Scott Penrose

Mac OS X

Scott is an expert software developer with over 30 years experience, specialising in education, automation and remote data.

Apple Mac

Update 2011

Hot Tips

  • Always create a second "Admin" account
    • My account failed, could not login. Nothing fixed it, until I delete the account and created a new one, moving the files from the old to new. Then it all worked

Open source or free software

  • SMARTReporter - monitors disk SMART status for any errors regularly -
  • GVim - My favorite editor, see also GVim for Mac setup -
  • Neo Office - this is Open Office specifically compiled for the Mac Interface. You can also use Open Office, but that then is in X11, which is like using Unix rather than Mac -
  • FreeMind - Excellent mind map software that runs basically everywhere (Linux, Windows, Mac and more) -
  • HandBrake - Video ripping - I keep all my DVDs online - much better and prevents those scratched and damaged disks. I do not encourage piracy, I own all of my movies all legally, but I do want them online, and sick of broken and scratched disks - therefore HandBrake -
  • Miro - best open content video program - better than using iTunes for Video pod casts - better support for multiple formats, no need to own QuickTime Pro etc - Bad name though -
  • MPEG Streamclip - great tool for converting all sorts of video formats. Tends to use built in systems, so to read MPEG2 you must have the apple codec (which comes with pro tools)
  • DVD Spanner - backup a folder to any number of DVDs - perfect for backing up large photo imports, especially as my card is now 8GB, and my DVDs are only 4.7 (dual layer are too expensive still) -
  • Firefox - Web browser - although Safari 3 is excellent, and WebKit (where Safari comes from, which also is a fork of KDE HTML Widget) is open source, Firefox is still the benchmark. Also with Firebug it is an essential web editing tool -
  • FlightTrack - Glider flight track software - - Yes I fly [[Gliders?]]
  • Google Earth - - mostly you can now use google maps online at - but it is still a great application and has many features you don't get from maps.
  • Nvu - Great web page editing tools - it is a bit old, no native intel version, but they are working on it -
  • Skype - I don't like skype - non standard protocols and all, but it does have EXCELLENT firewall traversal, unlike most VoIP applications - Therefore it is essential tool for some communications.
  • SubEthaEdit - edit with other people all together on the one document at the same time - it is just a shame it is mac only - there is no need for it to be, just the way things are.
  • Cyberduck - FTP program - - with good synchronisation support.
  • Filezilla - a good cross platform FTP program - - (no sync though)

Commercial Tools you can't be without

  • VMWare - Intel Operating System Virtualisation - Big VMWare under linux, then switched to Parallels for Mac for a while, but as soon as VMWare came out for Mac, switched to that - much faster, easier to use, better interface, better support for linux, mature snapshots and more -

Other Commercial tools I use

  • QuickTime Pro - Get that MPEG video creation happening. Great for creating iPhone, iPod and other outputs - as well as converting other video camera formats.
  • Final Cut Studio - Have used Final Cut Express on my last 4 laptops. Decided now to purchase a MacPro and go the full Final Cut Studio experience. One of my main motivations was Motion - I used it when it was sold separately (version 1 only) but now Version 3 is only part of the suite.
  • Billings2 - Time tracking and invoicing -
  • MYOB - I liked Billings2, but I have needed to upgrade to MYOB for my business.
  • Singular - a tool that does very sophisticated duplicate file scanning.
  • OmniFocus - synced with my iPhone and between laptop/desktop - complete TODO tracking

More commercial tools I would recommend

  • Creative Studio 3 (CS3) - Photo Shop, Dream Weaver, Flash, Illustrator and more.
  • Pixelmator - Alternative to photoshop and only $70 - very good -
  • Toast - DVD and CD Burning - have not really found a better system yet.
  • Fast DVD Copy - although I don't use it any more as I use HandBrake and keep things online.
  • Missing Sync for Windows Mobile - I am not a Microsoft fan, but I do love my Windows Mobile Phone - this allows me to sync with it.

Built in Applications

  • - called because Mail would be not descriptive enough - not a great name, maybe Apple should call it iMail
  • iChat - Has everything I ever wanted except - could do with multiple Jabber servers (coming in Leopard) and better NAT traversal.
  • iCal - very good integration and support for sharing via WebDAV.
  • Address Book
  • Safari - although version 3 is only in Beta it is faster than any browser I have used.
  • iTunes - ubiquitous music
  • iMovie - when I am not using Final Cut
  • Garage Band - when i am not using Soundtrack Pro
  • Comic Life - lots of fun drawing comics - free version with Mac OS X is pretty cool.
  • Terminal - because I use Mac because it is Unix.

Backup / Archive

The built in is good - Time Machine - but I also like rsync. Here is a good set of instructions on compiling (if you want the latest) and automating RSYNC backups

My normal rsync command uses the following options:

  • rsync -avEb --delete --backup-dir ".rsync-backup/"
    • -a - archive mode
    • -v - show more info during file transfers
    • -E - Mac extended attributes (important)
    • -b - Backup - keep a copy of files that have changed
    • --delete - delete files not on the source (But keep a copy in backup)
    • --backup-dir - put the backup files here.

Command line


I use the following macro:

function macvim () {
        # /Applications/ -g "$1" "$2" "$3" "$4" "$5" "$6" "$7" "$8" "$9" &
        /Applications/ -g "$@" &

and then the alias - "alias vi=macvim"

See also

  • Setup