Moving to Mac: 6 Months In

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It’s been about six months since I took the plunge and moved from PC to Mac. I’ve outlined the thought process behind my move, my concerns, software choices and more in past posts. I thought it would be interesting to check in and see where I am now, how I am faring and what software I’m using.

As I originally anticipated, because so much of my work is done via cloud services, a good portion of my work process hasn’t changed significantly. I’m starting to think about supplementing these services with Mail.app or Postbox and iCal but am generally pleased with the way that things revolve around my online services. I’ve added Yojimbo to my arsenal and still find it invaluable for overall organization and avoiding information overload. I’m also currently evaluating a move to OmniFocus for task management due to a change in the nature of the types of tasks I am managing.

The MacBook Pro remains a joy to use. I still marvel at its performance and enjoy the brightness and clarity of the display. Using the touchpad has become second nature. I had a scare recently when my machine failed to charge, but it was just a problem with the adapter and Apple replaced it with no hassles. I’ve even become accustomed to the different keyboard shortcuts so I do feel quite at home when working on it.

There are a couple of nagging issues I have, though. The first is the freestyle nature of the application windows in relation to the menubar, especially when working with multiple displays. For example, if I move an Excel worksheet to a second display it feels wrong to have to move my mouse pointer to a different display to access menu options. I imagine I am still retraining myself to work this way, but it feels unintuitive to me.

I also really miss the ease of Alt+Tab-ing between applications on Windows machines. The Cmd+Tab cycle works well enough between applications, and I’ve discovered that Cmd+` cycles through windows within an application but those options only seem to work when the windows themselves haven’t been minimized. A minimized window seems to fall in to a black hole of sorts, and I’ve yet to figure out how to easily restore them.

I’ve done a good share of tweaking of system settings and keyboard shortcuts (like disabling that peskily huge Caps Lock key) and with the addition of some useful utilities I’ve been able to personalize my system so that it works just as I want it to. I have found that generally OS X is very configurable, but resolving the couple of issues I outlined above still eludes me.

After six months I think I have reached a plateau of sorts in terms of productivity. I am feeling very comfortable with my current setup and am ready to move onto scripting, adding more utilities for file processing, and my personal goal of mastering the Services menu.

In addition to getting those last couple of pesky issues cleared up, I’m looking for recommendations on your favorite tips, tweaks, utilities and personalization options that take your productivity up a notch. Please leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to check them out and share them in future articles.

I’m trying to get the most out of my Mac. How do you tweak out every last bit of productivity?

Photo by Flickr user neys, licensed under CC 2.0

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