I got Back in the Saddle over three weeks ago and purchased a new Haswell 13-inch MacBook Air as my primary work computer. I plan to write more about it after at least 30 days use. But with the new computer, my plan was to only install that which I needed as and when I needed it. It turns out, I use a lot of different tools for work activities.
Note: No affiliate links were hurt in the creation of this post, all links are to the vendor’s sites, so it’s safe to click through to learn more about each product.
The primary uses for this work computer are:
- Programming new systems using a myriad of languages and tools, mostly via terminal, TextMate 2 and Xcode, to be run on Centos Servers against many different database servers. See A Simple C++ Project Structure.
- Designing the new systems, from mind mapping, through diagramming, through wire-framing and artwork creation and, of course, writing documentation.
- Maintaining a bunch of older web applications and moving them to newer technologies (and creating a bunch of new ones)
- Systems administration of the servers, databases and routers of the business
- The usual work-like things such as emails, contacts, calendaring and communications
- Safari is my primary web browser
- Mail is where I run all my email accounts
- iMessage is running for chats and IM
- Contacts manages my address book
- Calendar stores my calendar, but I use Fantastical on the menu bar to manage it
- Keynote is the only iWork app I have used so far on this new machine
Page 2 and 3 contain all my third party applications. Yes, in alphabetical order of course!
- 1Password for all web logins and secret codes
- Acorn for quick and dirty image annotation and cropping for the blog or documentation
- Adobe Illustrator for logo and graphic design
- Adobe InDesign for print brochure design
- Adobe Photoshop for all artwork creation
- Alfred 2 to launch everything
- Bartender to keep my menu bar (see below) manageable
- BBEdit as my hammer tool, for notes and text file manipulations
- Byword for short form and blog writing
- Coda 2 for HTML and CSS work, I have a bunch of sites I maintain with it
- CodeKit as I am moving these sites over to SCSS to save my sanity
- CodeRunner to test out coding ideas in all languages
- DaisyDisk to see where all the space went
- Day One to log all code commits and other daily activities
- Dropbox for file sync
- Fantastical to manage and view my calendar and events
- Fluid for chrome-less web applications, only one so far…
- Google Chrome for flash sites (no flash on Safari)
- iStat Menus to see how hard the computer is working
- iTerm 2, of course! See Make iTerm 2 more Mac-like.
- Join.me to share screens remotely.
- Kaleidoscope for visual diffs and merges
- Keyboard Maestro to speed up all the things
- Kiwi for App.net conversations
- Marked to preview and create PDFs
- Microsoft Excel, Word and Powerpoint because we live in a Windows world
- Mindnode Pro to help me think
- Moom to put windows in their rightful places easily
- NetExtender to access the company firewall
- NetNewsWire 4 for RSS
- OmniGraffle Pro for diagramming networks and systems
- OmniFocus for managing my tasks
- OmniOutliner Pro for lists
- OmniPlan to plan my work projects
- Patterns to figure out regular expressions
- Pixelmator, installed before I went back to Photoshop
- Qt Creator for legacy code
- Remote Desktop Connection so I don’t have to get close to the Windows servers
- R**gCentral for the work IP Phone (They actually emailed me to remove the link, no more business for them!)
- Sequel Pro to access our MySQL database
- Screenflow to create videos for users, they love these
- Scrivener for long form writing
- Skype for video communications
- Soulver for most of my mathematical work
- TextExpander to save typing and time
- TextMate 2 to program with
- Transmit to access partner files
- Trello, a fluid app, for company-wide task management
- Tweetbot for Twitter browsing
- VoodooPad for legacy project notes, using BBEdit for newer ones
- VMWare Fusion to run Windows and test Xen virtualization. I have a VMWare VM running Xen virtualization running a test virtual machine. How meta!
- Xamarin Studio for SQL Server database access and .NET code
Dock and Menu Bar
For the apps I like to drop things on or click to launch, and really because they have just habitually been on the dock:
- Finder, always first
- LaunchPad, because I forget what I have installed
- Mail, for all accounts
- Safari, for all web browsing
- Google Chrome, for when I need flash or an alternate login to the same site
- iTerm 2, for all my local and remote terminal needs
- BBEdit, for notes and text manipulation
- TextMate 2, for programming
- System Preferences, because I always forget they are on the Apple menu
- OmniFocus, to see what to do next
- Fantastical for calendaring, never hidden
- In Bartender
- iStat Menus
I could, and will, remove PixelMator, VoodooPad and the Qt system as I am not using them anymore (replaced by Photoshop, BBEdit files and new code). I’d also would dearly like to toss Microsoft Office, but the finance industry runs on it and there are some files only it can open.
The two things that I am missing natively is a a copy of XenCenter that runs on OS X to manage server virtualization, I need to run that on a VMWare VM; and a native SQL Server database access tool. If I find a good one then Xamarin and Mono can go as well. Too bad SQL Grinder died with the Objective-C/Java bridge.
Using all these tools, I have been able to launch straight into the work at the new firm, and start off very productively. There is not much I cannot do with this loadout and laptop.