How To: Make your Mac Cool, and Efficient

Everyone has that tech geek for a friend. The one who does all this unnecessary, but kind of neat, crap with his phone and computer and all the other devices he has.

I’m that nerd for my friends, and while it may get its fair share of the wrong side of jokes, they don’t laugh when I get stuff done way before they do. It’s not that I’m a better typographer, or that I’m smarter, I just know how to use the tools in front of me better than everyone else. Here’s how:

I use a basic Macbook Pro from 2010. The standard 15-inch “let’s go to college and get a mac” type of laptop. It’s currently running Version 10.8.4, or Mountain Lion’s latest version.

Multiple Desktops

The first thing you need if you’re multi-tasking on your Mac is multiple desktops. Whenever I’m working on multiple projects; video editing for a story, researching for an article, and perusing Twitter and my RSS reader for stories and breaking news, I always have multiple desktops running to keep my work organized. Using Apple’s trackpad, I can swipe between each desktop using four fingers left or right, allowing me to get to my different projects easily. Image

Personally, I like to organize things into three different categories; social, video and text. The reason is strictly personal preference but it allows me to easily remember where everything is. For instance, social will carry my Tweetdeck acount, instant messaging and RSS feed. Video is obviously going to be where my iMovie is housed, and because that’s typically a full screen project, I leave that one specifically for that, and text carries all the different projects on excel, word and Evernote.

Different Applications

The thing that makes Mac so appealing to hardcore computer users and the casual fan, is the ability to personalize. And leaving all the different options for backgrounds and menu bars aside, there’s still plenty of room to work. There are thousands of games and productivity applications on Apple’s App store for Mac that gives you the opportunity to tailor your Mac to exactly what you need.


If you’re a writer, blogger, journalist, photographer, social media user, college student or someone who just needs a place to organize everything; Evernote is for you. It allowsImage you to connect via the Cloud to your phone and other devices, for free, so when you type up a study guide or line of questioning for an article, it’ll show up on your iPhone within minutes. My favorite feature is the opportunity to organize different notebooks. I have stuff set aside for school and my work, as well as my blog on WordPress.

Stock + Pro

If you’re job requires you to know what’s going on on Wall Street, having Stock + Pro is a necesity. ImageNot only does it have a realtime ticker that you can attach to the top bar or let it float freely, but it also allows you to track, monitor and add new companies to the ticker and main page. It gives you all the need to know stats and lets you monitor in real time whats going on around companies.

The pro version of Stock +, you can access a mini RSS feed about specific companies, giving you the latest news about Apple, US Airways or Amazon.

Instant Messaging

We’re always communicating. On Mac, it’s even easier. iMessage, the iPhone to iPhone wifi messaging application, entered the desktop and laptop world with the introduction of Mountain Lion. It allows you to directly “text message” an iPhone from your laptop.I spend all day on my laptop, and so I can instantly message back and forth with any of my contacts that are iPhone users.

Adium is a program that I use for Facebook chat. Since Facebook allowed different programs to access its chat feature, the chat service has increased immensely. I’ve used Mac’s native iMessage program, Trillian and now Adium, and each one has its fair share of bugs with Facebook, but Adium works far better than the previous two.

Push Notifications

ImageApple is doing whatever it can to streamline its different products so they have similarappearances and features. Mountain Lion also brought the Notification Center to the Macbook line, and it was a much needed addition. As a previous user of Growl, the third party notification service, I was very pleased to see Apple make it a native feature. Almost every single one of my applications is connected to my Notification Center in some way, and I love it. My Tweetdeck feeds directly in, as do my iMessage, email, Facebook, Stock +, Adium and anything else I need.

Those are some of the cool features that I use on my Mac to make things work, what do you like to use?  Make sure to follow my blog by submitting your email on the right. You can also like my page on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter


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About joemartin2014

J-student at Arizona State University, and pursing a minor in business as well.

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