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boomboom316
Nov 5, 2010, 11:28 PM
Hello All

Just got my MBA 13" max configuration yesterday and it is first my MAC (purchased from Macmall on 4 Nov, received it the next day). Was wondering if there's a SOP or guide out there with recommended installs or patches I should do to optimize my MBA.

I saw some threads discussing some add-ons to safari to playback 1080p flash but didnt know if there was some sort of Mac essential apps/to-do list out there.

Thanks for any help you can give me!



idonotliketostu
Nov 5, 2010, 11:33 PM
use google Chrome or firefox instead, safari has password security flaws

download vlc player
download perian
download appCleaner
download dropbox
download flip4mac
get unrarx, and or The Unarchiver

i forgot:
download flash from adobe.com

ImperialX
Nov 5, 2010, 11:40 PM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8B117 Safari/6531.22.7)

I recommend MPlayer OSX Extended over VLC. VLC has issues when decoding a lot of things.

boomboom316
Nov 5, 2010, 11:42 PM
use google Chrome or firefox instead, safari has password security flaws

download vlc player
download perian
download appCleaner
download dropbox
download flip4mac
get unrarx, and or The Unarchiver

i forgot:
download flash from adobe.com

Thanks! Would doing a fresh install off the backup USB provided provide any kind of performance boost or just free up some space?

idonotliketostu
Nov 5, 2010, 11:52 PM
i did a fresh restore, just installed what i needed to save some gbs

also try monolingual, to remove unnecessary languages + other stuff

lespaul85
Nov 6, 2010, 12:26 AM
You could use boot camp (already installed) and install Windows (you know, for that random time you may need it... like for some random VB development or something)... I won't on mine but it's useful on my 17"

First 2 things I installed on my 11.6 were Chicken of the VNC so I could get to my work computers while I'm out and about, and also Vuse for torrent handling.

Disk Inventory X is a useful app if you want to visualize the storage you are using. It really helps find some big files out there chewing up space that you may not even realize are out there. Another similar app is GrandPerspective.

Of course explore apps like Garage Band, iMovie, and iPhoto. They are baby versions of their big brother type apps like Logic Audio, Final Cut, and Aperture respectively, but powerful enough in their own right.

Also, if you're not used to a Unix or Linux command line, check out the terminal and take some tutorials on Unix. It's a great way to learn some standard unix commands and learn some scripting.

pfjellman
Nov 6, 2010, 01:35 AM
install onyx and configure the parameters section. explore the finder preferences (command+,) and view settings options (command+j).

install xslimmer and delete unneeded languages and binaries from your apps, install clicktoflash and youtube5 for safari, alfred is a great free launcher/shortcut app, transmission is great for downloading from torrents, unison is great for newsgroups downloading, dropbox is a must, vlc of course for media playback, and i'm sure there's lots more.

really depends on what you wanna do with this computer. what are your goals/interests with it?

boomboom316
Nov 6, 2010, 03:43 AM
install onyx and configure the parameters section. explore the finder preferences (command+,) and view settings options (command+j).

install xslimmer and delete unneeded languages and binaries from your apps, install clicktoflash and youtube5 for safari, alfred is a great free launcher/shortcut app, transmission is great for downloading from torrents, unison is great for newsgroups downloading, dropbox is a must, vlc of course for media playback, and i'm sure there's lots more.

really depends on what you wanna do with this computer. what are your goals/interests with it?

Watch Netflix/HULU/Youtube, hold my Itunes library, light photo and video editing, occassional RTS game, email, light office tasks (spreadsheets and powerpoint editing). Havent decided on whether or not to load Parallels which i got free via rebate from Macmall.

I probably could have gone with a 11" or the lower model 13"s but I wanted the hard drive space internally as opposed to always having to lug around another hard drive just for my media. Once I went with the 256GB, I had to get the 4GB RAM, and then decided that what the heck might as well get the CPU bumped up as well. Slippery slope buying notebooks can be.

highscheme
Nov 6, 2010, 04:03 AM
Adium if you use AIM / MSN / Yahoo (combines into one with better options, better look etc)

Growl (system wide pop up notifications)

Skype (so good)

Full Tilt Poker

Pokerstars

1Password

vm7118
Nov 6, 2010, 05:00 AM
chicken of the vnc is uneccessary: os x has a built in VNC client/server called "screen sharing". just open up finder, click go at the menubar, connect to server, vnc://server:5900.

here is my program list, refined after a couple years of os x usage, and just installed onto my new air :):

firefox
adium (multi-protocol chat)
dropbox
istat pro (detailed hardware activity in dashboard)
istat menus (hardware activity in menubar - only one of these that costs money, but totally worth it)
istat server (remote monitoring of computer's stats from iOS devices)
air video server (stream video to iOS devices)
betterzip (far better/more stable than unrar or the unarchiver)
caffeine (quick way to disable screensaver/dimming from menubar)
forklift (ftp/ssh)
coconutBattery
VLC (don't listen to what people say... like on the windows side, prob the best video playback program. unless you need hardware decoding of h.264, then you want plex)
google notifier (for gmail/calendar in menubar)
handbrake (video conversion)
onyx (optimization/cleanup, like ccleaner on windows)
transmission (bittorrent)
things (GTD)
vmware fusion (for virtualizing windows/linux)
quicksilver (amazing app launcher and shortcut tool... not quite supplanted by spotlight just yet)
skype
1password

pref panes:

startupsound (nobody likes that silly booonnnnggg at boot up)
tuxera ntfs (pricey but totally worth it, i believe... free version also available albeit it's slower)
growl (notification system)
hazel (automated rule-based file mangement, app uninstall cleaner)
steermouse (so you don't need to install logitech bloatware)
flip4mac (wmv playback on os x)
perian (quicktime codec pack)

ImperialX
Nov 6, 2010, 05:51 AM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8B117 Safari/6531.22.7)

Very nice list. Pretty much sum up everything I'd get for a new Mac, bar Office and Photoshop.

VMWare costs money, by the way. You will also need a copy of Windows.

gustav531
Nov 6, 2010, 06:08 AM
Wow, that seems like alot of junk to install on a small MBA drive :p.

Here is what I have installed:
- Dropbox
- Things
- Spotify
- Airfoil (transmits spotify to airport)
- VLC
- Photoshop CS5
- Office 2011
- Eclipse (coding)

I like to keep it as clean as possible, even though this will be my only computer..

kapalua12
Nov 6, 2010, 09:12 AM
Nice list. You folks sure are knowledgeable about Macs.

Fraaaa
Nov 6, 2010, 09:17 AM
No one mentioned Steam for gaming?

Enjoy your Mac :)

Fraaaa
Nov 6, 2010, 09:19 AM
Wow, that seems like alot of junk to install on a small MBA drive :p.

Here is what I have installed:
- Dropbox
- Things
- Spotify
- Airfoil (transmits spotify to airport)
- VLC
- Photoshop CS5
- Office 2011
- Eclipse (coding)

I like to keep it as clean as possible, even though this will be my only computer..

NetBeans 6.9.1

alflavor
Nov 6, 2010, 09:20 AM
Some nice lists, these are helpful to me too as a new to mac person!
Just need a decent case now so I can fly this baby to Boston from London in 2 weeks!

Pipper99
Nov 6, 2010, 10:40 AM
Very helpful. I just got my MBA, and this is a great thread.

I'd like to add Shiftit to the list: it gives your Mac an Aero Snap-like functionality.

vm7118
Nov 6, 2010, 02:22 PM
Wow, that seems like alot of junk to install on a small MBA drive :p.

Here is what I have installed:
- Dropbox
- Things
- Spotify
- Airfoil (transmits spotify to airport)
- VLC
- Photoshop CS5
- Office 2011
- Eclipse (coding)

I like to keep it as clean as possible, even though this will be my only computer..

i have the 256gb ssd. my previous laptop, a 15" pro, had the 160gb intel g2 ssd. so it was a bit faster, actually, but smaller. the significant space is taken up on these drives by 1) itunes/iphoto media and 2) windows/ubuntu partitions. all the applications i listed above require about 3gb of space. hardly worth mentioning. in fact, i didn't list photoshop/office/eclipse, so yours probably take a similar amount of space.

rnb2
Nov 6, 2010, 02:41 PM
Don't install Flash - install the Youtube5 Safari plugin from http://www.verticalforest.com/2010/10/27/youtube5-version-2/ and install Google Chrome for when you need Flash (it's included in the Chrome app bundle). Follow the instructions at http://daringfireball.net/2010/11/flash_free_and_cheating_with_google_chrome to configure a keyboard shortcut to send sites that require Flash to Chrome very easily.

I've been using my iMac like this for about a week, and it works great - no more Flash in my typical browsing, and I just send sites to Chrome when I need it.

pfjellman
Nov 6, 2010, 03:05 PM
Don't install Flash - install the Youtube5 Safari plugin from http://www.verticalforest.com/2010/10/27/youtube5-version-2/ and install Google Chrome for when you need Flash (it's included in the Chrome app bundle). Follow the instructions at http://daringfireball.net/2010/11/flash_free_and_cheating_with_google_chrome to configure a keyboard shortcut to send sites that require Flash to Chrome very easily.

I've been using my iMac like this for about a week, and it works great - no more Flash in my typical browsing, and I just send sites to Chrome when I need it.

this is how i have my MBA and my mac pro set up and i love it!! also, install "HTML5 Audio" safari extension if you ever listen to internet radio or any audio via flash players online. i've seen considerable performance gains on both systems and my battery life is through the roof on the MBA. =)

gwsat
Nov 6, 2010, 03:17 PM
I recommend Google Chrome as the browser of choice. It is faster than either Safari or Firefox, at least that's been my experience. Better yet, a Chrome installation automatically downloads and installs Flash for you. Don't drink the Steve Jobs anti-Flash Kool-Aid. If you want to watch videos from Hulu, or a bunch of other Flash enabled sites, you will need it. As an iPad owner, I can tell you based on first hand experience that having to use a browser on a computer without Flash can be a painful exercise.

I, too, have a 13 inch MBA Ultimate. On it I am running Windows 7 in a VMware Fusion virtual machine along with several Windows apps. I run Fusion in Unity mode, which means that my open Windows apps are in the OS X dock along with the OS X apps. If you run Windows apps regularly, this setup will allow you to run them in tandem with your OS X apps. I use Quicken for Windows several time a day so the Windows, OS X combo in Fusion has been the perfect solution for me.

Regardless of the apps you run, I think you will be very happy with your new 13 inch MBA Ultimate. It is a remarkably powerful computer in an equally remarkable small and lightweight package.

vm7118
Nov 6, 2010, 04:41 PM
depending on your usage, chrome may be better for you. it is probably a better browser than firefox... but i need several extensions that are unique to firefox. 1password among them.

i recommend no flash as well if you can get away with it. unfortunately, i can't, because youtube doesn't have html5 support for firefox 3.x. and 1password doesn't have a firefox extension for firefox 4.x.

but ars technica and various other reputable sources have found that installing flash (and the associated ads) can cut 30% of the battery life. if you do install flash, make sure to get adblock or adblock+.

shootingrubber
Nov 6, 2010, 04:44 PM
use google Chrome or firefox instead, safari has password security flaws

download vlc player
download perian
download appCleaner
download dropbox
download flip4mac
get unrarx, and or The Unarchiver

i forgot:
download flash from adobe.com

Download Plex instead of VLC.

rnb2
Nov 6, 2010, 07:24 PM
depending on your usage, chrome may be better for you. it is probably a better browser than firefox... but i need several extensions that are unique to firefox. 1password among them.

i recommend no flash as well if you can get away with it. unfortunately, i can't, because youtube doesn't have html5 support for firefox 3.x. and 1password doesn't have a firefox extension for firefox 4.x.

1Password works great with Safari, and the extension for Chrome was just updated and works much better (though it still seems to be missing a couple features), so I don't know why you mention needing Firefox to use 1Password.

I would still strongly recommend a combination of Safari or Firefox (with no Flash installed) and Chrome for when you need Flash - this gives you the battery life benefit of only running Flash when you absolutely need it.

Different people need different things for their use - I've honestly never felt limited by the lack of Flash on my iPad, so it's actually been nice to remove it from my iMac. It's even better than running ClicktoFlash, since not having Flash installed will cause many sites to load static ads, where ClicktoFlash just doesn't load any ads that default to Flash. Personally, static ads don't bother me at all, and sites depend on ad revenue, so I don't mind seeing them - Flash ads are pretty obnoxious, though.

vm7118
Nov 6, 2010, 07:31 PM
1Password works great with Safari, and the extension for Chrome was just updated and works much better (though it still seems to be missing a couple features), so I don't know why you mention needing Firefox to use 1Password.

I would still strongly recommend a combination of Safari or Firefox (with no Flash installed) and Chrome for when you need Flash - this gives you the battery life benefit of only running Flash when you absolutely need it.

Different people need different things for their use - I've honestly never felt limited by the lack of Flash on my iPad, so it's actually been nice to remove it from my iMac. It's even better than running ClicktoFlash, since not having Flash installed will cause many sites to load static ads, where ClicktoFlash just doesn't load any ads that default to Flash. Personally, static ads don't bother me at all, and sites depend on ad revenue, so I don't mind seeing them - Flash ads are pretty obnoxious, though.

chrome can't delete selective history on exit. the 1pass extension for chrome is lacking... one feature i can't do without is disabling/enabling autosubmit from within the browser.

safari doesn't sync across machines like chrome does (with syncing enabled through google accounts) or firefox (with firefox sync).

but i agree about flash... it's highly overrated. clicktoflash is what my current system.

sunkus
Nov 7, 2010, 11:33 PM
Nice lists! Pretty much all set up. Was wondering if anyone knows of any good download managers for Macs. Using Internet Download Manager for Win right now, looking for something similar or the equivalent of IDM.