My first Mac ever, now what?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by boomboom316, Nov 5, 2010.

  1. macrumors newbie

    boomboom316

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2010
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #1
    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!
     
  2. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2008
    #2
    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
     
  3. macrumors 65816

    ImperialX

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    #3
    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.
     
  4. thread starter macrumors newbie

    boomboom316

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2010
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #4
    Thanks! Would doing a fresh install off the backup USB provided provide any kind of performance boost or just free up some space?
     
  5. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2008
    #5
    i did a fresh restore, just installed what i needed to save some gbs

    also try monolingual, to remove unnecessary languages + other stuff
     
  6. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2010
    #6
    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.
     
  7. macrumors regular

    pfjellman

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2010
    Location:
    Oregon
    #7
    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?
     
  8. thread starter macrumors newbie

    boomboom316

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2010
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #8
    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.
     
  9. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2009
    #9
    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
     
  10. vm7118, Nov 6, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2010

    macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    #10
    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)
     
  11. macrumors 65816

    ImperialX

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    #11
    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.
     
  12. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2010
    #12
    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..
     
  13. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2010
    Location:
    United States
    #13
    Nice list. You folks sure are knowledgeable about Macs.
     
  14. macrumors 65816

    Fraaaa

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    Location:
    London, UK
    #14
    No one mentioned Steam for gaming?

    Enjoy your Mac :)
     
  15. macrumors 65816

    Fraaaa

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    Location:
    London, UK
    #15
    NetBeans 6.9.1
     
  16. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2010
    Location:
    Whittlesey, UK
    #16
    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!
     
  17. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2010
    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
    #17
    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.
     
  18. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    #18
    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.
     
  19. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2006
    Location:
    West Haven, CT, USA
    #19
    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.
     
  20. macrumors regular

    pfjellman

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2010
    Location:
    Oregon
    #20
    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. =)
     
  21. macrumors 68000

    gwsat

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Location:
    Tulsa
    #21
    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.
     
  22. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    #22
    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+.
     
  23. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2009
    #23
    Download Plex instead of VLC.
     
  24. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2006
    Location:
    West Haven, CT, USA
    #24
    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.
     
  25. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    #25
    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.
     

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