Fresh Mac Install 2013

My iMac at home has been acting up. After confirming at the Apple store that it was not a hardware issue, I decided to wipe and rebuild. This is something I do occasionally, and I hate myself for it every time. I do it anyway.

One of the benefits of a clean start is that I get to revisit the list of apps I consider essential. The list of apps I use changes over time as I try new things but the first things I install is a good way to determine what I find necessary at the moment.

There are utilities that I’ve come to rely on. The most surprising newcomer here is PopClip. I would have guessed that I’d become annoyed seeing the PopClip menu pop up every time I selected some text, but it’s so handy that I’ve kept it around. The usual suspects, LaunchBar, Keyboard Maestro, and TextExpander remain. I tried Alfred instead of LaunchBar for a while and it’s very nice but LaunchBar is more my style.

As for primary apps, of course Tinderbox remains at the top of the list. It does everything related to writing, reviewing, and managing notes. Why more people I know don’t use Tinderbox is beyond me. I guess I win, then. I also find TheBrain to be indispensable. There’s just nothing like it for finding connections and contextual review. I use it for managing projects, people, and ideas and the connections between them.

The notable ommission here is DEVONthink Pro. I love it so, but Evernote has become so good at capturing information from everywhere that I’ve drifted to Evernote as the place to keep “stuff.” DEVONthink has been my filing cabinet for a long time, but splitting where I put things between the two apps just adds overhead. I really dislike working in Evernote, so I may change my mind (again) later.

For photos I use Lightroom. Tried Aperture for a while but it’s just so slow. Lightroom’s community is larger and support is generally more readily available. I occasionally fall into Capture One as a raw converter, but the latest Lightroom does a pretty good job with the Fuji X-E1 files. Also, I’m enamored with the VSCO film filters these days, which work really well with the Raw files in Lightroom. I use Photo Mechanic to ingest, keyword, rename, and upload photos. Photo Mechanic is built for high-speed and quickly dealing with hundreds of images, so it’s odd that I would use it as much as I do, considering most of the time I’m dealing with maybe 12 scanned images at a time. There’s still nothing better and my hands are hardwired to it.

Text editing is done with BBEdit of course. I’ll play with Vim occassionally because it’s so great, but I don’t write much code these days and that’s really where Vim shines. BBEdit is better as a general text editor.

For tasks I’ve gone back to Things. I’m a long-time OmniFocus user but the recent version 2.0 beta scared me so much I ran away. Things is great and simple.

So as of August 1st, 2013, these are my goto apps and utilities: