corenominal

Full stack web developer, interested in all the things, but especially the web, code, design, Linux, OS X, PHP, WordPress, JavaScript & robots.

Provisioning a new MacBook Pro

Last night, I set-up a new user account for myself on a new (new to me) MacBook Pro. I purchased the MBP (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2015) from a colleague, a Windows guy who found that he had no use for a macOS device. The MBP is practically unused (really, not a scratch on it) and it’ll replace my MacBook, which I have given to Becky as a replacement for her ageing 2009 MacBook.

Everyone involved in this deal seems happy with the outcome, my colleague has some extra cash money, Becky has a shiny new (new to her) MacBook, and I have a slightly more powerful device with a lot more ports.

I should probably mention that before purchasing the MBP, I had considered (read as agonised over) buying a new ThinkPad t460s and installing Linux on it, but after watching a few YouTube videos (such as this one) of people suffering all the usual Linux compatibility headaches, I thought to myself, “Bollocks to that, I want something that just works.” Also, I have said before that I believe my previous MBP (Retina, 13-inch, Late 2013) was the best computer I’ve ever purchased, and I’ve no reason to believe the 2015 model should be any different.

Anyhow, regardless of how or why a came to acquire another MBP, it occurred to me that I don’t provision these devices very often, so I thought it might be a good idea to detail the software I installed. Below is that list, sorted alphabetically.

  • Amphetamine
    Because sometimes I like to prevent my laptop from sleeping. I was using Caffeine, but it doesn’t appear to be available any more.
  • Airmail 3
    A pretty nice email client. I use it with my gmail account and it works well. Has lots of options and features, yet performance is still really good. Oh, and it’s pretty too!
  • Bartender 2
    I’ve been using Bartender for a few months now. It’s surprising how many apps want to give you a menu bar icon under macOS and it doesn’t take long before things start to look cluttered. Bartender takes care of cleaning things up for you.
  • cfxr
    For making cheesy 8-bit sound effects for web games and videos.
  • Chrome
    Probably doesn’t need an introduction. I switched from Firefox to Chrome sometime last year, due to its outstanding developer tools. I still prefer Mozilla and Firefox over Google and Chrome, but I’m pragmatic and tend to use the best tool for the job.
  • ColorSnapper 2
    Nifty little colour picking tool. Has a nice user interface and options for exporting colour values in lots of different formats.
  • Downie
    I get asked to download YouTube videos a lot, don’t ask, Downie makes the process trivial. Recommended by MBW Picks.
  • Dropbox
    I’m an ownCloud user, but I still keep Dropbox around.
  • Etcher
    A great tool for burning Raspberry Pi SD cards. A bit worrying that it’s such a big download (it’s an Electron app), but it does the job well, so it’s forgiven.
  • Final Cut Pro X
    I’m often tasked with creating videos and Final Cut Pro X is total overkill for my needs.
  • Firefox
    As mentioned, I’m currently a Chrome user, but I’m still rooting for Firefox, so I like to keep it around.
  • GIF Brewery
    Probably the single most important application of all time. See.
  • Git
    Again, no introduction required.
  • HandBrake
    The open source video transcoder. I don’t use it as much as I once did, but it’s still a handy utility to have installed.
  • Icon Slate
    A nifty little tool for creating favicons and more.
  • ImageOptim
    As a general rule of thumb, I run all images through ImageOptim before uploading them to the web. Its simple drag and drop UI makes the job a breeze.
  • iTerm2
    One of the best terminal applications I’ve had the pleasure to use.
  • Magnet
    A recent addition to my software toolkit. Admittedly, it’s not super handy on a 13-inch laptop, but it does a good job of window management when I attach my MBP to larger external displays, where I have more screen estate to play with.
  • Microsoft Remote Desktop
    I’d be happy to not use Windows at all, ever, but when you work on a Windows Domain it’s almost impossible.
  • ownCloud client
    I’ve been using ownCloud for several years now and I love it.
  • Pastebot
    A clipboard manager with lots of options and features, including filters for converting lists into HTML etc. Another app recommended by MBW Picks.
  • Permute
    A handy media converter with a nice drag and drop user interface. Handy for extracting audio from videos etc.
  • Pixelmator
    Described as “Full-featured image editor for Mac”, I just use it to remove odd artefacts from photos. Again, it’s total overkill for my needs, but it’s not overly expensive and one day I might call on it for more.
  • ScreenFlow
    I use ScreenFlow to record screencasts/demos of the projects I’m working on. It’s quick and easy to set-up and has a surprisingly good editor for adding overlays, annotations, captions, titles and more.
  • Sequel Pro
    My go-to tool for working with MySQL databases. It has lots of handy features and it’s a lot prettier than MySQL Workbench (these things matter, honest).
  • Sketch
    I moaned about the subscription licensing model, but it didn’t stop me from using it. Sketch really is a fantastic app.
  • Skitch
    A handy tool for taking quick screenshots with annotations.
  • SSH
    macOS ships with SSH, so I just needed to create a new key and copy the public key to my servers.
  • Sublime Text 3
    I’ve switch from Sublime to Atom, and back again. Sublime is currently winning my favour due to its raw speed and performance. If Atom and Sublime were to have a race, Sublime would lap Atom many times.
  • TextExpander
    I’ve not signed-up for their subscription model, but I’m still using TextExpander, I love it.
  • TextWrangler
    I use TextWrangler as my auxiliary text editor — when I’m working on a project in Sublime, but I need to make a quick edit in a file outside of the project. This happens a fair amount.
  • Transmit
    Used for mounting remote drives over SSH. There are other tools available (Mountain Duck, ExpanDrive), but Transmit does the job nicely.
  • Transmission
    For downloading Linux ISO’s and nothing else, honest.
  • Tweetbot
    Used for tweeting random dribble. Probably the nicest Twitter client in existence.
  • VirtualBox
    I’ve been a VirtualBox user for many years, it’s perfect for setting up development servers.
  • VLC
    Because no system would be complete without the Swiss Army knife of media players.

The end. If you’re reading this and you know of some software that I might be interested in (based on what you’ve seen above), please feel free to post a comment and let me know. Thanks.

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