Are your tools working for you?

Apple has released the Public Beta of Mac OS X Yosemite, and  I’m getting a lot of questions about whether one should jump in. My advice is to wait. Most of the non-developer user features I find really great in Yosemite are in the integration with iOS, all of which requires iOS 8, which you don’t have (or you wouldn’t be asking me whether to try Yosemite! Ha ha!)

But whether you’re taking my advice or not, now is a good time to think about the Apps that you use and how you work. Anytime you are considering making a major upgrade it’s a good idea to check everything that’s essential to your work (and play) and ensure that it’s going to work right. It’s also a reasonable trigger for doing some thinking about what you use and maybe trying something new.

Yosemite and iOS 8 will give you plenty of opportunity to improve your workflow and try something new. There are a lot of new capabilities in both, especially in how Apps on both platforms can work together. It will be fun to see what creative developers come up with.

But first you need to know where you are. What are your most important tools? How do you spend your time on your computer? What works well and what doesn’t? It’s a fun exercise just to make a quick list, decide what’s essential and then ask yourself what works and what doesn’t.

In my short list: 1Password works great; Dropbox works well, but there are some privacy concerns so I might look at alternatives; my combination of Scrivener, Byword, Sublime Text 3, and Pages are excellent for writing projects and other text; TextExpander, Omnifocus, Fantastical, and BusyCal all work great for me. My tools for working with Audio are great; My Python and Objective-C/Swift development environments work great.

But I’m going to have to ruminate on this a bit. I’m sure there is some blind-spot — something that’s broken, but I’m just used to it. So I’ll jot a few things down over the coming days and weeks and then consider making a few changes.

11 thoughts on “Are your tools working for you?”

  1. What tools do you use for Python dev? I’ve been using vim 😉 But I just starting using PyCharm CE to do some heavy duty refactoring and it saved me a bunch of time…

    1. I’m just learning… right now going through the excellent Web Development with Flask, by Miguel Grinberg. Right now, I just have things on my Macbook Pro with a venv for active changes, deploying stuff to an Arch Linux box I built, and sometimes to my Raspberry Pi.

      But I’ve heard PyCharm CE is worth looking into. I’ve got a project I’m fiddling with that probably needs a more serious kit, so as I learn and get things going, I’ll probably put something better in place. For now it’s beautifully simple.

      On the iOS side, it’s the obvious tools, including having fun playing with Swift and Playgrounds a little. 🙂

  2. A few things that I know don’t work – macports (can be fixed by building from source but is a pain), Canon EOS Utility and some of the other Canon camera-related apps, the official Oracle JDK 8 (current OpenJDK builds work). Not sure if this has been fixed since DP1 but the Yosemite install also kills your archived Messages messages.

    1. I’ve had a bunch of hiccups with iTunes syncing and backup of my iPad (troubling!), and some strange crashiness that I haven’t narrowed down. Bartender doesn’t work, but in fairness I haven’t got around to checking to see if there’s an update or fix for that.

      Surprisingly, my Apogee Duet has worked flawlessly, as have PopClip, Alfred, TextExpander, 1Keyboard and other utility stuff.

      if you haven’t tried DP4, it’s worth a go — all the usual caveats and precautions, of course. I’m running it as my primary boot . I have an external Mavericks boot that I keep up-to-date just in case, but I haven’t used it in weeks, except to boot up and run updates.

  3. Homebrew works. Viscosity has worked off and on with the current build needing a boot argument to get it to work. The beta Oracle JDK 8 works (as Hronk says the release doesn’t). So for most apps have worked fine for me since DP1.

  4. Here’s an odd one – Time Machine keeps backing up some private data from some new Apple-internal framework (CoreDuet). This can be 300 to 500 megabytes every couple of hours (on DP4). Filed the bug with Apple, can be avoided by excluding the directory in Time Machine prefs.


  • 💬 Ian McGee
  • 💬 Are your tools working for you? - Darius

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