Mac mini

Sometimes and in very rare cases you need to do a clean install of your Mac. I did and here are my findings:

Mac OS X 10.11

I’m still using a Mac mini back from 2011. It quite does the job, I added a second (SSD) hard disk and upgraded the RAM to 16GB, even though the Apple website says it wasn’t possible. I tried and it worked. Since then, the Mac got every single OS X update from 10.7 to 10.10. But for 10.11 – El Capitan – I decided to clean up that whole system and make a clean install.

I quickly wired up my MacBook Air via Thunderbolt and Target Disk Mode and tried to boot from that system to make a clean install. Unfortunately, the MacBook Air has no Repair partition, so I was a bit stuck at that point. I booted up my MacBook Air and made the Mac mini boot as the Target Drive. I wiped both hard disk drives and rebooted it once more. From now on, the Mac showed a folder with a question mark, which means there was not bootable device found. Well, f*ck.

There was the option of a network install implemented into the bare metal of the Mac. To get there, you would need to press Command, Option and R. This would show up a spinning world icon and after a while you would be presented with the actual setup of OS X. But not the one you might guess – El Capitan – but OS X 10.7 – Lion. Basically the OS your Mac was initally shipped with.
I dropped that option, too. I didn’t want to install the system twice – one being the inital setup, one being the update.

So I decided to get back to my MacBook Air. I downloaded the El Capitan setup and created a bootable USB stick from it. With this, I could boot up my Mac and do the cleanest install ever on that hardware. About 25 minutes later, I was presented with El Capitan.

Additional hard- and software

Speaking of the hardware: I have a lot of external devices laying around, one being my Wacom Bamboo Pen and Touch graphics tablet. I needed to setup that one of course! Also, my t.bone SC-450 USB microphone would need a set up, but luckily it was as easy as plug-and-play. Also, my Logitech C920 HD webcam worked out of the box. And obviously, the wired Apple Keyboard did it’s job throughout the whole installation process. So did the Apple Magic Mouse.

Now it came to the software. I did not make up a list of tools I would require, but I started thinking about which tools I would need in every case. Here we go:


Spotify – obviously for music. Does it need any explanation?

Chrome – the “best” web browser out there. It has great debugging capabilities (which is ineviteable for developers like me 😉 )

LittleSnitch – You don’t want to tell everyone who you are and what you do. Now you can, by just blocking the applications or connections you don’t want to be leaking information.

VLC – Ever got a great video from a friend and could not watch it? Well, now, you’re covered! It also supports DLNA sharing, so I can stream videos directly from my NAS drive. Very cool!

Staying connected

Twitter – to keep updated on what’s going on these days. I’m not that into Twitter as it would make sense to use a much more advanced tool like TweetDeck.

Skype – if you’re having a lot of conversations with customers and likeminded pea people, you may call them via Skype and reach them much more quickly. Also, you have your hands free and don’t need to grab your phone to call someone!

Slack – This should be on top of the list, because I’m over at the Buffer Slack community mostly all day long (at least it’s open all the time)

Keeping up and organized

Wunderlist – a beautifully designed and awesome working tool for organizing myself and smaller teams. I’m currently using this with a client and a shared todo list. (Which reminds me about writing a post about the services I use on a daily basis)

Office 365 – Does it need any explanation? Sometimes there are these tables, which just don’t work in Numbers.

Dropbox – Keeps all your files altogether and allows you to easily share content and get it back the same way.

Creative tools

Adobe Creative Cloud – The go-to place if you need a tool to do… Well, to do everything media related.

And now for the development stuff

iA Writer – Documentations are really important! Even better if you write them in Markdown!

Sublime Text 3 – Awesome (and in my opinion the best) code editor!

SourceTree – For getting your code out in the wild (or at least to your repository).

iTerm2 – It is a long-term friend of mine. Basically, you could use the OS-X-internal Terminal, but that is what everyone uses. So just be one step ahead and use iTerm2. You will love it!

VirtualBox and Vagrant – Is anyone still developing on their host machine?

MySQL Workbench – For searching and manipulating the Big Data approaches. *hrhr*

Transmit – The best (S)FTP client I have ever used. Blazing fast and super easy to configure.

XCode – That is somehow a requirement for developing on Mac OS, so that should also be put on the list.


Shanghai Mahjongg – Some procrastination is okay. No…?

Missing anything?

That’s it for now. If you’re missing a tool or have a workflow, where two tools of the above are combined and use a third one to communicate with each other, I would love to hear that in the comments below. I’m pretty sure, the one or other tool may add up to this list in the next few days or weeks, but for now, that’s my setup.

My PC gets three minor upgrades, I have ordered two 500GB SSDs and a new case to fit them right in. And the PC is still running Windows 8.1, so you might get the idea of what one of the next blog posts could be about.