The other day, talking about my MacBook Air, I made reference to the fact that I am trying to use less software:
It is also important to note that while software wants to use every bit of juice it can get its hands on — I personally am using less and less software to get tasks done. So while more resources are needed for each app, I am using less apps.
I didn’t think much about that statement when I wrote it, but I got a few questions about what I meant and how I was accomplishing this. Let me start by saying that, upon reflection, that statement is not entirely accurate. I am using less software, but I am also using different software to achieve better resource management — I am doing a little bit of each and reaping some nice benefits.
So for instance, I went from using Ulysses, TextMate, and MarsEdit on a regular basis — to instead just using TextMate. That is one app open instead of three and this makes a noticeable difference to overall performance.1 I have done things like switching from MS Office apps to iWork — they aren’t as robust, but they launch faster and use less resources. I use Acorn instead of Photoshop when I can. Instead of getting rid of apps, I added in a low resource apps that I use in place of the resource “hog” apps where and when possible.
I could delete Office and Photoshop and get by with the other apps, but my goal isn’t to decrease HD space (I have plenty of that), nor is my goal to reduce the usefulness of my computer — my goal is to use less resources while I am working.
I can get by just fine with out Photoshop or Word, but it is far less convenient to do so. My move towards this type of software has nothing to do with the power of my computer so much as it has to do with using better tools for the task at hand. There are times when you don’t need the power of a huge 4×4 truck — so why drive it around everyday?
The idea of my using “less software” is really about both physically reducing the number of applications that I use and using applications that use less resources — all without compromising the usability of my computer.
It is important to note here that I tend not to quit applications if I think I will be coming back to them in the next hour or so, meaning none of those apps would ever truly be quit. ↩