2 Machine BOB set-up?

Ok this is a bit of a long shot and I have no clue where this should go. My current situation is I have a main iMac with an external screen and a MacAir also with an external screen.

The iMac is my main machine and I have my mail, calendar, contacts and Obsidian vault there. I also have my PyCharm installation with the current AnimalTrakker System development environment and Android Studio with the current AnimalTrakker Mobile development environment. I use Git on both and push to remote private repositories on GitLab. My Zotero system is there as well as all my general reference files.

On my MacAir I have Android Studio with my current LambTracker Mobile development environment on it. Also goes out to GitLab but to a public repository.

Our NAS server has the Omnifocus sync system and the one for Strongbox that is my password manager. It also has the scientific paper reference files that Zotero references.

Other standard SW like Libre Office, Scrivener, Goodnotes etc is already installed on both machines. I usually only use GoodNotes on my ipad so not too worried about that one.

I can install PyCharm on the MacAir so I have the same SW on both machines.

I may need to (relatively) quickly move all my main stuff from the iMac to the MacAir and head out for some unknown amount of time away from my main office.

In the past when I’ve done this I did not have the development stuff on any machine and I was not planning on being away from my main computer for very long. My tactic at that time was to do a backup of my calendar and contacts on the iMac and then do a restore on the MacAir. Reverse that when I got back.

For email I didn’t worry about it, I could handle the emergencies via the webmail interface from my mail host and just dealt with me having to re-process everything when I got back to the main iMac (remember I use all POP mail) I didn’t have any ongoing software development systems in place then. I also did not need my general file system.

This time I need to move my main mail handling to the mobile computer and back without too much hassle and more importantly I need to move my development environments as well and keep them separate but be able to reverse that and get back to the main machine easily too.

Not really sure how that all works with Git since I am the owner of the repositories. What happens if I just pull my latest down from Git on the mobile machine and go? Wil that screw me up with a new instance on a different machine when I get back?

How do other developers work with 2 machines? I’m used to keeping things is siloed containers so there is one known system for each type action and activity I do and I never worry about sync because the systems are discrete.

I also need my full file system when I go portable. I was thinking of the tactic of just grabbing my latest nightly backup drive and using that if required. For the Zotero stuff I could potentially send most of the papers to my iPad. I know the mobile Zotero is in beta but I really don’t want to deal with that right now.

Just starting the plans for this and wanted to get some ideas.

Which NAS do you have. I have Synology and use Synology Drive to keep my Mac’s in sync. Still work on local machine, but as soon as I put the file in the Synology Drive swap folder it replicates to NAS and other Mac instantly.

I do install identical software on both machines so I can work everywhere. With the filesync I have access to everything everywhere. If for whatever purpose I need mutliple profiles, I set up 2 users on the MacBookPro like a home user (identical to Mac at home) and an Away user with a setup as currently on the laptop (and still use Synology Drive to keep files in sync.

Mail is all server-based and I use Exchange or IMAP clients, so I don’t have to worry about the actual client (web or app)

Perhaps over-simplifying the context – but if you divide the problem into (a) apps vs (b) data sync, then perhaps the data sync problem is the one to solve if you need to be ready to do pack-and-go quickly, as long as the same apps and same app configurations are on both machines. Big assumption, of course.

I once had a similar situation for my working setup up: a MacPro (initial release) and MBP needed to be “images” of one-another. So, for the data sync problem I used ChronoSync in a daily run to ensure that the dataset on both machines was the same. Not 100% of the data, of course, because my working dataset was probably only 50-60GB or less, and that is what the ChronoSync job took care of.

The Git situation is a wild card – maybe there’s a repo solution in the background.

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I know you probably don’t want to re-hash the many reasons you use POP vs. IMAP, but is there some sort of sync solution where you could get the emails to show up on both computers automatically that doesn’t involve the compromises of IMAP that you’re trying to avoid?

Based on interacting with you in the past, I’m guessing those compromises are privacy-based. Could one of your own servers play intermediary for the email?

When you move to the Air, just pull from your repository. Work as normal, pushing when you see fit.
When you get back to the iMac be sure you pushed from the Air. The remote repo will be ahead of your local repo. Just pull and you’ll be up to date with the Air.

If you have internet access where you’re going, you could use Tailscale to access your iMac’s files and or screen remotely. Tailscale is built on WireGuard, and makes it easier to use.

You might have to copy ~/Library/Mail to you Air before you head out, then copy back when you return. Usual caveats with copying over existing folders.

If you use Tailscale (etc.), you could connect to your iMac using screen sharing to check and process email.

Perhaps. That’s part of why I’m asking, I need to get the workflow/procedures et upand verified before the SHTF

Here’s a thought: set your laptop to use IMAP and stop Mail on your iMac. This lets you process mail and leave it on the server.
When you get back, run Mail, and I think POP3 would download all your email.

It should - but sent mail would need to be manually copied back.