So I’ve begun reading O’Reilly’s “The Productive Programmer” and am trying to put ideas and apps mentioned in its text. I’m learning Unix commands here and there I was never familiar with, like pushd and popd. I’m also learning about quite a few apps I never would have used otherwise. While I myself am focusing on Unix commands and Mac apps, the book features coverage for Windows as well.
As far as Mac apps go…
I’ve been doubling my efforts to use QuickSilver, especially in terms of avoiding guis like iTunes and Finder. The book talks about the importance of not disrupting flow and train of thought. While I’ve read about how damaging this can be in Pragmatic Thinking & Learning, I never stopped to examine just how much they affect me in particular. I seem to have attention deficit like a madman. I start and stop tasks several times a minute at my worst. I’ve flirted with using apps like Think and WriteRoom (or the free JDarkRoom) to try avoiding distraction, neither have stuck very well. It seems I’m more inclined to manage my own time, but I still need to figure the best way to do so.
What has stuck as far as productivity already is Spaces, OS X’s built-in virtual desktop; Exposé, the likewise built-in window management tool; the aforementioned QuickSilver; JumpCut; j2 and assorted custom aliases in-shell. I’m a biggish user of TextMate’s macros, snippets and columnar/multiline editing, as well as the Git/SVN bundles.
Now I’m adding Text Expander to my list of must-have apps. I’d played with Typinator (a similar app) before, but it didn’t suit me. Text Expander absolutely does. Being able to customize not only your snippets but how and when they’ll trigger is great. I find myself adding new words while talking to friends on AIM. I’m up to almost 300 words now, hopefully I’ll plateau around 400 or so. Haven’t even used it for development work yet but it’s cutting back on time wasted typing in chats! Also check Doodim, an easier version of Think.app.
Can’t wait to see what apps, commands and ideas I discover going forward, reading the book and on my own!
Another app I’m interested in but haven’t used much yet is Path Finder, a Finder alternative with built-in terminal and lots more.
Anyone with ideas, app reviews or advice, please do contribute!