Sunday, February 7, 2010

My Mac Setup

I became a Mac convert a few years ago.  I won't go into the reasons why, but lets just say I was a hardcore windows developer before, so for me to have been drawn to the dark side there had to be a hell of a reason.  There was, there is, if you don't get it then don't bother to read any further.

If you have recently converted, or are simply interested in how other people use their macs then read on.  I work with lots of business people so my Mac has to be capable of doing everything a Windows pc can do.  I'm also a coder and a gamer so I have additional requirements.

For Business I use:
  • Office 2008 - Probably the best version of office, as it doesn't have the annoying ribbon.
  • Codeweavers Crossover for Mac -  This lets me run a lot of windows software natively on my mac (eg, no vmware/no boot camp neccessary)  It supports Microsoft Visio/Project and Internet Explorer.  
  • OmniGraffle / OmniPlan - These are Mac equivalents for Visio & Project.  They are better than the Microsoft versions in my opinion.  
  • VMWare Fusion - It's great, seems more stable than Parallel's Deskop product.  I have a boot camp partition which fusion can start from inside Mac OSx.  I haven't actually needed to use this in more than a year. (thats how good Codeweavers and the rest of the software I mentioned is)
  • Skype - Skype calls are great for when your iphone can't hold a voice channel.  Ichat video is actually a lot better than skype video, but more people have skype accounts. 
  • Yojimbo - Simple note taking.  Stores media & license keys as well.  Supports encryption. 
  • VLC - VLC is free and it is far better than both windows media player and the native mac apps.  Far Far better.  It supports more codecs, and it won't crash the system if you feed it corrupted or incomplete files.  Even if you are a windows user you should install this.  
  • Google Chrome & Firefox - I use both.  They are both good for different reasons. Firefox has more plugins, but chrome is faster and more stable.
  • TunnelBlick - VPN software. Free, and works with most VPNs that aren't java applet based.
  • Camtasia - For making screen-casts. It rocks.  
  • Email - I'm lucky enough to work at a company that has google apps for email/calendaring/etc.  I also use google apps for my personal domains, so I don't really need any software for this.  The apple mail app works with both, but I personally prefer the google interface as I use search quite heavily.  If you work in a corporate setting and can use Microsoft Outlook then the CodeWeavers Crossover software I mentioned above will let you run it natively.  If you have to use Lotus Notes, then you should quit your job.  (I actually have a policy that forbids me from working anywhere they use lotus notes, that software is so bad that I would lose my mind if forced to use it.  Its actually a competitive disadvantage for companies that use it.  If you support lotus notes take comfort that your job will be gone in 5 years as all those companies wake up and switch to google apps or some equivalent.) 
For coding:
  • Xcode - Free development IDE from Apple.  
  • Eclipse - Personally I hate eclipe, but its the least common denominator for java/open source coding. 
  • TextMate - Great simple text editor.  Support regular expressions, buffering of huge text files, syntax recognition and scripting. 
  • MonoDevelop - C# rocks, what else can I say.  If you write iphone apps and hate objective-c then  Monotouch is a must have as well. 
  • WireShark - Packet Sniffer.  Must have for debugging. 
  • SoapUI - Another must have for debugging webservice apps.
  • VMWare Fusion - Yeah, I mention it twice, but I mostly use it for running developer images of software I'm working on. 
  • GIMP - Because its better to have a GIMP than be a GIMP. 
 For Gaming:
  • Codeweavers Crossover Games for Mac - I don't really use this anymore, but for a lot of games it makes life simpler than having to restart in a bootcamp partition. 
  • BOOTCAMP - because nothing competes with baremetal windows for games.  Can we say Supreme Commander 40km x 40km maps with 7 insane AIs?  Ok, probably only half that spec... my water cooled uberCore multi graphics card desktop can barely handle those settings. 
  • I wish I had more to write here, but until Jordan is old enough to play games against her old man I don't really have time to really play games.  
That's about it.  Feel free to make recommendations if you think I missed something.  I'm always trying new things.


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