Small Screen Productivity

For the vast bulk of stuff that most people will want to do on a computer, though, most of the time you don’t need a desktop monster. I don’t think you even need a 15” screen, which is essentially a portable desktop. You just have to use a small screen productively. Matt Gemmel

Ever since I moved to Aarhus four months ago I have been limited to the 13 inch display of my (non-retina) MacBook Pro. Beforehand I thought it would be quite annoying to be limited to this small screen (I have an external 27 inch monitor at home in Munich).

But as Matt writes, it’s mostly a question of what you make of it, and I didn’t miss a bigger display as much as I anticipated. But my workflows changed quite a bit: I run a lot more applications in Fullscreen mode and use on quite a few helper tools to coordinate stuff and switch between programms. Here a short list:

  • First off: Alfred for launching apps and invoking various workflows.
  • Better Touch Tool enables the Windows-7-style window snapping on my Mac.
  • A combination of KeyRemap4MacBook and NoEjectDelay enabled the use of the eject-key (I replaced the optical drive w/ a second HDD some time ago) as an hotkey for iTerm21.
  • Furthermore I use HyperSwitch as a finer enhancement for the system application switcher.

Still higher resolutions are always tempting. Especially when dealing with visual stuff, no matter if Lightroom, Pixelmator or just the iOS Simulator, more screen estate equals more productivity in my opinion. For that reason I keep checking out the 13 inch Retina MacBook Pros and I also have high hopes for the rumored 12’’ Retina Air.