone…)

On this trip, the latter three will be joining me. No Mac at all. Weird. But what I’ve done is set myself up to be completely Mac-less on a mobile basis.

I’ve switched my business emails over to GMail – matter of fact, I now have five different email accounts feeding into it, so the Chromebook easily handles it. With Chrome OS, you can’t “install” apps – everything is web-based, and I’ll be the first to tell you there ain’t no decent web-based IMAP service for email.

I’ve got all email accounts running into K-9 Mail on the Nexus tablet, meaning I have a true separate IMAP system for each one when needed. I’ve also got movies and books, of course.

And finally, the iPhone is jailbroken, so I am able to create a wifi hotspot wherever, whenever (even in Spain next week). Meaning even if I’m running the Chromebook in Chrome OS (as opposed to the LInux side, where I can use LibreOffice, Gimp, etc. even when offline), I am able to fully use the web-based stuff.

I’ve even got an app for the Chromebook called Code Anywhere, meaning I can log into my business’ website via FTP, change HTML code, and reupload. My biggest fear to being Mac-less on the road was losing the ability to use Dreamweaver to change web pages, but Code Anywhere works in a pinch.

So now my out-of-office work is done on those three devices. Which on a side note, combined cost less than the MacBook Pro…hell, the Nexus plus Chromebook total cost was the same as a base wifi-only iPad…and they weigh less!

And it should work just fine…right?




  1. Dannie Hill - April 19, 2013 5:45 pm

    Can’t wait to see if you survive! Ah, Spain. I feel so sorry for you, lol

  2. matt - July 17, 2013 7:30 pm

    Steve, what do you do for ereading on your nexus? I read you’re earlier post on progress-syncing sideloaded epubs on ibooks–have you find a good android replacement? I’m trying to find a program that’ll work on my nexus 4 and my rooted nook simple touch.

    • Steve Umstead - July 18, 2013 12:15 pm

      Actually my tech ADHD kicked in once again and I’ve moved on to the next great thing. Since that old post about using iBooks I changed probably a half dozen times…

      Right now I’m using Kindle exclusively with their email-to-cloud service. I send a .mobi file to my address, and it shows up on all my devices/apps and syncs last page, etc. Very nice. So on the Nexus, Kindle app; I also bought a Kindle Paperwhite for night and traveling (e-ink sometimes can’t be beat). And I keep my files organized within the Amazon account page.


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