Looking For Useful MacBook Software

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MacBook Software

The reason for this text was the spontaneous purchase of MacBook Air with M1: I was wondering how life was with the notebook on the new system-on-a-chip. Besides, I’m too lazy to lug around the 16-inch MacBook Pro, and I can’t bring myself to work on the iPad Pro, even with a handy keyboard.

So I decided to go back to the roots and try how things are with the new device, besides the small and convenient laptop I have not had for many years.

While I was setting up the new device, I wanted to share a list of applications that wander from one computer to another. Some I uninstall, others I install, but some remain forever. So I want to tell you about the things I love and appreciate.

Documents, texts and other stuff.

I don’t like cumbersome Word, but I still have to use it because I have problems with the native Pages program. So I paid for the Microsoft 356 package for a year. The subscription is generally handy: at the same time you get access to things like Excel, Outlook or PowerPoint, Microsoft gives you 1TB in the cloud for data storage. And you can share the account with what’s called a “family” subscription. And then each of the six members of the “family” will have such a glorious package. At the same time, everyone can install Microsoft 356 on five of their devices. But there is a strange point about the purchase: the software can not be bought on the Microsoft site, I made it through Allsoft.

For writing texts I use the simple and concise application Bear, which at the same time can be put on my iPhone or iPad. The program has a well designed interface, and typing on a mobile device is very convenient. But what about Notes on iOS, how are they worse? To tell the truth, they are not, it’s a great application, but if I started to type on my iPhone, and then I switched to Mac, I would have to switch the font all the time increasing the small print. The app costs 949 rubles per year as a subscription, I have been using it for several years and I am completely satisfied with it. You don’t have to pay for it right away, you can evaluate the features of the free version and then support the developers with rubles.

In general, the Bear app is pretty sophisticated: there are tags, folders, and you can turn it all into a data repository. But for small notes, I have the standard “Notes” divided into folders. I hope that someday Apple will improve the interface of the application and make it more convenient to work with text on the computer, and I will be able to part with Bear.

Google documents are left out of the picture, just like Word. Only if necessary.

I tried to master Notion, but got lazy, though it looks like a very sophisticated planner of anything and everything. As for me, the standard “Reminders” are sufficient for the daily struggle with forgetfulness. You make a few lists, fill out the lines, and then close the items as you go.

One more thing about texts and the keyboard

A few years ago, Apple changed the usual configuration for changing the language: instead of “⌘ + space” it suggested “Control + space”. And the old layout started Spotlight search.

Over the years I got used to the old combination, I don’t want to re-learn, so every time on a new mac I have to go back to the way it was before. To do this, go to “System Settings” → “Keyboard” → “Key combinations”. Then find the desired combinations in the list and change them to the right ones.

By the way, the MacBook Air has a separate key for switching between languages – it’s possible that some people won’t have to go to the system settings at all.

At the same time, Apple has removed the dedicated keys on the keyboard to adjust the brightness of the backlight. A separate line in the control in the upper right corner is now responsible for the settings.

Caramba Switcher helps you to fight absent-mindedness. This is a useful program from the creator of Punto Switcher. It helps to solve the problem of absent-mindedness when you forget to set the right keyboard layout and the text is printed in Latin alphabet instead of Cyrillic. A small, but still a time-saver.

Graphics

I do not use Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. If I made a living out of photography, I probably would have bought a subscription, but otherwise I’m satisfied with the capabilities of Pixelmator Pro. It’s a handy image editor, the interface at first it seems unfamiliar, but then you adapt. The best thing is that it pays for itself in just four months, because I bought it once and I don’t have to pay for it every month.

I also bought Affinity Photo, and I tried it but couldn’t master it. I think Pixelmator is much more convenient and understandable. I also have Luminar 4, which I bought as a backup, but I have not mastered it yet and have only run it a few times out of curiosity.

That’s what I always use is PhotoBulk – the program is needed for batch processing. You can remove EXIF from photos, add a logo, rename files or “lighten” the photo, sacrificing the quality of the pictures.

As an option, there is also JPEGmini Pro, the program perfectly removes excess weight from photos, it has no other features. This program is pretty expensive, but I like its features.

No games on the mac!

Well, yes, with games on the platform is tight. But I can advise GeForce Now: you can play what you bought on sale on Steam and was not passed. There are more than 950 games in the service, I think it’s very cool. The only thing: you need a stable internet, you can’t play offline.

Plus there is PlayStation Remote Play: the games are streamed from your PlayStation, the service is demanding on the speed of the Internet, so if possible, it is better to be in a place with the best quality network.

And one more thing.

Send Anywhere is a simple program for sending data from Android. A kind of alternative to Android File Transfer, only without a wired connection. It does not require Internet connection. You can transfer data from devices on different platforms: Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, Kindle and Linux.

Blackmagic Disk Speed Test is an indispensable program for measuring the speed of disks, flash drives, and the like.

CheatSheat – a godsend for those who want to know the keyboard shortcuts for a certain program, but are too lazy to look it up on Google. Does not work with all applications and often gives only the basic commands, but still handy. And what more could you want from a free program.

Permute is a powerful photo, video, and audio converter in a variety of formats.

I think everyone has his own collection of favorite and useful programs, so it would be great if you share your ideas in the comments.

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