Marius Masalar, a composer, web developer and tech journalist–from Canada–says:
"The first thing I would do is probably disable Displays Have Separate Spaces. To do this, go to System Preferences > Mission Control. Also allow apps from anywhere System Preferences > Security & Privacy."
When setting up new Macs, Marius finds a number of apps indispensible, going on to say:
"TotalFinder, Alfred, PopClip, and F.lux immediately go onto any Mac I'm using.I also spend some time adjusting settings for Notification Center > Do Not Disturb times, especially when screen mirroring, and which apps I want what kind of notifications from."
"There's no sense adding a redundant app like Growl for my uses when I can just refine the existing system. For some people, using dictation is a big help too, especially with its offline mode enabled."
Jay Inman, from the USA, says:
"Stay organized with your file structure in Finder. It may seem tedious to put everything in specific subfolders, but once your files start adding up and you're looking for one file out of hundreds, having a meticulously organized folder structure will make your Mac life so much easier."
That's good advice that applies to a user of any computer system. Of course, things have moved on–in the world of computing–just in the last five years. It's all about the cloud, now.
"Use a cloud syncing service for every single essential file that isn't too large. There are several decent options here, but in my experience, Dropbox is the simplest, fastest, and most reliable cloud option. It sits perfectly in Finder and on your menubar and I've almost never had any issues with it. I've occasionally had some bugs with services from Box and Google Drive."
"By keeping the files that are crucial to you and your workflow continually synced to the cloud, you never have to worry about losing a file if the unthinkable happens. Also, this setup allows you to access your important files from any computer, a very handy and useful feature in today's world."
Alex Spencer, a Ruby on Rails Developer in Florida, USA, says:
Alex Spencer, a Ruby on Rails Developer in Florida, USA, says:"Learn as many keyboard shortcuts as you can. It may feel slower or more uncomfortable at first, but within a few days your efficiency will increase dramatically. Think of it this way: Every time you move your hands off the keyboard to the mouse/trackpad, you are slowing yourself down."
In my mind, this is great advice. Starting to learn just a few commands, such as Command-X, Command-C, Command-V for cut, copy, paste can be used across so many apps. Command-Tab to switch between open applications allows you to navigate OS X with ninja-like agility.
Richard Guay, from Thailand, uses a number of apps to assist his workflow:
"Fantastical in necessary for the a calendar app. Growly Notes is the best note taking software, while Scrivener is needed for serious writing. Scapple is the best idea processor! TextSoap is a must for processing text. It is better than awk!"
Admittedly, Richard realises he's keen on apps, stating:
"Need more? Okay, I love tools!"
Nope. That's fine for now, Richard. You've given me plenty of suggestions with which to experiment,
Self-proclaimed international man of mystery, Harry Guinness, from Dublin, Ireland, recommends a number of apps, saying:
For me, Harry's next recommendation I find indispensable.
What's no mystery is that everyone should use a password manager to ensure that all of their passwords are unique and strong.
Nick Palovits, from the USA, says:
"Don't underestimate little utility apps for the Mac, small apps like Alfred, CPU LED, Growl and others just make the experience so much better, and they integrate into the operating system so well that using a Mac without them seems almost incomplete."
"I use Alfred at around 20 times a day according to the app's tracking stats."
Well Nick, compared to Richard, you could be getting Alfred to do much more for you!
Pedro Lobo, a Systems Administrator and writer from Portugal, has recommendations for both new and existing Mac users. The advice for people new to Macs, is:
"There's a barrage of great apps that make the Mac experience so much better. Many of which have already been mentioned. Most are must haves for me too. Try incorporate all the tips already mentioned by the rest of the team."
Pedro also has recommendations for those who have been using Macs for a little longer, with these tips to aid your workflow:
"Automate as much as possible. I you do it more than twice, automate it. Use apps such as Hazel, Keyboard Maestro or a launcher to such as Alfred, Quicksilver or LaunchBar to launch little scripts and workflows."
Well, it's only fair that I give my recommendations, as well. There's a stack of great advice from just some of the Mac Computer Skills instructors. For me, indispensable apps are 1Password, Alfred and Dropbox. These are the first apps that I install on my new Macs.
The other piece of advice I'd give would be to keep abreast of new tutorials appearing on Tuts+ Mac Computer Skills. For the last year and a half the site has published a new tutorial each day. Since early February 2014 the site has increased it's tutorial output to two tutorials each weekday, including one new software training tutorial that gives in depth advice into achieving specific tasks on your Mac.
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