By Robert S. Donovan

Today my new MacBook Air arrived putting the final touch on my new digital life here in Seattle. It’s always fun to set up a new computer and new digital gadgets. I haven’t owned my own computer in four years using my school issued laptop as my sole machine. So it’s great to get my hands on this new 13 inch MacBook Air and start to customize it. I went back and looked at the software that I started with in 2008 when I got my first Mac computer. Crazy to see what has changed and what has stayed the same. 

So here’s my list of must have software…or is that browser ware?

First Four Downloads:

Chrome – Default Browser

Chrome Canary – Allows you to sign into muptiple accounts. I use this for all my other gmail accounts 

Firefox – Now my backup browser

Opera – Second Backup browser

App Downloads:

1Password: Love this to keep all my passwords safe and synced between all my devices using dropbox

Dropbox: Because I live in the cloud

Google Drive: See above

Pages: Needed to open a document

Chrome Browser Extensions:

TweetDeck: Social Network Client

Bitly URL Shortener: To share things on Twitter and Bookmark them direclty to Diigo

Google+ Page Share: Allows me to share things on my Google+ Profile and Pages

Diigo: My bookmarks

Scribefire: Blog Post Editor that works inside Chrome, can’t blog without it. 

Feedly: RSS Feed Newpaper

Prismatic: RSS Feed Newspaper – new and trying out


Crazy to think that Pages is the only application I’ve downloaded that isn’t Internet based. Guess you know where I’m spending my time. I know I’ll download more but I’ve been working now for 7 hours and this is all I’ve used.


Samsung Galaxy S III

I also purchased a new cell phone for coming back to the States. I bought my wife the HTC One X and I bought the Galaxy S III. I love both of these phones and my wife already knew how the HTC worked so liked sticking to that brand. We bought International unlocked versions (some habits are hard to break) and both phones work on the AT&T Network here in the States. But after talking with Tim Lauer I decided to try Straight Talk and there $45 Unlimited Talk, Text, Data plan…as I still hate contracts. So far I have been very happy with the service and love how Android works perfect with Google Voice.



I decided to go with CondoInternet which services our condo building it was either that or Comcast. But CondoInternet offered 100MBps download and upload for $60 per month and that was just to much speed to resist….especially coming from Bangkok where I paid for 20MBps and if I got 2MBps I was happy.


So…I’m getting all setup here in my new State-Side life and just thought I’d share how the tech side of things are coming. 



Well we made it to Bangkok without much of a fuss. Cats traveled well and we’re slowly settling into our new house in our new city. ISB is about 30 minutes outside of the city center making our view a little different from Shanghai.



The view is not the only thing different. Last night’s low of 81F and today’s high of 90F just about did me in. The wife of course is loving it and we constantly fight over A/Cs being on or off. So today we compromised and bought a fan. Although we have situated our bed so the A/C is blowing directly on me and not on her. πŸ™‚

The new house is bare as we await our shipment from Shanghai to arrive (a 20ft container) full of “beautiful carpets and furniture” (direct quote from wife).

It was nice though to turn on my laptop and find out that ISB installed a wireless system in teacher housing over the summer. So every teacher has wireless in their house that runs off of the school’s network.

Last night I found myself reading through blogs and e-mails and skipping over links that I knew were blocked…that is blocked in China. It was great when I clicked on an edublogs.org and a wordpress.com link and they both loaded. I have some retraining to do of my clicking fingers. πŸ™‚

Lastly I went to school today and picked up my new school issued computer.

Yep, a new Mac Book with 4GB of Ram. The last time I had a Mac was 9 years ago running 8.xx OS. I’ve been secretly wanting a Mac for the past couple of years so I’m looking forward to putting this thing through the test in the next couple of weeks.

But first I need help from all you Mac users out there. What free software do I need?

My first three are already on:


(Firefox and Skype came preloaded from the school…we’ll work on Twhirl for next year πŸ˜‰ )

So I’m busy tonight putting in all my Firefox extentions. The onces I can’t live without.

But what I need from the community is the other great stuff that makes a Mac…well a Mac.

What I’m looking for in particular at this moment:

FTP client (free)
Software that allows me to share my desktop via web cam

But I’ll take anything that will allow me to do my job better, faster, and more efficient and of course all that other stuff too. πŸ™‚

So come on all you Mac users…start thowing me those links to software I just can’t live without!