(FTC Disclosure – I receive compensation for products I recommend if you click on any of those links and purchase a product. This doesn't bias my reviews because I don't mess with stuff I don't like.)
Ok. I just ordered my upgrade to my laptop. I had a 2012 Macbook Pro, but it was beachballing too much for my taste.
So I ordered a much higher end MacBook Pro with the new fifth generation Intel i5 processors. I can't wait for the darned thing to get there. I'll let you know when it comes in how the thing performs.
I've been using the Macbook to do the following things. If you do these things, you might be interested in the software I use on my Macbook. I'll list those below the tasks.
- Edit video
- Record audio
- Create webinars
- Create eBooks
- Write eBooks
- Manage twitter
- Keep a list of things that are hard to categorize
- Write software for RV52
- Communicate with my RV52.com servers
- Do presentations on our bigscreen TV
- Practice flying my remote control airplane (I have yet to fly it)
I do other things, like email and web browse, but everyone does those things so I won't talk about those.
Top Mac Apps
So here is my list of software and hardware for my creative activities and a little write-up for each app. I like to think of this as the list of top Mac apps for creatives. I'll include a link for where you can get these materials if you are interested. I own ALL of this and have used ALL of these things. So I'm speaking with some authority on the matter.
- Scrivener – I love this app. It is a writing application that lets you write in your brains unorganized fashion and then come back and arrange it later. Even better Scrivener frees you from having to worry about formatting since it will manage an awful lot in post processing. I love this app and tell everyone trying to write anything about it. I use it and I'm getting better at it. You can gen your book directly into an ePub ebook format. It can be better so I'm hoping that these guys keep it going.
- ScreenFlow – Video editing is super hard. Screenflow makes it super easy. You can do some pretty cool things with multi-camera views, addition of text and much more. I've probably only plumbed about 10% of everything it can do but I'm thrilled with it. When you go to make your final video it is super fast and super simple. I would recommend that most people just start with this.
- Final Cut Pro X – This is the grand poo-bah of video editing on the Mac. Sure there are others, but this is a good one. For long time video editors, they are frustrated with the BIG change in interface as Apple slowly tries to make all of their platforms & software work together better. But I only knew this NEW interface. I would actually counsel against using this software EXCEPT for bigger projects where you want to do a more craftsmen-like quality project. For the more artsy projects, then this is incredible. I've only learned about 3% of what is in this tool, but I have it and will use it again. I'll need by big bad boy Terabyte flashdrive Mac Book Pro to really make this thing sing. So to recap, for workman like practical projects use ScreenFlow. For craftsman project, use Final Cut. By the way, HBO and others do complete shows on Final Cut. That is how amazing it is.
- Keynote – I love it and prefer it over Powerpoint – except the luddites in the tech world only use Powerpoint. You can get Powerpoint for your Mac, but I won't let it have bullet because I'm an Apple fan boy – mostly. I think Keynote is faster, has better graphics, and better transitions.
- Pages – Mac's equivalent to Microsoft Word. Not near as powerful, but for 99% of what you need to do it is not bad. Last I checked it had a big miss – no mailmerge – but who uses mail anymore? In my opinion it is easier to use and faster too. I like that you can create ePub's from it but I'm going to use Scrivener in the future to do that. One advantage of using Pages to create ePub's is that it will resize your pictures smaller. So that might help make a smaller file. I also use it to create graphics in the 8×11 format aspect ratio that makes nice looking covers. Read about that here.
- Preview – This comes on most Macs and is pretty incredible. A “secret” feature is that it can create JPGs from the graphics you have in the copy-paste buffer. This is an INCREDIBLE feature and I use the pee out of it. You can also annotate JPGs & others without being a graphics program expert which saves me lots of time. I recommend you become friends with Preview.
- Garageband – A solid program for editing AUDIO. I don't do too much of that, but when I do, Garageband is what I use. It can output both MP3 and AAC files so it is very useful.
- Audio Equipment Package – While this isn't a set of apps, you gotta have all this to make your audio sound good. I thought it would be useful to have a nice list of handy items to have for audio AND in your bag to make your Mac totally useful at a moments notice.
- Plantronics headset – Use this with Screenflow or when using Skype, Lync or other voip communications service. I got it from Amazon and don't regret it. It requires a small doodad to get it working which is USB2Audio. This headset is made for PCs so it can do double duty which is what I like.
- Audio Technica USB to audio converter – Plug into USB port and then plug any 3.5″ audio connector into this. My 3.5″ audio port quit working on my Mac. I think from now on though I'll use USB since the Mac seems to detect it better and adjust automatically better.
- Plantronics USB Speakerphone – Completely AWESOME if you need to have an extended working session and want both hands free and not to have a cumbersome headphone. Audio quality continues to please me.
- Just in case – Mac 3.5″ to PC style analog only convertor – This will come in handy for sure so have one in your bag. I do and I use it all the time, especially to plug into my cell phone which doesn't have a USB connector.
- YETI USB studio-like Microphone – Ok. This is probably overkill. But I have it. I think the Plantronics is just as good. Honestly, I don't think you would need this, but the audio quality is stellar on this. The downside is that it is MUCH bigger than the Plantronics. However, the Yeti would be great for studios that you can keep the equipment set up all the time.
- TextWrangler – Apple's Textedit is not good enough to write software. You can't use Page, MSWord or other non-code-writing packages to do it. TextWrangler works really great for writing code. I use it to make custom software for RV52.com which uniquifies RV52.com to the RV industry. I make custom PHP/Wordpress templates using it. I find it reliable, serviceable and quick and easy. Many wizards would point out a program called emacs which is built into the Apple, but unless you use it regularly you forget its commands. I could not run my website without this.
- Cyberduck – You could use some built-in Apple FTP tool, but honestly if you only use that occasionally you forget the commands. With Cyberduck I can interface with my servers and upload software via something called FTP. It is simple, easy to use, and does more than I ever need.
- iMovie – I do use iMovie. I keep using it because I know how. I probably should NOT split my time between iMovie and ScreenFlow but I do. iMovie is present on most Macs for free. Sometimes you may have to pay if you have a really old Mac. Not sure on that one.
- Aerofly – This has nothing to do with creativity. This is a program I use to practice flying my radio control airplane. It is a unique use so I thought I would share it.
- Skype – I use this to communicate with people when you might need to share screens, show programs, talk, and share ideas. Works with the hardware above.
- iTunes Producer – You can't get books up to Apple without this. It is critical to have for eBooks.
- Evernote – Just a great place to put notes and stuff. It tries to organize your stuff when things are impossible to organize! I only really use its notes. I don't do anything fancy with it. I'm a rookie at Evernote.
- JustCloud – I maintain a backup on the internet via a company called JustCloud. It seems expensive, but to me it is cheap insurance. We used to use USB attached hard drives, but they would not survive a fire. Also I could not get the backed up data remotely. I tried Carbonite but I could not get it to work. JustCloud has been super reliable. Friends don't let friends compute without backups!
Anyway, hope this helps. Also if you use these programs you can get help from me too. I am only human and have limits, but you just never know.