So far, so good.

I deliberately left the MacBook in sleep overnight and it woke up fine this morning.

I’d also been getting occasional issues with WiFi not reconnecting on wake but this has not happened so far.

I’m considering dropping hibernatemode back to 3 to see whether it’s that or the profile recreation that seems to be doing the trick.

Status

Just a beginning

In keeping with the season there have been a number of “best of” posts with folks outlining their favourite Mac software of the year which all leave me feeling like mine is horribly underused.

Maybe it’s because I’m still learning what I can do with it since moving from Windows but it’s also that I tend to keep things relatively simple.

Beyond Safari and Ulysses there’s very little I use on a regular basis.

I still run Magnet for docking windows, Filezilla as my FTP client, and have the likes of Slack, BBEdit and Visual Studio Code installed but nothing really gets that much use.

With two exceptions:
- the micro.blog app, and
- Pixelmator

I’ve written a lot about micro.blog recently so don’t need to go over the same ground here.

As I mentioned in October, I had previously used Gimp (still hate the name) as a free option but the updates to Pixelmator were very tempting. I thoroughly enjoyed using it during the free trial so snapped it up.

I can’t remember the last time I actually opened VS Code and removed it from the Dock, so that tells you something, while BBEdit is operating in its free, reduced functionality mode because I can’t justify the cost for the little that I use it.

I’ve looked at Alfred and LaunchBar again but still not yet found a compelling reason to use them. I was very much the same with Workflow on the phone - I originally couldn’t think of anything to use it for until it suddenly clicked. Now I couldn’t be without it and still fret over what happens if/when Apple finally pulls the plug - hopefully in favour of extensive native automation.

I think it’s a bit of a catch 22 situation: I can’t think of ways to automate what I do because I don’t do that much on the Mac but would probably do more if I had it automated.

Despite all this I’ve been really enjoying the MacBook as my laptop of choice (it’s still not my primary computer - that’s the phone) but still see this as just the beginning.

It’s been less than 6 months since making the switch so I feel like I’m still finding my feet. 2017 has been a good start but next year will be when I kick it up a notch.

Just a beginning

The MacBook woke successfully after preventing the following utilities from starting and running in the background:

  • Clipy
  • Faviconographer
  • iCanHazShortcut

That leaves me with Magnet and Scroll Reverser (just for the mouse) still running.

We’re making progress!

Status

A quick update on the MacBook.

I was prompted to submit the issue and looked at the error report details which including this:

Root disk errors: "Could not recover SATA HDD after 5 attempts. Terminating.”

A quick search doesn’t reveal anything too enlightening as, although it would appear to relate to the drive (and maybe APFS) this kind of issue can also occur due to software compatibility issues causing a kernel panic.

More testing required.

Status

Useful utilitiesComments

As I am still really getting to grips with the Mac I look for ways to personalise it and make it for the way I want to work.

One thing I missed from Windows is the ability to snap applications to the side of the screen letting you display two or more side-by-side.

I had found a freeware utility but it was a bit buggy so bought Magnet from the App Store. At only 99p it is an absolute bargain letting you snap windows in position with the mouse/track pad like Windows but also define hot keys as well.

I had heard about Caffeine, a little tool to stop your Mac going to sleep but it doesn't look to be available in the UK App Store.

A free alternative available here is the unfortunately named Amphetamine which lets you specify a length of time that your device will ignore power saving rules. A quick keyboard shortcut to toggle it on and off and you don't have to keep tapping the trackpad.

I had previously looked at clipboard managers on my phone but it found a solution I really liked. For the Mac, however, I have found Clipy which is really lightweight tool for copying multiple items and easily selecting which one to paste with a handy keyboard shortcut.

I had, of course, heard about Alfred but I'm in a similar position to where I was with Workflow on the phone: I don't yet know how I would use it.

All the good stuff is in the Powerpack but £19 is a lot for something you don't even know you're going to use. Without the Powerpack you just have a Spotlight alternative without the integration into various apps. It looks better but doesn't do as much.

LaunchBar is another interesting alternative but, again, I don't know how much I'd use it.

I'm getting there.

Useful utilities

Mail appsComments

Ever since Mailbox was shuttered by Dropbox I've been trying to find the "perfect" email client.

I spent some time alternating between Airmail and Polymail on my phone, via the likes of Spark and Newton, but settled on Email by Easilydo (now Edison Mail) as it was close to the standard iOS mail app but with proper support for the vagaries of Gmail.

Now that I have the MacBook I am looking at a more cross-platform solution so have reinstalled Polymail across my iOS devices and Mac.

I was using the native OSX mail app, and it is perfectly functional, but there's just something about it that doesn't quite sit right with me.

Then again, Polymail is an illustration of the inconsistency across Mac apps that I wrote about before. It has a distinct iOS look and feel to it which clashes with other apps, especially native ones.

Perhaps I'm just being too fussy.

This quest for the perfect mail client, however, has lead me to question a few things I currently do and expect:

  • Do I really need push notifications for my mail?
  • Should I finally move away from Gmail? (The email from my domains currently all forwards there.)
  • Can I get by with just the native apps?
  • Do I use any features (beyond push) that warrant a third party app?

So, I'm running an experiment: I have removed all mail forwarding and configured each of my addresses separately in both the native mail app and Polymail on both phone and Mac.

I never used to like checking multiple accounts, forwarding everything to Gmail was always a bit of a hangover from years ago but unified inboxes are a standard feature these days so it's no longer an issue - just a psychological hurdle.

I'm going to run the two configurations in parallel for a few days and see how they compare, and also which one I tend to reach for.

It will also help me better understand the flow of mail to each account and make decisions about what I want going to each one.

Mail apps

Moving to MacComments

I've been a Windows user ever since the days of 3.11 and my first PC at home had Windows 95.

I've some basic experience with Macs but only in a work context, usually on a Mac Mini, so never had to do too much with them beyond changing a few settings and reinstalling Java.

While I have often wondered what it would be like to switch the cost has always been prohibitive.

I need wonder no more as I have now been able to get my hands on a MacBook Pro (it's not the most recent - mid 2015) and have spent the last few days using it as my primary machine, even for playing World of Warcraft.

There are a few things you don't appreciate until you get to use a device properly. So often comments are made and you think they are just hyperbole.

Not always.

The build quality of the MacBook is everything it's made out to be. The device just exudes it from the main body to screen assembly.

The benefits of ecosystem are immediately apparent when you sign in with your iCloud account and the MacBook automatically connects to your home WiFi network.

Nice!

Having all of your iCloud data instantly to hand without having to install anything extra is obviously a bonus.

But the one thing I have heard said again and again is how amazing the trackpads are on MacBooks and that Windows OEMs just can't make a good one.

You know what? It's true!

After spending a couple of days with the MacBook I had to revert to my Windows laptop for work and realised just how big the gulf is between the two. Some of the more premium Windows devices may be better but the ones I have at home just don't compare.

Now I just need some stickers.

Moving to Mac