Today I unpacked a MacBook Air. I have used Ubuntu Linux happily for a long time, but it seems to be
time to migrate.
Favourite software on ubuntu:
mutt for mail
mgp (magicpoint) for presentations
I'll record my progress on this blog-post.
Kind friends made excellent recommendations.
I installed MacPort and it provides a functionality very similar to apt (apt-get install blah).
And I found that many packages are supported by Port, some of which I had never expected to see again!
xcode had to be installed for port to be able to do its thing.
sudo port selfupdate
sudo xcodebuild -license
sudo port install gnuplot
sudo port select --set python python27
sudo port install ghostview
sudo port install gv
sudo port install make
sudo port install convert
sudo port install imagemagick
sudo port install magicpoint
sudo port install mutt
sudo port install unison
sudo port install xv
sudo port install xephem
sudo port install ruby
sudo port install tcl
sudo port install xeyes
sudo port install tk
sudo port install rails
sudo port install wget
sudo port install mercurial git
sudo port install ffmpeg figlet lynx mysql ncftp stunnel unrar tcsh csh sh git-core signing-party ntop tcping bash bash-completion file xdu tree
sudo port install acroread
sudo port install xpdf
sudo port install dasher
To get "locate" to work, I did this:
sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.locate.plist
Tom taught me about caffeinate -i
to stop the machine from going to sleep. It is already installed.
To get focus to follow mouse (into terminals at least) I tried this, but it didn't seem to work.
defaults write com.apple.Terminal FocusFollowsMouse -bool true
defaults write com.apple.x11 wm_ffm -bool true
defaults write com.apple.Terminal FocusFollowsMouse -string YES
I installed Quartz because xdvi said it needed X11 in order to run.
It says I need to log out and in to get X11 to work. Not sure what that means.
I used system preferences to crank up the key-repeat speed to the maximum.
I switched off most of the audible notifications; to switch off the "outgoing mail sounds like a
jet engine" nonsense, I had to go into mail preferences.
I need to figure out whether going with MacTeX is a good idea or should I
find a version in Port and stick with that?
Instructions for MacTeX
installer -pkg MacTeX-2011.mpkg -target /
/usr/local/texlive/2014/bin/x86_64-darwin/tlmgr update --self
/usr/local/texlive/2014/bin/x86_64-darwin/tlmgr update --all
I want shift-3 to give # not £ so I went into keyboard preferences, selected "show keyboard options in menu bar" and then added US as well as UK to the list of available keyboards, and switched to US.
Things I still need
Keyboard shortcuts in Apple's Mail programme - can I get it to feel like mutt? Why doesn't "mark as junk" come up as an option? How to move mail's focus between the message and the list of messages?
What is the keyboard shortcut to close just one terminal window? (not all terminals! which is what cmd-Q does)
emacs filename &
How can I get the command line completion feature that I had in tcsh? (e.g. ls !$TAB
Some of my productivity choices:
Although it comes with an emacs, I use Aquamacs : http://aquamacs.org
Flip windows around with keypresses: http://mizage.com/divvy/
After you have got used to the mac a bit, Quicksilver : http://qsapp.com
And a key macro (e.g. for inserting dates and times): http://smilesoftware.com/TextExpander/index.html
My biggest tip is that, if in doubt about how to do something, try dragging and dropping.
My second biggest tip is to make use of Time Machine. Hassle free overnight recovery from a lost or stolen machine.
As for software:
* A better terminal: http://iterm2.com
* A package manager: http://brew.sh
* Like Divvy: http://manytricks.com/moom/
* Like emacs: https://code.google.com/p/macvim/ ;-)
* For all those random notes: http://notational.net (not been updated in ages but works really well for me)
* Offsite backup: https://www.backblaze.com
* A forgetful programmers friend: http://kapeli.com/dash
* Like Word: https://www.tug.org/mactex/
And some important command line tricks:
* Drag a file or folder onto the terminal
* Drag the little icon at the top of a document window onto the terminal
* Copy, then type pbpaste in a terminal (e.g. pbpaste | wc)
* ls | pbcopy — then paste
* caffeinate -s (for when your computer is too sleepy)
* open index.html
* open random-word-doc.docx
Using search is usually quicker than navigating to find stuff. Cmd-space (Spotlight) to find apps (including switching to open ones), files, emails, etc. Or use the search box in ‘file open/save’ dialogs. (Quicksilver is a fancier search/launcher system, which I don’t use)
Cmd-Tab switches applications, but use Cmd-~ to switch windows within each application.
Delete is Fn-backspace (both for text and things like files in Finder).
If you download an app from the internet which hasn’t got Apple approval, the first time you launch it, override the fact that Apple “protects” you from it by “right clicking” (two-finger-click or ctrl-click) and ‘Open’. Thereafter it will open normally. You can turn off this security feature completely if you want.
Time Machine is indeed excellent for backup - and as the name suggests you can go back to older version of files if you need to. You either plug in an external drive, or configure it to use a device on your home network (Apple Time Capsule or non-Apple equivalent NAS device, just check it offers Time Machine support).
Personally I would be wary of iPhoto - it has some nice features but I don’t trust it either to look after my photos or give them back to me when I want to stop using a Mac.
I don’t know if ti’s still the case, but to get backspace to work properly in Terminal when ssh’d to a Linux box, in Terminal Prefs, I had to select rxvt as terminal type, uncheck 'Delete sends Ctrl+H', (http://chad.glendenin.com/macosx-backspace.html)
Everything below this point is third party stuff you need to install (mostly free):
nvALT is an updated version of notational velocity (which Tom mentioned) - for keeping text-based notes. Works well for me too, and you can store the notes in Dropbox so you can access them on your smartphone too.
pwSafe - password safe (not Mac-specific, but there’s a mac version) (syncs to phone etc too)
Making disk images - Carbon Copy Cloner. Good as an extra backup, and also if you lose you Mac or, heaven forbid, it dies, you can plug the disk into a friend’s Mac and boot up your system straight off it.
An alternative online backup: Arq (looks nice, haven’t got round to trying it yet).
Ripping DVDs: makemkv