After the ten millionth recommendation from another one of my highly intelligent and productive friends, I caved and got a Mac Air.
It's going to take me a while to replace some of my Windows-only applications (MyLifeOrganized isn't on Mac, so I'll need to find something else for tracking). And after 3 Toshiba laptops across seven years, I was fast with Toshiba's keyboard exact keyboard layout.
Those will take a bit of acclimation time, but I'm already impressed with some of the nice touches on the Mac. I won't gush and sing praises - you can get that in many places online - but it really does seem to work together cohesively more than Windows.
Anyways. The more interesting point for you is that I'm going to test the two computer setup - I'll keep my Toshiba for a while, and do any/all internet surfing, media, and things of that nature on the Toshiba. I'll use the Mac only for work and work-related things. I suspect it's going to be a huge productivity boost and procrastination-killer... or at least, the type of procrastination will improve some. I'll update you as time goes by.
Also, feel free to recommend any favorite Mac software in the comments.
Everybody has his favorite apps and you'll just have to try a lot and see what works for you or even better define what you're missing from the experience working with the mac and than go looking for a software that does that.
For me one essential thing that really sucked on OSX was managing the windows. OSX only allows to drag them around by mouse, minimize and resize them by clicking buttons or dragging on corners. I want to see two or more apps side by side most of the time. So of my hundreds of tools the very first thing I just had to install on my new Air was that little tool named SizeUp (http://irradiatedsoftware.com/sizeup/) which allows you to move and resize the current app around the screen with keyboard shortcuts. I think there are similar tools too, but I found this one to work best dor me.
Really I just felt crippled without this thing, trying to get my screen arranged by scratching around on the touchpad like an idiot. So that would be my recommandation above all - it's a kind of once you've seen the light thing to me. Enjoy your Air it's a neat little piece of tec.
Another ex-MyLifeOrganized user here. I switched to OmniFocus. I missed the dependencies but just about everything else is there.
A TODO software snob recommended The Hit List to me; I tried it briefly and it seemed to work pretty well. Sublime Text 2 should work great for almost all text editing needs. Seconding f.lux (I use something similar, redshift, to keep my screen red all day to reduce eye strain). Quicksilver is handy for application launching, if you need it. Forklift is an improvement over Finder for file management, but I haven't used it much. (I'm still a heavy Windows user.)
You might also like "~/.osx — a collection of sensible defaults for OS X Lion":
Good luck man, You might be trying to get all your work done on it but it can still be distracting, you should install self control on it so your forced to stick with it.
That way you really will be forced to use it for work only.
I wish you the best with this, its always nice to see you mention another productive idea, keep it up.
I'm also a recent convert (15" Macbook Pro). My #1 software? Parallels (or VMWare Fusion) so that I can stick with one notebook but still keep access to the Windows apps that I use on an ongoing basis. I was able to do a physical-to-virtual migration from my 3 year old Thinkpad, so everything remained intact. It even mapped my user folder on the Mac to the Windows user folders via a virtual network share so that I only have one copy of My Documents, Pictures, etc. I'm not sure if it would be as effective on the Macbook Air, as you can't load up with 8GB RAM or install a larger hard drive. That being said I've managed to fit everything old and new onto a 240GB SSD.
I'll agree with you that the keyboard shortcuts are a hard transition. In addition to the Ctrl-C - Cmd-C difference, I use Ctrl-Arrow to navigate by word along with Ctrl-Home and Ctrl-End. I still end using a Windows text editor app any time I need to do any significant amount of writing.
All in all, yes, I'm glad that that I made the switch. And I'm glad that I have the necessary hardware to build iPhone apps without having to drag around multiple systems.
Also, for your backup needs, I suggest Carbon Copy Cloner instead of TimeMachine: http://www.bombich.com/
CCC makes a bootable backup of your computer, which is very useful if your computer crashes or it is stolen (I don't use the incremental feature). You can plug the drive into any other Mac and boot from your drive by holding down Option during startup. This summer my screen went out, but I backed up the night before, so I was up and running again in 15 minutes on another Mac with all of my stuff.
This also allows you to swap the drive in your Mac and just restore it from your backup relatively easily. Shoot me an email if you have any questions about it. I would be happy to answer them.
So, life throws mess at you sometimes. My trusty ol' Toshiba kicked the bucket yesterday, which kind of ticked me off. But, I'm a big believer in using everything that gets thrown at you.
I went to the Low Yat IT Center in Kuala Lumpur, which was a nice place with a wide selection. I got a new Toshiba for about ~700 USD: Intel Core i3, 4 GB Ram, 500 GB harddrive, built in webcam/mic, Windows 7, and the rest of the specs are nothing special.
So, now I've got a faster computer with a clean install. My bookmarks are fried from my old computer (that's what forgetting to back things up does), but there's also some value in this. A lot of the things I had I wasn't going to act on again, and I wasn't going to step up and triage them either... it was just clutter.
Well, I'm at Clutter Zero now, which means the decks are cleared. I'll harness this and ideally do more focused and better work over the coming weeks because of it.
I'm a big believer in this - regardless of what happens, find a way to do something valuable with it.
For the longest time I hated, detested and utterly never understood why people bought mac or any other apple products. They were (and still are) expensive, mired in propietary gadgets, and very restrictive. People used to tell me all type of stupid stuff to justify them buying mac/apple products. They don't crash (wrong), they don't get viruses/infected (wrong), they are easier to use (wrong, you just double click on stuff just like windows).
But I did it, I finally gave in and bought one of the new macbook pro retina. With the student discount and some upgrades it came out to a decent price. Here is why I ended up getting it.
1. Two OSes for the price of one. You cant run mac comfortably on windows. I've tried hackintosh and vmware, They work, don't get me wrong, but they are mired with problems, slow, unresponsive and require a ton of work when new updates come out. But on a mac you can fully install windows and run with barely any issues. While the optimization might be different and not be true to specs because the hardware is so mac focused (you get a lot less battery life for example), you just end up being able to reliably run both Oses (and linux as well, but you can do that on any computer) with no hassle.
2. The price has gone down. Right after I found out you can run both Windows and mac, I immediately felt a bit relieved, but was still disappointed at the huge price I would have to pay compared to similar windows laptops/ultrabooks (atm the best ultrabook is Asus 301A w/ corei7 4558u by the way, truly a beast of a computer). I was planning on getting the Asus, but it was expensive. Heck any good laptop running a 58u or 28u were expensive. I wanted retina resolution and 28u or 58u processor (these processors run at higher wattage and have a significantly better integrated graphics processor called iris). I expected mac to release without 28u or 58u and be at least 200-300 dollars more expensive if one where to get the 8us. But they surprised me. Not only does every new macbook have an 8u processor and retina display and is all flash, but they lowered the price by 200-300 by doing so. slap on a 100 dollar student discount (insert: they didn't even ask me for confirmation, but I am a student though).
3. Apple makes very strong, durable laptops. I gotta say the best thing by far about the actual laptop is the build. The keyboard is great, very spring and good to type with with very useful shortcuts. The trackpad, is well, flawless. very responsive, large and tons of very handy gestures. The screen is great and not glossy, which is the only thing about the asus I hated. the all aluminmum build means its is tough. It also weighs a lot less now, and only around .5 pounds more than air, but u get a much better screen, processor, graphics etc. Overall the actual laptop is just very strong and feels premium. A lot of other manfacturers have tried to copy or at least impose design style into their laptops, but most of the time they feel cheap, or weak, or just fragile, not with apple. albeit, the asus is covered in gorilla glass, which might make it awesome.