View Full Version : Tech Notebook

01-09-2008, 01:47 PM

I have sitting here at notebook and i am trying to decide how to turn it into a something i can take with me to clients and use. What software should i use and what additional hardware if any?

I have a bunch of programs on a thumb drive but i am looking to setup this notebook as well and put it to go use.

Can anyone make any suggestions or talk about what they use?

Thanks in advance...


01-10-2008, 04:30 PM
Most of the software I keep with me has installable versions, so I keep those installed and up to date on my laptop.

The big thing I do with mine that makes it work really good as a tech laptop for me in any situation is that I run 3 operating systems at once on it. And I have a ton of tools in each os. I use VMWare Server to do it. The base operating system is Ubuntu then I have windows xp pro and mac osx 10.4.11 running in VMWare. They each are full screen and I use control-alt-left or control-alt-right to go between the three os's. It lets me work on nearly any situation. Yes I do own mac os x and as of 10.5.1's release they have changed their rules on virtualization. The rules do apply back to 10.4.10 and higher (for the server os.) The server os is pretty simple to setup just like the normal desktop os.

The laptop has firewire and usb2 and I keep a usb based hard drive connector from bytecc ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812156102 ) with me to connect up any drive I might need to.

That setup lets me work in any OS I need to and lets me work on any drive I need to. I have macdrive going in the windows xp and it can get at the files on the mac os x. I can connect up a mac hard drive, access it from the mac os, use the windows to copy it over and give it to someone who wants to move the data to a windows machine. I can go the other way as well. Its a very versatile setup.

On a side note it is also a great setup for web development. I have Opera, Konqueror, and Firefox on Ubuntu. And IE7, FireFox, Opera, and Safari on windows. Then I have Safari, Opera and FireFox on the mac. This lets me design web pages and verify that they look good in every browser I actually care about on every OS I care about.

01-10-2008, 05:46 PM
Thats a sweet setup greggh. I'm actually going to doing something similar next month with a new Macbook I'm getting. It wont be as versatile an your setup but with OS 10.5 and XP Pro it should do what I need it to.

01-13-2008, 08:44 AM
I would also suggest Ghosting your laptop's drive. A lot of times I am forced to install test software onto my laptop and it becomes unstable and corrupt and needs to revert back to an older ghost image. Saves time not having to do a fresh install or OS repairs.

I am currently using an intel powered Macbook Pro dual booting Leopard and XP. Recently purchased VMware Fusion and will probably add a Vista partition.

The IDE/SATA to USB also comes in handy as previously stated.

01-13-2008, 04:16 PM
Wow, Gregg, must have taken you forever to set up that laptop initially! I'm with you, whatever it takes to make life easier as a tech is worth it time-wise. I just wish it didn't take so damn long; like slipstreaming XP with all the latest Critical Updates, then adding all the latest XP drivers from driverpacks.net, then doing that with each version of Windows you have (OEM, Retail, Home, Pro, Media Center, etc.). I find stuff like that is, in the short-term, a productivity waster. In the long term, it makes your work easier and faster, which is good. Just wish I didn't have to "pay" that initial price.

01-13-2008, 05:19 PM
It really does not take that much time if you can work it in with what ever else you are doing. As an example: lets say I have two systems here I'm working on. One has a virus or 10 and the other I'm doing a reinstall on. I should have about 30-45 mins. before I really need to do anything once I get the virus scan going and start the install. I'll use that time to google problems that I have writen down, add programs to my mobile kit, test new software in my virtual machine ect.

01-13-2008, 06:21 PM
Yeah it was pretty time consuming to get it all setup the way I wanted. Once it was actually working perfectly I made a backup image of the drive of course.

I am lucky in one respect, I have an assistant at work and I tought him how to do all the slipstreaming and updating of windows discs. So he does it now whenever I ask for a refresh.

01-14-2008, 11:12 AM
Hi Greggh,

I didnt even realise you could get Mac OS running in Vmware server, I didnt think it supported? Is it quite simple?



01-14-2008, 07:17 PM
Simple is not the word for it. It involves a lot of trickery and hacking in the single user mode console. Hunting down some errors and finding what files / startup options are causing them.