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Setting up my new Mac (Part 1—the apps I use)

zellwk profile image Zell Liew 🤗 Originally published at zellwk.com ・5 min read

My first task in 2019 is to get a new computer. I didn't want to change computers, but my old one gave way and I had no choice 😭.

Since I'm already switching computers, I thought it'll be interesting to share the apps I use on a daily basis.

I hope you find some of them interesting!

Apps for writing

I do a lot of writing work (for the blog, and for the courses I make). Here are the apps I use:

  1. Ulysses. This is where I do my idea curation, outlining, drafting, writing, and editing work.
  2. Rocket: Rocket helps me write emojis as if I'm writing them on Slack. For example, to get 😀, I type :grinning. It has autocomplete features so typing emojis become a breeze 😁.
  3. Hemingway app: I use Hemingway app to ensure my sentences are easy to read and understand.
  4. Grammarly: I use Grammarly to help me correct any obvious grammatical errors.
  5. Word counter app: This is a menu-bar app that tells me how many words I've written on my computer today. My highest track record is 12,000 words!
  6. Marked 2: I use Marked 2 for converting Markdown (from Ulysses or my text editor, VS Code) into HTML or Rich Text. I then paste Rich Text into the WISYWIG editor in Convertkit (to send emails).
  7. Skitch: Skitch helps me annotate images quickly for articles.
  8. Kap: Kap helps me make gifs and videos that don't look janky (but the Gifs are quite big...).

Apps for coding

Of course, coding is a big part of my work. How else do I call myself a developer otherwise? 🤪

  1. Visual Studio Code: My preferred text editor. I created a video series to help you set up VS Code if you want to use it.
  2. iTerm2: I prefer iTerm2 over the built-in terminal app. It's easier to configure, and I can have split screens (which makes multiple terminal windows easier to manage)>
  3. Tower: I prefer Tower over other Git clients. If you want to try Tower, you can use zell20 to get 20% discount off your first year! (I don't get money for sharing this). If you want to learn Git, I have a video series for you too.
  4. Postman: Postman is good for debugging API.
  5. MongoDB Compass: This is good for checking data stored in my MongoDB Databases.

Browsers I use

Like any other web developer, I install many browsers on my computer (primarily for testing). Here are the ones I use:

  1. Safari: My main browser for browsing
  2. Chrome Canary: My main browser for debugging JavaScript.
  3. Firefox Nightly: My main browser for debugging CSS.
  4. Chrome: For debugging.
  5. Firefox: For debugging.

(I rarely test against IE or Edge nowadays, because there's generally no need to anymore).

Design Apps

I may not look like it, but I'm also interested in Design. I design every website I build. Here are the tools I use:

  1. Sip: Sip is a simple color dropper tool.
  2. Sketch: For designing
  3. Typeface: For managing typefaces on my Mac. It's much better than font book!
  4. Adobe Fonts: For syncing typefaces from Typekit (now Adobe Fonts) onto my computer.

Apps for creating videos:

I've been creating videos for ~1 year. Here are the apps I've been using:

  1. Audacity: For recording audio
  2. Screenflow: For recording my screen and face
  3. OBS: For positioning my face on the video. I hope I can use it for live-streaming sometime in the future.
  4. Webcam settings: Lights are set at 50hz over at my part of the world (it's 60hz in USA), so my webcam flickers when recording. This sets it right.

General productivity apps

Here are some apps I can't live without on my Mac.

  1. Alfred: Alfred is Spotlight + so many things.
  2. Airmail: My preferred email client
  3. Fantastical2: My preferred calendar app
  4. Moom: I use Moom to shift windows around on a Mac.
  5. Notion: I've recently started using Notion as a todo-list system. I may write about this in future if it sticks.
  6. Odrive: For syncing multiple Google Drives
  7. Dropbox: Nothing to say here :)

Some Social Apps

  1. Messenger
  2. Slack
  3. Telegram
  4. Tweetdeck
  5. Whatsapp
  6. Wechat
  7. Zoom - For video calls

Miscellaneous apps

  1. 1Blocker: Blocking ads and other stuff on Safari.
  2. 1Password: Where I store all my password information.
  3. Beamer: To put videos onto my Apple TV.
  4. Clean my mac 3: To remove applications cleanly.
  5. MplayerX: For playing videos.
  6. Spotify: Because. music. rocks.
  7. Vanilla app: For managing the menu bar.

Next up

I'll talk about my actual migration process in an upcoming article. It'll be nerdy and fun! 🤓.


Thanks for reading. This article was originally posted on my blog. Sign up for my newsletter if you want more articles to help you become a better frontend developer.

Discussion

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610yesnolovely profile image
Harvey Thompson

Worth reading lists like this, I didn't know about Moom and Sketch.

Some suggestions on security might be useful, anyone?

I just recently found Scudo - seems easy to use and configure, but I've not yet tried it. I did buy their more complex Murus Firewall and Vallum for very specific use cases (a bit too complex), so this may well be useful.

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korenmiklos profile image
Miklós Koren

Thank you for sharing, super useful. I love Tower, but I recently switched to Sublime Merge Their slogan says it all: "Meet a new Git Client, from the makers of Sublime Text"

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daviddesmet profile image
David De Smet

I was going to try Sip until I read about an issue that is still present in the new version regarding sampling on-screen images. You can read more about the details here.

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mariorodeghiero profile image
Mario Rodeghiero

Thanks Zell Liew ✌️

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utkarsh profile image
Utkarsh Talwar

Great list, Zell. I already use some of these but there are plenty in here that seem worth checking out. Thanks for sharing!

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ruffle1986 profile image
Tamas Fodor

This Hemingway app looks very promising to me. Thanks!

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maktarsis profile image
Max Tarsis

Thank you, Zell

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zellwk profile image
Zell Liew 🤗 Author

Do you know of a better service than Grammarly?

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deadcoder0904 profile image
Akshay Kadam (A2K)

You can use something like spell-right which is offline :)

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zellwk profile image
Zell Liew 🤗 Author

That one doesn’t correct my grammar!

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deadcoder0904 profile image
Akshay Kadam (A2K)

Oh yeah, there is also languagetool but it does the same thing as Grammarly but it does send on the server.

Pretty sure then nothing exists for offline grammar checking then. It must be doing some heavy processing on the server I guess.