Apple certainly improves how productive you are. I have lost an uncountable number of hours (cumulatively) on switching on my Windows machine alone — something that’s almost instantaneous in Mac. I am not entirely satisfied with iPhones, but I’m not sure if that’s due to my muscle memory about how androids work or if it’s iPhone. Here are specific applications on Mac that significantly boost my productivity — even for rare cases.
Statistical computing requires a powerful machine. A powerful processor and RAM are required to process most high-level tasks these days. Thankfully, my Mac can handle most of it. I’m happy and sad that machine learning isn’t considered a game-changer as it used to be, although it is still revolutionary. Probably it is just another example of the Gartner Hype Cycle.
Amphetamine helps me close my Mac without stopping the computations. It gives me an option to switch off displays — which I do — while running the machine in the background. So, I can put a lengthy computation, close my laptop, carry it wherever. Later in the day, I have my results ready when I get back to my Mac. It’s best used with Amphetamine Enhancer.
The trackpad is excellent, but keyboard shortcuts are the best. My high school computer teacher, Pathak Sir, used to say: “Programmers use the keyboard. Accountants use the mouse.” His words stuck with me; I kept longing for more keyboard shortcuts. Saving minutes here and there saved me hours overall, and I’m not counting all the mental peace.
Google Drive is free and has more space. But why do I still use Dropbox? Because it always works. It is simple enough to be used for all files. Backing up my research work is effortless. It only gives two gigabytes of storage, but I’ve only hit the limit once — that too when I was storing almost all files on my machine.
It is simple. Pull down an icon from the menu bar to set up a reminder. How much you pull determines the reminder time. I think it is a good deal for the price of a coffee.
Since I started using GIFs in my newsletter, I needed to convert my screen recordings to GIFs. Gifski is a free tool that neat and does the job quite fast.
The VLC media player is great — no complaints. I like IINA mostly because it can automatically download subtitles of what I’m watching.
I’ll admit I do not use this often. The app adds an option in your menu bar to show you the following two days events (customisable). If there is an associated Zoom or Google Meet link, it’ll show a button alongside as well. On rare times that I do use it (like when I’m sharing my screen on Zoom and don’t want to pause sharing by opening my Calendar), I find it incredibly useful.
Lunar gives you the option to control the brightness of external displays. If your eyes are tired of too much light, consider trying this app before visiting a doctor.
It tells me to take a break without telling me to take a break. It shows me how long I have been staring at the screen continuously (right now, it’s 4h 26m) and leaves the decision to take breaks. I have found this more effective than Pomodoro and ilk, probably because I feel I have the controls.
Spotlight is great. Alfred added some additional features to improve it. Raycast added many more and made it free and open source. Mini-apps allow you to start a Zoom meeting, search and play a song on Spotify, see Github issues, and many more. The clipboard history tool is terrific too.
Rectangle is a super helpful tool for resizing windows. There’s really not a lot to explain. There’s also a paid alternative with Trackpad gestures that I’ve not tried.
I prefer Spark over Mail because it is faster and allows me to undo sending an email. The way it handles email signatures is also better than how Mail does it. It shows me all options, not only those associated with an email address.
You need a file that can decompress
.rar files (or literally anything other than