My Mac Setup Process.
Okay, this blog post is mostly for “future me”, hopefully its useful to others but i wanted to document this mostly for myself!
For contect, i am an autsitic developer / writer / public speaker, who is currently unable to speak. My Mac is everyting from my typewriter to my voice.
Here’s how i configure everything!
The first thing i do on a new Mac during setup is enable iCloud. I use almost all of the iCloud services apart from “Back to my Mac”. I’ve never needed remote access so i dont enable it.
I enable iCloud first as it takes a while to download my iCloud Drive (30gb or so). It also has all my passwords for everything else!
iCloud keychain sit in input fields, this is one of the reasons i hate clever “reveal the password” buttons inside text input boxes… they should not overlay, i own the text input, not the designer…. leave it alone, i need that space!
The next thing i do is enable speech output in the Speech & Dictation settings screen. I use the default shortcut of alt + esc. As i cannot speak, my Mac is my voice much of the time, and this is how i use it. I write what i want to say in a text editor, then i highlight it and hit alt + esc to get it too read it aloud.
I also use this system for reading long documents etc! Its marvolous.
Next I go into Accsessbility settings and zoom. I enable “use scroll gesture with modfier keys to zoom” which allows me to zoom in and out using the track pad. I then set alt + cmd as the “modfier keys”…. in other words, if i hold those keeys and swipe up and down my screen zooms in and out.
I do this both to help me see things better, but also to reduce the visual clutter within my view. I read very slowly, so random extra stuff in the user interface steals my focus. If i zoom in on what i am doing, all the other distractions are removed!
Next, i grab the following apps from the app store:
- Byword – distraction free writing enviroment. Its also where i write things i want to say when i cant speak.
- Keynote – for doing presentations
- Taskpaper – awesome to do list manager and outliner.
- Pixelmator – tool for manipulating images and icons. Used when i am putting together presentations.
- Tweetbot – my Twitter client of choice.
- Dropbox – get the rest of my files.
I install dev tools as and when i need them. Within a few days that means i will need Coda etc, but i can afford to hang back and wait. Not every Mac in my life will be used for coding and i cant be bothered to do the serial key dance every time.