Moving Mac House: What Applications are Must-Install Furniture?

When writing about my video streaming setup a few posts back I mentioned I needed to remedy how my Intel-based Macbook Pro laptop fan goes into overdrive making all kinds of noise that kills the sound quality of a live stream. Granted it’s a beast of a machine spec-wise (32 Gb of RAM, 2.4 GHz 8-core i9), but it is hard to enjoy any major performance boost over my OG 15″ Macbook Pro circa 2015—best computer ever—when the fan sounds like a jet engine. Not sure what happened with the latest Macbook Pro design, but I must say it’s been a pretty awful experience from the beginning. And I have been feeling it doubly over the last year given how much video conferencing and recording we all have been doing this year.

More specifically on this computer, whenever two external USB-C monitors are running (even with the laptop lid closed) the computer starts heating up and the fan starts going crazy. If I add a video call, or god forbid streaming through OBS, to the mix I might as well be on the tarmac. I tried the application Turbo Boost Switcher to  disable the Intel Turbo Boost that is responsible for the overheating, and it works pretty well for everything save OBS streaming, which sucks for me.

So, all that to say I had my eyes. on a Mac Mini M1 8 GB computer (so literally a quarter of the memory) after seeing it demoed and realized it will be able to handle my setup without any issue. So, I picked one up a couple of months ago before OERxDomains21 with the idea I would make the switch in time for the recordings and everything else, but time got away from me. It was not until this weekend that I finally sat down to build my streaming audio and video setup around the Mac Mini and use the laptop as the periphery computer I take on trips, trail around the house, work in the garden with, etc. The fact that the Macbook Pro is no longer my primary work machine says it all, what a bust. I’m hoping to find a way to integrate it into my setup more seamlessly, but for now it’s in a kind of limbo.

On the other hand after playing with the Mac Mini this weekend I am pretty blown away by how fast the new M1 chip is. I streamed to ds106radio with Audio Hijack and ds106.tv with OBS simultaneously and nary a sound. Amazing, and given how bad the latest Macbook Pro intel-based chip is, how did that ever get to market? Pretty scammy. So, I’m happy, and I wrote all that to say this: so when you are starting from scratch with a new computer what apps do you install?

I wanted to avoid doing a clean copy over given I will still be using the Macbook Pro, and I have most of my files and apps managed in the cloud anyway. So, what did I need to install, you ask? Well, I made a list of everything I installed below, and I think it is pretty telling of where I am heading:

  • 1Password: Useless without it, it’s by far the most important application for managing my day-to-day for both work and personal stuff
  • DropBox App: I am not a huge fan of Dropbox, and part of this is probably cause I don’t use it all that well, but I use it enough to make transferring a bunch of files between machines easy, so it was an immediate install
  • Slack Desktop App: Basically my remote office, it’s where I do all my Reclaim Hosting work, so a must
  • Discord: I am not a huge Discord person just yet, but I have had more than a few good experiences with it this year, so I downloaded it and got it up and running post haste.
  • Audio Hijack: ds106radio #4life – installing this app reminded me why I increasingly hate Apple’s attempt to control everything I do on the machine
  • Loopback: Virtual audio device is crucial for both ds106radio and OBS streaming
  • OBS: Like and subscribe! My favorite new software for streaming
  • VLC: some old gold open source media player action, still the best
  • Elgato Control Center: This is the application for controlling the desktop ring lights
  • Handbrake (not compatible): I tried installing this OG app too because I still regularly rip DVDs, but not compatible with the M1 chip just yet, so may need to explore the edge release on Github, che paura!
  • Transmit: Still do a lot of FTP work when playing with Reclaim Hosting and Reclaim Cloud, and I like transferring large files 🙂
  • BBEdit: this local text editor is pretty much where I keep all my notes
  • Elgato Video Capture: Software for digitalizing VHS tapes, need to test it and see how it works with the M1 chip
  • Stream Deck: Software to program my Stream Deck that allows me to pre-program OBS scenes and select them seamlessly using the small switcher box

So, those are my 14 “must-install” applications, and I feel like I won’t need too many more. I am pushing into the whole video/streaming arena which is a lot of fun for me, and I should be bringing some more equipment back from the US here soon, so that will be even more incentive to keep playing.

The other thing I needed to do to make this machine fully operational for work was setting up private keys and my .bash_profile so that I have shortcuts to all the various servers we manage when in terminal. The same was true of exporting and importing the various servers I have setup using Transmit. And with everything set on the Mac Mini I’ll be reporting for work tomorrow with my new rig.

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12 Responses to Moving Mac House: What Applications are Must-Install Furniture?

  1. Ted Curran says:

    I usually install Alfred right after Vivaldi browser and my password manager. It’s like adding superpowers to your Mac.

    • Reverend says:

      Hi Ted,

      Very cool, Alfred is brand new to me, but I am all for super powers so gonna have to play with that here soon. And the Vivaldi browser is also new to me, I know Chrome is spyware, but I have been too lazy to fully quit it yet.

  2. Ryan Collins says:

    What Ted said about Alfred. This is my most used app!

    My others:

    * iTerm2
    * Brave, Chrome & Firefox (because I switch browsers whenever I change my socks)
    * Day-O (menu bar clock/calendar replacement)
    * Espanso (text expansion)
    * Moom (Window management)
    * My Dotfiles repo (https://github.com/mrrcollins/dotfiles.git)
    * Homebrew

    (I do a lot from the commandline 🙂

  3. Reverend says:

    Hi Ryan,
    Thanks for the comment here! I am not sued to getting more than one comment on the bava anymore, so bear with me 🙂

    Wow, another Alfred fan, now I need to double my energies here 🙂

    Interesting to see you are using a Terminal replacement, I use terminal pretty regularly, but not good enough to know it could be better, so this is interesting for sure.

    Can I ask what you use Moom for? I am thinking it is a good tool for sharing pieces of your screen for streaming? That could be something that works well in a tutorial-based workflow, so would love to learn more.

    Sooner or later something I am trying to figure out requires Homebrew, but I am never proactive with that because I only half understand it, but I should bite the bullet and prep for the inevitable.

    Also, interesting you keep your .dot files on Github, I can see the value of that aftger my recent transfer immediately.

  4. Andrew Rush says:

    Welcome to the M1 Mac club! I’ve been loving my Mac Mini since November. Two things – the 1.4 Beta of Handbrake – https://github.com/HandBrake/HandBrake/releases – has been working for me for a while now. Not sure what’s taking them so long to push it out of beta. Also, I have discovered IINA – https://iina.io/ – a prettier open source video player that supplants VLC. I would argue that it gives VLC competition for “the best”. Enjoy the M1 generation!

    • Reverend says:

      Damn you’re good, just installed Handbrake, thank you very much, and I also have IINA (it just rolls off the tongue) and will play with that for some of my streaming. What I like about VLC right now is it is basically integrated with OBS, but I am always game for a young turk stealing the crown.

      I’m also preparing to get busy with the ATEM Mini, so more on that anon.

      Big fan, thanks for the comment!

  5. Acorn is a must-install as well. More useful image editing than photoshop, and cheap.

    https://flyingmeat.com/acorn/

    • Reverend says:

      The Norman #4life!

      Glad to see you here in the comments, D’Arcy, I was just reading your weekly update, so mark it 5 readers now 🙂

      A good, cheap photo editing tool is more than welcome, getting it now, thanks man!

  6. Brian says:

    I thought the domain was the house.

    • Reverend says:

      Are you just here trolling, lamb, or do you actually have something to contribute. Un-fucking-believable!

  7. Tom says:

    I’m going to have to check out Alfred vs Quicksilver.

    I’ll second iTerm, OBS, and Transmit.

    I’ll give a vote for Local WP for WordPress development work and I am still using <a href="https://www.sublimetext.com/"Sublime for text editing/coding but may move to VS Code.

    My screencast recording is done in ScreenFlow but I don’t really use it to its full power.

  8. Reverend says:

    One more to add here that I just realized is ProtonVPN, the only VPN that truly let’s me watch US Netflix in Italy 🙂

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