Wednesday November 28, 2012
About a year a go I switched from Windows to Mac, and I haven’t looked back since. I started with a Mac Mini, switched to an Air when I moved into a house and didn’t want to be tied to a single desk spot with my computer, and upgraded again when I realized I needed 500 gigs on my machine so I could have my music and photo libraries onboard and a larger screen. My current machine is a 2010 15” MacBook Pro bought used on ebay. I upgraded it to 8 GB of memory and a 512 GB SSD from Crucial. I use this computer at home and as my main computer at work every day. Here’s how it’s configured (this is pretty much the order I’d re-install stuff if everything got wiped clean):
- Trackpad configured for tap-to-click and three-finger-drag (it takes a little getting used to, but not having to click is great). I also use a Magic Mouse a lot of the time.
- Quicksilver, a do-almost-anything launcher thingy. A good introduction to Quicksilver is this screencast. There’s a quick guide a wiki, and a big PDF of a user manual. Quicksilver integrates with all sorts of things in the OS, which changes all the time, so various parts of all these guides are out of date, and not all the plugins work all the time. But what does work is amazing. I’ve tried Alfred and Launchbar, and Quicksilver works best for me. I have it set to trigger with just the Command key, which works great actually. My favorite QS add-on hack is Go To Here.
- I recently switched from Chrome to Safari for web browsing. I use Type-to-Navigate, Invisible Status Bar, and Click-to-Flash. I launch a lot of Web searches from Quicksilver, too. I have a custom web search list in my catalog that I add entries to when the need arises.
- I keep my dock auto-hidden, and empty except for running apps. I use a script to make it pop up instantly when I mouse over it instead of waiting a split second.
- Witch and Moom. Witch is a windows-switcher without which a recent Windows switcher would find a Mac unusable. Moom is a bag of tricks.
- My photos live in Lightroom, and I use Picasa to access the photo archive at work, which lives on a network drive (Picasa is cool because it stores starred photo info in each folder with the photos, so each user can see what others have starred.)
- My notes live in text files in a Dropbox folder, and sometimes I use nvAlt to get to them. Mostly Quicksilver, though. Currently I’m using iaWriter as my text editor, but TextEdit is just as good. (I tried out BBEdit and ended up configuring it to look just like TextEdit. It saved me once for the GREP search-n-replace, but I don’t go in for code highlighting or anything.)
- Better Touch Tool is fun to play with. I have it set to trigger full-screen mode on a four-finger tap and to minimize the current window on four-finger down swipe.
- I spent months getting up-to-speed with OmniFocus and getting synced across all my devices, but now I just use the built-in Reminders app. (Unless you have lots of projects with tasks that happen in different contexts, OmniFocus doesn’t really add much to the mix. Simplicity wins.)
- I have to turn on “Keyboard full access” in System Preferences (and the keyboard still doesn’t access all the dialog controls). And of course I have the Save-as hack installed.
- For my day to day work I use InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator.
- I use Hazel to move my Photostream photos into a folder that Lightroom auto-imports. I also have it delete anything off my desktop after 10 minutes. Keeps my desktop clear, while allowing me to use it as a temporary holding place for moving files around, and an easy place to drop trash.
- 1Password. I sort of preferred actually just using one password for everything, but these days you can’t do that. (I’m sort of surprised 1PW doesn’t nag you about all the stuff in its database that uses the same password, actually.)
- Time Machine backs up to a hard drive attached to my wireless router.
- I could get by without them, but I use Fantastical and RescueTime. Which means I need Bartender to keep the clutter hidden.
- For early morning writing, Nocturne is great. I sometimes resort to InsomniaX to keep my mac from going to sleep and dumping my mounted network drives. GrandPerspective is indispensable when hard drive space starts running low to find stuff to clear out or move.
- Speaking of network drives. These are drives on a Windows 2008 server. I keep shortcuts to the folders I use every day in a folder that Quicksilver indexes so I can mount them from the keyboard. Then QS indexes a few select folders to let me get to the stuff I need regularly (indexing whole drives slows QS way down). The big secret to searching for files in the hidden recesses of these network drives is EasyFind.
- Soulver is the best thing ever. So is Scrivener. And so is Keynote. (I don’t actually do presentations, but I use it to create text effects for videos, graphs, and website mockups.) Tweetbot for Twitter.
- Two things I miss the most from Windows: Being able to trigger any menu command from the keyboard by holding down Alt, looking at the screen, and hitting two keys. (None of the workarounds for this on the Mac have worked for me.) And the finder view where you have files in the main window and an expandable folder tree in the sidebar. Magician File does this, but it doesn’t work well enough to be usable.
Tags: metacomments powered by Disqus