In 2013, I signed up for a class on Ruby on Rails with General Assembly. I completed the class, building a resume-making app ResumeRobot that is still up today. It is flawed. It was my first anything really so please, be kind, rewind. I had a full time job as a CEO that needed my attention and promptly forgot everything, having moved on to PHP and design and digital marketing and DevOps and then mobile development with Swift and now I am back to Ruby as I made a huge career change, having sold my business.

Enough About Me

So I sign up for this class and I own a 2007 iMac, a 2008 Mac Pro, and a Dell laptop. The class and just about every book I owned on programming seem to recommend a Mac, and I had a bunch of immobile workstations. I bit the bullet and purchased a brand spanking new Macbook Air with 8 GB RAM, 128Gb SSD, and fell in love with the fastest computer I ever owned.

Fast forward to today and I am the proud owner of a tiny network of Macs I am fond of. I got a 2007 iMac I recently updated with an SSD, a 2008 Mac Pro that has 32GB of RAM and 2 SSDs and a twice upgraded video card to one that pumps out 4K video with 2GB of memory, a Mac Mini with OS Server running my home network and media, and this lovely Macbook Air. I still love my Air, but I loved it too much. I had filled the hard drive. It was unable to update to El Capitan because it was at capacity. epson

What do you save

I nuked the Macbook Air, which brought back so many memories of a childhood spent nuking Windows machines I had screwed up. I may have reloaded Windows 250 times in my lifetime from a combination of reckless downloading, endless tweaking with settings and files, and obsession with performance.

This was my first Mac wipe and replace, which is pretty much the reason I became such a fan of Apple. Maybe the new Windows is improved and I am trading on old information, but I had enough problems with Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 at the office to not care about future releases of that product. I will stick to what I am happy working in.

I decided to lean more heavily on my Mac Pro as my daily machine and use the Air for programming on the go and for my Bloc calls, since my Pro is sharing audio, monitor and inputs with the Mini and the iMac via a KVM switch, making VoIP calls a little trickier. So, what programs do you put on the Air to keep it from filling up the HDD again?

Programs

  • Xcode
  • Xcode command line tools
  • Sublime2
  • iTerm2
  • Atom - new fav editor, though I am sentimental about Sublime
  • Evernote, aka my brain extension
  • Chrome
  • Firefox
  • Byword - new favorite publishing tool, auto saves to iCloud to save space
  • Cyberduck
  • MAMP Pro
  • Twitter native client
  • Screenhero
  • Slack
  • Ruby / RVM / Rails
  • Spotify - a total storage hog but I love it too much
  • Heroku toolbelt
  • Acorn for images, my ghetto Photoshop forever and ever

    Policies

  • Don’t back up 128GB iPhone 6 to the Air, duh.
  • Don’t load your email accounts into Mail. I increasingly get no mileage from native email apps and have just gigs and gigs of email.
  • iTunes - turn off automatic download policies.
  • Photos. Same as with email, I have too many. I keep them on a RAID-1 drive on my Synology NAS.
  • No other word processing BS. I can get by with Byword and GDocs/Drive for what this machine is used for.
  • No GDrive or Dropbox native clients. They alone can totally fill my drive.

And there you have it. My formula for making essentially a mobile coding station.

Tomorrowland

I recognize my machines are all becoming museum pieces, though my Mac Pro is still totally badass and I have put way too much money into it. I consider it a muscle car that still smokes the rice rockets the kids drive, though it can’t even look at Teslas or GT3s at a red light.

I think I would be able to get $50 for the iMac, $50 for the Mac Mini and $500 for the Air and Mac Pro, so $1,100 which would not even buy a single Mac I would want - I live by the principle that each machine must be an upgrade over what I have to justify the spend. I had bought a $4,500 2013 Mac Pro and $500 of memory for a 64GB RAM, 8-Core, 6GB VRAM monster. It was the greatest computer I ever owned. I gave it back a week later when the video card went out. I never did use the money for another computer. I knew when buying it that it was a product that was overdue for an update, and for that money, I would lose my mind if a new version came out in early 2016 as the rumor has it. So I pocketed the refund and took it as a sign. I still have the memory I had bought as an upgrade from MacMall.

So, I wait. I wiped the MacMini which sucked since it runs my network (DHCP and authentication) so I was fairly internet-less for a night. Now that machine runs like a dream. In the meantime I want to buy more speakers for my surround sound and replace my AppleTV with the new version. I don’t have time for video games and movie editing and the Pro is still plenty fast. Maybe after my wedding in Fabruary I can justify looking at a then-upgraded and updated Mac Pro.