Setting up a New Mac

Last week my laptop was stolen, sad story I know. Now I am going through the process of setting up a new one and getting all of my favourite applications and settings on there. Here is a work in progress of my favourite programs that I think are a must have when setting up a new Mac. I use roughly the same setup on my Mac Pro as well as my 13″ Macbook Pro.


Hide Dashboard

This one is a necessity to me. I never use the Dashboard, and I hate that it is running in the background all of the time. This is generally the first thing I do when I jump on a Mac. This is quite easy to do even if you are unfamiliar with the command line. Just open up Terminal and enter the following: defaults write mcx-disabled -boolean YES

Once you have done this you will need to restart the Dock (Dashboard is linked in to the Dock) to see the changes. You can do this by entering another command into Terminal: killall Dock

This will close and open the Dock and you will now notice Dashboard has disappeared forever! Note you can easily get it back by using the first command but changing the flag at the end to NO. Then just restart the Dock again to get it back.

Instant Messaging


I have tried a few different instant messaging clients, but Adium is my favourite for the Mac. It has support for AIM, MSN, Yahoo, ICQ, Google Talk, Facebook, MySpace and more. It’s easy to combine all of these into different groups or categories too. It has a good integration with Growl notifications (see below) and overall very tidy.


I don’t use Skype on the laptop as much as I use to, but still handy to have on there.


Open Office

I love Open Office. It does everything I need from Word Processing, Spreadsheets and even graphs. I know some people can’t steer away from Microsoft Office, but I have never seen the need to go back after using Open Office.


This one comes down to preference. I am a big fan of Firefox from a long time ago, but since Chrome has been available on the Mac, I have found it hard to go back.

Google Chrome

It’s fast. It also now supports Bookmark Sync’ing with your Google Account, and plenty of great extensions.

Mozilla Firefox

Still very trusty, but I only really use this for testing website development now.



I love that you can throw any movie format at VLC and it will just play it. It’s always my default for all video file types.



This is a newish one for me. It is a simple Freeware app where you drag an application you want to uninstall on to it (rather than the Trash can), and it deletes all of that application’s files that were spewed across your hard drive.



A great, open source CD/DVD burning program for the Mac. It will easily do Data, Audio (including MP3 Discs), Video (including VCD, SVCD, DVD and DivX) and straight disc-to-disc copy. Never had a problem with it. Fast and lightweight.


This one is probably geared towards the more advanced users. Whilst it is still safe to use, you can destroy your computer in the mean time. This program allows you to delete all of the useless language packs in every application and the unused architectures. Just double check all of your settings before using this one.


Onyx is a great system maintenence application. Just run this one once every few months to clear out your cache’s, check your startup volumes and do other regular spring cleaning.


This is my favourite FTP program for the Mac, closely followed by CyberDuck. It has all the great features, bookmarking, editors and even ability to browse Amazon S3 shares. Update: I just noticed Version 4.0 has come out which looks to be a lot faster, and adds shortcuts to your FTP/S3 shares into the Finder toolbar!