My Pro Mac Setup [NOT Mac Pro]

I recently read an interesting article about how some experts use their Macs. Here is the article: http://www.macworld.com/article/2055458/how-mac-experts-set-up-their-desktops.html

I figured I would chime in, because I really love how I have things setup, and maybe others would benefit from some of my practices.

General Background

I use a 2012 13” MacBook Air, which is almost always plugged into a 27” Thunderbolt Display. Sometimes I will open the MacBook Air and utilize the 13” screen as a secondary work space, but I rarely need to do that as 27” provides plenty of screen real estate. In the past I had two 24” monitors, one set up vertically for coding. I’ve found that the 27” Thunderbolt Display provides me with almost as much flexibility and space as my previous setup.

My dock is in the left hand upper position, tucked just under the Apple menu. It is always visible, but shrunk to about the smallest size possible. I keep no application shortcuts in the Dock. If an icon appears in my Dock, it is open. Essentially I use the Dock simply as an application switcher. I also have my Applications folder and Downloads folder at the bottom of the dock. I can quickly see a grid of my applications by clicking on the Applications folder, which makes launching apps easy. Even easier, I launch my apps almost 100% of the time with Alfred. This way I can simply hit Option+Space, type the app I want, and I’m there. This to me is much more convenient than having a dozen or more icons cluttering my Dock.

I rarely use full screen apps. I do use Spaces for several things:

1. I use one space for my software development. This way I can have my notes, my ticketing system, my development IDE, and any related folders and graphics open on one space.

2. I use a dedicated space for use when screen sharing with clients, so I can have a clean view with no added distractions.

3. I use a dedicated space for audio editing, which allows me to have my DAW application, note pads for lyrics and mixing notes, and then plugin settings windows and other parameter windows at easy reach.

Software Development

When I am writing software, I generally have a couple of note pads open on the right of my screen, while my IDE takes up about 75% of the rest of the screen, top to bottom, all the way to the left. This allows me to see a lot of code all at once, manipulate the GUI design environment, and have my notes at a glance to keep me on task.

If I have to reply to emails, or reference an email, I have the Mail app open to the right of my IDE, above my note pads.

Audio Recording and Editing

I pretty much mimic my software development layout for this. DAW on the left, top to bottom, stretched out about 75-80% of the screen. Lyric and mixing notepads are open on the right. When I am messing with plugins, EQs and other settings, I will open the MacBook Air and have those windows open on the 13” screen sitting to the right of my Thunderbolt Display.

Graphic Design

I generally use most of the screen for graphic design. Even when working on smaller images, I like to have the window be large, so I can zoom in for detailed pixel-level edits. I rarely need notes or other windows open, so I leave a small space to the right for toolbars and parameter windows.

Video Editing

I keep my video editing environment open on the left, top to bottom of the screen. I keep folders of media and note pads open on the right.

As you can see, I typically follow the same general pattern for most of my use case scenarios. Meat of the task on the left of my screen, taking the entire height of the screen top to bottom, with notepads and supporting windows stacked off to the right.

Apps Regularly In Use

xCode

Xojo

TextExpander

Dropbox

AudioSwitcher

iStat Menus

TimeNet

Master of My Domain

Transmit

Terminal

Photoshop

Soulver

Alfred

My Own Ticketing System/Business Tracker

Time Sink

Pixelmator

GarageBand

TextEdit

Mail

iTunes

Safari

iMovie

iPhoto

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