Josh Philpot

Theology, the Church, and Music

Archive for the ‘Apple’ Category

Academic workflows on a Mac

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Over at the Macademic blog there is a list of good software on the Mac that is particularly useful for academics, teaching, writing, etc. I’ve used most of the software on this list (or at least experimented with a lot of them), but everyone’s workflow is different. Some of these will only frustrate your writing experience, especially if you’re diving into a big project like a dissertation that has unparalleled citation and formatting demands. So tread lightly and don’t make an impulse purchase, if that is your temptation. When I began writing my dissertation I had hoped to use something other than Microsoft Word, but I quickly found out that other applications would be unacceptable for submission. I wrote my prospectus in Scrivener, but I had to spend a couple of days after it was completed just converting the file into a .doc for review. That process was a real pain, particularly with in-text citations and footnotes. The writing experience in Scrivener is excellent, however, just not suitable for the parameters of a dissertation. 

What software do I really need for academic work on Mac? | Academic workflows on a Mac

A. General tools

LaunchBar – a launcher and an automator (€24) /alt: Alfred, check here for comparison

TextExpander* – Mac typing shortcut utility (€35)

1Password* – password, identities and other sensitive information management (€40)

Dropbox* – file sharing (free) /alt: Box


B. File and e-mail organizing and management

Hazel – file management automator, indispensable for managing reference files (€20)

Papers – managing scientific articles, also used for annotation, citation and bibliographies in writing (see D); check Macademic reviews (€60) /alt: Sente, Bookends

Foxtrot – a professional search engine; “goodbye haystack, hello needle!” ($40 or $130 for the professional version) /alt: Leap, DevonThink, HoudahSpot

MailTags – tagging mail messages in Apple Mail ($30)

Mail Act-On – processing and organizing email with keyboard shortcuts in Apple Mail ($25)


C. Calendar, task and project management

Fantastical* – natural language calendaring, part of the Macademic Ninja Kit (€16)

BusyCal – professional calendar management (€40) /alt: Mac’s native Calendar

OmniOutliner* – outlining for brainstorming and project planning; also used for writing outlines (see D) ($50 or $100 for professional version) /alt: MindNote

OmniFocus* – unparalleled task management app extensively reviewed on Macademic; however tempting it is, don’t try to put all your life in there! ($40 or $80 for the professional version /alt: Things, TheHitList, TaskPaper


D. Note-taking, research and writing

NValt – plain text and markdown no-frills note-taking (free) /many alternatives

Evernote* – capturing text notes, documents, images, photos and screenshots and sharing them including on iOS devices (free with some paid features)

Ulysses – a rapidly evolving software for taking and organizing notes using searches, tags and folders; I use it extensively for teaching (€37) /many alternatives

OmniOutliner* – writing outlines, also used for project management (see C) ($50 or $99 for the professional version) /many alternatives

Byword* – simple and efficient text and markdown editor for Mac (€8) /many alternatives

Scrivener – writing software, especially suitable for theses and other complex texts ($45)

Pages* – Apple native word processor producing beautifully formatted documents, features sharing through iCloud (free with OS X) /alt: Mellel, Nisus

Microsoft Word for Mac – very powerful word processor, a standard for many publishers and in the Windows world, sometimes irreplaceable but should not be over- or misused (various pricing models) /alt: MellelNisus

Papers – citation and bibliography management, article annotation, also used for managing scientific articles (see B) (€59) /alt: Sente, Bookends, EndNote, Mendeley, Zotero

 

E. Data processing, presentation and graphic design


Microsoft Excel for Mac – an extremely powerful electronic spreadsheet (various pricing models) /alt: Numbers

OmniGraffle – vector graphic software for diagrams and other illustrations ($100 or $200 for the professional version) /alt: Adobe Illustrator, iDraw

Keynote* – the most powerful presentation software with amazing possibilities (free with OS X) /alt: Microsoft Powerpoint, Prezi

PDFPen – editing pdf files ($60, $100 for the professional version) /alt: Adobe Acrobat

Written by Josh Philpot

July 5, 2014 at 11:43 am

Customize Your Mac Desktop

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Whenever I get a new computer I spend some time customizing the desktop to fit my needs and preferences. So when I recently got a new Mac for my office (thank you UofL), I added some additional features and changed a few icons. All of this is very easy to do. If you like the way mine looks I’ve provided instructions below:

Since I have the date and time on the desktop I don’t need them in the Mac menu bar, usually on the top right. These two features are live and operated by a program called Geek Tool, which is a free app in the Mac App store and which is easy to use. Mine is in Helvetica font.

The desktop image can be found here.

Instructions for setup can be found here.

I found the .Mail, Chrome, and Safari icons by doing a simple image search on Google. I personally hate the default icons for these apps, and these are more appealing to me.

In my dock I also have the Reeder app, which has a great interface for reading blogs from your Google Reader. I’ve been using it for a long time and have no complaints. I also have Accordance software for Bible study and 1Password for managing the 50+ passwords I have online.

Enjoy!

Written by Josh Philpot

September 8, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Posted in Apple, Mac, Technology