My newest toy… err, productivity increaser | Ryan Joy (atxryan) My newest toy… err, productivity increaser | Web developer living and playing in Austin, Texas. Microsoft Developer Evangelist.
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My newest toy… err, productivity increaser


April 25, 2007 by Ryan Joy

new Macbook Pro @ the office

My new Macbook Pro arrived this morning! Thing is though, I’m not a Mac person. I’m not even yet a convert. I work on a PC at work, have a linux desktop at home, and a linux server for remote-everything.

I need tips. Tricks. Application suggestions. Resources.

What’s your favorite text-editor? Dashboard widgets? AppleScripts?

What makes working on a Mac more efficient and productive for you?

Thanks to all for your advice!

  • l0ne

    Text editor? TextMate hands down, although you might like Coda if you do web editing.

    I also say: grab NOW Quicksilver. NOW. Do not work without. Install the Extra Scripts, Terminal, Calculator and Growl plugins.

    And I might say Adium, too, but not as urgent as Quicksilver ๐Ÿ˜€

    I might plug my own software there — — but it’s a beta’s beta, so you might want to avoid it until you’re more confortable with your new shiny aluminum thinglet ๐Ÿ™‚

  • AdiumX – Greag IM client –
    Twitterific –
    Skype client- Enable your built-in Video
    Firefox 2 or better (of course)
    CSS – Check out CSSEdit and/or Xyle Scope
    Desktop Manager – Create more than one virtual screen
    ClamXax a free Virus scan. Better than Norton. Oh and it FREE.
    InstantShot. Great screen capture tool
    Colloquy – IRC client
    KrossWordz – Nice Crossword puzzle. Pulls in major news crossword puzzles.
    LastFM client
    phpfi – PHP Function Index. This installs a macro into BBEdit and/or TextMate to look up PHP functions. It’s awesome.
    SVNX – A SVN client.
    iBackup – Create a nice archive if you password chain files. Then just burn it to CD.

    I’ll send more later. Let me know if you can’t locate something. I’ll worward the URL.

    And welcome to the World of Mac!


  • I use BBEdit for a text editor, but I’ve never tried TextMate or Coda.

    I use Adium, too. And all the iLife stuff, except GarageBand, which I don’t find intuitive. (If I have to read the directions, is it really worth it?) But, then again, I’m not all that fancy.

  • I’ll second Quicksilver, Growl, TextMate and Adium as must-haves. I’d also tack Parallels, Headdress, MAMP and CocoaMySQL on to that as you are a dev type.

    Not to pimp my own site, but when I went through the switch from PC to MacBook Pro, I tried to document a lot of what I learned and tried.

    Software for a Switcher:
    All of my OS X posts:

    I need to post an up-to-date list of my current software usage, but hopefully this will help.

  • yo, welcome to macworld!!

    hold down apple-tab…..this allows you to scroll through your open apps (u can also quit them from here). continue to hold down apple and hit tab a few times..upon release you are in the app selected. very handy!!

  • Need Mac advice? Here it is…follow me around. I’ll teach you the art of mac, also know as “pimpin’ ho’s” and “gettin’ cooter”. Anything you need to know about macking can also be seen in my new book, “Mac a Biatch in 10 Minutes or Less”, available at or at one of my bum-operated kiosks under the Congress bridge. Remember my motto: MAC THAT CRACK!

  • @Tanner: lol.

    @Everyone else: Thanks a bunch! This stuff is golden.

  • Nathan

    Text editor? vim!

  • One more
    MenuCalendarClock –
    This app put a little calendar off your menubar. The non-free version will display events from iCal.

  • Seconding Adium, Growl, BBEdit and Quicksilver. NetNewsWire for RSS feeds. And if you use FTP you must have Transmit.

    My three favorite shortcuts:
    1. Command-Tab lets you tab through your open apps
    2. Holding down Option while clicking on your Airport menu bar icon; this shows all available networks *in order of signal strength*.
    3. F11. When your screen is cluttered with open windows, this is a thing of wonder and beauty.

  • Try out Quicksilver for sure, but I don’t use it and I’ve gotten along fine.

    Growl is a definite must. I like having MenuMeters to keep track of CPU and RAM usage. AppZapper is great for uninstalling stuff. Disco is great for burning CDs and DVDs. And other than that the sky is the limit. I’d encourage you to try Safari out even if the draw to Firefox is strong. I run both all the time. NetNewsWire is good for RSS feeds. Cyberduck is great for FTP/SFTP/etc. and is free. Screen Sieve is a cool way to search text in any app, I just found it last night. Pyro if you ever use Campfire to chat. I like DeskShade as a way to get rid of all the icons on the desktop. LinoType FontExplorer X for font management. iMote for controlling iTunes even when it’s not the active app.

    Hold Cmd+Ctrl down and then tap D. Keep holding Cmd-Ctrl. As you mouse over words they get defined.

    Set your window corners to be the things like Exposรฉ, Dashboard, show Desktop, etc. and you can do it with a flick of the mouse and while dragging files around.

    Get very used to hitting cmd-w and cmd-q to close windows and quit programs.

    AppUpdate and WidgetUpdate widgets.

    Transmission for BitTorrents.

    Inquisitor to make Safari Google searching cooler.

    That should keep you busy for a bit.

  • NattyBobo

    Whatโ€™s your favorite text-editor?not sure.

    Dashboard widgets? Jesus Bobblehead or Moof the Cowdodg

    AppleScripts? not sure

    What makes working on a Mac more efficient and productive for you?
    It just works and stuff dont break.

    Other Apps: Toast for CD or DVD burning, Popcorn for DVD mastering, Mac The ripper for DVD extraction, Visual Hub for video conversion, iChat with Chax for chatting, Audacity for simple audio recording, Audio hijack for capturing web audio or any sound on your computer, FireFox for browsing. All the iapps for whatever they are supposed to do. Anything else you need, check out the version tracker link below.

    I need tips. Tricks. — not sure. you most likely know everything you need to get started.

    Resources -find apps – find news and tips – old apple info

  • marla

    Whoops, forgot I had customized Expose. F11 is nice, but the default coolness is at F9.

  • Here’s a couple of apps I’ve picked up for my mbp:

    FolderShare ( – it’s a [gasp!] Microsoft “acquisition” that will sync your files to/from different computers using a small taskbar app. You can also access files on computers that you have it setup on. I use this all the time.

    Azureus ( – bittorrent client written in java. I’ve found it to be okay on the mac, but better than a couple of alternatives I looked at too.

    The Gimp ( – OS photo editing ala PhotoShop. I think this required me to install apple’s X11 libraries, but it was still relatively painless. You may not like the interface tho after getting used to all that aqua ๐Ÿ˜‰

    VirtueDesktops ( – desktop manager with some nifty transition effects.

    Sofa Control ( – it’s like $10 or something like that but you can do lots more with that remote than just frontrow. Like play tetris ๐Ÿ™‚

    All of these (except sofa control) are free. Also, I highly recommend setting up a hotspot for Expose – I’ve gotten so used to it that I found a windows clone of the behavior that I’ve been playing with recently on my dev box. (TopDesk –

    That should get you warmed up! Now it’s time to go back over your comments and look for any juicy downloads I’ve missed ๐Ÿ˜‰ Caio!

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