My Apple/Mac Set-up

Mac Color Classic

An Old Affair

In the Fall of 1993 I needed a computer for school and luckily had a Mac fanatic for a neighbor. The moment he discovered I was looking he pointed me in the right direction and I've been a Mac guy ever since. I used my first Mac, a Color Classic II named Murray nearly everyday until 1997 when it had become obvious that the old guy, who had handled the basic text of the 1993 internet, would not be able to cope with the modern internet. The iddy biddy hard drive did not have enough space for much of anything not to mention the memory or processor. There was no way I was going to keep up with web browsers and other modern software. So I tucked Murray into a closet and upgraded to a new Mac. (Yes, I've named most of my Macs and yes some of us were on the net back then, some even earlier!)

Now, I'm not going to list and describe every Mac I've owned since Murray but I will tell you that I've worked my way through 13 Macs running everything from Mac OS System 7.1 to the current operating system, Mac OS X 10.10 In those 23 years I learned the basics of word processing for school and then moved onto desktop publishing and design for the community groups I worked with. From there it was the internet and my first website hand coded in 1997. I've tried my hand at publishing a newspaper and filming/editing documentary films on my Macs using everything from Adobe Indesign to Pages, iMovie to Final Cut Pro. It goes without saying that I have also jumped into the world of iOS devices and, in fact, occasionally edit this site using an iPad.


My current set-up relies on an iPad Pro 12.9 and a late 2012 Mac Mini attached to two Asus LED LCDs. One is a 27" and the other 22". I started with an Apple bluetooth keyboard which is an excellent keyboard but replaced it with a Logitech K811 which I’ve had for a couple years. I think this is the best keyboard I’ve ever used. Bluetooth pairing between the Mini and iPad was super simple and switching between them as fast as hitting a single button. The keyboard backlight turns off automatically when not in use and turns on instantly when my fingers are placed on it. The slightly concave keys feel great and unlike the Apple keyboard (my previous favorite) this keyboard has backlighting.

As for my most used apps, on the Mac: Pages, Affinity Designer, Affinity Photo, InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator and Coda for design and coding. General purpose computing is accomplished with a variety of Apple apps: Numbers, Mail, Safari, iTunes, Calendar, Messages, and Photos. Slack for communications.

The iPad Pro took over as my primary computer in June of 2017 when the 12.9" was updated. It's like the Air 2 only much faster and of course the larger screen. I've used two keyboards with it. Initially, the Apple Smart Keyboard which is fantastic but which lacks backlighting and media playback control. I now use the Brydge keyboard primarily. It allows for the iPad to be used very much like a MacBook Pro but with two huge benefits. It runs iOS and it can be easily lifted from the keyboard and used as a tablet. No Mac laptop can do either of those. For work, most used apps are Coda, Affinity Photo for iPad, and Pages. It's excellent.

My iPad Air 2*, my main apps are Safari, Reeder, Coda, Workflow, Transmit, Messages, Slack, Numbers, Reminders, Notes, Kindle and iBooks. As an amateur astronomer SkySafari gets alot of use along with Numbers for recording observations with the iPad that are later transfered to FileMaker Pro on the Mac.

In the summer of 2016 I sold my MacBook Pro and made the Air 2 my primary computing device. It's more than powerful enough for all of my non-design work such as website updates, transcriptions, email, word processing, and general office duties. I've also switched to Coda on the iPad for setting up new websites including CSS coding and some graphics work. I've been keeping a journal of sorts chronicling the switch to an iPad centered workflow.

With Mavericks and iOS 7 the convenience of always in sync everything was a fantastic feature making switching between devices mostly frictionless. It’s only gotten better with El Capitan and iOS 9 both of which have performed exceptionally for me. Practically everything seems to sync in one way or another. Some examples: Transmit and Coda bookmarks, Notes(much improved!), iWork documents, Byword documents and practically everything else. Lastly, I've upgraded to Dropbox Pro and use it to sync up all of my current work related files.

While I’m VERY happy with my standing desk and intend to continue working there when my work requires a Mac.

A few other bits of gadgetry worth mentioning. Keyboards. Apparently, I collect them. My latest is the Logitech K480 which is great with the iPad. It's a bit heavy because it also serves as a base for the iPad which fits into a slot above the keys. It has a handy dial for pairing with multiple bluetooth devices. I've currently got it paired with the iPad and iPhone. Handy. I also picked up the Logitech Keys-to-go for shorter, on-the-go typing. Super light weight and works great for quick trips to the library or coffee shop. Nothing I want to type on for long periods though.

The iPhone 7 Plus has been great for keeping up with email, twitter and RSS as well as reading books. Other tasks for the iPhone usually include scanning documents with Scanner Pro, remote control for iTunes and AppleTV. The hotspot feature has also been a real plus for getting things done while on the road.

For entertainment I use an Apple TV that get 3+ gig of video/music content from my 2012 MacMini which does double duty as my iTunes/Plex server. Media is stored on an WD My Book 4 TB drive.

A note about the Air 2. It was gifted to me by my aunt and uncle and I mention them because until the release of the iPad they had no intention of ever owning computers. Like several others in my family (my mother, grandmother, aunt, and a few others) had previously only ever used their desktop computers for playing those old school card games. For various reasons they had not used the internet at all or only very little. All of them are now daily users of the internet in a variety of forms. For several of them their iPads were their introductions to Apple and they now own iPhones as well.

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Beardy Guy Creative
220 Henke Lake Rd.
Fredericktown, MO 63645

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