The Preferences Problem

I’ve been switching back and forth between Mac OS 9 and X on two different machines lately. And I’ve spent most of the time frustrated by the fact that I now have four sets of preferences I have to try and keep synchronized, so I’m looking for suggestions on how I might solve this problem.

Example: I installed Retrospect on my Mac OS 9 side a while back. I’d upgraded to nearly the latest version, and had my serial number all punched in and everything. I realized that I’d overwritten a file and I wanted to restore the old version from my backup. Seems simple enough, except I was now running in X, and needed to re-enter my serial number before I could do anything. Oh, and I needed to update to the most recent version of Retro, since there was an update for Jaguar.

It seems to me that there should be some way for applications that I’m running on both 9 and X to share their preferences so I don’t have to type in the serial number twice for them.

Similarly, I’ve got a nicely customized set of bookmarks that were mostly living in IE. Thanks to discovering how to enable the debug menu in Safari, I can re-import the IE bookmarks whenever I want, but it imports the IE bookmarks from the OS X side. Well, the one in the OS 9 preferences folder is actually the most current, so I had to manually copy that over, then import again.

And then I switched to my laptop. Again, I don’t have my bookmarks handy, so back to the desktop machine, copy the Bookmarks.plist file up to my server, move back to the laptop, download the bookmarks file, and slam it into place.

But what I really want is a single set of preferences that’ll work for both my desktop and my laptop. A network solution would almost do the trick, but if I depend on having the network, it means that I can’t use my computer from my favorite park, since there’s no wireless access there. I guess I could set up some scripts to manually sync things up periodically, but again, it seems like there should be an easier way. I just want my prefs to follow me, and I don’t care which machine I happen to be sitting in front of at the moment.

I’m wondering if anyone might know of that easier way. If you do, please send me an email.

Well, that’s enough for now. I’ve gotta go type in some more serial numbers.

Copyright 2009, Dave Polaschek. Last updated on Mon, 15 Feb 2010 14:09:32.