Starting From Scratch

I don’t get a new computer very often, but it’s time. And Friday my new laptop, a 15″ MacBook Pro, was delivered by FedEx.

Now comes the process of making it my new computing home and figuring out what I need off the old one (which will soon become a Boxee-driven media center – more about that later).

For a while now Apple has included their Migration Assistant on every Mac, software which is supposed to make it easy to move to a new machine by sucking everything (settings, preferences, files, even programs) off the old one and putting it in the right place.

By all reports it works very well, but I’m not using it.

As with moving to a new house or school (or office cubicle which I also did last week), setting up a new computer is an opportunity to clean out a bunch of old junk and start over.

I certainly have gigbytes of files that deserve to be trashed but there’s also a lot of programs I’ve downloaded over the years to try out and then never touched again. Plus their support materials and preferences.

So, it takes more time but I’m doing this setup process manually.

But, what software gets added back first? What’s the most important stuff?

Considering how important a reliable web browser has become, it’s no surprise that my first install was Firefox.

Safari, Apple’s own browser, is pretty good and is much improved with version 4 but I can’t do without the Delicious and 1Password plugins, two items that don’t work nearly as well with Safari.

Next comes ecto, the editor on which I wrote this post and almost all the others on this rantfest for at least the past four years. It’s new owners need to do some updating work on the program but it’s still better than anything else I’ve tried.

Then there’s Twitter. Lots of clients to choose from but Tweetie is the one I currently like. When the people at Nambu release version 2 of their software, however, I may consider switching back.

Although it has a web interface, the Evernote client has become essential and is certainly among the first installs. I admit it, I’m hooked on having my notes available everywhere I’m connected, including on the iPhone.

Finally for this initial round, there’s NetNewsWire, the RSS reader I’m coming back to now that it’s been rewritten as a front end client for Google Reader.

NNW is still in beta (with some bugs and missing features) and I know the developer is going to charge for the ad-free version of the final product but I’m liking it much better than the somewhat clunky web interface of Reader.

Well, that’s the essential stuff that didn’t arrive out of the box I added this weekend. There will be more to come. Any suggestions?