MacUsers of MeFi, talk to me about power
January 29, 2020 5:53 PM   Subscribe

I have to overhaul my mac drives, which provides an opportunity to review my processes. What power tools or apps do you use to make your life more efficient and/or pleasant?

So I am about to install a new hard drive and staring at all my archives, new and old. I am debating installing programs like Alfred, Hazel, Keyboard Maestro, IFTT, Zapier, etc. to automate as much as I can. I have a lot of files including media, documents, digital assets, multiple archives and am a data hoarder, sorta.

Tell me about your power ways and tools, OSX people! Get me organized for the second decade of the 21st century with your hacks, tweaks and tips!
posted by jadepearl to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Automator is really handy for repetitive tasks. For instance, I set up an Automator droplet for renaming files for the web. It changes capitals to lowercase and spaces to underscores.
posted by jonathanhughes at 7:31 PM on January 29, 2020

Learn to use the Terminal effectively is the biggest tip I can give. Lots of tasks can be accomplished more efficiently with a few commands than with a bunch of dragging-and-dropping in the traditional GUI. Repetitive tasks can be turned into shell scripts. Commands can be trivially chained together to accomplish multi-step tasks.

As a bonus, the skills are transferable to *nix and even Windows machines (with the right software installed), should you find yourself in front of one.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:50 PM on January 29, 2020 [4 favorites]

I scan in all my paper. Hazel identifies where it came from (usually by account number), sometimes the bill date, and hands it over to DevonThink to file it away. If it can't ID the sender, it adds a task to OmniFocus for me to I also have Hazel watching a folder on my desktop - I drop a file into it and it sends it to my Music, my Plex videos, my documents, etc.

I use Alfred as a basic launcher/Spotlight front end. I know if can do more, I just have to sit down and learn it.

I'm starting on Keyboard Maestro. I do like Karabiner (I think that's the one) to remap my caps-lock to CTRL-ALT-OPT-CMD. More quick launches - caps-lock+N launches Drafts (for _N_otes), caps-lock+B launches the current page in my other browser (Safari vs Chrome)...

IFTTT is becoming less reliable, I'm looking at Zapier, Integromat and whatever the new name of Microsoft Flow to replace it (individually or in combination).
posted by neilbert at 9:14 PM on January 29, 2020

I'm still using Quicksilver. Never switched to Alfred. Does what I need that sort of thing for, I don't use anywhere near its full capabilities; switching's not worth the hassle until it stops working. Also You should probably go with Alfred though.

Karabiner is super useful for doing some keyboard alteration - \ is forward-delete because I want that to have its own key damnit, with fn-\ for when I actually need that character; capslock is ⌘⌥⇧ now (with shift-capslock for when I need CRUISE CONTROL FOR COOL), and I just recently turned fn-letter to ⌘⌥-letter. Those last two are both because I have like a ton of custom shortcuts in Illustrator and got tired of mashing down complex chords.

Time Sink is super useful for helping me keep track of what I'm doing, I keep a paper todo/diary and use TS for figuring out how I am doing on the day's time goals for my projects, as well as going back a few days when I forgot to fill out the todos in the morning.

Control Plane automatically switches some settings around when I take the laptop places. Like, a lot of settings. It can't change as much as it used to what with OSX getting more locked down but it still saves me a ton of fiddling.

Jettison helps avoid my system bitching at me about improperly removing my Time Machine drive. Recently I edited the Applescript that Quicksilver uses to put the computer to sleep to ask Jettison to eject all drives, then sleep, so it's even easier to do this with what's been programmed into my fingers for a decade and a half.
posted by egypturnash at 9:54 PM on January 29, 2020 [2 favorites]


Disclaimer: not a mac user
posted by Bangaioh at 9:14 AM on January 30, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'll second a lot of what's been said here.

If you aren't using a keystroke expander, start. There's one built into the paid version of Alfred, which is what I'm currently using, but there are at least four others. I used TypeIt4Me until it went to a subscription model, and if I were relying on this kind of thing more heavily (as I did when I regularly translated patents), there are some features that might make it worthwhile. I use this for lots of stuff--to spit out my mailing address, Greek characters (so I type "aalpha" to get α rather than mess with the character finder or alternate keyboards), the date in a variety of formats, to correct some frequent typos, etc. You can even do some programmatic stuff with these.
posted by adamrice at 9:26 AM on January 30, 2020

Without knowing your workflows, it would be impossible to make recommendations. MacPowerUsers is a podcast hosted on Relay.FM that goes indepth on some of the tools and apps others are suggesting here. You can review the archives to see coverage of what's being recommended by other Mefites.
posted by Gino on the Meta at 11:58 AM on January 31, 2020

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