After years of using Windows computers and lusting over Apple’s MacBooks and MacBook Air I finally got my hands on a new 2013 MacBook Air. I have only had little exposure to OSX when I had a hand me down MacBook circa 2006 and it gave me a decent, but slow and aged experience. It didn’t sway me away from Windows, but that is likely because it was early on the OSX path somewhere around version 10.2.8.
I have spent nearly my entire life (so far) on Windows based machines. I remember using Windows 95, 98 SE, 2000, XP and eventually Windows 7. The direction Microsoft has taken with Windows 8 finally gave me a reason to switch. I know what Applications I love on Windows, but OSX is new and strange to me. I want to share with you the applications I have found and started to fall in love with on OSX.
Alfred 2 #
I love magic tricks and surprising people. Alfred 2 makes me feel like a magician controlling my computer with only a few keystrokes. It gives you the power to launch applications, search the web and so much more. I have payed to upgrade to the PowerPack and just started exploring the infinite possibilities. The main reason I chose to purchase the PowerPack is Jonnie Hallman’s post about his GIF Workflow.
Not only do I love the name, but I love what it does. Quietly sitting in your menubar you can click on it to keep your computer from going to sleep. When writing I often find myself staring at my computer screen for a minute or two before gathering my thoughts and get distracted when my screen flickers off. Instead of changing to screen off time I can keep it pretty low and turn on Caffeine when I need it.
There are a lot of similar applications on Windows, but none are as feature rich and awesome as CodeKit. It compiles my LESS stylesheets, reloads the web page and optimized the images I use. If you are coding any kind of website you need this. There is nothing as powerful as this on Windows and nothing else like it on a Mac.
File-syncing between computers. I don’t use more than 1 computer (most of the time), but knowing my files are backed up and available where and when I need them is a lifesaver. There are times I find myself needing access to one of my school projects or I need to send something large to a friend. I can simply login and get what I want from anywhere.
I have used Evernote on Windows, but it is no comparison to the Mac client. It looks and feels better. On Windows the interface looks out of place and confusing. On a Mac I have found it to be far easier and faster to use. I am actually using it to take notes in class and write which I have always tried to do and always failed to do on Windows.
My day-to-day browsing is Chrome, but I have slowly been using Firefox more and more. The main reason is because of the developer tools. I prefer them over what is available in Chrome. If you are developing websites you should go back and check it out one more time.
I have used Pocket for a long time, but I never knew what I was missing by not having a desktop client. WHY DOESN’T THIS EXIST ON WINDOWS?! Think of all those poor kids on Windows?! I feel sorry for them because they don’t know what they are missing. If you use any read it later type service you need to be using Pocket on your phone and your computer.
The terminal is great, but I can’t remember my server’s IP address or all of my client’s servers. Shuttle quietly sits in the menu bar and will automatically open the terminal and connects to the server for you.
Sublime Text #
I used it on Windows and fell in love with it immediately. I was always jealous of TextMate when I used Windows and to be honest I probably would have switched to a Mac sooner if it wasn’t for Sublime Text being available on Windows.
My college uses Windows for everything and I still find that I am more efficient with Office on Windows than on a Mac. I run a virtual machine with Windows 7 so I can connect to my school’s computer lab and get work done. I have purchased the iWork suite, but I can’t see myself using anything but Keynote and I haven’t used slides during a presentation in years.