What is your new-mac "get-it-set-up-how-you-like-it" routine + some newbie questions

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Think, Mar 6, 2008.

  1. Think macrumors member


    Nov 14, 2007
    I'm learning OSX from Windows and was looking for a few Macphiles who wouldn't mind talking about their Macs
    (Where in the world will I find these folks I wonder? :D )


    • With the MBP, are there any worthwhile hardware tweaks? I forgot to look and see where the fans were located when I replaced the hard drive - but the only vents I see appear to be speaker grills. If the fans are back there, are they ducted properly? Are the vents unobstructed? Has anyone seen any benefit to re-applying thermal paste or adding heatsinks anywhere?
      (Since we already sank our warranty when we replaced our HDDs)
    • If the fans are located behind the speaker grills, can operating the laptop in clamshell mode cause excessive internal temps?
    • Does using a laptop riser when operating on a desk help keep it cool at all with no vents on the bottom?
    • How hot is too hot?

    OS and GUI

    • When you get a new mac, what do you do to tweak it and get it 'broken in'? With Windows I used to clean out the system services, tweak a few registry keys, and change a boat-load of default settings. Is there a parallel process with Macs? I hear OSX installs a lot of printer drivers that can be removed... is that it?
    • What are the little settings tweaks you use for your own productivity? things like hotkeys, screen-corner shortucts, and GUI behavior settings.
    • How do you organize the stuff in your applications folder (or do you)? What do you (personally) use your desktop for (if anything)?


    For those of you who know Windows, what Mac apps would be the best replacement for the following Windows apps?

    • Trillian (Multi-Protocol messenger app)
    • FeedBurner (Offline feed reader)
    • Outlook (Do you prefer outlook or Apple's 'Mail'?)
    • CuteFTP (FTP Client)
    • UltraEdit (Text/Code editor) - BBEdit? I edit a lot of HTML, CSS, JS and PHP
    • Are there any Finder (File-Browsing) alternatives?
    • Are there any programs that let me move the cursor over a point on the screen and get the hex for the color?
    • What do you use to burn CD's and DVD's?
    • What iLife apps do your recommend? Do you prefer any alternative apps to these?

    Answer one, answer all - your call. I'm just thankful for the help :)
  2. R.Youden macrumors 68020


    Apr 1, 2005
    Too many for me to answer there!

    With regard to software I would recommend the following:

    Monolingual A free device the removes all the foreign languages off you machine and can save 1-2GB (at least) from a fresh install, it also removes input layouts and application architectures that you won't need.

    AppDelete On thing that Windows does better over the Mac (IMHO) is the deletion of applications. Under the Mac, when you trash something from your applications folder it deletes only the application, not all the stuff that goes with it. Now AppDelete gets rid of all the extra stuff that isn't obvious to find. For example, I don't use Garageband and just deleting the application will only save a few MB. Now by using AppDelete I also remove all of the loops that Apple pre-install and you get a bucket of space saved up.

    WhatSizeIsIt Another little application which tells you how big each file and folder is so you can find those over-sized printer drives and other stuff that maybe taking up your HD space.
  3. mgacam2 macrumors regular


    Jul 27, 2007
    - Calibrate the screen right away
    - Yes it can work in clamshell mode and no, the air isn't pulled from the speaker grills enough for anything to happen
    - Yes it can work on a stand, It might help it be slightly cooler, but it wont make a huge difference
    - To hot is anything above 75-80 degree's celcius

    OS and GUI:
    - Leopard isn't bloated like windows and therefore requires almost no tweaking, the only real thing you need to do is tune it to your preferences, desktop icons, no desktop icons, wallpaper, flower or fish? lol
    - My tweaks that i use include getting rid of all desktop icons and hardisk/cd rom icons that appear, making the dock smaller with zoom, and using finder to get access to things i don't use so much. Keep a stack for downloads and for programs that have multiple applications such as office 2008. I don't really use my applications folder. Dock is all you need. If its an obscure program i look it up in applications and hit the starting letter, or type it into finder real quick.
    - In terms of hot keys and hot spots, Apple (cmd) Q to quit programs, ANY program, Apple (cmd) w to temporarily close windows without quiting programs ie. close a tab on safari.
    - I use the right top corner for expose since my dots for closing windows and such are on the left (no accedental expose's) even though i barely use them. Bottem right is good for spaces, or just using fn f8 works fine too.

    Trillian (Multi-Protocol messenger app) - Adium + Mecury Messenger
    Outlook (Do you prefer outlook or Apple's 'Mail'?) - Mail
    Are there any Finder (File-Browsing) alternatives? - Finder or spotlight is awesome, stick to it
    What do you use to burn CD's and DVD's? - Toast 8 <---The best program
    What iLife apps do your recommend? - I use all of them, but prefer the more professional tools aka, Iphoto - Aperture, Garageband - Logic Studio, Imovie - Final cut etc etc. But if you can't afford those programs or "afford" those programs then they are great apps on their own.
  4. richard.mac macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2007
    51.50024, -0.12662
    the MacBook and MacBook Pro are designed to operate in clamshell mode and their air vents are at the back. i do this sometimes and only notice a increase of a few degrees. i use two pencils as a riser but i dont notice too much difference in temps. just placing it on a flat surface will be fine. too hot would be over 70C for idling temperature. ive seen my MBP go up to 80C when encoding video but mobile intel chips can get very hot when on full load so its understandable. when in Boot Camp use it open as it can get pretty hot in Windows.

    if i bought a new Mac now i would do an erase and install to leave out the printer drivers and extra languages. to do this click "customize" just before you click install and untick printer drivers, extra languages and extra fonts (leaves out asian fonts).

    theres no registry in Mac OS X so you use Terminal commands for tweaks. for some tweaks check out and the Leopard Tips and Hints sticky in the Mac OS X thread and here for some Terminal commands for hidden settings.

    i use pretty much all of the keyboard shortcuts. for a list look in Mac Help. for productivity i have Spaces set for the squeeze buttons and Exposé All Windows set for the scroll ball click. i MISS this when in windows.

    i use the dock to organise my most used apps and then have an applications stack in list view for the others. i also have a utilities stack and kept the default docs and downloads stack.

    for apps

    Multi-Protocol messenger app - Adium
    Mail is excellent but if you need to use Exchange use Entourage in Office for Mac
    FTP Client - Cyberduck
    Text Editor - TextEdit (built in to Mac OS X)
    Code Editor - Coda or XCode if you want to build Mac apps.
    Finder Alternative - Finder is fine but if you really want one use Path Finder
    DigitalColor Meter (built in) for on screen hex colours.
    Finder, iDVD, Disk Utility and Toast to burn CDs and DVDs
    i recommend all the iLife apps but i mainly use iTunes, iPhoto and iMovie. Apple has professional alternatives for all iLife apps except iWeb
  5. scott9s macrumors member

    Feb 27, 2008
    I'm new to mac too, but here are some sites I've collected.

    Top Mac Apps Lists

    When you get it, I recommend calibrating your battery too.

    Here's a wiki on Optimizing a fresh install (which I am thinking of doing)

    You might want to play with this tinker tool (think Windows PowerTools TweakUI)

    Here are some more tips you might want to look at:

    I dont' know if it is on by default is two finger right click. a must have turn on in my opinion.
  6. burningrave101 macrumors 6502

    Mar 4, 2008
    I just bookmarked this thread so keep answering questions guys lol. :D
  7. shreddy macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2006
  8. mason.kramer macrumors 6502


    Apr 16, 2007
    Watertown, MA
    >>>>(Multi-Protocol messenger app)

    >>>>FeedBurner (Offline feed reader)
    >>>>Outlook (Do you prefer outlook or Apple's 'Mail'?)
    F*** outlook. Mail is pretty good. Some very heavy email users look for a few more power features. I really recommend Mail though, because it is integrated with Address Book, which is integrated with everything else that is Mac.
    >>>>CuteFTP (FTP Client)
    Cyberduck or Transmit
    >>>>>>(Text/Code editor)
    Ahh, the editor wars. My personal fav by a mile is TextMate. BBedit and TextWrangler always get mentioned. There are a few others. YMMV
    >>>>>> Are there any Finder (File-Browsing) alternatives?
    Good question. Finder is one of the key weaknesses of OS X, to my mind. I haven't experimented with replacement apps such as PathFinder or XFile. You could check them out. Also, Default Folder X is not a replacement but it does much needed functionality to the save and open dialogues. Finally, one of QuickSilver, Butler, or Launchbar are absolutely necessary to replace a lot of the functionality that Finder is supposed to have, with something that actually satisfies. I use QS, but it's because that's what I know, it fits like an old shoe now. I would recommend at least trying Butler first to new users, because Butler is supported, whereas QS gets more ragged by the day.
    >>>>Are there any programs that let me move the cursor over a point on the screen and get the hex for the color?
    ColorZilla is a Firefox plugin that does this for the browser. Don't know about a system-wide app
    >>>>> What do you use to burn CD's and DVD's?
    The built in Disk Utility is usually adequate. (Apps->Utilities->Disk Utility)
    >>>>> What iLife apps do your recommend? Do you prefer any alternative apps to these?
    I don't use it (Edit: except iDvd, on rare occasion). I do, however, like the iWork suite. Much more bang for the buck than the archaic and arcane world of MacOffice.

    Also, do a forum search for apps. There must be 500 "favorite app" threads. Let's not make another one here.


    EDIT: Almost forgot! The reason I wanted to reply to this post: my routine for setting up a new Leopard that I'm personally going to be using. These are snips from a README file that I have stored on this very issue.
    >>cat Notes_On_A_Clean_Install.txt
    ########## NOTES ON A CLEAN INSTALL OF OS X ########

    ##### TERMINAL AND BASH ####

    Any complete install should include configuring your Terminal.app to load up Bash by default, and then editing your Bash profiles.

    >>>>>> $ chsh -s /bin/bash

    >>>>>> $ open /etc/profile (or, if TextMate is installed, $ mate /etc/profile)
    >>>>>> $ open ~/.bash_profile
    /etc/profile is the global system configuration for bash which controls the
    environmental variables and programs that are to be run when bash is executed
    [TRANSLATION: /etc/profile contains variables and programs that are
    executed for every user who runs bash]. If you are an MS-DOS user, /etc/profile
    is equivalent to autoexec.bat.
    /etc/bashrc is the global system configuration for bash which controls the aliases
    and functions to be run when bash is executed [TRANSLATION: /etc/bashrc
    contains aliases ("shortcuts" to long commands) as well as pieces of code that are
    executed when they are called for]. /etc/bashrc is sometimes omitted, and its
    contents placed into /etc/profile.

    ~/.bash_profile is the local system configuration for bash which controls
    the environment variables and programs that are run when bash is executed.
    These environment variables and functions are specific only to the user, and they
    do not affect anyone else. This file is executed right after the global configuration
    file /etc/profile is executed [TRANSLATION: Unlike /etc/profile which
    affects all users, ~/.bash_profile affects only the user running bash].

    ~/.bashrc is the local system configuration for bash which controls the aliases
    and functions to be run when bash is executed. These aliases and functions are
    specific only to the user, and they do not affect anyone else. This file is executed
    right after the global configuration file /etc/bashrc is executed [TRANSLATION:
    Unlike /etc/bashrc which affects all users, ~/.bashrc affects only the user
    running bash].

    ##### PRODUCTIVITY ####

    * Set up your default application spaces.
    * Bind mouse buttons to expose buttons if you have a mouse and buttons to spare.
    * Bind QS, Activity Monitor to Dock
    * Install FireFox plugins: ColorZilla, MeasureIt, FireBug, FoxMarks, DuplicateTab, and TamperData
    * Install Quicksilver plugins, set up function-key triggers for common apps, setup Clipboard History, Google Search, and Bookmark Search triggers


    * Consider activating FileVault in the Security Prefs Pane, but only after reading how to back up FileVault home directories using Time Machine, and only after you have moved all your media and non-sensitive files out of your home directory. (Basically, TimeMachine goes from automatic-and-no-hassles to manual-and-a-hassle).

    NOTE TO NON-MASON USERS READING THIS: Only use FileVault if you need it. Encryption is no joke; it puts you at elevated risk of data loss and makes many simple tasks into difficult ones.

    * Use Secure Erase in Security Pref Pane

    * Setup TimeMachine

    * The Time Machine sparsebundle must be mounted at login to guarantee that ~ will be backed up on Logout (FileVault only)

    * Mount all my network volumes as login items in Account Pref Pane

    * Lockscreen on screensaver option (Security P.P.)

    * Screensaver after 5 minutes of inactivity

    * Logout after 30 minutes of inactivity


    If the system is always connected to dark genius, you can use it as a nameserver.

    System Preference Pane -> Network -> Select the relevant connection

    Else you can manually configure the list of domains that you want to override.
    Anything in /etc/hosts will be used in place of any upstream nameserver.

    >>>>>> $ sudo open /etc/hosts

    add the line dg.krm

    To the file. This means that mac's built in DNS resolver will resolve dg.krm to this ip address.

    Unfortunately, resolver won't accept wildcards, so we can't use
    *.dg.krm. Instead, we have to manually add each subdomain. Here's a list that is current as of 7/03/2008. Each time a new subdomain is added, you will have to add it here.


    Finally, these apps go on every mac I use.

    >>> ls /Volumes/Masons_Mac_Apps_For_Clean_Installs

  9. aforty macrumors 65816


    Nov 27, 2007
    Brooklyn, NY
  10. Pukey macrumors 6502


    Jan 7, 2008
    This is a great thread. Thanks Think and everyone contributing! I think my question is along the same lines. My new MBP should arrive sometime this week and I'm just wondering, what things people check to make sure it's all in good order? I'd like to give it a good look-over when I get it before the 14 day return period to make sure everything is up and running fine.
  11. KingYaba macrumors 68040


    Aug 7, 2005
    Up the irons
  12. iMack007 macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2006
    I just have one question....how do you get your hard disk connected to Airport Extreme to be accessed online?
  13. KingYaba macrumors 68040


    Aug 7, 2005
    Up the irons
    Printer drivers and Microsoft Office 2004 "test drive." Those go strait into the trash if I didn't customize the OS X install option. Printer drivers are located in /library/printers. I deleted everything and downloaded the single driver I needed for my printer.

    I think you're going to have to play around for a while. I only use two "Spaces." One for XP and the other for OS X. OS X shortcuts can be found here: http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=75459
    Finder windows are in column view. No CD, hard disk(s) showing on my desktop. Right-click and select "Show View Options" and tinker around.

    I like Thunderbird
    I use a program called Fetch
    I use OS X's Disk Utility. /applications/utilities
    Office 2008 for Mac.
  14. Pukey macrumors 6502


    Jan 7, 2008
  15. Pigumon macrumors 6502


    Aug 4, 2004
    OS Customizations


    Here are a few of my MUST CHANGE's
    I usually set expose to
    Top Left corner: Show Desktop
    Top Right corner: Show all windows

    Finder general prefs
    Open new windows in column view
    Spring Loaded folders: short delay

    Finder Advanced Prefs
    Uncheck Show warning before emptying trash

    On individual finder windows right or ctrl-click and select customize toolbar,
    drag Path and Delete to the toolbar (and anything else you might find useful)

    System Prefs:
    Appearance: Click in the scroll bar to: Jump to here
    I also use a terminal hack to add double arrows (up and down) to both ends of the scroll bar.
    Dock: Size: large, Magnification: on, max, auto hide.

    Lastly, Universal Access: Zoom On. you can hit Command Option + or - to zoom in and out, centered on the arrow icon. This works really well if you want to cut off a menu or some video control or ads on a website when watching full screen.

    If you have a mighty mouse, i added the size buttons to Expose: Show App Windows, and CTRL Scroll ball works for zooming in and out!

    (i use japanese and sometimes chinese, so i have that turned on and have the original keystroke Command-Space set to switch between languages)
  16. weatherman316 macrumors member

    Jun 18, 2008
    West Bloomfield, MI // East Lansing, MI
    I know the benefits of screen calibration, but how's this done on a MBP? (Sorry, I'm an :apple: noob)
  17. ebayhelp macrumors member

    Jul 21, 2008
  18. dvpetrenko macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2008
    Uhmm... can i say the best thread ever??

    my 2 cents, (and i only switched to my MBP from windowz 1 week ago)

    I use a targus chill pad with 2 large fans below the mbp for cooling. It gets to 70 degreez with this while rendering...

    reason is to keep the battery cooler, imo the bettery 'health' decreases faster when u keep it too hot for days at a time.

    and ofcourse i installed 4 gigs from newegg....
  19. ebayhelp macrumors member

    Jul 21, 2008
    download smcdancontrol ^^
  20. tsice19 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 16, 2008
    1) Upgrade RAM and HD yourself. Much cheaper that way.

    2) Use SMC Fan control to change fan setting and keep your MBP running cool. I have mine set to use different RPMS depending on if I have it plugged it, if I'm charging, or I'm on the go.

    3) ONYX is a great program that can clean up your computer of alot of junk. Run the automation every once in a while and you'll be good.

    4) SuperDocker to change the dock to 2D or to change it's style (I Just use it because I like a 2D dock sometimes...)

    5) NeoOffice for a free alternative to MS Office

    6) Virtual Box for a free alternative to VMWARE.

    7) iMovie HD (the last version), since the new one blows.

    8) SuperCal to calibrate the screen

    9) Dropbox for an alternative to MobileMe

    10) Insomniax for disabling/enabling sleep (useful for long downloads)

    11) Flip4Mac and Perian for playing unsupported media types in

    12) Disk Inventory X to see what's using my HD's space

    13) Desktop Curtain for hiding what's currently on the Desktop (useful if you have a cluttered desktop but want a minimalist look)

    14) Coconut Identity Card to see info about your Mac

    Sorry for the thrown-together-ness of this post, but I'm very tired and am ready to sleep. :( :eek: :) :eek: :apple:
  21. dvpetrenko macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2008
    Have that too, thanks... but it's still so hot i can make breakfast on it (near the screen)
  22. Rivix macrumors 6502a


    Oct 13, 2005
    Wow. I'm bookmarking this for when I actually get a Mac...

    ...but I have heard of a good Mac App that monitors your Airport network and when you enter an area with a unfamiliar signal (an area outside your house or school network) then it will ask for a password. It sounds like a good security feature.

  23. Mr Dobey macrumors 6502

    Aug 8, 2008
    My Take


    MacBook Pro 15" 2.33 Ghz
    -Replace stock screen with 1920x1200 WUXGA Glossy LG Screen.
    -OptiBay w/500GB Seagate Drive.
    -External USB 2.0 Blu-Ray Drive.

    OS and GUI

    -Hide dock
    -Unclick 'show hard disks' under Finder preferences. I like NOTHING on my desktop!
    -Delete the following OS X apps that I never use: Chess, DVD Player, Front Row, Grapher, Migration Assistant, Remote Install OS X, Podcast Capture, iSync, Calculator, Bootcamp Assistant, Time Machine.
    -Silverlight: so I can at lest watch some of the internets content.
    -XSlimmer: Puts Snow Leopard on a diet
    - Set up Gmail account in iCal, Mail, Address Book.


    -MakeMKV: 1080 Blu-Ray Movies
    -Plex: Only Software that properly plays back 1080p Blu-Ray rips
    -Handbrake w/ VLC: for converting DVD's for iPhone use.
    -MacTheRipper: Rip DVD's
    -Transmission: By far best OS X torrent app.
    -Skype: Keep in touch with foreign buddies.
    (And since I'm a musician: Logic 9, Sibelius 6, Live 8)
  24. chinkmeister macrumors newbie

    Oct 4, 2009
    um just one question, yes it is cheaper to upgrade the hard drive yourself buy wouldn't it be semi better if u upgrade threw apple? So if it does defect there good customer service can handle fixing it or replacing with a brand new out out the box asap?
  25. Goettel macrumors member

    Oct 1, 2008
    Hey Think,

    Just to let you know that RAM and HD are user serviceable (instructions are in the owners manual) so it doesn't void your warranty. It's only the actual parts you changed (HD or RAM from a third party) that arn't covered anymore, the rest of the MBP still is.

    Also, if you don't like the default fan behavior (I don't, I find it gets too hot before the fans kick in) you can get FanControl 1.2 that is a great little app that lets you set your fans to auto adjust like you want. I prefer a bit more noise vs not seeing my cpu go up to 85°C anymore. Now it maxes out at around 72°C under full load.

Share This Page