Mac Power Users 100th Podcast: I’m Nerd Girl

Anyone who knows me knows I’m Nerd Girl. The way I oooh! and ah! over new gadgets, software, and ways to trick out my workflow is akin to the way some of my friends go crazy over shoes, jewelry, or the recipe for a killer dessert. I can get excited telling people how I’ve automated my Mac to OCR, name, and file anything I stick in the scanner with little more than inserting the paper into my Fujitsu Scansnap. Or the way my Mac automatically empties the trash or monitors folders. I’m equally excited about the apps I use and how I use them, from Launchbar and TextExpander to Scrivener.

I find Damn You! Autocorrect funny. I’ve named my iPhone Edgar Allen Phone for crying out loud. And I may or may not have a slight crush on Siri. I’m also a fan of several ‘geek’ podcasts, one of them being Mac Power Users with hosts Katie Floyd and David Sparks. When they announced they planned on celebrating show 100 with guests, and that they were looking for guests to share their workflows, I was all over it. I sent in my submission along with countless others and waited.

I wasn’t overly optimistic about getting on the show. When it comes to impressive guests and ideas, mine would hardly be considered earth-shattering. I mean, this show has had hosts like Merlin Mann (43 Folders & GTD fame), Marco Arment (creator of Instapaper), Rod Roddenberry (Gene Roddenberry’s son), Mac World editor Jason Snell, and the Mac Daddy of Mac video podcasts, Don McAllister.

Imagine my surprise and delight when Katie Floyd emailed me to say they’d love to have me on the show along with a few other guests! Insert mental picture of me running around my office, yelling "Oh my God!" and doing some weird variation of the Happy Dance. Yeah, scary stuff.

Let me tell you, the best laid plans and outlines and practice sessions did me little good. I was definitely a deer caught in the headlights, I'm afraid. But, maybe that's just my opinion.

So, what did I talk about? How I turn my manuscripts into mp3 audio to listen to while I read along on my computer screen. It helps me do what I call pre-editor edits. If you're interested in listing, here's the link: Mac Power Users Episode 100. You can also listen to the podcast via iTunes. I’m a few guests into the show.

Want the automator script? It’s here.

So, for those interested, what tools do I use and love on my Mac? In no particular order:

Scrivener - where I write, keep character sheets, plot, research items, and my master copy of all my manuscripts. I also use it to export files for beta/crit partners, to create Word documents for Smashword’s ebook format, Kindle’s .mobi format, and .epub version for Barnes & Noble.
Pages - It’s where I create the PDF file for CreateSpace, who prints out my physical books.
Numbers - General spreadsheets for sales, book bloggers, contacts outside of my address book, etc.
1Password - for keeping me sane and secure with all my various account passwords across most all my gadgets.
TextExpander - for autocorrecting stuff I seemingly always spell wrong, for emails, signatures, anything I type over and over again. It doesn’t come in handy so much for writing the manuscript (with the exception of spelling mistakes), but it really shines when I answer fan mail, questions, or send out links, cover art, book descriptions, snippets, and what else for promotions.
Launchbar - it’s more than a clipboard, it’s a quick way for me to launch websites, often used apps and files. It also converts links to bit.ly and tinyurls.
Hazel - How I love Hazel. It automates things for me, like all my bills, recpts, etc. It names and stores away Amazon and CreateSpace reports. It keep my Mac tidy and organized. My whole paperless fetish revolves around Hazel.
Dropbox - for sharing files between my Mac, iPad, iPhones and for a third line of manuscript backups.
HootSuite - because I have over 17K followers and growing. I keep Twitter lists, and Hootsuite allows me to see the people I connect with the most inside these lists.
Keynote - Occasional slide or for creating my Twitter backgrounds
BusyCal – because it’s so much better than Apple’s calendar app.
AppleMail - it works for me. I can manage all my accounts inside one app.
Safari, Firefox, Google Chrome - one is used exclusively for bills. The other two are my everyday browsers.
Evernote – Ideas and lists and about everything else I can think of.
SuperDuper – I clone copies of my Mac. Yes, I have multiple backups in place and all for a good reason.
Time Machine Editor - Because I find it annoying that Time Machine wants to back up every hour. I’ve scaled back to backing up to Time Machine every 6 hours.
Aperture – I keep all my photos here. I like the extra photo editing that Aperture does over iPhoto.
Either Omnifocus or Things for time management. I just haven’t figured out which I prefer yet. I’ll let you know when I’m able to spend more time with Omnifocus.
Total Finder - because it beats the tar out of Finder any day of the week. I love how it’s there when I need it and gone with a simple press of the escape key. I like split window, too.
Onyx - It’s a great maintenance tool when I need it.
PDFPen Pro - It’s such an easy to use PDF app that it makes Adobe and Preview (which is still miles better than Adobe) look puny. It’s also a mere fraction of Adobe’s cost.
Mail Act On - It’s hard to explain it, but it’s like Rules, except it works based on individual emails and keystrokes.
Dockstar - Because I manage several mailboxes, it’s nice to know which one of them has mail. Plus, I don’t need sound for all of my incoming mail.
Growl Mail - to let me briefly see who’s sent a particular mailbox mail. This may become obsolete once I move to Mountain Lion.
Self Control - because sometimes, I have none. It locks me out of apps and websites and anything else until I get some writing done.
Kindle Previewer - because even after checking to see how my books look on every other device, including Kindle for iPad, I just want to check it one more time.
Face Time & iChat - mostly for supporting relative’s Mac who live out of state.
Automator - Reasons of which will be clear if you listen to the podcast.
CheatSheat - it’s a cool little app that helps me with keyboard shortcuts for just about everything inside Mac and most other applications.
iBank - because Quicken never stepped up to the plate for Mac users and it’s the one that works for my household.
Better TouchTool - it creates shortcuts on my trackpad.

See? Nerd Girl. And I’m still able to leap adverbs in a single bound. Now, back to the writing cave.



Categories: Tech Stuff (Michelle Gets Geeky)

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13 replies

  1. wow , that is some list of tools you have there , lol :) i love that you named the phone edga allen phone , that made me chuckle !

  2. Congrats on being on the podcast! I don’t know how good a guest I’d be, I’m not exactly articulate in realtime for one thing. And you know how some people have a face for radio? I have a voice for text. :-)

    Always good to connect with a fellow Mac geek. Remind me to tell you about the typesetting software lurking at the command line level some time.

  3. Thanks, guys!
    Josie – I collect software the way Imelda Marcos collects shoes.

    Larry – Sounds interesting! I always love conversing with my fellow Mac geeks! Shoot me an email. I’d love to hear about it.

  4. Great post! Backup is a must. I’m going to try HootSuite,Dockstar and Hazel.

  5. Yes! I can’t stress the importance of backups enough!
    Let me know what you think of the other apps. Hootsuite has a free version and the other two have trials.

  6. Just got around to listen to the show and was impressed with your self editing using the text to speech feature of the Mac. You indicated that you converted the speech to audio. As much as I try, I cannot figure out how to do it in Word. I know it would be easy in an Apple App such as Text Edit, but I would really like to know how you do it in Word?

  7. I listened to the podcast today, better late than never. Nice job.

  8. The text to audio feature has changed my approach to editing. Its a wonderful feature as I am queen of typos and don’t have a professional editor. It awesome! I really appreciate that you took the time to share what works for you.

  9. Case and point on the typos. It IS awesome. le sigh.

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