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.
Xmonad - Xmonad is a Haskell based window manager for both Linux and Mac(sorry Windows users). It's highly configurable but for me it's lack of features and application bar crap is a real advantage. The application your currently working with takes up the entirety of the screen and you navigate to other applications using keyboard shortcuts. Using this and disabling notifications in your IM/Email/whatever clients forces you to work on the task in front of you. It's very pleasing to use after a while.
Focusatwill - I've been a big fan of using the pomodoro technique and I use focusatwill as an extension to it. Effectively it's a timer that plays music that apparently helps keep you focused. Personally I've found it quite effective. It pushes for 100 minute stints of focused work before taking a break. As a coder I'm a big fan of this. 25 minute pomodoros got really distracting and were a pain to maintain after a while. 100 minutes lets me keep my mind on whatever level of the coding stack I'm currently on for longer periods. Even focusatwill states that it can take 20 minutes to accumulate enough to begin focus. Plus, if you're skeptical there's a free trial period.