One of the more interesting articles I’ve read this year came from Lex Friedman at Macworld ‘How Mac experts setup their desktops.’
It’s safe to say that most of us set up our Macs differently from one another. Some Mac users do very little customization. Others have very specific requirements for apps, file hierarchy, Dock location, and what goes on the Desktop. I’ve used a Mac about as long as anyone (128k Mac, circa late March 1984), and my Mac routine is wildly different.
It’s also a given that one man’s hamburger is another man’s steak, so what works for one Mac user– experienced or not– may not work for another Mac user.
Friedman contacted a number of experienced Mac users and asked them to describe their Mac setup. Some put the Dock on the side of the Mac’s screen.
Others use Spaces and Mission Control and Full Screen mode. Others do not. Almost all of us customize the Dock’s line of apps to fit our needs.
Some Mac users have clean Desktops, while others are probably a horrible mess of files and folders scattered, digitally, hither and yon.
Where my Mac usage differs from the experts in the article is in the number of Macs I use daily. Three. One aging aluminum MacBook, an even older iMac, and a newer quad-core iMac with a 27-inch display. Why so many Macs?
Email, Calendar, Contacts, and the details of tasks and projects are kept on the MacBook, while the larger iMac is where most of my day-to-day heavy lifting is accomplished. The other iMac is used for specific audio and video production.
The commonality between the three is DragThing, the file launcher, folder navigator, that resides on each Mac. Each Mac’s Dock varies a bit, but common apps are always in the same location relative to other app icons. That makes them easier to find.
My Documents folder is synchronized between all three Macs, though, so needed files are always accessible on each Mac. Only now, in OS X Mavericks, am I getting into regular use of Full Screen mode (Command-Tab is your friend), but still find little value in Spaces, Mission Control, or LaunchPad.
When it comes to apps, everything I use on one Mac is replicated and installed on the other Macs (not necessarily used as frequently). The usual suspects are installed everywhere– iPhoto, iTunes, iMovie, Garageband– but also Adobe’s Creative Cloud apps, Logic Pro X, Final Cut Pro X, Camtasia, Motion, and more utility apps than I care to admit.
Depending on the project or problem, I can bounce back and forth between each of the three Macs (MacBook for the road) and not miss a beat. All the Macs run the latest versions of OS X (Mavericks), and apps are kept up to date thanks to the Mac App Store and MacUpdate’s Desktop app.
Friedman’s article on how Mac experts setup their Macs is worthy reading, made especially more so by the comments following the article. I’m a strong believer that nothing improves without change, so learning how others handle their workspace can be a useful endeavor.